Corporate gay bashing, or simply an appropriate response to WoW player complaints?

Sara Andrews, the lesbian who caused quite a furor when she began recruiting openly for a GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgendered) guild, furthered her grandstanding campaign when CGW / 1UP published a feature describing her herculean struggle with big bad Blizzard.

Blizzard stood firm. Another account admin named "Gorido" responded, "GLBT is a known abbreviation for Gay Bi Lesbian Transsexual... please review the harassment policy."

Andrews shot back, "I refuse to recruit any other way, because there are WAY too many people on WOW that use REAL antigay terms, and I do not want those people in my guild." The simmering e-mails continued, until Blizzard at last invoked its terms of use, stipulating that players may not "transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard Entertainment, is deemed to be offensive," the operative phrase being "sole and absolute discretion," essentially claiming for Blizzard the right of final semantic arbitration.

I'm a fairly live and let live kind of guy, but sexual references (straight or gay, and whether they be about the act or a lifestyle) really have no place in World of Warcraft or any online game.

It happens, yes, and as long as Blizzard is treating all instances of offensive conduct with equal approbation, if Blizzard's treating all these reported "anti-gay" expressions with like diligence, I don't see any problem with their handling of the situation. Just because you're "here and queer" doesn't mean you get a golden ticket excusing you from felt harassment on the part of other players. In a US workplace, you have a legitimate claim of harassment against a coworker if you can prove you asked them to stop their offensive conduct (no matter what it is: it could be staring or throwing pickles at you) and they don't comply.

In any case, I have to laugh at the subtitle: "Sanitizing Expression in Brave New Worlds". The Huxley reference supports their thesis, but unless something's dirty, it doesn't need sanitized, right?

Just my 2 copper, as always. What's your take on the "Sounds of Silence" feature at Let us know in our forums!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.