Zeroes from the Aughts
5. Rampant homophobia and censorship exposed on Xbox Live (2007)Halo 3: Homophobia Evolved (NSFW)
Granted, if you're visiting an online forum and expecting to find anything but a frenzied scrum of terrible ideas -- much less actual enlightened civil discourse -- you're setting yourself up for major disappointment. But that doesn't mean that the results of this little sociology experiment were any less depressing. As Kotaku reported
in 2007, a Gay Gamer reader
played Halo 3
on Xbox Live using the handle "xxx GayBoy xxx" and recorded the experience. In doing so, he proved that Xbox Live is an instant portal to a Hieronymous Bosch-like dimension of insatiably puerile and playfully hateful knuckle-draggers. Was anyone surprised? No. Did it make us want to weep for humanity? Oh, maybe just a little.
Worse than the harrassment itself was Microsoft's piss-poor reaction
to the complaints: instead of banning homophobic abusers, Microsoft banned any XBox Live user who referred to homosexuality in his or her profile or username. (Plus, a guy named Richard Gaywood got banned for putting his real name in his profile.) Chat logs started censoring the words "gay" and "lesbian" as though these are swear words. All done in the name of protecting users -- but it sounds suspiciously like victim-blaming
to us, and we weren't the only ones who thought so. In May 2008, GLAAD
began working with Sony and Microsoft to make XBox Live a safer, more welcoming place. It's an uphill battle, and so far we haven't seen much progress on this end -- but it's hard to imagine how anything could make XBox Live worse.
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