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Mafia 2 Producer Apologizes

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I freely admit that when I wrote the article about 2K Games producer Denby Grace's interview comment where he complains about gamers' obsession with "gay space marines," I was already in a mood. Having slept on it, I do believe I was a little bit on the harsh side. I do have an issue with the way he said what he said, but it's clear he was trying to be witty, and simply failed. And of course, we're the only audience that's really going to have a problem with his statement. I mean, just look at how hilarious Kotaku found it. (Although, full disclosure? The illo made me chuckle.)

But I also contacted 2K Games hoping for some kind of a response, and this evening, I received one:

"I would like to take this opportunity to address a statement that I thoughtlessly made while doing a recent interview," Grace explains. "I was attempting to end the discussion in a jocular fashion by commenting on the hyper-macho "bromance" featured in a lot of military shooters that I play. Regrettably, I did so in a manner that was insensitive. I can assure you that was not my intent and for that, I apologize unreservedly."

I know it's not much, just the standard PR-filtered apology, but I personally feel better knowing that it was brought to his attention, so that maybe next time he'll think twice before making such comments. (Still not sold on Mafia 2, though!)

30 Comments

Randofu said:

I can't help but be reminded of: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/2/1/

tropicofanatic said:

Video game developers have yet to produce a game that matches the sophistication and complexity of a novel like Crime and Punishment, or War and Peace. They need to be a little bit more humbler and thankful for the people who buy their games.

AJ said:

I think people take themselves a little too seriously. The statement was obviously NOT a gay bash, nor was it meant to demean anyone. It was a reference to how most gamers (young men) are horny/obsessed with FPS/shooter/macho men games.

Agreeable_Panda said:

It's that thin line of whats appropriate and what isn't. I guess from the perspective of the publisher, this commentary is not acceptable, but that's only because they are worried about their bottom line.

But yeah, was the comment really anything other than funny?

What about all the bald men out there, constantly being used as a tool for hilarity. They don't have feelings?

And what of the fatties? That's ok too?

And on, and on, and on....

Mason said:

Unnecessary to be honest, but I'll take it. As AJ pointed out, it wasn't meant to harm.

faePuck said:

It doesn't matter if you're gay or not - using "gay" as a pejorative is a clear sign of ignorance and insensitivity. Sadly, I hear it all the time to describe things that are 'weak, unfair, or otherwise sucky.'

Especially when it's used to disparage a person (in this hypothetical case, space marines), it makes that much more of a hateful, unwelcome environment for any actual person struggling with coming out. Try and remember that not all of us can have cadres of gay besties, okay? Gaining acceptance for all of us starts with dropping the 'funny' tag from abuses of our identities.

I didn't expect an apology from producer Denby Grace, but this kinda makes me want to go buy his game out of principle.

Derek said:

To be offended by a comment like that leads me to believe you need to find better use of your time and stop whining and looking for things to be upset about it. Get over it and if anything how about going on a detective hunt to find good things people say about the gay community at least thats positive.

Suzuki GSX said:

Stop looking to be offended you have just embarrassed not only yourself but the entire gay community. His comment was only meant as a joke about the current state of shooter games not a personal slight or negative joke about the gay community.

You have no sense of how to combat discrimination, homophobia or racism. You use your influence as a club to beat people with and not a banner for people to rally to.

The_French_Guy said:

Ok... Suzuki GSX needs to get a chill pill, wootini admit he was in a bad mood (but i admit that comment made me raised my eyebrow),Denby Grace apologized, the case is close, let's get over it and move on...

So who else watched glee this week? :D

John said:

What a loser...why did he apologize for?? That joke about gay space marines was already made by Dan Houser in GTAIV i.e. 'Republican Space Rangers'!! And sorry to say this to all u galo fans, but all those characters are all pretty damn gay!

Mister_Inveigler said:

To be honest, you should probably apologise to him for your response to his comment.

Yes, you can choose to take every single comment about homosexuality as an insult, or you can choose to NOT paint yourself as different; a victim who jumps up and down at the slightest hint of a gay joke.
By making a song and dance about it, getting angry, you've labelled yourself as "different" from the rest of society. Furthermore, this just reeks of hypocrasy. Isn't the point to be seen as just another person? There is nothing different between a homo- or hetero-sexual. Nothing important anyway.

