TR Member Perks!

Blizzcon has just begun, and while we could be talking about the many exciting announcements coming from Blizzard’s convention which celebrates 20 years of Warcraft this year, instead everyone is talking about co-founder Mike Morhaime’s opening speech which decried the harassment carried out throughout the gaming industry over the last couple of months.

“I’d like to take a moment to talk about something serious. Over the past couple of months, there’s been a small group of people who have been doing really awful things. They have been making some people’s lives miserable and they are tarnishing our reputation as gamers. It’s not right.

Blizzcon is a great example of how positive and uplifting gaming can be. Let’s carry the good vibes from this weekend out into the world all year round. There is another person on the other end of a chat screen, they are our friends, our brothers and sisters our sons and daughters. Let’s take a stand to reject hate and harassment, and let’s redouble our efforts to be kind and respectful to one another.

Let’s remind the world what the gaming community is really all about”.

Websites such as Kotaku, Polygon and Incgamers, have claimed incorrectly that Morhaime was referring solely to the supporters of #GamerGate, a consumer-led movement which was established over 2 months ago. In reality, as you can see above, he did not name any specific individuals or groups, simply referring to the small group of harassers who many people, including supporters of #GamerGate, have been addressing for some time. With hate and harassment targeted towards many different types of gamers from all over the #GamerGate spectrum: from famous opponents to the movement, which is fighting to change the gaming media: Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu, to supporters who have received less mainstream media coverage such as King of Pol and Milo Yiannopoulos; I personally felt that with Morhaime’s inclusion of both genders, he was speaking of harassment as a whole.

In fact later when interviewed by Geoff Keighley, jokingly known as the Dorito Pope, Morhaime didn’t comment. Keighley links Morhaime’s words to #GamerGate, while Morhaime’s straight face shows he is unhappy with the assumed pairing. While it is unclear whether Morhaime simply wanted to avoid confrontation through his ambiguity, or whether he has noted harassment on all sides, it is simply incorrect to state as fact, that he was referring only to supporters of #GamerGate.

One thing we can be sure, is that Morhaime wanted to end harassment. However, in the day following his already infamous speech, attacks from the media outlets listed above, have lead those who oppose #GamerGate to interpret the co-founder’s words as damning of the movement and have further sought to demonise those involved. The speech has had the opposite effect to that which Morhaime intended; the exact kind of attacks and harassment which he condemned. I believe this is all best intended, but when Morhaime called for us to be “kind and respectful” to “our brothers and sisters” I don’t believe he meant “as long as they agree with your ideology”. His message is clear. Be kind and respectful to all people, no matter how you perceive them. After all two wrongs have never made a right. Harassing someone who you feel harms others does not make you a good person; we are simply left with two bad people where there was one.

In contrast, since the speech, several #GamerGate supporters have spoke out on Twitter to stand by Morhaime in preventing any further harassment. Finally, gamers have found a message we can all stand behind. Thank you Morhaime, we are with you 100%.

EDIT: The original article stated that Keighley linked Morhaime’s speech to the supporters of #GamerGate. However, it has since been pointed out that he referred to the #GamerGate scandal as a whole, and not specifically the supporters.


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.



  • wcg

    Incgamers is one of the sites I’ve switched to and I think they’re objective. Their post is short and ties Morhaine’s statement to the “GamerGate controversy.” I’ve asked for clarification.

  • fengas

    I always thought it was “Dewritos Pope” :3
    Anyway, not gonna lie, at first I felt like “the small group of people” was aimed at GamerGate, since you know, a lot of people paint us as 15 people with thousands of sock puppet accounts.

    But when Pope made correlation to GamerGate, Mikes face did make me reconsider my thoughts.

  • Dr Dub

    This is how I see and “feel” it: I have been falsely accused and smeared by the gaming press and their friends in the mainstream media for harassment and death threats that I had nothing to do with.

    Therefore when a guy comes out and says “this harassment is bad and must stop” whilst using weasel words in terms of who he is referring to, I feel that he is looking and pointing at me when he says it. Now he might not be referring to and smearing me again but who else is he referring to?!?!? Who else in his audience is he addressing? Who does he think was involved in harassment?

    One thing is for sure, the anonymous unknown individuals that have sent threats couldn’t care less what the likes of Morhaime think. In fact if anything this simply rewards their bad behaviour because they can see that their individual actions attract the attention of semi-famous people within the industry. His actions encourage more harassment.

    So comments from people like Morhaime merely alienate the mass of innocent gamers that have been falsely accused and rewards the anonymous individuals who are guilty.

