Come Out Publicly in Support of Jennifer Hepler
  • Petitioned BioWare Corp

This petition was delivered to:

BioWare Corp

Come Out Publicly in Support of Jennifer Hepler

    1. Allegra Hawksmoor
    2. Petition by

      Allegra Hawksmoor

      Wrexham, United Kingdom

  1.  
  2.   
February 2012

Victory

"I would just like to let you all know that as of a couple of hours ago, BioWare have released a statement on their forums and their Twitter feed condemning the abuse directed at Jennifer Hepler, and pledging to donate $1000 to Bullying CA on her behalf. Many thanks to all of you who signed and shared the petition. What a fantastic result for social equality! God bless BioWare, and all who sail in her :) http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/260/index/9381043/1"

Over the last few days, BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler (who wrote much of the dwarven storyline in Dragon Age: Origins and worked on characters like Anders in Dragon Age 2) has come under attack from a lot of people on the vile underbelly of gaming. The reason for these attacks stem from comments that she made in an interview in 2006, where she suggested that games companies should think about introducing a way to skip combat sequences in the same way that they can skip dialogue.

As a writer, Hepler was more interested in the story than the combat, and she obviously thinks there is a huge potential for games to be developed as interactive stories as well as hack-and-slash fests. This opinion has never been touted to be anything other than Hepler's own personal feelings, but any discussion of the idea's relative merits or flaws were quickly lost beneath a tirade of hatred and abuse—accusing Hepler of being a 'cancer', calling on her to kill herself, using every misogynist slur in the book, and attacking her for promoting stories that are more inclusive of women and minority groups.

BioWare have developed a reputation for being progressive and inclusive in their games, and have benefited from relatively good relationships with many activists working for social equality. This miserable state of affairs presents an opportunity for the company to stand by their convictions, come out publicly in support of Jennifer, and take a stand against the idea that sexism, homophobia and misogyny are acceptable within the gaming community.

We call on BioWare to release a statement that makes their position on the matter clear: That they are prepared to take a stand against prejudice and discrimination, and that they will stand by any members of their staff who are subject to harassment and bullying on grounds of gender, sexuality, or anything else.

You can also contact BioWare directly by email (contact@bioware.com) and telephone (US 780-430-0164) about the issue.

FURTHER READING
http://borderhouseblog.com/?p=7832
http://www.themarysue.com/inclusion-what-jennifer-heplers-story-is-all-about/
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/News/291024,this-is-why-gamers-cant-have-nice-things---the-jennifer-hepler-debate.aspx

Recent signatures

    News

    1. And This is Why I Love Bioware

      Allegra Hawksmoor
      Petition Organizer

      As of a couple of hours ago, BioWare have posted an official statement about Jennifer Hepler's treatment on their official forums and their Twitter feed. In fact, they've one one better and also pledged to donate $1000 to Bullying Canada on her behalf.

      Thanks to all the fantastic people who signed and helped to promote the issue, and especially to the people at Bioware for proving that there is hope left for the human race yet.

      I can now go back to happily looking forwards to Mass Effect 3!

      What a fantasitc show of support for a great writer and a wonderful woman. Keep fighting the good fight!

    2. A Quarter of the Way There!

      Allegra Hawksmoor
      Petition Organizer

      The response to this so far makes me no longer so ashamed to be a human being. Thank you all so much for all your hard work amd support. Let's keep up the pressure!

    3. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • robert richardson MORWELL, AUSTRALIA
      • over 2 years ago

      I love the aspect of a video game without any gameplay. I play them purely for the story and support helper. Now we just need someone who know's how to write a better story.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tess Anderberg STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
      • over 2 years ago

      Jennifer Hepler has done so much to bring diversity to an industry that is in desperate need of it, and I am very glad that she has. She is being attacked in this way because she is a woman, and Bioware should take a stand against it; this is not acceptable behaviour. By being silent, they are sending the message that this is something that is okay to do, and it is very much NOT.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Safiya O'Brien VALPARAISO, IN
      • over 2 years ago

      The bullying of Jennifer Hepler was wrong and horrifying. I support Jennifer wholeheartedly and I appreciate all of the hard work she put into creating video games that I love and adore. She is awesome!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Julia Meng PRINCETON, NJ
      • over 2 years ago

      Respectfully criticizing Ms. Hepler's writing and disagreeing with her opinions is one matter, but the amount and degree of abuse she has been subject to is truly vile.

      There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for anyone to harass her to this extent - people have even been calling her home phone to heckle her.

      And from one look at the hateful messages directed to her tells you why the douchebros have come out of their holes to make her a target - nearly every rancid tweet or comment has been a gendered/body shaming insult that hurts not only Ms. Hepler, but every female who has "dared" to touch a video game. The bottom line is that these boys are frightened of girls in their "boy's club" and are trying to silence our voices by demeaning us in the basest manner.

      Please, Bioware: the Dragon Age series has been so vibrant and unique thanks to the diverse gender makeup of the writing team. Don't let us lose this - protect it with everything you've got.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alexandra Symon AUCHTERARDER, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 2 years ago

      Because it's wrong what those trolls are doing to her, and Bioware should call them out!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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