FCB Chicago, the parent company and organizer behind the Bully Hunters program, announced that they are shutting down the Bully Hunters.
FCB Chicago’s global chief of communications, Brandon Cooke, sent an e-mail to Polygon on April 16th, 2018, confirming that Bully Hunters is no more, writing…
“As this effort did not live up to our high standards, we decided to end this program, but hope the conversation it has raised around ending harassment in gaming continues.
“The sole creator of the campaign was FCB Chicago. All other organizations mentioned in the campaign did not provide any kind of financial or formal sponsorship. In most cases they were just supporting the cause. SteelSeries helped connect us with a few gamers and provided some headsets for the live event. That’s all. One [host was paid], but the other was not.”
This does tie into what journalist Richard Lewis reported, where he indicated that SteelSeries wasn’t the mastermind behind Bully Hunters the way some initial reports had led on.
According to some of Lewis’ contacts, SteelSeries jumped into the pool with FCB to support the Bully Hunters program, but wasn’t actually financially backing the group. In a Twitter thread originally published on April 14th, 2018, Lewis explained…
“SteelSeries state that they were simply approached by a marketing campaign (FCB Chicago) and agreed to be part of an event. They believe that their name was all over the website source code as they were one of the first to agree.
“SteelSeries consider the campaign to have been so damaging to their brand they are currently in discussions about what action they take next as they believe the marketers “misrepresented” the level of SteelSeries involvement.
“SteelSeries made it clear to me that as far as they are concerned FCB Chicago were the architects of the whole campaign from its inception. They recorded the promotional materials and created the API plug-in. SteelSeries were in essence “sponsors” of the project.”
SteelSeries, Vertagear, and CyberpowerPC, and the Diverse Gaming Coalition – some of the main sponsors of Bully Hunters – disavowed the group and pulled out their support following a staged live-stream, where many diggers discovered that the whole event was a scripted show to push the harassment in video games narrative.
It was also discovered that the statistics that the Bully Hunters used to attempt to lure people into supporting them was falsified data, as reported by Platinum Paragon.
The sponsors pulled out as one of the hosts, Nati “The Zombie Unicorn” Casanova, issued a statement on her stance regarding Bully Hunters as well on April 13th, 2018. In a tweet, Casanova attached a statement that read…
“I can’t begin to count the hours I’ve spent gaming online. In that time, I have seen every imaginable sort of harassing and threatening language. And yes, I’ve even used some of that language myself in a a reactionary way. I regret that. But I don’t regret my role in helping to raise awareness of this important issue, if it means other women will be able to game online without fear or concern of being harassed. You can debate the merits of the execution, but I will always remain supportive of the overall goal, and any programming that will help achieve it. I’m actively working with Bully Hunters on more solutions to help end harassment in gaming.”
On April 16th, 2018, Casanova posted another tweet indicating that she “should have walked away” and that she did not condone Bully Hunters hunting down harassers to bully them.
Part of my quote is being in updated: I only said I’d work with them to fix the issue & I’ll always support the overall goal of ending harassment. I don’t stand with the hunt tool and never did. I should have walked away. https://t.co/SbYoVpEKE8
— 🦄 Nati Casanova | ZombiUnicorn (@TheZombiUnicorn) April 16, 2018
The organization ended up catching a lot of negative attention for using dubious data in order to start a conversation about harassment, as well as staging an event built around people who would essentially be paid to bully other gamers.
The experiment to further tarnish gaming and promote an anti-gaming narrative against the industry was widely supported by a lot of Liberal media outlets; even during the shut down process some of these sites still continue to support the Bully Hunters’ anti-gaming narrative.
Essentially, gamers should be well aware not to support any so-called gaming company that supports anti-gaming endeavors. While some companies think that virtue signaling is necessary to promote their brand, doing so while throwing their own community and consumers under the bus is market treason.