    He should not have commented. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do. It is a no-win situation if you speak out like that. Counter productive.

    So I personally feel that he was attacking me and other gamers. I think he needs to be clear and specific about who he was referring to.

    Look if he wants to smear me that is fine. But don’t hide like a coward behind weasel words. He needs to come out and tell me who he is referring to because I won’t hesitate to cancel my WoW sub and walk away if he smears me. I just want to make an informed choice as a consumer, so I ask that he “informs” me asap.

    If he does smear me, my response is that if he has something to say perhaps he could tell us the gender ratio of Blizzards design and production teams. Not the no-doubt female dominated PR/Marketing depts; how many women are actually designing the games and writing the code. What is the gender ratio of designers/programmers versus toilet cleaners at Blizzard HQ. Bet he won’t answer/justify that.

  • Tech Stegosaurus

    This is the first article I saw that mentioned the look on Morhaim’s face when His Holyness said gamergate, so thumbs up for that.

    I have Aspberger’s and even I noticed Morhaim’s expression, it really begs the question of how places like Polygon missed it.

  • Tech Stegosaurus

    It was probably carefully crafted by a team of PR people to explicitly be against harassment and neutral on gamergate. Tensions are high, it’s only natural to interpret it but I don’t think Blizzard intended to attack gamers.

  • Dr Dub

    Yeah I can well believe it was run through the PR dept and they no doubt revised the wording many times before settling on the final version.

    I just think they failed to understand how it would/could be perceived through the eyes of the falsely accused.

    I mean in this instance I am in agreement with the anti-GG mob. They interpreted the PR weasel words as an attack on GG’ers and as a GG’er I also interpreted it as an attack on me!

    See I think if he didn’t want it to be an attack on gamers he should have come out and specifically stated that. Of course doing so would have resulted in a massive attack from the anti-GG side.

    I guess he is more afraid of offending them than he is of offending us…. That is a message in itself.

  • herxheim

    “He should not have commented. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do.”

    baloney. he spoke against harassment. if anyone reads more into it, that’s on them.

  • No Excuses VTW

    You know what they say, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • herxheim

    here’s the closeup after douchebag said he called out gamergate:

    http://i.imgur.com/4nFZmFC.png

  • fengas

    Mike usually has this “neutral smile” on his face, here he looks like it’s hard for him to maintain it, and it literally looks like he’s trying to swallow something hard.
    “Well fuck, thanks Pope”

  • Its always good to see public figures speak up and remind people that harassment and crap like that is not ok but I guess that doesn’t seem to be enough for some judging by the reactions. Just because someone isn’t for you doesn’t mean they are against you.

  • That’s an “I’m going to stab you after the camera turns off” face if I’ve ever seen one. Lawl talk about misreading the message.
    Also my guess is that’s about the trolls that target female WoW streamers on twitch.

  • And then after all that time they spent working on a neutral statement together behind closed doors Dewritos just torpedo’d it. Haha

  • Varus

    Blizz probably wanted to say they are against harassment while remaining neutral to Gamergate. Which I would say is not the worst stance for a company. Then the Pope decided to start a holy war.

  • Dr Dub

    So he was merely saying that harassment was bad?

    Well no s**t, thanks for clearing that up Mike, we had no idea until you told us.

  • Thomas Fährmann

    He did the right thing to call out ANY harassment no matter from what person it comes. To me it was a statement pro gaming! Thats all. A pro gaming statement from someone who loves games and is ACTIVE in the big business of gaming!
    How people can interpret that completely wrong has nothing to do with reason but once again with their polibutt and socibutt medications that went wrong!
    Gamers are humans too.,.. even someone others call a troll is a human!

  • Trybrow

    The whole thing was engineered down the word, the spud doing the interview knew exactly it was up to him to make the connection to gamergate because then the big guy doesnt have to take the fall if it all fucks up. We can pretend that he was really trying to be unbiased. Be cynical.

  • Cy

    There is no such thing as neutrality anymore. The politicization of everything took care of that years ago. You can only be for something, or against it, and if you try to take a neutral stand publicly then someone will be along soon enough to tell you which side you’re on.

  • Neutral stance or not, this has sparked some interest in GG from the Blizzard gaming community, and they appear to see what’s actually happening around it and developing positive opinions about the revolt.

    Having more people involved in this is only benefical to the cause. Besides, it’s not like many people take Dorito Pope’s opinions at face value, if he did in fact try to sway Mike’s commentary against GG, well.. it’s unlikely that it’s going to go in the direction that he wanted.

