Outrage over Microsoft rape joke at E3 gaming event
- June 12, 2013
MICROSOFT has come under scrutiny for making a rape joke during its Xbox One event at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as "E3".During a demonstration of video game "Killer Instinct" yesterday a male video game producer was matched against a woman - who struggled to play the game.
First he told her that she "played like a girl", perpetuating the stereotype that girls aren't "proper" gamers.
"I can't even block correctly and you're too fast," she replied.
"Here we go, just let it happen. It'll be over soon," he said.
Microsoft apologised and Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer released a statement in which he claimed that the banter between the two was unplanned.
"Yesterday, during the Xbox E3 briefing, one of our employees made an off the cuff and inappropriate comment while demoing 'Killer Instinct' with another employee," he said. "This comment was offensive and we apologise. At Microsoft, being open and respectful with others is central to our code of conduct and our values. Bullying and harassment of any kind is not condoned and is taken very seriously. We remain committed to make gaming fun for everyone, and in that effort, we must lead by example."
People immediately took to Twitter to air their disgust.
"Even if it was unintentional, Microsoft should've realised they shouldn't make a rape joke in an environment already toxic with misogyny," user @stillgray tweeted.
"Wow. This is really gross. Male overpowering a female in a game, so of course, rape joke. Good one, Msoft," @Vahn16 tweeted.
"Another tech event, another rape joke," tweeted user @wpsocialreader.
Atlantic journalist, Rebecca Greenfield wrote in a post that "This, basically, is what institutionalised misogyny looks like."
Journalist John Teti wrote on the Gameological Society blog that Microsoft was in part responsible for the sexism that plagues the gaming industry.
"Microsoft's default mode is to address a demographic caricature who was born in a marketeer's binder," he said. "That caricature, as far as I can tell, begins with a 20-something white male who only loves to shoot at things, except he also thinks magic knights are cool, just not as cool as the shooting ..."
Teti said the creepy implications of the rape joke was made more vivid by the fact that the person it was made about was the only female to grace the stage of Xbox presentation at that point.
"The guy made a bad joke. It happens, and I'm not about to crucify him for it," he wrote. "It's hard for me to blame him much at all, really. Microsoft created an environment where the perceived audience is a theoretical mass of pure mindless testosterone. Are we really supposed to be surprised when a bit of misogynist alienation ensues?"
This is the second rape debacle in as many years at E3. Last year gamers were disturbed by a cuty-scene in video game Tomb Raider where players were required to save Lara Croft from being sexually assaulted.
Though 47 per cent of gamers are female, according to a report by the Entertainment Software Association, sexism in the gaming industry has long been a problem.
Gaming journalist, Alanah Pearce revealed in April that her experience with sexism made her contemplate quitting her job.
Comments about her clothes and her appearance were common. So were horrible name calling.
"People would comment disrespectfully about my choice of clothing, but if I complained, they'd call me a bitch or ask if I was 'on my period'," she wrote.
"I've seriously reconsidered my career choices over comments like these because, honestly, if I was getting comments like this in any other workplace, I'd leave."
At the same time that gamers were criticising Microsoft's bad taste joke, another girl gamer, Anita Sarkeesian was being called all manner of horrible names simply for making an observation about the lack of female representation in games.
The host of "Feminist Frequency" blog tweeted that Microsoft revealed "exactly zero games" featuring a female lead character.
For this she was called "retarded" and "bitchy" and much worse things.
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/gaming/outrage-over-microsoft-rape-joke-at-e3-gaming-event/story-e6frfrt9-1226662462228#ixzz2W0dbz0zd