Four days after provoking debate about his comic strip’s most notorious joke, Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik offered an explanation of his position about the strip and the actions that followed it. He expressed many regrets.
During an interview this weekend, Penny Arcade artist Mike Krahulik said that he thought pulling the Dickwolves merchandise from the Penny Arcade store as a ‘mistake’. The merch, if you recall, ended up making fun of people who took offence to a rape joke in a World of Warcraft comic (the comic, overtly, was about the way players handle or think about missions). Today, Krahulik clarifies his statement during the interview, and also offers an apology for the way he originally handled the reaction to the comic strip.
So let me start by saying I like the Dickwolves strip. I think it’s a strong comic and I still think the joke is funny. Would we make that strip today? Knowing what we know now and seeing how it hurt people, no. We wouldn’t. But at the time, it seemed pretty benign. With that said I absolutely regret everything we did after that comic. I regret the follow up strip, I regret making the merchandise, I regret pulling the merchandise and I regret being such an asshole on twitter to people who were upset. I don’t think any of those things were good ideas. If we had just stopped with the strip and moved on, the Dickwolf never would have become what it is today. Which is a joke at the expense of rape victims or a symbol of the dismissal of people who have suffered a sexual assault. the comic itself obviously points out the absurd morality of the average MMO where you are actually forced to help some people and ignore others in the same situation. Oddly enough, the first comic by itself is exactly the opposite of what this whole thing has turned into.
There are people who were offended by or hurt by the joke in the strip and rather than just let it go we decided to make a second strip. That was a mistake and I apologise to this day for that strip. It was a knee jerk reaction and rather than the precision strike back at our detractors that we intended, it was a massive AOE that hurt a lot of innocent people. We should have just stopped right then but we kept going and made the merchandise. Had we left it alone, the ongoing tension about the whole thing might have subsided but Robert made the call to pull the shirts. In hindsight all this did was open the wound back up and bring on a whole new wave of debate. Any action we took at the time just dug us deeper regardless of what it was. What we needed to do was stop. just stop. I apologized for it at the time and I will still apologise for it. Everything we did after that initial comic strip was a mistake and I regret all of it.
You can read the rest of the post here.