Community Manager Fired After Calling Donald Sterling ‘A Victim’

Community Manager Fired After Calling Donald Sterling ‘A Victim’

Game studio Turtle Rock (Left 4 Dead, Evolve) has let go of its community manager following a controversial tweet in which he called disgraced LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling “a victim” who “has the right as an American to be an old bigot in the security of his own home”.

Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for 30 years, was banned from the National Basketball Association this week following a series of racist comments he made in audio tape obtained by TMZ and Deadspin. As a result of what became one of the week’s biggest national news stories, the NBA plans to force Sterling to sell the team.

Earlier today, Turtle Rock community manager Josh Olin tweeted the following:

Fans immediately criticised the comments, and this afternoon, the Turtle Rock Twitter account apologized, calling Olin a “former community manager” in their tweets.

Olin also confirmed what had happened, calling the incident “very poorly handled by malleable management” in a tweet this afternoon:

UPDATE: A representative for Turtle Rock declined to comment. When reached by Kotaku, Olin sent over a statement:

Anyone who follows me knows my tweets were not in support of Sterling’s actions. Rather, they were promoting three core tenets I believe in: 1) The harm sensational media presents to society. 2) The importance and sanctity of your privacy within your own home. And 3) The right to be whatever you want to be as an American, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else. That last point not to be confused with condoning Sterling’s actions, which I don’t.

That said, it’s disappointing to see that a select few in Turtle Rock and 2K Games management bought into this hysteria without even having a conversation with me – or even thoroughly reviewing the context of the tweets themselves. Ironically, it serves as a great example of why I hold tenet #1 above so close to heart. That said, everyone should totally still buy Evolve. The guys and gals making that game know their ***, and are making it good.


  • Sterling and Olins comments would be totally legal in Australia due to a recent change to allow people to be racists.

      • I believe there was a recent amendment to legislation which says racist arguments and debates will not be prosecuted if they can be of some benefit to society. What it basically translates to is racism is no longer objectively bad but is now a subjective issue….

        • yeah pretty much – my understanding was that the legislation previously only protected descriptive uses of hate speech, i.e. explaining what n***** means and why it’s offensive wasn’t illegal – now, actually using the hate speech to express your subjective opinion is OK as well. So essentially we’ve legalised bigotry…..n1 australia :/

        • Close. The new changes will mean you can’t vilify or intimidate, except in cases of public discussion in any of the following areas: political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific.
          Given how broad this is, it means that any racial discrimination will be acceptable so long as it is public, while private discrimination will also be more permissible than currently; especially since deciding the terms of what is vilifying or intimidating will be determined by the general public instead of (as currently) by the group being discriminated against.

    • Freedom of Speech is great, so long as you follow the rules of freedom if speech

      • Freedom of Speech means the Government won’t come in and arrest you with no trial for what you’re saying. It doesn’t mean you should be allowed to say what you want whenever you want and everybody else has to not say anything about it.

        If you really want to test the lengths of Freedom of Speech then run through an airport shouting bomb.

        • I’d suggest yelling Allahu Akbar in the airport, instead. You know, you can still test the limits of freedom of speech, but you can test the waters of racism and religious acceptance in the country too. Not that I’m trying to unnecessarily bring these other two issues into this particular debate, but you know, what with this sudden, massive need to bring efficiencies into every aspect of our lives thanks to the audit commission’s report, doing three things instead of one, might be a more effective use of one’s time.

          Ooh, run with scissors too! That brings health and safety and a debate about common sense to the fore as well! That’s 5 things!!

      • Australia has no Freedom of Speech. That’s a US invention. You are free to express your political views. Anything else is not protected.

        • Not a US invention as such, maybe a US term. You’re right though, we don’t have any constitutional rights to freedom of speech as such, but there the outcome of the Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v Commonwealth in 1992 (199-fcking-2– 91 years after Federation!!) declared there were definite implications of freedom of speech using the representative democracy model in use as the precedent. I think there were two other High Court trials based on similar theme around that time, too

      • Freedom of Speech does not guarantee a lack of consequences for said speech. If I went around town dressed as a Nazi expounding the virtues of Aryan purity, I can be fairly certain that;

        A: Someone is going to kick my head in at some point
        B: I totally deserve that shit

        • I wish more people dressed as Nazis. Because that stuff is hard to sell due to Governments basically censoring those sales on the internet.

