Reprimand Producer for Gaming Conference Rape Joke

Target: Microsoft

Goal: Reprimand producer of upcoming game for making a rape joke during a demonstration

During a Microsoft press conference at E3, a major trade show for video gaming, a producer of the fighting game Killer Instinct made a rape joke during a demonstration in which he played against a woman. The producer was winning the game, and as he beat the other player, he told her to “just let it happen, it’ll be over soon.”

The comment was made at Microsoft’s Xbox One E3 press conference, in which the Killer Instinct game made its debut. Killer Instinct was developed by Rare Ltd., which is owned by Microsoft. The demonstration was held between a producer of the game, who was male, and a novice, who was female.

Trash-talking during video game play is not uncommon, but to make a rape joke to a woman during one of the nation’s leading gaming trade shows is indicative of a wider problem. Women in gaming are often mistreated or simply dismissed, whether they work in the industry or are simply video game consumers. For example, none of the games featured in the E3 conference had female protagonists.

The trash talk this producer participated in had the misfortune of being directed at a woman, which brought on a connotation of rape to an otherwise innocuous, if tasteless, comment. Though likely made with no ill intentions, the joke was not appropriate, especially when used against a woman. Take a moment to sign the petition below and tell Microsoft that casual references to rape are not acceptable in any case, and ask them to treat female gamers with respect.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Microsoft,

At Microsoft’s Xbox One press conference, one of your producers made a rape joke while demonstrating your upcoming Killer Instinct game. He told the other player to “just let it happen, it’ll be over soon.”

Although the comment could be construed in different ways, it is also a reference to the act of rape, and it was not appropriate for the venue, especially since it was directed toward a female gamer.

This joke was not only in poor taste, but it shows the video game industry’s continued unfriendliness toward women. It is disheartening for women to face casual misogyny in the video game industry day-to-day, and seeing it in an official capacity is simply crossing the line. I urge you to reprimand the producer involved and issue an apology for the comment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: NewGameNetwork via Flickr

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