Xbox Live Gamer Suspended For Living In Fort Gay

When banned 26-year-old Xbox Live gamer called Xbox support to explain that his town of Fort Gay, West Virginia, was a real place and not a homosexual reference, he was threatened with account cancellation.

An unemployed factory worker who enjoys first-person shooters, Josh Moore found himself temporarily suspended from Xbox Live last week due to an offensive word in his profile. Moore lives in Fort Gay, a small town of under 1000 people in West Virginia's Wayne County. The word "gay" in the place name set off red flags with Xbox Live, and Moore found himself suspended, the town name removed from his bio.

Moore was rather ticked off.

"At first I thought, 'Wow, somebody's thinking I live in the gayest town in West Virginia or something.' I was mad. ... It makes me feel like they hate gay people."

Still, such a silly little mistake should have been easy to fix, right? Moore contacted Xbox customer service to clear things up.

"I figured, I'll explain to them, 'Look in my account. Fort Gay is a real place,'" Moore reasoned. But the employee was unreceptive, warning Moore if he put Fort Gay back in his profile, Xbox Live would cancel his account and keep his $US12 monthly membership fee, which he'd paid in advance for two years.

"I told him, Google it - 25514!" Moore said, offering up the town's ZIP code. "He said, 'I can't help you.'"

Moore was beside himself. Fort Gay mayor David Thompson tried to intervene on his behalf, only to be told that the town's name didn't matter and the word "gay" was offensive in any context.

Of course, this isn't the case. A change to Xbox Live policy earlier this year made it OK to express your sexuality in your profile or gamertag, after controversy arose over users being banned for identifying themselves as gay and lesbian.

It wasn't until the issue came to the attention of director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live Stephen Toulouse that the situation was finally resolved.

"Someone took the phrase 'fort gay WV' and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner," Toulouse said. "Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. ... When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension."

Toulouse explained that complaints generally come to the enforcement group with no real context. Players report language the deem offensive, and it's up to the team members to determine if it's actionable.

"In this very, very specific case, a mistake was made," he said, "and we're going to make it right."

Toulouse says team member training has been updated to better address issues such as these, so residents of Intercourse, Pennsylvania and Cumming, Georgia, can rest easy.

And who pays $US12 a month for Xbox Live?

Gamer Suspended Over Name Of W.Va. Town: Fort Gay [CBS News - Thanks icepick314!]

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Comments

    gay
    –adjective
    1.
    having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
    2.
    bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
    3.
    given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.
    4.
    licentious; dissipated; wanton: The baron is a gay old rogue with an eye for the ladies.

    I don't see what Microsoft has against happy people.

      Because none of their customers are ever happy :P

      You've never had to call Xbox support have you?

        I think we can say that he hasn't.
        Having said that, my last call to MS support wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The operator was actually helpful and informative. Pity about the half-hour+ wait times, though.

          I've only rang them once.

          15 minutes total, the girl on the line was helpful and chipper... and she got my xbox replaced within an hour of purchase.

          Xbox bricked about after about 10 minutes on day one... I rang them and she said to take it back to the retailer, who's details she asked for.
          When I took it back to the store they knew I was coming and had one ready at the counter for me.

          I've said it when I've been training staff, but good customer service experience can make a lifetime customer.

    I used to live in Camp Hill go figure :P

      So did I!!!! In Queensland!!! It was hilarious when my friend came out of the closet... 'Being gay in the Campest of Hills...'

    Thats bull, the word "gay" should not ne offensive by itself. If some writes "Gays Suck" I would consider THAT offensive.

    People are ignorant!

    Not that this would bother the American customer support, but what about Rooty Hill?

    How can somebody be an "unemployed factory worker"? If you're unemployed, you're not working in a factory, therefore you're not a factory worker. You're just unemployed.

      You're being pedantic and missing the point of the article...

        Actually weresmurf, I was going to raise the same point. It's a journalistic (totally a word right?) error (no offence Mike), and if errors go uncorrected, they will continue to happen

    I bet it's the most decorated fort in the army, just not in the military sense.

    Xbox's Live customer service is the worst service I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.
    I tried canceling my Xbox live gol account and they said we cant help you, and hung up....

    Just thought Id point out another flaw in their services :)

    Try canceling anything with Xbox phone support - took me 3 phonecalls to cancel my Phantasy Star Universe subscription. Mostly because the guy on the phone decided to cancel my XBL Gold subscription and leave the PSU subscription active.

    *headdesk*

    Reminds me of a WoW guildie I had named Bob Face... poor guy couldn't even get a facebook account because they thought it was fake.

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