          • If you have some Nazi costumes you want to get rid of, you could always make it into a Wolfenstein/Nazi Zombies cosplay outfit, maybe sell it that way? The comicons in Australian wouldn’t deny you entry if it’s use was purely contextual, could they? I mean, I suppose they would reserve the right of refusal I guess.

          • Yeah, I’m really going to wreck a 2,000 dollar jacket to sell to some cosplayer for 50 bucks.

          • Oh, it’s proper, legit wares. Didn’t realise. So you can’t even palm that stuff off as military memorabilia through military forums, etc…?

          • That’s a lot of work to go through to maybe sell some items in off-site deals. The trust required from us and the other would be massive, plus the act of refunding may make people decide otherwise.
            A lot of dicks on the internet. Just recently we sold a WW1 bandolier pouch to someone in UK, who got it at a discount, complained and got a 10 dollar refund, complained again and got another 10 dollar refund (co-worker has bad logic) then he created a dispute on eBay to get a full refund.

      • I hate this argument. You have freedom of speech, that doesn’t give you freedom from consequences or means that your employers have to put up with you violating their policies.

        This guy’s freedom of speech was in no way infringed. Just like the NBA’s freedom of choice was not infringed by them giving him a lifetime ban for breaking their rules.

    • Olin just seems to be misguided, not bigoted, and I’d hope that the laws never affected what he said. Sterling’s just a tool

    • Actually, that hasn’t happened yet. It’s being brought before Parliament but is still just in conception. Hopefully it’ll get shut down in the Senate.

      • Considering how even other Coalition governments in Australia and coming out and saying “what the hell are you doing? Knock it off” I doubt the legislation will survive. Then again Abbott and Co. have been making some really bizarre or stupid decisions lately, so maybe they are willing to force through things that will bite them in the ass.

        • It’s their 1st year in Parliament. Most people will forget about a majority of the perceived “stuff-ups” closer to election mostly because the Coalition has the advantage of having most traditional media outlets on “their side”.

          Which means they will be very easily a) shift blame for something to the Opposition closer to election or b) find something to woo the voting public and said media will splash it all over their pages both a and b result in thoroughly drowning out everything that was perceived to be wrong from this period come election time.

    • Just want to point out that the proposed changes to s18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (1975), are just that, proposals that haven’t gone to Parliament yet.

  • While some this is true. Sterling is a known racist and has been sued before and lost because of claims discrimination. This tape isn’t the main reason for all this, it is the catalyst for the league to get rid of him.

  • Freedom of expression isn’t condition, even if you find it offensive. Stop caring about what idiots say and focus on the big picture.

    ‘Stick & stones, unless you’re a minority.’

    • I know right. Let’s stop wasting money on anti bullying programs. Kid’s should be able to say whatever things they want to each other. Boys will be boys. Toughen up and be a man.

      (Your ideas on freedom of speech suck.)

    • been having so many problems with comments on the whole network lately. for about 2 weeks i would log in and it wouldnt show my username and let me see recent replies it would just continue to say log in.

      Now it is saying i am posting to fast every time i submit a comment. for every comment no matter when lol.

      • You too? I thought it was just me.

        It’s greatly improved now but I’m still getting cases where I’m told I’m commenting to fast even if I make one post and then another two hours later.

    • +999 (I can only upvote once).

      What most don’t understand is that Free Speech is a two way street.

      • Yeah, the NBA are exercising their free speech, and their right to control what happens in their *privately run* competition, to tell him to sod off. If someone wants to ban you from their establishment, you can’t force your way in by yelling free speech. Its their space, not yours, and they’re not required to let you derp it up.

  • Wow, ironic almost? He just became the victim of what his tweet describes.

    • Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom from consequences. Otherwise it’d be a violation of freedom of speech for a retailer to fire someone for verbally abusing customers.

      • But it’s not illegal for someone to express their opinion in their own home? (referring to the basketball dude, Im assuming he was recorded in-home). And it sure as hell isn’t illegal for someone to express their opinion on their personal twitter account.

        The furthest stretch you can make, is that it is “in violation of company policy to represent in a way that is adverse to our mission statement” blah blah. But even then, the twitter guy didn’t take such an action …

        He’s literally being fired over an unpopular (yet true) opinion. There’s no other way to spin that.

        • No, it’s not illegal. But he’s not being imprisoned. Neither of them have suffered any legal ramifications. They’ve just been told by private entities to take a hike. Something that is totally within the rights of those private entities.

          He’s been fired because he works in PR and his job is primarily to build goodwill/community and make the company look good. And he did the opposite.

          The opinion that Sterling has the right to be a bigot is arguably true (have bigoted opinions, yes, acting on them is another matter). That he is a victim is not. If what was happening was not allowed by the NBA’s contract arrangements, I’m pretty sure we’d be hearing about it.

          • USA private entities are also within their right to tell people to take a hike because they wore blue socks. It’s crazy, ridiculous, and most-times good that Australia isn’t that way.

          • On the other hand, if you do something (making the company look bad) that is directly contrary to the reason you’re employed (making the company look good), that’s pretty normal. Not doing your job is pretty much the ultimate reason for getting fired.

        • He’s being fired because he isn’t upholding the values of the organisation. It’s a legal thing to do here in Australia too.

          One of my favourite teachers from high school was fired because he came out as a homosexual. He was fired. Totally legal in this country.

  • So much for “I don’t agree with what you say, but i’ll defend til death your right to say it”?

    • He has every right to say it. They’ve not being arrested and prosecuted for being a bigot (or supporting a bigot). They’ve just suffered social ramifications which are entirely consistent with freedom of speech. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean people have to put up with you, though, let alone continue to employ you. Private entities, like the NBA and Turtle Rock are not obliged to put up with people saying stupid shit, and have every right to kick people saying stupid shit out.

      • Social ramifications don’t include being fired immediately and totally. That’s a massive difference between saying/thinking “wow I think this guy is a dick”, to actually firing him or doing anything at all.

        You’re forgetting this is only possible because of USA work laws. This kinda shit would never fly in Aus.

        • Uh, yeah, they do. If you call a customer a ‘fucking nigger’, you’re getting fired instantly. If you work in PR and make your company look bad, that’s pretty reasonable grounds for dismissal. In Australia.

          • Twitter-dude made a company look bad by posting from his private twitter account about pointing out something that was true/legal? Damn, that’d be a tough stretch for anyone to prove, that the aforementioned action was so much in violation of company policies that it warrants an instant dismissal.

            Stop trying to compare USA and Aus, it’s not going to happen any time soon. And it doesn’t work.

          • It may be a private twitter account, but it’s one that is obviously linked to his work, and that he occasionally does workish PR type stuff through. Even after being fired, he still has the company and its game linked in his little profile card.

            And again, the legality of what he said is entirely irrelevant. If his contract included a “don’t make the company look bad”, which pretty much every PR role I’ve ever heard of has, it’s extremely warranted. Whether you agree with it or not, whether it was true or not, whether it’s legal or not.

            If we’re not comparing the US and Australia, then stop talking about free speech, because outside of some specific rights (like political communication/voting), Australians don’t have an enforcable right to free speech.

  • I’m sure there is not a single person here that has never had a private conversation that is not racist or bigoted in one way or another.

    • On the other hand I doubt a single person here owns an NBA team or had those ‘conversations’ in public in a way intimately linked with their major PR position.

      That said, if I found out an employee of mine had said something like Sterling did, even in private, I’d drop them in an instant. Employing bigots is bad business in a multicultural society, because eventually that bigotry will have an effect, either on customers or other staff. In this case, it was doing a huge amount of harm to the NBA and Clippers brand, at very least.