His comment really wasn't that inappropriate; it didn't paint the homosexual community in any derogatory manner nor was it intended to show prejudice.
It was a joke, you either found it funny or you didn't. End of story. By writing an entirely unprofessional article and running off at the mouth, you've done a good job of painting your community in the corner as people who need special consideration before a comment can be made. And making excuses that you were having a "bad day" means nothing. You're a professional, act like one.

And I'm sorry, but men oozing testosterone, bumping chests and grunting as they man-handle each other...the machismo there is so overwhelming it's easy to add a few sexual undertones should you so desire.

So simmer down, untwist your panties and chill out.

jack said:

^This. You clearly overreacted. Thin skin, much?

I personally never saw this as offensive to the gay community, more a jab at the homophobic fratboys and jocks who love games with obvious homoerotic undertones. I mean c'mon, GoW is just shy of being Top Gun for gamers...

Briker Ed said:

Joke or not, I don't appreciate the word 'gay' being used to describe something that's bad/lame/lower value. Not in cases like this. No wonder that it's the first association that people will have next time you tell someone that you're gay. Even on a subconscious level.

This wasn't a TV show that exploits or slams popular culture, questions morality or makes fun of general public. It was a hasty statement, by a game producer, speaking to his potential buyers, that came off as rather insensitive.
Even my straight friends were like; "What a prick. He can shove his uber cool mafiosos, I'm sticking to my gay marines." So, it was an all-around bad move on his part, and of course the publisher had to make him backtrack asap because of what was, bottom line, bad PR.

If he really wanted to make mention of how gay space marines may seem because of the predominant bromance theme, he could have - in a different tone and actually succeed at making a witty comment.

Not the worst thing in the world that happened and at least they did bother to issue a formal apology for a case of mouth being faster than the brain.

Also, as an offtopic, the Kotaku illustration was priceless :P

Mikey said:

I've never posted here before, but seeing the comments regarding what happened here has pushed me to do so.

I think people need to be more respectful. And when I say that, I'm not even talking about Denby Grace. I'm talking about those of you who are making fun of "Wootini" for being offended by someone using the word gay in a thoughtless/ignorant way.

It's so typical, and sad, that insecure people in the gay community will attack someone else who shows vulnerability. Calling him weak or a drama queen or overreacting. Because apparently getting offended by Denby makes him beneath you and "too sensitive", "thin skinned", or "wimpy". He didn't make a broad statement that "THIS IS OFFENSIVE TO THE ENTIRE GAY COMMUNITY!". He said that it offended him. Being offended by someone saying something insensitive, hurtful, or stupid doesn't make you a weak person. He had every right to call Denby out, and it's his right to respond to any kind of apology the way he wants. The comments you guys have made to him are MORE homophobic than what Denby said! (And yes, surprise, gay people can say really nasty, homophobic things...usually out of insecurity.)

When I see someone saying something like Denby did, I call them out too. It makes me uncomfortable, and it pisses me off. So thank you Wootini, for being a voice for SOME of us, who feel the same way.

So to sum up...if you don't feel offended, that's one thing. Say that. But to attack Wootini as a person, like you're a "better gay" than him, is just effing stupid. Who are any of you to tell someone how to react? Grow up.

Gareth said:

Can someone help me out here? I don't get why his comments were so offensive in the first place so could someone explain to me what the big deal is? (this isn't some form of insult I'm genuinely having trouble understanding why what he said was so bad)

Mikey said:

Gareth, Wootini said why it offended him in the original article. "Does he actually think gamers are obsessed with homosexual space marines? Or is he using "gay" in the more popular pejorative usage? Is he trying to be funny? No matter what, it's just offensive."

Steve said:

As a PR person, that apology seems pretty genuine to me. It's full acknowledgement and understanding, I don't know what more you could ask for.

Mikey said:

A small issue I have with the apology is that while he acknowledges that he said something stupid, he went on to say something stupid again (complaining about the "bromances" in games). Just throwing an excuse into his apology.

And the words he picked just seem very insincere and robotic. Who talks like that? A "jocular fashion", "I apologize unreservedly", etc. It was a total PR apology. I think a "I'm sorry, I screwed up and I shouldn't have said that" would have been better received. So I can see why someone would see it as not being genuine.

I personally don't care, I think Denby seems like a jerk who said something stupid and backtracked to try to make it look more innocent than it was. I still like playing Mafia 2. It's not like the company is funded by God Hates ****, so I'm not going to boycott them or anything. I just think the guy sounds like a jerk, and anyone who was offended by what he said has the right to voice that, without being disrespected and belittled.

You're not less of a man or less of a gay for speaking your mind about being offended by anything. Ever.

