That’s the question that’s been on my mind the past few days. Specifically, as it relates to Blizzard, and the lawsuit the State of California has levelled against them upon concluding a two-year investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

The detail of it is frankly horrific. The behaviours spanning decades.

Belghast’s discussion on the subject gets to the heart of it in the title, with the plea to please believe women. The potentially tragic results of choosing not to are unfortunately one of the key notes of this whole ordeal.

So yeah. What will it take? What will it take to convince people- no, convince me to put Blizzard behind me. Not just now, while I’m not interested in any of their games anyway. But always. Even when Diablo 4 comes out. To maintain the stance beyond the point of inconvenience or conflicting desire. Syp has already made this call. Stargrace has, too.

Can’t You Just “Seperate Art from the Artist”?

No. I’m sure some can and will. That’s their prerogative and I don’t think they should be attacked or shamed for it. But I can’t. I’ve never been comfortable with taking this position. Despite the fact there seems to be an opinion out there that to do so, to accept this separation, is to somehow take the moral high ground. That you are somehow lesser for not being able to.

“Separating Art from the Artist” doesn’t have roots in any ethical or moral structures though, it’s a creation of early 20th-century academia, as part of the “New Critics” movement. Their stance was radical at the time and was predicated on the belief in the intrinsic value in the art itself. Artists be damned, be they good or bad.

Whatever your personal stance on the matter — it doesn’t work for me. There is no shelter to be found here.

When a Corporation is Involved, It Isn’t That Simple Anyway

And the reason for that is simple: Money.

This isn’t just about whether or not there is value intrinsic to WoW. This is about whether I can be OK to continue transacting with Blizzard. To continue offering them monetary support, or not.

The Conclusion, and What Actually Matters

The answer is simple: No. I’m not. I’m just not going to.

But I’m also under no illusions as to the impact this will have. I understand this is a gesture. One that on its own isn’t going to change anything. Like Belghast said though, “If I stay silent, the abusers assume I stand with them, and the abused continue to feel isolated”.

Ultimately, that’s what matters. The abused, the harassed, the people who have been made to feel they don’t matter, or made to fear they wouldn’t be believed and so couldn’t speak up.

What will it take to put Blizzard, as it stands today, behind me?

Turns out, this will do it.


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

5 Comments

bhagpuss · July 25, 2021 at 6:00 am

+1 for the attribution re New Criticism. Want to go for bonus points and take on the structuralist position, too?

I’m just about to do a very short post on the Blizzard thing. I totally understand the point of canceling subs and not buying new games/expansiions/DLC etc but some of Blizzard’s stuff can be played for free. Does continuing to play without paying imply support or at least tolerance or is it another way to express opposition? There’s that “if you’re not paying, you’re content” argument but if you just solo and never interact with anyone else, is that actualy meaningful?

Anyway, I should keep this for the post…

    Naithin · July 25, 2021 at 11:26 am

    The playing without transacting part came up remarkably quickly after writing this post.

    Diablo 3 had a new season start yesterday and a friend asked me to play. There’s no sub involved. I already own the game and have done so for years. There is no money to change hands here, in short.

    But still it made me uncomfortable and I ultimately didn’t do it. I do think there is a degree of tacit support being offered with even so much as the status: Playing Diablo 3 showing anywhere.

Nogamara · July 25, 2021 at 8:03 pm

Well said, the only remark I have is towards “Separate Art from the Artist”.

I’m not a huge fan of that phrase of that phase, because of teams and collaborative work. As you pointed out, for WoW and over the years there are probably hundreds of people involved directly or indirectly. It’s a lot easier when it turns out the author of a book or a single indie developer is the scumbag, but if it’s a really huge team, and in this case the victims were even also part of that…

The same is true for movies. Sure, you can kinda call the lead actor or director out, as the one to boycott, and usually by the time the scandal comes out, the movie is long out of theaters, so the only thing you could do is not stream it or not buy the medium, it’s not an ongoing service you pay for.

I personally simply don’t find it easy to separate anything here.

    Naithin · July 25, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    The point you raise around the fact the victims and other potentially innocent parties are worked into the equation here, unlike the case where the ‘artist’ is an individual is a good one.

    Lord knows, no-one wants to harm those already so affected by this.

    I suppose my thinking on this is that Activision loves money. If there is enough of an upswell in support to unsubscribe or otherwise halt purchase of their products, they won’t just close up shop, let all their talent go, and shuffle off into the night.

    They still want their money. If that’s what it takes to affect change, hell, let’s take it. Even though the motives are awful, if it gets the required outcome we can grab it by both hands.

    Of course, this is predicated on the wildly optimistic notion that there will be enough of an upswell to drive such change. Still, we do what we can and hope, I suppose, and give our support to those who deserve it.

Blizzard, culture and protesting by absence | GamingSF · July 25, 2021 at 9:12 pm

[…] on my blog and social media platform to raise my small voice against this reprehensible culture. As Naithin wrote, speaking out is the bare minimum to effect some kind of change. I fear we are mostly just […]

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