Well, I have an update from the story I put up yesterday dealing with Dante's Inferno, Booth Babes, and a contest gone wrong at the San Diego Comic Con. Apparently the reason why I needed to follow @danteteam on twitter is so they could send me a private message about being 'randomly' selected to be a runner-up for their contest. It's like Publishers Clearing House just knocked on my door!!!
Apparently I would get a $240 gift certificate to the EA Store and a limited print t-shirt for being selected; however, there was also a large legal document they sent for me to sign to give them permission to have my soul or something, as well as the fact that I only entered the contest to be cheeky. So I decided to send them an email back, since I now had the PR and EA representative's emails, I told them that I'd let you guys enjoy the email too, so enjoy:
While I'm grateful for the team 'randomly' choosing me as one of the runners-up for your #Lust contest, it seems as though the internet has once again made it difficult to relay tongue-in-cheek humor to the desired recipients. I became aware of your contest through one of the many blogs decrying it. I think the contest was somewhat sexist, misogynist, and exploitive, especially since you were sending fans upon ANY booth babe at SDCC; however, as a gay man, I also saw this PR stunt as missed opportunity that resulted in what appears to be a narrow minded view as to what your game's audience can truly be. While I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, this stunt projected a view of your target demographic as lustful heterosexual males, when in reality a larger and larger portion of the gaming population are women and LGBT people.
Funny thing is, just last weekend in the Bay Area, EA corporate put on an event with GLAAD [www.glaad.org] in which they were discussing homophobia in online communities. One of the major points brought up was that many game publishers/developers still have this "boys club" idea of who buys and plays their games. The truth is that there are many people out there that don't care to be in that type of boys club (as I'm sure you notice from all the negative tweets you got) and dislike that stereotype being thrown in their faces.
From that viewpoint, I sent in my photo of me with a burly man that I took at PAX last year as a humorous portrayal of how your contest is not only misogynistic and demeaning to the women that attended the conventions, but also to anyone that doesn't follow the hetero-normative ideal. I know booth babes (and guys) get paid to man those booths and deal with gawkers, but there are also PR, production, and development people at those booths caught in the crossfire of dealing with people trying to do "acts of lust" with them to win your contest.
Again, while I am grateful that you have chosen my submission as a runner-up, I feel I must decline your free t-shirt and $240 gift certificate to the EA Store. Instead of giving that $240 away, I would prefer the money to be used in the following ways:
1) A new sexual-harassment training video/seminar
2) Another PR team to try to spin this whole debacle of a contest into a positive light
3) A direct phone line to EA's legal depart to use before you try anymore PR stunts
4) Six copies of your game when it releases, since I know you've lost at least that many fans with this stunt
5) Or the next time you go to Hooters (for the wings, of course), leave a $240 tip for your waitress in a karmic way of balancing out what has been done to the booth babes of SDCC due to this contest
I realize that promoting a game based upon what has been a historically controversial literary work presents itself with many challenges, but between the "fake" protesters at E3 and this latest stunt, the game isn't just setting a poor example of itself but gaming as a whole. The subject matter of this game deserves better treatment and respect from everyone involved.
Thanks for the response though, and there is a part of me that hopes I wasn't just "randomly chosen" and that you guys wanted to include my picture to help save face. That maybe on some level all the negative press and feedback actually got back to you guys and you were trying to include more than just guys drooling over girls; however, I have to decline use of my image or name for the contest.
Oh, and I'll be sharing this email with our readers at GayGamer [www.gaygamer.net], a site I invite you to come and explore as perhaps a first step in getting to know your many customers outside of the fratboy demographic this contest was seemingly designed to attract.
Hopefully I got my message across, but we'll just have to wait and see. Until then feel free to add any more uses for the $240 in the comments section.