• Petitioned Paul Sams

This petition was delivered to:

Blizzard Entertainment
Paul Sams
Blizzard Entertainment
Alan Dabiri
Art Director, Blizzard Entertainment
Samwise Didier
President, Blizzard Entertainment
Michael Morhaime
Blizzard Entertainment
Chris Sigaty
Blizzard Entertainment
Dave Berggren

Apologize for homophobic statements made at Blizzcon 2011

    1. Siannan MacDuff
    2. Petition by

      Siannan MacDuff

      Rocky Point, NY

  1.  
  2.   
October 2011

Victory

On Thursday, October 27, Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Morhaime issued a formal apology for featuring a video with homophobic rants at Blizzcon 2011. Here's part of his statement:

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.

Petition author Siannan MacDuff has spent countless hours (and dollars) over the past 6 years, immersing herself in the World of Warcraft, the largest multi-player online role-playing game in the world, boasting more than 11.1 million subscribers. During the past 6 years, Siannan has developed many meaningful relationships through the game, particularly with LGBT players who may or may not be comfortable living their real lives as openly LGBT.

So when World of Warcraft creator Blizzard Entertainment introduced a performer using a homophobic rant at Blizzcon 2011, Siannan knew she had to do something to draw attention to the hurtful speech. She launched a petition and garnered support through various gamer forums, including LiveJournal and Twitter, and garnered the support of more than 600 players around the world.

In just 3 days, Siannan built enough momentum behind her campaign to pressure the President of Blizzard Entertainment to issue a formal apology, which you can read here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3424798330?page=1.

Blizzard Entertainment
16215 Alton Pkwy
Irvine CA 92618-3616

Dear Blizzard:

I've been a World of Warcraft player fairly steadily for the past six years. I've spent money on games, novels, licensed apparel, comic books, and microtransactions; but most importantly I have spent time. A great deal of time, leveling, gearing, roleplaying, and developing my characters. I have participated in discussion groups at sci-fi cons where I have defended my choice to play WoW, and I have not regretted supporting your company both with my wallet and my voice.

This past weekend was Blizzcon. Being an East Coaster, I was unable to attend, and I didn't purchase a virtual ticket. But I heard about what happened at the closing concert.

http://youtu.be/pGsNsSX-iO0 (footage from concert)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW_Lv0r-l4c (original interview uncensored)

The choice was made to broadcast a homophobic, profanity-laden rant by the lead singer of Cannibal Corpse. He was introduced by Sam Didier, one of your lead developers and artists, who expressed glee at this interview--which was originally recorded in 2007, yet was shown again. The words "faggot" and "emo cocksuckers" were used to refer to players who choose to represent a certain faction.

I play both factions ingame. I have no favoritism one way or the other.

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. I have put hundreds of hours into my characters.

I do not know if I can continue to financially support a company that considers that kind of language appropriate. Certainly if I chose to use such words while in an instance group or battleground ingame, I would face being reported to a GM and at least a 72 hour ban. Yet Blizzard chose to actively promote this behavior.

Perhaps you could give me a reason to continue my subscription. Perhaps you could offer an apology. Perhaps Blizzard could film an "It Gets Better" video.

Perhaps that would be enough. It would certainly be something. Enough to restore my faith in your corporation? I cannot say. But again, it would be something.

Can you risk doing the right thing?

To:
Paul Sams, Blizzard Entertainment
Alan Dabiri, Blizzard Entertainment
Samwise Didier, Art Director, Blizzard Entertainment
Michael Morhaime, President, Blizzard Entertainment
Chris Sigaty, Blizzard Entertainment
Dave Berggren, Blizzard Entertainment
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Blizzard Entertainment.

----------------
Apologize and for homophobic statements made at Blizzcon 2011

Homophobic language is not tolerated within the game. Why was it actively promoted and endorsed at their corporate convention, with players being called slurs and told to harm themselves?
----------------

Sincerely,

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Finally! A REAL apology!

      Siannan MacDuff
      Petition Organizer

      A comprehensive apology, admitting responsibility and reason, has been posted on the battle.net forums, authored by Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Morhaine.

