Microsoft in sexism strife again over XBOX rape joke
E3 demo used 'offensive' and 'inappropriate' language
A Microsoft-hosted demonstration of the XBOX Game “Killer Instinct” at the E3 expo has come in for criticism for including allusions to rape.
The incident has made it to YouTube and we've embedded it below.
If you can't bring yourself to watch, the video shows the on-screen demo of the game and offers audio of the banter between two players, one man and one woman, both Microsoft employees.
The woman woman is Ashton Williams, aka @AshtonisVULCAN, who describes herself as a “Community Coordinator at XBLA, Microsoft Studios”. The man is Torrin Rettig, a producer at Microsoft Studios.
At around 2:30 into the video, Rettig's character starts dealing out some punishment to Williams. She complains, but Rettig then says "There you go. Just let it happen and it will be over soon."
Later, Rettig says “You like this” and Wiliams replies “No, I don't like this.”
Williams has since Tweeted that the remarks were not planned.
The comments during the KI demo were not scripted. The demo included friendly ad-libbed banter and there was no ill intent.— Ashton(@ashtonisVULCAN) June 11, 2013
Microsoft has since apologised for the comments, with The Atlantic Wire carrying this apology from Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios:
"Yesterday, during the Xbox E3 briefing, one of our employees made an off the cuff and inappropriate comment while demoing ‘Killer Instinct’ with another employee. This comment was offensive and we apologize."
The expected amount of online outrage and apathy are now playing out in the usual fora.
The incident is Microsoft's third very public sexism gaffe in the last year. First came a limp wedding tackle joke in Norway. A Microsoft developer was later found to have used the hexadecimal string “0xB16B00B5” - which is often read as “Big Boobs” in the Linux kernel. ®