A gay Warframe player was temporarily suspended by one of the Digital Extremes staff for joking about “The Big Gay” during a match while one of the DE staff were on the player’s team. Thankfully, the player managed to appeal the suspension and settled for a chat ban instead of an account suspension, but he still vented about the incident across various community threads.
The story was rolled out over on the Warframe sub-reddit, where user Okitsu explained…
“I’m a man. A young adult. I’m deeply in love with another man, who feels the same for me. You’d be right to say that I’m pretty gay. Love the inclusion of some LGBT elements in Warframe and REALLY hoping they fix their kickbot from over-zealously banning anything “offensive” with the kind of tolerance similar to club penguin. Shockingly, DE, the term “gay” actually does come up in non-pejorative contexts. […]
“Well today I made a joke using the word “gay” in a reference to “the big gay” meme. (Not sure how big that meme is, but in my circle of friends it’s referencing catching “the big gay”, a parody of the belief that it’s an illness). And it wasn’t kickbot that booted me for using the word (not that kickbot cares if you’re using the word legitimately), it was [DE]Glen in a match of Elite Sanctuary Onslaught.”
The incident was screen-capped by Okitsu, outlining how [DE]Glen claimed that he was “harassed” by Okitsu.
The Reddit thread ended up blowing up, garnering thousands of upvotes over the course of the day after it was posted on October 9th, 2019.
Most people thought that the suspension was completely unnecessary, especially when it was originally set to expire on October 12th, 2019.
After appealing the suspension through the ticket support system, [DE]SCA and [DE]Sully attempered the suspension down to a chat ban. However, Warframe community director Rebecca Ford decided to chime in with her opinion on the matter in the Reddit thread, further explaining why [DE]Glen suspended Okitsu in the first place, writing…
“Fundamentally if someone uses gay as a derogatory term in any context, with a ‘jk’ follow up or otherwise to diffuse the prior use, meme or otherwise, it’s can’t be tolerated. It’d be unconscionable ‘to allow derogatory use of marginalized communities, but only if followed by jk’. We won’t do that.
“How that impacts your feelings about a dev is one thing, but if someone said ‘baruuk is the big gay’ to me in chat I would have dealt with the behaviour too! This account will have the normal consequences applied to it that any other account would in this case, which have been dealt with in a support ticket (with a restored account).
“The short fact is that while we aren’t replying to every accusation, we are reviewing them, and we’ll ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
The comment was downvoted… with prejudice.
Others tried bringing awareness to the issue by spreading the word on other forums, such as the Steam forums, but the moderators quickly locked the thread.
Funnily enough there was even a Change.org petition four years ago that was made to get [DE]Glen removed from his position at Digital Extremes, with the petition maker, appropriately named John LaDoe, writing…
“While [DE]Glen’s position as a community disciplinary officer may warrant his application of these judicial powers, his recent behavior appears concerning and wanton, and as such primarily appears to contribute in an overwhelmingly negative fashion to the health and disposition of the WARFRAME community.”
Suffice to say, Glen was not removed from his position.
Even still, this kind of Orwellian goalpost moving from the Digital Extremes staff to constantly stifle and censor certain phrases and forms of speech makes the future look grim, bleak and utterly depressing.
Freedom of speech is currently under assault, and no community is safe from the Commissars of communication.
(Thanks for the news tip Brian and Plake Filmmaker)