[Update 4/16/2018: Bully Hunters has officially been shut down]
[Original story:] The Bully Hunters was supposed to be a group that hunted down bullies for gamers. They would essentially bully the bullies. It sounds like the kind of nescient endeavor that most people would see through as a potential scam, but SteelSeries, CyberpowerPC and Vetagear all jumped at the possibility to attach their brand names to the Bully Hunters. They also didn’t hesitate to throw their own customers under the bus by teaming with the Bully Hunters, an organization that claimed that millions of female gamers were harassed by the very people who fit the demographic that the peripheral companies sell their products to.
Following a disastrous live-stream event hosted by Bully Hunters – which was later discovered to be staged, as detailed by all the evidence collected in a post over on Kotaku In Action – the major peripheral makers were forced to make statements about the event, and they opted to disavow their association with the Bully Hunters.
In a Facebook post published on April 14th, 2018, SteelSeries – who sponsored the Bully Hunters event – posted a message that stated that they would no longer be associating with or supporting the BullyHunters, and that they would be distancing themselves from the group…
“To clear a few things up: BullyHunters was not a viral campaign stage-managed by us. We did not hire a marketing agency to create it. We didn’t have anything to do with its execution, content or messaging. And more importantly, we would never take advantage of an issue like bullying to sell hardware. They asked us to supply some headsets, support the call for positive change, and we did.
“Although we still believe in a world where harassment isn’t tolerated, it’s clear to us that BullyHunters is hurting, not helping, that cause. On Friday, we ended our support and partnership with the organization.”
If you’re unable to view the video, Hoang states…
“Technically, I’m the PR department in a sense. I don’t know too much about the details, I wasn’t in the meeting when this deal [was] enacted. [But] what we signed up for in our minds the way it was told to us, when they asked us for backing. It just ended up being something completely different the way they went about it.
“What they told us was something completely different from what they executed. You understand? There’s not much we can say or do now, but that’s not what we were backing. That’s as much as I can say apparently […]”
“[…] We were a little misled. […] We can’t really do much about it. We endorsed the group. It didn’t go the way that we thought it was going to go planned – we weren’t really informed enough, I guess. That may also be part of our fault as well. We think negatively on that kind of behavior… but yeah.”
Vertagear, another sponsor of the Bully Hunters, also posted up a tweet on April 14th, 2018 that linked to a Facebook post for their statement on the matter.
Our official statement regarding BullyHunters.https://t.co/2WaZc98PoS
— VERTAGEAR (@Vertagear) April 14, 2018
Vertagear made an egalitarian post, claiming that they felt the topic of mental health for both males and females is an important topic, and they thought it was something worth exploring. However, they also claimed that they didn’t do enough research on “vetting the details” before teaming with the Bully Hunters. They claim that they will continue to support worthy charities but will do a better job of attaching their name to better organizations, writing…
“We have always prided ourselves in understanding the needs of the gaming community from all walks of life. We engage with non-profit and charitable entities such as Anxiety Gaming and Stack-Up.org to try and spread the love of our passion to those who yearn for it. It has never been our intention to sow discord or undermine the efforts of those who earnestly dedicate their lives trying to stem the tides of the many issues our community faces. It is disheartening to us that our name has been attached to a campaign that contradicts our principles, and to that end we would like to announce the end of our relationship with Bully Hunters.
“Although our engagement with this particular campaign ends here, we would like to express that our commitment to furthering causes that support those in need will not. However, we will ensure that proper due diligence is exercised from this point forward so that the Vertagear name is not attached to anything that may undermine the community and our brand ever again. We hope that the community will not see this occurrence as a means to undercut the prevalence of cyberbullying, but rather, take from it that it does exist, and that it may come from anyone, and happen to anyone.”
So many companies, organizations, and grassroots movements have been inclined to throw gamers under the bus in recent years that this is actually no surprise.
It should come as no surprise that the companies who make money from gamers hate their own customers enough to team up with an anti-gamer organization that was designed to further tarnish the gaming community by fabricating a narrative about harassment in order to profit from their own calumny.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the anti-gamer positions that most major publishers, peripheral makers, and platform holders have taken against their own base in the last half decade, will recognize that this turn of events should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.
(Thanks for the news tip TheOneAndFutureKing)