The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a statement on Monday firmly requesting that visitors not play “Pokémon Go” while on its premises.
“We feel playing ‘Pokémon Go’ in a memorial dedicated to the victims of Nazism is inappropriate,” Andrew Hollinger, the Washington, D.C., museum’s communications director, told Yahoo News.
“We encourage visitors to use their phones to share and engage with museum content while here,” he continued. “Technology can be an important learning tool, but this game falls outside of our educational and memorial mission. We are looking into how the museum can be removed from it.”
“Pokémon Go,” Nintendo’s new smartphone game that fuses fantasy with the real world, has gone viral since its release earlier this month. Players have to physically walk around to different locations to capture and collect the game’s Pokémon characters. A Forbes report indicated that “Pokémon Go” is already more popular than social apps such as Snapchat, Tinder and Instagram.
But the free gaming app’s popularity has also led to unfortunate pairings of real world locations and the digital Pokémon universe. Critics noted that some users were catching Pokémon at the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the game itself,” Chris Desciora, a security guard at the memorial, told the New York Times.
“But you know, maybe the game’s services could consider where they are placing the Pokémon or whatever,” he added. “You should come here to see everything and to respect the memorial, not just to catch a Pokémon.”
The Arlington National Cemetery also requested that visitors avoid the game on its grounds:
We do not consider playing "Pokemon Go" to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.
— Arlington Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) July 12, 2016
Reached for comment about the Holocaust museum’s complaints, the software firm Niantic and the Pokémon Company International issued a joint statement in which they said the game’s features “are found at publicly accessible places such as historical markers, public art installations, museums and monuments.”
They added, “If you want to report inappropriate locations or content, please submit a ticket on the ‘Pokémon Go’ support website.”
Olivier Knox contributed to this story.