  • Tech Stegosaurus

    An interesting view, but I cannot imagine they’d make any statement about harassment without fully considering how gamergate will inevitably be considered context.

  • Jeff

    “In fact later when interviewed by Geoff Keighley, better known as the Dorito Pope, Morhaime didn’t comment. Keighley links Morhaime’s words to the supporters of #GamerGate, while Morhaime’s straight face shows he is unhappy with the assumed pairing.”

    Lol.

    Just lol.

  • Thomas Fährmann

    whats so funny about it ?

  • David Weizades

    Sad to see his efforts having the exact opposite effect. People are lead by Kotaku or other site to believe he’s talking about #GamerGate. It’s portraying #GamerGate as the enemy and we all know what’s going to happen.

  • chris perez

    How can you have a convention based around a developer who puts out two games every decade? Believe it or not there are lots of people who do not give a flying fuck about multiplayer.

  • Thomas Fährmann

    I read an article on gamespot and 80 % are in fact pro gamergate. Not that it is an indication how gamers who visit gamespot think but at least. No one was idiotic enough to fall for the nonsense of shitaku or polywh*re!

  • Gary

    Because it’s so true. His words were ambiguous, his face tells the truth. He’s giving Keighley a definite “You fucking asshole” look.

  • Alex

    His silence makes me wonder… I’m a big Blizzard fan… but I think need a break from being their costumer…

  • I can understand how you feel, however I find the last part of your statement to be incongruous with the rest of it.

    What does the gender ratio of Blizzard’s employees have to do with the harassment you faced or, for that matter, with Morhaime’s statement?

  • ninmecu

    More like “U wut m8? I’ll fuck u rite up wit ur dewrito pope status right up yer arse three ways from sunday. Don’t ya be thinkin yu can put wurds in me mouth I tell you hwat”

    he was REALLY unhappy.

  • ninmecu

    While I am certainly, by nature, a cynical man.(As they say, behind every cynic is the corpse of an idealist) Mike looked to be fuming after Dewrito pope tried to conflate the words to that meaning. Whether it was a sign of “Fuck off, don’t taint the message” or “I don’t want to stir the shit pot” or “Bitch I just want gamers to game again, I miss gaming with gamers who want to game and just game.”

  • ninmecu

    With the powers of Swill and that shit you find in your keyboard without explanation, their powers combined they create the unholy beast known as DIABETES! Surely our heroes are through!

  • Tech Stegosaurus

    It’s things like this that led to the seperation of church and state.

  • Dr Dub

    Fair question and I probably wasn’t clear on that as my post was already too long. I see you said that you understand how I feel so please keep those feelings in mind here.

    As I stated earlier, given that I am the person that has been accused (falsely) of harassment, when he came out and made that statement I felt that he was lecturing me.

    Now this whole harassment issue doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is related to this wider issue of women in gaming with the (ridiculous) accusation from the “SJW’s” that the gaming industry/community is somehow part of a patriarchal conspiracy to keep women out of our “exclusive boys club”.

    The accusations aren’t therefore just restricted to harassment. The accusations also include what they believe my motivations for harassment to be. After all, the harassment accusations on their own wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny for more than 10 seconds without a corresponding accusation of motive right? They aren’t accusing me of harassment for the hell of it, they claim I have clear motives for doing so.

    Therefore if he believes I am involved in harassment he must also be accusing me of having those motives for doing it. So if he accuses me of harassment then he is also accusing me of having the motive of wanting to keep women out.

    In which case I’d consider that hypocrisy and expect him to answer for how inclusive (or not) his company is.

    After all I am being accused of trying to keep women out of gaming but all I do is buy the products that are put in front of me. It isn’t my fault that people like Blizzard don’t have representative levels of female staff or that their games appeal mostly to males right?

    So from my perspective it appears as though he is falsely accusing and making me take the heat for something that he is guilty of.

    Of course back in the real world…. I never harassed anyone, I support more women in the industry and Blizzard do not discriminate either – women are under represented in those Blizzard posts simply because less women are interested, study and apply for those types of job and they make products for a segment of the market where the majority of consumers are male so naturally they are slightly biased toward that demographic.

    But if Blizzard want to buy into the crazy theory then they must also buy into the fact that the gender ratio of their employees is as a result of misogyny and discrimination.

  • AeluronLightsong

    Anyone thinking this was somehow against GG. No it was Pro Gamers. Mike knew what to do say. Blizzard knows how to be vague and say things in the best way possible. What annoys me is some people interpet it as anti-gg.

