Blizzard changed the name of a World of Warcraft Classic guild with the name “GAY BOYS” after mass user reporting. According to Ars Technica, the guild’s name was changed on Wednesday to an automatically generated name instead, “Guild ZFXPK”.
The only reasoning provided to guild members of “GAY BOYS” is that their guild name was reported as inappropriate. The direct quote from Blizzard is, “your fellow players reported your in-game name as inappropriate multiple times.” However, this email doesn’t state how the World of Warcraft Classic guild name is inappropriate.
Alongside the forced guild name change, Blizzard temporarily suspended the guild master/guild creator’s account. It’s possible the suspension was related to the guild name, however, it was shortly overturned afterward. “GAY BOYS” guild creator, Ahmil Jilani spoke to Ars Technica regarding the incident,
“To say there is anything inappropriate about the words GAY or BOYS is, in and of itself, inappropriate, childish, and discriminatory,” Jilani stated. “Individuals that found the name inappropriate should be the ones taking a good look at themselves in the mirror, because this is 2019, and we have a right to exist as a community.”
The “GAY BOYS” guild appealed Blizzard’s automated name change on the Blaumeux server. They originally planned to march in World of Warcraft Classic as a protest to Blizzard’s handling of the situation. It’s unknown if this march will still take place as the guild name was reverted to the original one on Friday. Jilani informed Ars Technica of a moderator’s response that user reporting may lead to another takedown,
“There isn’t a way to stop people from reporting this name, as some find the way the term is used offensive. If you get actioned again, you can appeal like this, and we can look at it once more. For now, though, you have your guild name back!”
Jilani also spoke briefly about how his guild name has made him a target of harassment,
“If you reviewed my chat logs, you would see multiple messages from individuals through my recruitment process of getting us to where we are today, with individuals messaging ‘Fuck the gays, reported,’ amongst other extremely hateful and discriminating comments… These are the individuals that find our name inappropriate. Giving in to their demands only means that you are siding with them as a company, which, after a decade of playing your games, is a surprise to me.”
Blizzard’s End User License Agreement doesn’t directly address discrimination regarding sexuality. Although, an excerpt possibly related to this incident states,
“You further represent and warrant that you will not use or contribute User Content that is unlawful, tortious, defamatory, obscene, invasive of the privacy of another person, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, racist or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate. Blizzard may remove any User Content and any related content or elements from the Platform at its sole discretion.”
This news reflects yet another controversy surrounding Blizzard after getting caught up in the Hong Kong protests. Which lead to Blizzard employees staging a walkout in response.