Bethesda permabans Fallout 76 players for homophobic harassment

    
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We’re not sure whether to bin this as a good story or a bad – a little of both maybe. Multiple Fallout 76 players have been permanently banned from the game after they harassed another group of players with a series of homophobic remarks. According to one of the victims of the harassment, who captured part of the interaction on video, the problem began when his group encountered a group of other players led by a gamer named NathanTheHicc, who proceeded to kill their victims while making comments like “We have come to eliminate all gays” and “This is the strongest queer I’ve ever seen.”

The victims, who happen to be streamers, recorded a video of the harassment was ultimately put on Twitter, where it erupted, and then sent it to Bethesda’s community team, who pronounced an initial punishment of a three-day ban for the offenders, though the ban has since been made permanent. NathanTheHicc, a high-school senior in the US, is apparently unapologetic; as he 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.”

The harassment also foregrounds a potential issue with Fallout 76, which is that it lacks an in-game function for reporting other players: “Bethesda community managers sent [the victim] a link to Bethesda’s website-based player report function,” Eurogamer reports, “but [he] found it didn’t work properly.” On that topic, a Bethesda spokesperson said that Fallout 76 “empowers players to permanently block other players” and highlighted the reporting functions on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, though that leaves the PC version out in the cold.

Although this particular incident had a more-or-less satisfactory outcome thanks to AJ’s ability to get Bethesda’s attention via Twitter, it nevertheless highlights the necessity for in-game reporting tools. Whether Bethesda intends to do anything about that, however, remains to be seen.

Source: Eurogamer. Thanks, Pepperzine!

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Veldara
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Veldara

I saw the video footage of this and it’s beyond the pale, it’s completely out of line. The excuse that people are using that they were just roleplaying in the post apocalypse doesn’t fly with me. It’s still a videogame and people shouldn’t be subjected to that level of harassment and toxicity. Good on Bethesda for banning them.

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Adam Russell

You know the rules. No excuses. They’ve been the same rules for 20 years and at least as many games.

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Aaron Weddle

Some of the comments on here about them not deserving it Or that it’s just words. I am a member of the gay community and a gamer i have been harassed both online and off Many times. It’s Refreshing to see a company taking a Hard Line on this shit especially an American company.They should have also contacted Microsoft or sony and got them permabanned from those platforms as well. or at the very least hardware banned

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draugris

Everybody who played online games in the past or plays them now has been harassed one or more times. I stopped to count how many times some random dude in a video game had something very very mean to tell about my mum or my dad for example. So I do not really see why you are special in any way in that case.

Harassment is Harassment at the end of the day, it´s never pleasant for nobody and should be punished. But it should be punished equally and without exceptions. I am pretty sure that if these boys did harass regular people and not streamers without the use of homophobic slurs and instead using the other “usual suspects” nothing would have happened at all. And that´s where the problem is.

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Patreon Donor
Alli

Because whatever mean thing they were saying about your parents, people haven’t been killed for that. People haven’t been denied the right to start a family because of that. People haven’t been treated as second-class citizens because of that.

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draugris

We are all human beings walking on that earth. It makes no difference if you are a man or woman, straight or gay, black or white, Christian or Muslim. we all have the same feelings and are hurt equally. Why people want to somehow separate people in groups where some insults are “worse” than others is beyond me honestly.

((Edited by mod. Please review the community commenting code.))

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Patreon Donor
Alli

If some people are dying because of what they are and others aren’t, then no, we’re not all being hurt equally. People who don’t realize that are either incredibly naive or willfully obtuse.

Mallettjt
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Mallettjt

Stop equating in game insults to real world harassment. Me calling you an idiot in fallout isn’t the same as me stabbing you for being homosexual.

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Patreon Donor
Alli

I’m not saying it does. Homophobic slurs carry decades or more of baggage for people who have been killed, marginalized, denied basic rights, and forced to hide their identities. Calling someone an “idiot” just doesn’t carry the same weight. Plus, the kid didn’t even apologize but said he intended to be offensive.

kirosuto
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kirosuto

What’s up with the opening statement?

We’re not sure whether to bin this as a good story or a bad – a little of both maybe.

Like bad story because Bethesda doesn’t have reporting capabilities and/or because it involves people that are homophobic and spewing hateful rhetoric?

Mallettjt
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Mallettjt

Umm what they did was nothing close to rhetoric. Rhetoric is persuasive speaking without evidence or meaningful proof. Edgy jokes is the sum of what they did.

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

@Mallettjt

– rhetoric definition “language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience”, and please don’t pretend to be stupid (you’re clearly smart) and don’t act like I’m saying this is the only definition. Every word has multiple definitions, the dictionary isn’t the word of the almighty god, words are used in different ways.

– hateful definition “intense dislike or ill will”

So there was both ill will (possibly also dislike, doesn’t matter though) and rhetoric used by the streamer, according to the above definitions, which are both accurate but NOT THE ONLY DEFINITIONS OF THOSE TERMS.

kirosuto
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kirosuto

Perhaps I’m wrong but I assume you aren’t LGBTQ+ or from a marginalized community because you’re trying awfully hard to defend these boys as just edgelords.

