Earlier today, a reader sent us a link to the Blizzard forums that contained some disturbing news. The closing ceremonies at BlizzCon this past weekend included a performance by metal band Cannibal Corpse; before they started, however, Blizzard employees showed a video of the lead singer talking about World of Warcraft, namely how much he hates the Alliance faction. The problem is, he used homophobic slurs to do so. The video had the swearing censored, but people could still tell what he was saying, and the original uncensored version is available online. GayGamer has both videos and more of the story. Tiny dancer points out,
Many are disturbed that a senior Blizzard employee endorsed a video saying that players of one faction should die – and still more are outraged that anti-gay speech was used in the promotional video, without regard for LGBT players and despite the fact that gay kids are killing themselves.
Blizzard shouldn’t be endorsing this sort of behavior or this sort of language. Blizzard employees are leaders of a very large community, and when community leaders endorse certain kinds of language or behavior, they give license to members of the community to do the same things. It doesn’t matter whether it was meant as a joke; even if Blizzard isn’t homophobic themselves, the community of World of Warcraft is enormous and undoubtedly contains many people who are bigots that hate queer people. And now those people think you, Blizzard, agree with them and are on their side, and that you think homophobic slurs are okay; this encourages them to harass queer players and use slurs that make queer players feel unsafe and unwelcome.
This is absolutely shameful, and Blizzard has yet to offer any sort of real apology. Readers can sign this petition demanding a real apology. Siannan MacDuff, who created the petition, writes in her letter:
But we live in a world where young people are bullied into suicide because of their expressed or perceived sexuality. Many of these young people play WoW as a source of escapism. It is a safe assumption that at least ten percent of your customer base are GLBTQ, and many more of them are allies of those minorities. I myself am a bisexual woman. One of my main characters is a female dwarven rogue that I roleplay as being in a same-sex domestic partnership.
To see Sam Didier up on stage endorsing that kind of language, albeit “bleeped”, was heartbreaking.