Thought policing is alive and well in the new media as social justice activists ramp up their crusade to silence and de-platform “wrongthinkers” from producing content within their medium, citing issues as nebulous as “cyberviolence” as reasons to censor those who oppose progressive ideology.
Following the explosion of outrage against an independent game developer who once expressed views critical of feminism in the video game industry, outrage warriors are now calling for the industry to enact strict rules against hiring and associating with developers whose views do not align with feminist orthodoxy. The target of their ire, Tim Soret, is producing a game called The Last Night, which went viral at E3 2017 after its reveal.
“As developers, collaborators, publishers – we have to vet those we work with,” wrote Maya Felix Kramer, a queer activist and PR person in the indie game scene.
Kramer, who lists “they/them” pronouns in her bio and sits on the board for Feminist Frequency, and manages Fez developer Polytron, has worked with Zoe Quinn, Christine Love, and numerous other large personalities in the gaming scene. Her words have been magnified and re-tweeted by hundreds of game developers and high-profile game journalists.
“If that sounds too bleak, you’re in a position of privilege,” continued Kramer. “We have to make our entities, companies, and studios have public policies and then hold our collaborators to those policies. We have to.”
Referencing Soret, who had a good reputation prior to Zoe Quinn’s call to arms against him, Kramer wrote: “We can no longer afford to say ‘we didn’t know’ or ‘they seem nice’ – many people haven’t had this luxury in a long time. Welcome to 2017.”
Among many others, “game designer” Jennifer Scheurle echoed Kramer’s call with a tweet of her own.
Essentially calling for a blacklist or the creation of a sort of “Games Code Authority” against developers guilty of “wrongthink”, Kramer and her supporters are outraged by game developers and products that do not partake in their crusade for “social justice.”
“I would urge those who want to see the world grow and progress to make sure they align themselves only with people who share those dreams,” wrote Kramer.
Censoring media to fit a narrative is an impediment to creative expression. As it was with comic books and the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s, history shows that institutionalizing rules and forcing compliance for acceptable or prohibited content only condemns a creative medium to rot in the ghetto of hollow art.