February 8th, 2006

Gay Activist Group Pressures Blizzard on WoW Policies

Last week GamePolitics reported that a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) guild in World of Warcraft had been warned for violating Blizzard's Terms of Service. The issue was whether advertising a "LGBT friendly" guild was in violation of WoW's sexual harassment policy, which stated that you could not discuss sexual orientation in an "insulting" fashion.

The official Blizzard reprimand caused an outcry in the gay community, and many accused the WoW publisher of being discriminatory toward homosexuals. Kotaku subsequently reported that Lambda Legal, an organization which champions gay civil rights, was looking into the incident for potential violations of California's anti-discrimination laws.

Yesterday, Lambda Legal took an official position on the WoW dust-up. According to Kotaku, they sent a letter to Blizzard, questioning their policies on harassment, and asking for a cessation of apparent discrimination.
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Cops Say No Video Game Link in Robida Rampage

"Investigators have found no evidence that video games played any role in Jacob Robida's (seen at left) killing of Gassville Reserve Police Officer Jim Sell."

That's the word in today's Baxter Bulletin, an Arkansas newspaper.

Although Jack Thompson has been suggesting a link, Massachusetts prosecutor Paul Walsh says there is no evidence to support the claim.

"My look at the search warrant (for Robida's home) was that the investigators turned up no video games," Walsh told the Bulletin. "From the information we have here, there is no proof video games were involved."

UPDATE: The Boston Herald reports today on the Nazi literature and other items found in Robida's apartment. These include "The Turner Diaries," a book described by Robert Trestan, civil rights counsel of the Anti-Defamation League of New England as "a hard-core, neo-Nazi, racist, fictional account of white revolution in America. It's inspired people who have committed very, very violent acts, including Timothy McVeigh."

Game Attorney's Close Encounter with Florida Legislature

You remember Tom Buscaglia, right?

Unlike the other Miami attorney who gets mentioned on GP, Tom is a hardcore PC gamer who also represents game developers. He is also a card-carrying member of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

In addition to his busy schedule, Tom maintains a blog. Worth checking out is his description of an appearance he made yesterday before the Florida House of Representatives, which is contemplating their version of the video game bill brought before the State Senate by Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

Tom was asked to appear by the ESA, and I'll let him explain why in his blog entry. Notably, he mentions that the bill's nominal sponsor, Rep. Dennis Baxley, had never seen a video game until being brought into the political fight by Diaz de la Portilla. As Tom describes the process:

"...it was interesting hanging with a bunch of industry representatives and lobbyists and learning a little more about the process. But the whole thing of listening to this Baxley guy rant on about his warped perceptions about games, and then getting only 5 minutes to respond by addressing the committee comprised of a bunch of folks who were rally not that interested in what was going on anyway, was a bit much for me."

"The only problem I had was when I compared this uproar about video games to the uproar in the 50's about rock and roll. One of the representatives (a 30 something guy who very obviously was not there at the time) objected to my invoking the name of 'Elvis' to make my point. He could not see how anyone could compare Elvis to these evil violent games, which he referred to as an 'abomination... Of course, that is exactly how Elvis was being referred to in the 50's."

By the way, Tom mentioned that the Business Regulation Committee's sessions are taped. The video should be available on committee's website in a day or two.