‘No. Not here. Not in my space,’” she said.
July 11, 2018 3:03 PM Subscribe
Inside the Guild Wars 2 meeting that’s shaken gaming [Polygon] “Jessica Price, who was fired by ArenaNet last week for arguing with fans of the company’s Guild Wars 2 MMO, said she feels betrayed by how the company “folded like a cheap card table” when confronted by toxic fandom. In an interview with Polygon, she talked about the meeting in which she was fired, and castigated ArenaNet managers for their “highly unprofessional” reaction to a social media controversy.”
“Until last week, Price worked as a narrative designer on Guild Wars 2. Earlier this month, she wrote a lengthy Twitter thread about the differences between writing characters for linear, narrative-driven games and player characters in MMOs. A prominent Guild Wars 2 streamer and YouTube known as Deroir chimed in to disagree. Price later called Deroir out, tweeting: “Today in being a female game dev: ‘Allow me — a person who does not work with you — explain to you how you do your job.’” The tweet — and a follow-up in which she said, “the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me ... is getting instablocked” — triggered a fierce thread on the Guild Wars subreddit. [...] Price’s bosses, it turned out, agreed with the angry fans. Price was called into a meeting with a manager from the narrative department, a human resources person and ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien.• Fired ArenaNet dev calls dismissal 'an active solicitation of harassment' [PC Gamer]
“I was given no opportunity to argue my case,” she said. “My manager was on vacation. [O’Brien] spent some time insisting that developers must be friends with the company’s customers, and that it was unacceptable to say that we aren’t, even when we’re not on the clock. He told me I’d look back and regret this, because we were doing great work and I’d ruined it. “The whole thing was highly unprofessional,” she continued. “There was zero reason for him to be there. He wanted to vent his anger, and he had the power to command a woman to stand there while he took his feelings out on her, so he did. Then he walked out, [the manager] got my stuff from my desk and the HR person asked for my key card.””
Here's Price's unedited statement, collected from Twitter for easier reading:• Guild Wars 2's ArenaNet is telling women to sit down and shut up [The OP]
“"Hi, everyone. I've got a thing to say and then I'm going back off Twitter for a bit because I've had a vacation planned for a while and I intend to take it to the fullest. You can respond if you want, but I've got any notifications from people I don't follow muted, and I'm not going to check responses. If you're a legit industry/press person and want to get in contact, we have mutual networks through which you can do that.
Here's the thing you should be noting if you're a game dev:
Much of the narrative around this has been around 1) that I was fired; and 2) whether there was warning/discussion. That's missing a big portion of this. So let's talk about not how I was fired, but how it was announced. The announcement was an escalation. The company could have chosen to say 'their remarks don't represent the company, we don't agree with what they said, and they're no longer with the company.'
That's not what they did. They framed an interaction on my personal social media in which I told a few individuals who (I thought) were being assholes that I wasn't on the clock and wasn't going to feign affection for people who are being assholes as 'attacks on the community.'
They knew—or at least had a responsibility to know, in 2018—what would happen to a female game dev who was fired in response to an exchange about sexism. It would have been bad enough if they had just fired me and announced I was fired. But they *escalated.* They pointed to Peter and me as Enemies Of The Community. That wasn't just firing us and, oh well, if they get harassed, them's the breaks. That was active solicitation of harassment. And their silence in condemning the harassment is profoundly telling.”
“It's easy to see how this kind of interruption can play out in online spaces like Twitter. Don't like what a woman in game development has to say? Go ahead and dump your opinion on her timeline. Then throw in some criticism about her work while you're at it. "Dictating someone's job to them is not something anyone has to listen to," Wired's Julie Muncy tweeted earlier today. " Personal Twitters are not the place for professional feedback. If you came to my door and very politely told me how to do my job, still being a dick there."• ArenaNet Fires Two Guild Wars 2 Writers Over Tweets, Sending a Bad Message to Designers and Consumers [Paste Magazine]
The patronizing of Price is extremely common. The Verge's Laura Hudson said a man once explained the VR game SuperHypercube to her despite writing a New York Times article on the game. And in a 2015 interview with CGTN America, Kotaku's Maddy Myers said she was "treated as though I didn't know anything about games," concluding that the men in games are "very condescending and treat women like they don't belong there." Case in point, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson has denied that mainsplaining even exists, arguing it's an "inherently sexist term" that is "designed to oppress men." Meanwhile, men aren't expected to sit down, shut up, and listen to gamers dictate their perspective on the gaming industry at all. Never mind face unemployment for it.”
“This kind of unsolicited drive-by advice happens all the time to women on social media, especially ones working in the games and tech space. It’s a form of sexism because it’s predicated on the belief that a man with experience as a consumer of a medium knows more than a woman who is a professional working in that medium. Even if that’s not the conscious intent of tweets like the ones Deroir wrote, it’s hard for women to read it any other way, since it happens to them, again, all the time. If you have any friends in games or tech who are women, ask them about it, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear the same story about random dudes who think they can tell them how to do their jobs. That’s what Deroir did here, and it’s disrespectful, and so Price responded in a way that’s appropriate.
So Price was outspoken in defending herself from a Twitter user’s sexism (no matter how unintentional it might’ve been), and Fries vocally supported her, and as a result both lost their job. Sure, that’s ArenaNet’s decision to make, but it’s a really bad one, for a number of reasons. Not only does it punish Price for standing up for herself, and Fries for defending a coworker, effectively telling women that they have to worry about speaking out against sexism when they encounter it. It also emboldens ArenaNet’s most vocal critics, the players who threatened to stop supporting the game if the company didn’t give in to their demands and fire two employees over something that shouldn’t even be seen as an offense, much less a fireable one.”
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