THE BUZZ: At BlizzCon 2011, the event included a video featuring musician George Fisher—aka “Corpsegrinder”, lead singer of the band Cannibal Corpse. Fisher joined the band Level 90 Epic Tauren onstage, and then proceeded to show off a video of him talking about his thoughts on World of Warcraft.
Not big deal, right? Well, the video kicked off with Fisher getting very… very… passionate about how all of the “f**king emo c**ksuckers” in the world who play as the Alliance should die. Fisher then proceeded to use number gay slurs such as “homo”, “queer”, and “faggot” while ranting about topics such as Night Elves or the addition of Blood Elves to the Horde.
Unsurprisingly, many were upset by the video. Though the version run at BlizzCon had some of the harsher words bleeped out, the question many had was why Blizzard would approve such a video to be played at an event that should be welcoming to WoW players of all types in the first place.
Today, Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Morhaime released a statement in response to the outcry:
Dear members of the Blizzard community,
I have read your feedback and comments about this year’s BlizzCon, and I have also read the feedback to the apology from Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain. I’d like to respond to some of your feedback here.
As president of Blizzard, I take full responsibility for everything that occurs at BlizzCon.
It was shortsighted and insensitive to use the video at all, even in censored form. The language used in the original version, including the slurs and use of sexual orientation as an insult, is not acceptable, period. We realize now that having even an edited version at the show was counter to the standards we try to maintain in our forums and in our games. Doing so was an error in judgment, and we regret it.
The bottom line is we deeply apologize for our mistakes and for hurting or offending anyone. We want you to have fun at our events, and we want everyone to feel welcome. We’re proud to be part of a huge and diverse community, and I am proud that so many aspects of the community are represented within Blizzard itself.
As a leader of Blizzard, and a member of the band, I truly hope you will accept my humblest apology.
– Mike Morhaime
President, Blizzard Entertainment
EGM’s TAKE: Some have questioned why there’s been an uproar about the playing of the video, stating either that they’re just words, or that Fisher no doubt didn’t mean his statements to literally be taken as anti-gay comments.
The problem is this: Gaming is still, unfortunately, a hobby plagued with racism, misogyny, and homophobia. Try your hand at online gaming, and it doesn’t take long to hear somebody calling somebody else a “faggot” or “n****r”, or insulting the abilities of a player at the mere hint that they’re female.
Words do matter, and you can’t just say whatever it is you feel like saying without expecting some repercussions depending on the words you choose. Many of us in life give too much power to words when we shouldn’t—that’s absolutely true—but at the same time, it’s hard for somebody to make the argument that “they’re just words” when they aren’t the people being hurt by those words.
The world of videogaming still has a lot of growing up to do; not only as an industry, but also for us as fans. Our goal should be to help bring more people into this hobby that we love so much, not work to push those that are already here away.