1. Words have meaning and history regardless of how you use them.

2. Purposely griefing someone and spewing slurs is not simply an “edgy joke”, it’s fucking harassment.

Situations like this is what contributes to violence against the LGBTQ+ community in real life. Stop trying to spin this as a moment of free speech or “kids just being kids”, neither of them are acceptable excuses/reasons to allow toxic shitty behavior to go unpunished.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Basically yes. Good on Bethsoft for dealing with it. Bad on Bethsoft for creating the situation with its wimpy reporting tools. Bad on that subset of gamers whose toxicity makes this an issue at all.

kirosuto
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kirosuto

Thanks Bree, phew for positive intent ;D

Cadaver
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Loyal Patron
Cadaver

Twitter, where it erupted

Isn’t that its default state? Twitter is always erupting. Reddit is in a constant state of meltdown. I don’t understand this insatiable appetite for outrage. I find it wearying.

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Bryan Correll

Twitter, where it erupted

Shaka, when the walls fell.

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Aaron Weddle

darmok and jalad at tanagra

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

For some people it’s an appetite for outrage.

For some of us we see some people hurting people we care about. And we want it to stop, so we act.

But confronting people we know is higher stakes, and in-person is even higher.

So until we’re ready for that, we talk to strangers on the internet. So it’s kind of like a high school where we get to learn how people react before going into higher stakes confrontations (not fights – just people resolving conflicts).

I’m sure there’s other good reasons as well, besides an appetite for outrage and besides the practicing-confrontation reason.

Mallettjt
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Mallettjt

“Hurting people we care about.” That’s hyperbole they aren’t hurt. If words affect them that much they should seek help. Placing that much value in someone else’s words is unhealthy. Especially the words of a stranger.

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Aaron Weddle

So it’s ok for a stranger to come up on the street Yelling at you that god hates fags in your face. because that’s basically what they did except in a video game

Mallettjt
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Mallettjt

Yea it is because you can ignore them. You can yell whatever you want at me. You get physical that’s when I have a problem.

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

@Mallettjt nah you’re wrong.

Edit: “you get physical that’s when I have a problem”

Cool story, other people have different boundaries than you, and since when has anyone agreed that your boundaries should be used for every other person?

Not that I believe that you are actually being truthful that those are boundaries you’d want to keep when people with the power to mess your life up are fucking with you.

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Aaron Weddle

Thank you

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

Happy to, np :)

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

Again, you’re missing the point, pretty sure on purpose or you just haven’t read my posts.

The reason people make rules to stop everyday low level harassment is, if you add up all the small and medium sized harms people have to deal with, taken together, they’re enough to fuck people’s lives up.

And when you pool together enough messages that boil down to “gay, bi, lesbian people have less value”, then when it comes to moments where big harms are possible, they end up happening more often in those moments.

Again, you can continue to on-purpose ignore this, but that’s on you.

Cause at that point, you will be outright ignoring a key part of your reality that ruins your neighbours’, family members’, and strangers’ lives on a daily basis.

That’s something worth changing.

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Aaron Weddle

i apologize for my actions in the comments

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

@Aaron – ?? not sure what you mean, I was complaining about Mallettjt on purpose missing the point (Mallett is clearly bright enough to understand it, but keeps on ignoring it while replying to other parts of my posts).

My above post is @Mallett, in case I wasn’t clear about that.

Edit: to be clear, you’ve done nothing wrong by me (and Mallettjt, while the feigned not understanding is annoying me, also hasn’t done something wrong in my eyes either).

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Bryan Correll

My initial thought was that a perma-ban was a bit much and that the original suspension (with the warning that further incidents would result in a perma-ban) would have been enough. But then I went and listened to the clips AP posted and changed my mind. The non-apology absolutely cinches it. Immaturity? That’s certainly true and probably even more true than the dumbass thinks.

The lack of a reporting feature is entirely on Bethesda though. I’ve reported people before, but the level of offense required to report certainly corresponds to how many hoops I have to go through to report someone. Having to take it to twitter to get action taken is ridiculous.

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Nathan Aldana

‘I dont hate gay people” says man who nonetheless would cheerfully throw out homophobic slurs with no thought of the potential damage to someone doing so could do.

Thats the thing people never seem to understand. Casual bigotry isnt about hate. Its about utter fucking indifference towards the victims. Its not giving the slightest damn what your actions could do.

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Randy Savage

Turns out homophobia in West Virginia still exists in the future

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James Crow

maybe its a shitty game but i think every company need to ban those players.

we live in an era when children or even grownups make sucide just because of shaming on the internet so yes, we dont need people like those in any games or in the world.

we need to accept everyone no matter how and where they born.
also those people who using “Gay” as a curse are just an idiots – Love is Love!

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Armsbend

Or ban the internet.

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Randy Savage

Or actively raise your children instead of letting the internet babysit them like the TV used to

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Loyal Patron
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Armsbend

too many streaming channels available not to take advantage of free babysitting

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Loyal Patron
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imayb1

What about the parents who are actively training their children in bigotry, homophobia, racism, etc.? You can still blame crappy parenting, but I believe a lot of it isn’t just ‘internet babysitting’.

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Nathan Aldana

sometimes I think thats a great solution.

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Sorenthaz

Good on Bethesda for doling out the permabans. Would be nice if we had a mute player option paired up with push to talk coming next week. Or at the very least an in-game report. I know Sea of Thieves had similar issues earlier this year. Unfortunately stuff like this just seems to be a hard-to-moderate consequence of having open voice chat.

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Schmidt.Capela

Which is another reason I prefer text chat: I can save logs. Not just for reporting purposes; if someone gives good information or says something I want to keep, I can just copy and paste from the log instead of having to ask for him to repeat and try to jot it down.