Bethesda has reportedly permanently banned a group of gamers from Fallout 76 known as the Gay Eliminators. They went around the various points of interests within the game, attempting to decontaminate aids from the post-apocalyptic wasteland, and exterminating any traces of the Rainbow Reich, and all those who would fly the war banner of pride. However, Bethesda decided that this was unacceptable behavior and permanently banned the users for hunting down gays in the game.
Eurogamer is reporting that the player, NathanTheHicc, and the other players who joined up with him as part of the Gay Eliminators have been permanently banned from the game. This came after user Ajpls uploaded footage of NathanTheHicc, a high school student, hunting him and his friends down in Fallout 76. AJ had to upload the footage to YouTube because he was unable to use the web report function to show Bethesda the footage, since the feature is broken on Bethesda’s website.
The Therapist Productions uploaded footage of the incident, which you can view below.
Even though NathanTheHicc sounds like Cookie Monster on Xanax, AJ was apparently shaken to the core of his soul, telling Eurogamer…
“In the moment, I was just in shock,” he said. “It was disgusting. The three of us stream and put ourselves out there on the internet and are not strangers to homophobic comments but this was so extreme. We talked about what happened, made sure we were all okay, and kept playing. The rest of the night I just felt drained. It was a weird feeling.
“I got really angry too. These guys were running around targeting people and what if they targeted a kid playing that was struggling with their identity? What if they said all those things to someone that was playing solo and didn’t have anyone to talk to? That can really mess someone up. Playing a game to escape reality and then that happens. That’s why we need to be able to report these people and why companies need to do something about reports.”
Bethesda initially responded to the incident by banning NathanTheHicc and his buddies for three days, but they later changed their decision after NathanTheHicc uploaded his own footage to his YouTube channel and explained to Eurogamer what really happened. However, in response to the footage YouTube opted to delete his channel for hate speech.
NathanTheHicc told Eurogamer…
“My version of the incident is more or less the same as the public has taken it, the only differences being the fact that I don’t hate gay people. It was just a late night of having fun and after the first encounter (seen on my channel) we felt it would be fun to offend them somehow. You can call that evil but I think it’s just playful immaturity.
“I do not regret the incident. I will not apologise given the opportunity. I don’t plan on doing anything like this in the future but to be fair I didn’t plan the initial incident, I just found them and decided to go through with it.”
While some more levelheaded gamers suggested that AJ and his friends mute Nathan and the Gay Eliminators or play on a different server, others believed that taking personal responsibility wasn’t enough. Hence, this prompted Bethesda to reverse their decision and change from a three day ban to a permanent ban, telling Eurogamer…
“We gave an initial ban of three days while our CS team looked into the matter further to verify the individuals involved and what took place. After additional review, we have now permanently banned the players we’ve identified.”
While many Social Justice Warriors were clamoring to claim victory against NathanTheHicc in the comment section, the reality is that this move could land Bethesda in hot water… with the European Union.
Since Fallout 76 is a product, it still falls within consumer protection laws. This means that there are very specific consumer/seller contractual terms that must be obligated between both parties to avoid the rights of consumers being violated, as noted in the European Law database under document 31999L0044 regarding consumer goods and associated guarantees, especially within today’s digital marketplace. In note (7) it clearly states…
“Whereas the goods must, above all, conform with the contractual specifications; whereas the principle of conformity with the contract may be considered as common to the different national legal traditions; whereas in certain national legal traditions it may not be possible to rely solely on this principle to ensure a minimum level of protection for the consumer; whereas under such legal traditions, in particular, additional national provisions may be useful to ensure that the consumer is protected in cases where the parties have agreed no specific contractual terms or where the parties have concluded contractual terms or agreements which directly or indirectly waive or restrict the rights of the consumer and which, to the extent that these rights result from this Directive, are not binding on the consumer;”
In other words, the provision is about protecting consumers where their individual consumer rights may have been indirectly infringed upon through a potential contractual term. This might apply to certain EULAs, code of conduct agreements, or terms of service.
While NathanTheHicc may not be from the EU, Bethesda is already setting precedent with Fallout 76 bans, specifically permanently banning a consumer from their product with no access to the product thereafter, thus rendering the product void.
Interestingly enough, there is no End User License Agreement for Fallout 76 on Bethesda’s EULA page, so it’s not possible to read through it before installing the Bethesda launcher in order to access Fallout 76. They do, however, have a Code of Conduct page for general conduct relating to Bethesda and/or ZeniMax products and services, where they note that they can terminate your account or ban you from playing a game, or using their services, for violating the conditions of their service. NathanTheHIcc’s case would fall under section 2.5 (Behavior), where it states…
“You may not harass, threaten, embarrass, or cause distress to another customer or guest using ZeniMax sites and Services. This includes but is not limited to verbal attacks, unwanted messaging, personal attacks, stalking or any other undesired behavior used to cause discomfort or disrupt another customer’s experience. At all times users will refrain from attacking Age, Race, Disability, Sexual Orientation, National Origin, Pregnancy, Gender or any other protected category under Federal or Maryland State law.”
Given that NathanTheHicc is from the U.S., it means he can’t bring his case to EU consumer protection groups. However, now that Bethesda has set precedent that they can permanently ban users from accessing Fallout 76 based on in-game behavior, thus rendering the product purchase void, one must wonder how long it will be before someone from a country within the European Union gets hit with the perma-ban and decides to challenge it through a service such as the Europa’s consumer protection group?
(Thanks for the news tip Quickshooter)