Publisher THQ Nordic has issued an official apology letter addressed to the company’s employees, investors, and customers after last week’s disastrous publicity stunt. THQ Nordic held a public AMA (Ask Me Anything) last week on notorious message board 8chan, which is widely known for its association with racist content and child pornography. The stunt caused an immediate public backlash which has now led the company to officially address the controversy.
Following the public’s overtly negative reaction to the event, THQ Nordic’s PR and Marketing Manager Philipp Brock took to Twitter to apologize for the decision, calling it short-sighted. Brock’s comments, which insisted that the choice to use the controversial site was not intended to be “edgy” but rather only came about thanks to lack of knowledge of the board, were swiftly criticized by the industry for lacking self-awareness and responsibility.
Now, Lars Wingefors, the chief executive and co-founder of THQ Nordic AB has issued a second, more formal apology for the AMA. The official statement is brief but direct, seeing Wingefors take full responsibility for the fallout of the event and apologizing for the light which the AMA cast THQ Nordic in. Much like Brock’s apology, the latest statement condemns the illegal content associated with 8chan, though Wingefors goes on to state that processes are being put in place to assure that nothing like this can happen again.
The apology does not comment on any possible repercussions for the organizers of the event, prompting many to ask if managers like Brock will face any consequences for their role in the PR nightmare.
While Wingefors apology is a step in the right direction, the occurrence of the AMA in the first place speaks to a much deeper, systemic issue in the video game industry. It is an uncomfortable question to ask but it must be addressed: why does this industry seem to accept toxicity?