pharah overwatch recast
Image via Blizzard

Overwatch Fans Call For Pharah Recast After “Zionist” Remarks

Following comments from Jen Cohn, the voice actress for Pharah from Overwatch, about freeing Palestine from Hamas, Overwatch fans have been calling for Blizzard to recast her. She made these comments in a livestream. [Thanks, PC Gamer!]

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A Change.org petition started on February 14, 2024 in response to Cohn’s remarks. As a note, Cohn’s livestream where she made the comments about the conflict in Palestine occurred on February 10, 2024. As of the time of writing, the petition has garnered 4359 signatures, with a goal of 5000. The comment in question was, “Yes, free Palestine from Hamas” after someone in her chat commented “Free Palestine.” She followed this up with comments about how she hopes Palestinians be healthy and happy, and that they live with autonomy and in safety. However, viewers were angry when she called the conflict a “war” and that it would be wonderful “when both sides are able to stop fighting.”

Online, users have been calling for Blizzard to recast Pharah. Their reasoning is that Cohn is a Zionist and is spreading Zionist propaganda using the platform she got from her role in Overwatch. Some have even pointed out that Pharah is a mixed Egyptian character, which makes Cohn’s role as her even more inappropriate.

Though the Gaza-Israel conflict has been ongoing since the late 1940s, the recent Israel-Hamas war started in October 2023 after militant Palestinian groups attacked southern Israel. Many groups and activists have called for a ceasefire, citing that Israel is committing a genocide of the Palestinian people. As of February 19, 2024, Israel has killed over 29,000 Palestinians since October 7, 2023. About two-thirds of this number are women and children.

Overwatch 2 is readily available on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Windows PC, and Nintendo Switch. Blizzard has not made any statements about Cohn, or whether it plans to recast her as Pharah in Overwatch, yet.


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Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.