don’t ask, don’t tell

Sat Jan-28th-2006 // Filed under: Games

Apparently, World of Warcraft is not the game to play if you want to be out of the closet. That’s what Sara Andrews found out when she started recruiting players for a GLBT friendly guild. She found that her account was suspended for “Harassment – Sexual Orientation”. She thought it was a mistake.

It wasn’t.

The link above leads to an article that explains the situation in more detail. I’ll just quote Blizzard’s explanation for their Brainiac move:

“While we appreciate and understand your point of view, we do feel that the advertisement of a ‘GLBT friendly’ guild is very likely to result in harassment for players that may not have existed otherwise. If you will look at our policy, you will notice the suggested penalty for violating the Sexual Orientation Harassment Policy is to ‘be temporarily suspended from the game.’ However, as there was clearly no malicious intent on your part, this penalty was reduced to a warning.”

Well, wasn’t that nice of them! So, essentially, if you’re gay and say so, you can get your account suspended — for your own good! That’s kind of like not letting a black guy sit with white guys on the bus to make sure nobody can say anything racist to him. I’m sure this wonderful service provided thoughtfully and tastefully by Blizzard is a great relief to harassed homosexuals all over the world.

The article includes a bunch of other idiotic statements by Blizzard, such as “we have determined that advertising sexual orientation is not appropriate for the high fantasy setting of the World of Warcraft and is therefore not permitted” (unless you count the assumption that everyone is heterosexual, of course, but apparently “heterosexual” is not a sexual orientation) and “many people are insulted just at the word ‘homosexual’ or any other word referring to sexual orientation.” (Which is an awfully warm, fluffy and non-offensive attitude to adopt on the face of it, but if the norm is that everyone is straight, it’s not like heterosexuals need to bring it up at all — fags, on the other hand, have to act straight in order to “fit in”. If the setup was reversed, how many of these straight guys would be comfortable with the basic assumption being that they love to get some dick?)

It’s hard to tell if the double standard comes from bigotry or just plain stupidity, but either way, it’s pretty sickening. In the same vein, apparently — at least on the official European WoW forums — the word “lesbian” is censored. You simply can’t use it in a post.

(And yes, I realize that you can’t leave comments right now. That’s broken. I don’t know how long it has been broken since I only noticed it now, and I don’t know why, but it is. Sorry about that. I’m looking into it; I figure the problem’ll go away when I upgrade to the new version of WordPress.)


  1. Has anyone challenged them? By, say, setting up a heterosexual friendly guild? Their follow-up explanations would leave room for some such challenge.

    Comment by Taika — January 29, 2006 @ 1138530003

  2. It’s America. They won’t get challenged, they’ll get sued. And this time rightfully so.

    Comment by Henri — January 29, 2006 @ 1138540343

  3. Well, as far as I can tell, these are pretty much isolated incidents. It’s not yet clear if this is actually an official Blizzard policy handed down from above (it’s not being enforced against all gay-friendly guilds, for starters — and there are plenty of them) or if it’s just some dumbass who’s just made an idiotic call. At this point, this is nothing that a sincere-sounding official apology, the possible dismissal or other disciplinary measures of said hypothetical dumbass and a couple of months of free playtime for the offended parties wouldn’t fix.

    Comment by Mikki — January 29, 2006 @ 1138545062

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