Yesterday, Matt Schnee, a web engineer for Blizzard Entertainment, suggested an employment blacklist for supporters of GamerGate.
Unfortunately for Schnee, this suggestion was met with the expected amount of outrage. Supporters, and even some opponents of GamerGate quickly pointed out the unethical and illegal nature of this idea. According to this aggregated list of state laws, any attempt at blacklisting of potential or former employees is illegal in some form in more than half of the US. In response to these criticisms, Schnee made the situation worse with a few more clumsy tweets before offering a non-apology to the public.
The specific “problem” that Schnee is referring to here is apparently that GamerGate supporters are able to obtain jobs. Also, the fact that an engineer’s mind so quickly goes to an illegal solution to a perceived problem is not very encouraging to Blizzard’s fanbase. Even if Schnee was not aware of the illegality of blacklists, there is still an ethical concern here. Regardless of legality, attempting to bar people from work in an entire industry sounds like the kind of idea that shouldn’t even make it past an engineers mouth, let alone posted on Twitter for the whole internet to see.
Here, we see Schnee’s apology. The problem is that he’s still framing himself as the good guy in this situation. The man who proposed a blacklist against an entire group of people based on an ideology just wanted to “promote healthy discussion.” That said, it is still an apology, which is far more than most people have offered regarding negative actions towards GamerGate. It’s apparent in later tweets that Schnee has at least learned that he should think before posting insanity on social media.
This story seems to be over for now. Schnee seems to have learned that he should think a little harder on things before posting them to Twitter. The original tweet, however, gave us a valuable insight to Matt Schnee’s thought process. Personally, I hope that his generalization of the 20,000+ behind GamerGate does not affect his work at Blizzard. Hopefully, Schnee’s apology becomes a trend for other figures in the games industry who have demonized the supporters of GamerGate.
For discussion regarding GamerGate, check out this subreddit.
How do you feel about this situation? Are you buying Schnee’s apology, or do you think he’s just trying to save face in response to the many tweets calling him out on his horrible idea? Let us know in the comments!