    Sorry but there is no way that’s even true. I wasn’t even thinking he would say anything about that. I expected mostly Blizzard related stuff so Mike you made us even more happy.

    What angers me is a particular female that’s famous on the internet thinks it was anti-gg and liked it. It’s like people are colored by their own ignorance.

  • Jeff

    It’s made up. 100% made up. It’s a lie.

  • Jeff

    Then why didn’t he say “actually, I didn’t mean Gamergate?”

  • Jeff

    Yeah. So unhappy he didn’t bother to correct this terrible error.

  • flight2q

    Mike’s smile changed into a grim smile, but he also gave the tiniest of “respectful nod.” Anyone commenting on anything GamerGate does or that GamerGate is smeared with is going to be dissected 6 ways to Sunday.

  • flight2q

    He didn’t want to get in the middle of a mess. He just wanted to say something positive about his company.
    He could have done it better by not mentioning some “small group of people…” and instead just saying that bad online conduct has been getting a lot of discussion recently.

  • flight2q

    He had many ways of saying “harassment not good”. If you believe his words were carefully selected (which they were), then how Blizzard chose to make this statement means something.

  • Ah,thanks for the clarification. I can see your point much more clearly now. I feel for you and sympathize with your predicament. Still, I think you should try to keep your emotions in check, if only for the sake of objectivity (which I understand may be difficult considering your situation).

    In Morhaime’s case, I believe he wanted to make a valid statement representing Blizzard, while attempting to not rile up anyone.

    Even though I share his sentiment, I will agree that he should’ve been more direct. After all, a giant like Blizzard actually saying that the malign tumour that is the SJW cult should go away and the sad little trolls who play both sides better take a hike would be the news equivalent of the atom bomb.

    Preferably though, he should not have made the statement at all. It should’ve been obvious to his PR people that him stating something so vaguely could very easily end up in the message being misconstrued by anyone and his grandma. Which, surprise surprise, is exactly what happened.

  • Jeff

    So instead he used a special secret code to communicate with Gamergate. Sure he did.

  • Thomas Fährmann

    What is the lie Jeff please tell us EXACTLY what you know that supports your claim this article is a lie! And no projection or anything. Where did he mentioned gamergate ?
    Because gamergate has more then a million active supporters if you have accidently visited the thunderclap project…so a small group of people might be something else….

  • Johnathon Tieman

    Like many here, I too heard about this. I was at work and couldn’t stream, but I did watch as Twitter lit up (with tons of speculation and no fact). Since I wasn’t streaming, I watch Totalbiscuit’s Twitter tell the truth of the matter – that in fact #Gamergate was not mentioned by name. As more of his statements came out, I did some digging and noticed two important facts I haven’t seen highlighted.

    First, Mike Morhaime referred to “gamers”. That is a fairly telling word, as the games media would like us to believe gamers are dead. It seems Mike Morhaime does not agree with that opinion. Then there is this little gem…

    https://twitter.com/mikemorhaime/status/530756623024013312

    That’s Mike Morhaime wishing Gemma and her husband John Bain (AKA Totalbiscuit, a very public #Gamergate supporter) a happy Blizzcon “anniversary”. It’s also the *only* public personal response he did that day – directly before his big speech and calling out harassment. So either Mike Morhaime tweets his friends just before calling them all harassers (unlikely) or more likely Mike Morhaime realized that his statements would mostly likely be construed as a smear and preempted the journalists.

    I’ll happily admit I can’t speak for Mike Morhaime, and these are simply my interpretations. However, to me, it is very suggestive about what I think is really going on here. As anyone who has to run a major business in the world does, Mike Morhaime realizes that things are far more nuanced than is being reported. He wants the harassment and viciousness that has raged for months and isn’t slowing to stop, much like I, Totalbiscuit, and many others do. His look at Geoff Keighley is suggestive to me of being angry that his call for peace was undercut by words of war.

  • After the interview they obviously put words in his mouth. And as the guy was saying Gamergate Mike face was very stern. no smile at all. he got played!!

  • TheCybercoco

    Did anybody else see his hesitation before giving that statement? He almost looked like a dear in headlights. He could not have been any more cryptic in that speech or in the interview. Sure, he didn’t look very pleased when Keighley brought up Gamergate, but was his displeasure at Keighley, was it at Gamergate, or was it for the fact that he even made the statement? It’s really hard to tell. The most certain thing that I can tell from him was that he did NOT want to make that statement. I wonder what compelled him?

