Yesterday we published an article about the inclusion of a Persona 5 song in the latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC. Several readers had contacted us about a lyric that appeared to be a disability slur and, on listening to the section in question, this appeared plausible. What was even more confusing is that this spoken-word section was omitted from the official lyrics.
We contacted Atlus and Nintendo for comment before publication. But we published the article before a response was received and, as the subsequent fallout has shown, that was a mistake. I'm the editor of the site and, ultimately, that means this error was down to me and me alone.
Many of you have suggested alternative readings for the lyric, from 'retort it' to 'ritardendo' to 'retard it' (with 'retard' in this context being a technical musical term).
We asked Nintendo both for an official transcription of the lyric, and for an explanation as to why this section of the song is omitted from the official lyric transcription. We've now received the following reply:
We checked with Atlus who confirmed that the actual lyrics of the song do not include the word "retarded".
Frustratingly, this does not clear up the confusion over what the singer is actually saying.
But we accept that this article was a mistake. Publish in haste, as they say, and repent at leisure. We would like to apologise to Atlus, Nintendo, and the many Persona fans who were angry about this piece. It looks like we got it wrong. We screwed up: sorry.
Finally, the original has been updated to reflect this statement and link back to this apology. However, we've recently been making back-end improvements to our site, and an unfortunate consequence is a new problem where updates are taking quite a while to appear. We will quash this gremlin but, until then, the site is slow to update. This has been the subject of conspiracy theories. Some of you simply demand that we delete the article.
Kotaku UK does not delete articles. On the internet, what would be the point anyway? We admit our mistakes, own them, and update the original to reflect new information. The original article has now been updated but, as we say, it may take a while before it shows.
We hold our hands up with this one: you deserve better, and we'll strive to do better.