‘Dishonored’ tattoo at US Capitol riots mistaken for Antifa symbol

In amidst the chaos of the US Capitol riots, one of the participants was spotted with a tattoo from the Dishonored game series, stirring up a storm online.

To say that the storming of the US Capitol was a shitshow would be a huge understatement. Yesterday, Trump supporters broke into the government building to contest the finalisation of the November election results by Congress and the ultimate confirmation of Joe Biden’s status as president-elect.

Rioters rampaged through the building, damaging property and invading sensitive government areas including the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate chamber. Three improvised explosive devices are reported to have been found; one on Capitol grounds, and one each in the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee offices.

US Capitol Buffalo Man
Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In amidst all of the Confederate flags, All/Blue Lives Matter signs, Neo-Nazi symbols, and other alt-right imagery, eagle-eyed users noted a bizarre video game reference tattooed on one of the rioters. Photos emerged of a man sporting a tattoo of the Outsider’s Mark from the Dishonored series of games on his left hand.

In the game’s universe, the Mark is given by the Outsider – a supernatural being – to individuals he deems interesting. The Mark grants the bearer supernatural powers, with only eight people having it, including the three playable characters in the series.

Whether or not the person used his magical abilities to get inside the US Capitol is unknown. What is known is that the symbol is most definitely not an Antifa symbol as some far-right conspiracy theorists have argued in their attempts to denounce yesterday’s events as a false flag operation from the left.

The appearance of the Dishonored symbol has forced several of the series developers to make public statements. Series co-creator Harvey Smith debunked speculation that the Outsider’s Mark is an Antifa calling sign while Dishonored: Death of the Outsider writer Anna Megill expressed immense disappointment at the news.

There is considerable irony in Dishonored being connected with these real-life events. The game depicts a corrupt leader who let a pandemic run out of control and is eventually overthrown by a resistance movement. While the in-game rat plague can definitely be compared with COVID-19, there should not be any comparisons made between the villainous Lord Regent and the democratically-elected Joe Biden.

Besides this unusual crossover episode, the events at the US Capitol have had another effect on the wider gaming community. Twitch has announced that it removed the famous PogChamp emote following inflammatory comments related to the death of Ashli Babbitt made by the image’s face of origin, Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez.

As for the Dishonored tattoo, the Outsider’s Mark joins the long list of other symbols appropriated by members of the far-right without any understanding of its meaning or its origins. The list includes Rage Against the Machine, Bruce Springsteen, superheroes, and slogans from the civil rights and pro-choice movements.