Giang said:

I actually felt the apology was very sincere, and the way Wootini threw it back at him was a little disrespectful and a little dickish. I don't understand how it's not enough? What else would you want from the guy? Hug it out dude.

Mikey said:

I don't think it's fair to tell an offended person how they should react or if they should or shouldn't accept somebody's apology. That's a personal decision.

dawdle said:

@Mister_Inveigler,

The point isn't to prove that there's "nothing different" about gays and lesbians. We are different, and we always will be; we're a small minority that a large number of people in the world will never accept, at least in our lifetimes, just because of who we love. The real point is that we're also individuals, and we deserve the same rights and freedoms as everyone else DESPITE those differences. This means that we have both the right and responsibility to speak out when we feel that an entire class of people is being dismissed.

The guy used to the word "gay" to bait the hetero-centric community behind games like Halo and Gears of War just because it would piss them off, and that's not at least somewhat offensive to us? I don't think he personally hates gays or wanted to keep us down, but yeah, we're allowed to be annoyed.

Gays and lesbians stayed quiet, even invisible, for most of human history, and no one ever said "Hey, I really respect how gay people don't get all in my face all the time, why don't we let them marry and adopt kids and not get fired from their jobs and not be killed." We didn't start winning rights and changing minds until we started speaking up.

Mike said:

Yeah, but, how cute is that puppy?

Suzuki GSX said:

I am very sorry for you all that you felt to make an issue of this quote which isn't offensive in the slightest.

It reminds me of the Channel 4 sketch where a young black comedian dresses up as a member of the Black Panther Party and walks into shops to harass people for comedic purposes when they mention something that could in some way be perceived as racist: *After asking for somewhere to go on holiday* "Blackpool?! there's a pool for just black people?! that's insane!" *Blackpool is a place in the UK btw*).

That's really how some of you are behaving just as you antagonize the people and bully people that mean no harm you become the hostile and victimizing people you campaign against. You must have no perception of actual prejudice and hatred if you feel compelled to rally against this developer for a joke not about your community but about space marines that just features the word gay.

I think you should genuinely be ashamed of yourselves, you can actually cause problems for good people all for your own feeling of self-righteousness by wildly firing accusations like this. I very much doubt Grace Denby is homophobic.

If you have a look on the forums some users are labelling the entire gay community with your behaviour, which results in you harming gay rights more than furthering it.

Shawn said:

@Suzuki GSX

Your logic doesn't resemble our earth logic.

Dismissing something as not offensive simply because you personally weren't offended is ridiculous. _I_ was offended by his comment. Grace Denby may not be homophobic, but it doesn't prevent him (or anyone, including ourselves) from saying homophobic things.

Moreover, claiming the original post hurt gay rights because some single-minded people are labeling the entire gay community based on it.... I can't. I don't know about you, but I don't think I want respect from people who are so quick to generalize based on one person's opinion.

But I guess I should be careful what I say so I don't embarrass the entire gay community. Because that's entirely how that works.

[dave] said:

Hey gaygamer folks, thanks for putting some resistance into the interwebs on this. Well done!

@Suzuki: Gosh you're persistent, aren't you? Check this out: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

Limeade said:

I was offended/irritated. Anyone that uses the word "gay" as a pejorative deserves all the flack that they receive. This isn't something that casts a positive light by association on the LGBT community at all. Leave the jokes to comedians.

That said, I'm glad he responed. I appreciate his apology.

RawSteelUT said:

Wow, that's got to be the most insincere apology ever.

Seriously, reading it makes me think the guy had a 2K suit behind him, assuming it was written by him at all and not by said suit.

Guy's a douche.

Gareth said:

I can see what he means about hypo macho bromance. While I do love bromance in my fiction, and believe me I LOVE bromance, its one of the reasons I loved Scrubs so much (Guy Love is my favourite song) I hate bromance when it is phrat boy bromance (i.e. Army of Two, that was just painful).

Thanks for taking the time to tell me why it was offensive.

One thing that seems to happen now is when someone says something offensive some people will talk about his right to say that and he shouldn't apologise but at the end of the day, surely apologising for offense caused (even if unintentional) is simply part of showing respect. Are people really arguing for the right to not show respect?

Eric said:

I don't know about anyone else, but I'd be so *there* if there actually was a popular game about Gay Space Marines out there. How awesome would that be ^_^

I was hoping Mass Effect 2 might've thrown me a bone this go around, but alas...

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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