  • fengas

    Dewrito pope kinda jumped immediately to next question without even taking a breath, I assume mike didn’t want to start an argument or start derailing conversation away from Blizzcon, plus it’s a good material for a trap for media cunts to jump on him.

  • flight2q

    Why did Mike say “past couple of months”. You thinking Mike thought there had never been any WOW harassment earlier than that? He obviously meant to talk about GamerGate without mentioning the name.

  • Tanis

    There is also the fact that BlizzCon is extremely tightly scheduled and his interview was supposed to be over with quickly in order for the main stage to be used next.

    Starting a fight over GamerGate right then would’ve thrown all of that out the window AND would’ve attracted more controversy than a guy running a massive con wants to deal with right then and there.

  • Ben Jeanotte

    God
    I wish game developers would shut-up and make games. Also, I wish
    game-journalists would just shut-up and cover games. I don’t need to
    know everyone’s opinions and christmas-wish-list for every person that
    has some part in making or covering games.

  • BottledWater

    He had to get out and show his politically correct credentials. Cost of doing business these days.

  • Jake_Was_Here

    He looks like he’s desperately trying not to give away how tightly clenched his jaw is. That’s a “Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t have said anything if I’d known this asshole was going to misconstrue it so badly” face.

  • Jake_Was_Here

    Because if he’d said anything at all, the same fourteen “influential” sites that published “Gamers Are Dead” articles on the same day would have either given Blizzard editorial blowjobs for condemning Gamergate or ripped Blizzard’s nuts off in public for REFUSING to condemn Gamergate. Either one would have been a PR nightmare for him.

  • Jake_Was_Here

    Like I said above, if he’d said anything either way on the subject, the same people who published fourteen “gamers are dead” articles on the same day would have either torn him a new asshole for refusing to condemn Gamergate outright — which would have been a PR nightmare — or blatantly sucked his dick in print for being brave enough to condemn Gamergate — which would ALSO have been a PR nightmare.

  • fengas

    At this point he most likely stayed silent so that he would not get misrepresented by Shitaku, Polyshit and other blogs.

  • Jeff

    Where does he say he’s not talking about GamerGate?

  • ninmecu

    I know you’re either trolling or you honestly believe there’s no such thing as basic human emotion shown in facial expressions. You can call it “grasping at straws” and “open to interpretation” but fact of the matter is. It’s not some “secret code”, it’s BASIC HUMAN EMOTION. Plus, the man is representing Activision Blizzard, a MULTI-BILLION dollar industry. If he made /ANY/ non vague statement that backfired in ANY way shape or form HE WOULD BE OUT OF THE JOB. Whether he stands WITH or AGAINST GamerGate is irrelevant. We should ALL be against Legitimate forms of Harassment, especially over something as juvenile as as difference in opinion.

  • ninmecu

    I noticed it for the same reasons. I’ve used that face so many times in public I’d recognize it anywhere. It’s the “U wot m8?” look when someone says something so incredibly UGH and you know you can’t call them out on it because you’ll go full spaghetti on them and you’ll look like a fool for it. I feel for him. He just wanted to put out a message of “it’s fine to be upset with things, but let’s put down our guns and talk. I just want everyone to be happy gaming again.” then the Dewrito Pope comes along.

  • Jeff

    He retains a neutral expression for most of the clip. Though he does clearly nod during the mention of Gamergate and the thanks he receives for speaking out against it. That’s BASIC HUMAN BODY LANGUAGE FOR AGREEING WITH WHAT SOMEONE HAS SAID.

  • Gary

    Because he was trying to be ambiguous on purpose. If Blizzard wanted to come out directly against GG during a highly watched and publicized event they would have been very specific. That speech and talk weren’t ad-lib.

    GG doesn’t condone harassment, they agree with Mike’s stance on such. Mike’s words outright condemn anti-GGs harassment of pro-GG supporters equally as well as it does the harassment of the trolls that want to disrupt GG’s campaign as well.

  • I’m happy that he adressed the harassment that has been flailing around the GamerGate scandal, on both sides but as far as I can see mostly on the pro-corruption side. I am sad that the pro-corruption side will not take what he meant to heart. I’d like to think he didn’t single out a single side of the issue, which from his language alone he didn’t, but I would like to hear what his personal opinion on GamerGate is, if he is neutral, pro-corruption or pro-GamerGate.

  • W.Gao

    Harassment in general is bad, yes, but consider this a special case. Harassment against feminism is right and should be encouraged.

  • Fatherless

    No need to harass feminists. Just expose their lies and hatred.