‘Warhammer 40K’ stickers on LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter flags make Amazon’s true task clear

Warhammer 40K stickers on Black Lives Matter and Pride flags
via Brookline Police Department

Mere days after Henry Cavill announced his departure from the role of Superman in the DCU, the actor shared on social media his plans to executive produce and star in a new Warhammer 40,000 series on Amazon. Now, it has been discovered that stickers associated with the popular tabletop wargame have been used to deface a Black Lives Matter and Pride flag in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

The vandalization was discovered Tuesday morning per the Daily Voice, but the stickers themselves are believed to have been planted sometime between Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, around two weeks before Cavill made his public announcement about the TV show.

The stickers included the word “Heresy” on them, as well as depictions of a two-headed eagle. In Warhammer 40K lore, Heresy refers to a period of time called Horus Heresy, or the “Age of Darkness,” and the two-headed eagle is the symbol for the Imperium of Man, an interstellar and totalitarian human empire. 

“The Imperium of Man stands as a cautionary tale of what could happen should the very worst of Humanity’s lust for power and extreme, unyielding xenophobia set in,” wrote the official Warhammer Community in 2019. “Like so many aspects of Warhammer 40,000, the Imperium of Man is satirical.”

In the summer of 2020, the Warhammer fandom experienced an uptick in hateful speech and harmful rhetoric during the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred following the murder of George Floyd. As such, Games Workshop, which had notoriously remained silent on such matters – especially following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 – released an official statement condemning such behavior. 

Unless Amazon wishes to carry the pockmarked history certain members of the Warhammer community have hurled upon the franchise’s reputation, it has an important decision to make. That choice can include a variety of options, such as casting Black, LGBTQ, and other underrepresented minorities in the series, promoting messages of inclusivity both on and off set as well as in the story, donating to organizations whose mission it is to further the equity of all people, and/or publicly speaking out against targeted hate such as this and clarify that the few do not represent the whole. 

Should Amazon choose not to make its position clear, it risks alienating a very valuable and devoted fan base who would love nothing more than to feel safe in their support of the TV series without guilt over compromising their integrity.