      To everyone who has signed and spread the word about this petition, I cannot thank you all enough. We have made a difference, and hopefully Blizzard knows now that their customer and fan base does NOT accept homophobia as a joke.

      Stay strong, and keep fighting hate speech as you encounter it. Each of you has helped make the gaming world a safer place.

    2. Reached 500 signatures
    3. Please help spread the word!

      Siannan MacDuff
      Petition Organizer

      Please, tell your friends, tell your guildies, tell people on Ventrilo and Teamspeak, tell people on any and all gamer boards you frequent about this petition. We need to let Blizzard know that we won't back down until we receive a genuine apology and details on what they will do to prevent this from happening! As subscribers, we are entitled to explanations!

    4. Blizzard Hypocrisy crits you for over 9000. You are banned.

      Siannan MacDuff
      Petition Organizer

      In an incredible showing of double standards, posters on the official Blizzard forums who have quoted the video shown above --with censoring intact-- have been slapped with bans from forum moderators. Why? For violating their Terms of Use regarding language!

      Gosh, that seat of privilege that Blizzard sits on looks awfully comfy.

    5. Official "apology", is it enough?

      Siannan MacDuff
      Petition Organizer

      Well, at midnight local time, a blue post went up concerning the incident, allegedly written by the members of Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain, posted by Bashiok. Funny how they all happened to be in the office that time of night to put this statement together, eh?
      Can you tell what they were apologizing FOR? Because it seems many of the people following the thread on the forums think that the apology was directed to players of Alliance characters.
      This was never about Horde versus Alliance.
      This was about homophobic filth being broadcast and endorsed by the top end developers and executives of Blizzard Entertainment. To say otherwise is disingenuous obfuscation.
      What exactly is going to be done? What actions are being taken to ensure this won't occur again? What amends will be made? Will sensitivity training be offered or mandated? Will there be diversity panels at Blizzcon 2012?
      Was this an apology that you can be satisfied with? It might be all that we will get. But is it enough?

    6. Reached 250 signatures
    7. Official Blizzard Forum response:

      Siannan MacDuff
      Petition Organizer

      "Bashiok", an official forum spokesperson, has made both a non-apology ("If it offended you I genuinely apologize", no admission of responsibility on Blizzard's part) and followed that up with a separate declaration that Corpsegrinder was "joking" and there was "no intent behind it".

      http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/203994/complaint-about-blizzcon-closing-concert

      Sorry, Bashiok, intent is not the magical panacea you seem to think it is. Some jokes are not funny. Some jokes hurt.

      Another forum officiant, "Zarhym", makes the claim that being upset about Corpsegrinder's homphobic tirade is "silly":

      http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/203999/official-alliance-hate-from-blizz-at-blizzcon

      If homophobic taunts are so silly, why are there young people taking their own lives after being bullied with the same exact language? Why does gay-bashing occur?

      These questions are why we need answers and apologies.

    8. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Michael Hammond SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Disappointed that a game I play where I can be whoever I want has to make fun of people because of who they are.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Keith Burnard SEATTLE, WA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Wow, I expected the trash talk (who doesn't betwen Horde and Alliance?) but his comments cross the line to Hate.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Susan Molin SEATTLE, WA
      • almost 3 years ago

      To affirm that Blizz is out of touch with their customers in this matter. Recent polls show that 70% of Americans think gay marriage should be legal. Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mitchell Tseng Ching Lien PARAMARIBO, SURINAME
      • almost 3 years ago

      I have not played WOW and don't intend to play. I do however feel the ned to say that this was in extreme poor taste. I don't mind the very unintelligent person in the video. I mind the choice Blizzard made as if this is a spokesperson for their company. Blizzard should apologize and they should made an example of.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bekka Mueller ST. PAUL, MN
      • almost 3 years ago

      I adore this game. I do not want to cancel my subscription. I want to support Bilzzard, in general. But this is unacceptable. I cannot in good conscience support this kind of behavior.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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