Game Workers Unite Slams ArenaNet for ‘Inciting Further Harassment’ of Employees

Game Workers Unite has released another statement regarding the ArenaNet firings, slamming the studio for “inciting further harassment” of its employees. They cite co-founder Mike O’Brien labeling Jessica Price‘s tweets as “attacks on the community” as validation of this harassment.

Last week, narrative designers Jessica Price and Peter Fries were fired by Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet over Twitter disputes with fans of the game. Game Workers Unite released a statement earlier this week condemning the studio for not standing up for their employees, and today they released another statement slamming them for “inciting further harassment.” Rather than a general defense of Price and Fries, this statement details their failings in curbing harassment, and in some ways validating the behavior.

“Not only has no attempt been made to address the harassment, ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien escalated it by characterizing Price’s interactions as ‘an attack on the community,'” reads the statement. “O’Brien’s comment has encouraged further harassment of the pair by framing them as enemies of the community, implicitly validating the attacks that were already ongoing. As Price herself said on Twitter today, ‘the firing wasn’t the punishment–the use of the mob was.'”

Game Workers Unite says that four years after GamerGate, studios like ArenaNet need to recognize the “implications and consequences of their actions and statements.” Already, there have been reported attempts made in the wake of this incident to get female employees at other game studios fired, using the validation that they’ve received from the situation as an excuse to incite harassment campaigns. Ettin64 on Twitter recounted on that a friend’s employer had received numerous letters demanding that she be fired for nebulous reasons.

This space in the games industry is incredibly volatile right now, and with a hateful campaign that shares resemblances to it fresh in the memories of many of us, it’s something to be deeply concerned about. You can read this most recent statement in full on the Game Workers Unite blog.