      • That said, if I found out an employee of mine had said something like Sterling did, even in private, I’d drop them in an instant.
        Cool story, but can you legally do that? In Australia? Didn’t think so.

        Also, once again, I’d like to highlight the fact that the twitter-guy did absolutely nothing wrong. While NBA-guy was playing with fire for his actions, he didn’t do anything that’s not allowed. Twitter-guy was merely saying what a lot of people didn’t – that NBA guy was within his right to do what he did.

        Twitter-guy never said he supported NBA’s comments, which puts him in an entirely different boat and he shouldn’t have been treated the same as NBA-guy.

        • Depending on their contract, yeah. If they work in a PR position where I have a reasonable suspicion that their predelictions a prejudices could have a detrimental affect on the company, it’s entirely reasonable. People get fired for putting stupid shit on facebook *all the time*.

          He didn’t get fired for saying Sterling was legally allowed to say what he did. He got fired for calling a stupid-rich bigot a victim because someone got sick of it and called him out in a big way. And, y’know, failing to do his job which was make the company he worked for look good, not make them look bad on twitter by saying stupid shit.

    • Exactly.

      1. Being naked.
      2. Masturbating.
      3. Sex.
      4. Admitting to speeding while driving to work.
      5. Taking a prescription medicine that is not yours.
      6. Giving alcohol to a minor.
      7. ….

      The list goes on. Your home is your home. You can do things inside your home that are not fine to do outside of it.

      • Actually, I’m pretty sure the posession and use of prescription meds that aren’t your own is illegal. The transfer of them certainly is. Though, I doubt anyone would really care if you gave some of your post-op endone to a family member with a migraine.

        The alcohol thing depends on the relationship to the minor, as far as I know. I think only guardians are legally allowed to provide alcohol to minors, though that may vary by state.

        Most significantly though, this isn’t about legality. Neither of these guys have been arrested for what they’ve said. And that’s the only thing that the right to free speech protects against. It doesn’t protect against other people using their own rights to show you the door. There’s no legal right to own an NBA team or work in PR, and those are the things being curtailed, not speech.

        • Example:

          Some CEO is fired cos a photographer caught him in his house naked and giving a sip of wine to his 10yo kid. His company fires him, cos it ‘looks bad’.

          But, who are they to say what is right and wrong? We have the law in place so it can define for us what is right/wrong. Just because a couple of board members at the company was heavily opposed to nudist culture, and a couple were ultra-conservative and didn’t have any alcohol in the house .. does that mean the dismissal of CEO was just? CEO wasn’t breaking laws, wasn’t heavily breaking any moral ‘rules’, and wasn’t representing his company at the time. Is the dismissal just?

          If you really think about it, the company is being bigoted for firing CEO.

          Wikipedia definition of bigot:
          Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust or hatred on the basis of a person’s opinion, ethnicity, evaluative orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

          The company board members took their own prejudices about how they think the world should be, and applied it in a negative way to the CEO. If that isn’t bigotry in a nutshell, then I dunno.

          • Being naked and being a bigot are not comparable. Nudity is something that is socially regarded as having its place, circumstances where it’s okay. Like in one’s own home. Bigotry is not regarded as such. It may be legal, but it is not acceptable.

            That’s a pretty broad definition for bigotry. Opinion is odd to include, since being afraid or untrusting of someone whose opinion is that there’s nothing wrong with stabbing people at random is pretty reasonable and not at all bigoted. It’s bigoted to say “all black people are dangerous”, but not “all people who think murder is fun are dangerous”. And the opinion category is the only way you could fit nudity and giving booze to kids in there, unless they were expressions of a protected category (such as nudity involved in pagan worship, or wine as a part of communion or other religious observance).

            Would firing someone for liking to be nude in their own home be a dick move? Yes.
            Would it be bigotry (leaving aside the above exceptions)? No.

  • He must have known he was going to get fired. You don’t come back from that.

    Just because he had the right to make racist comments doesn’t mean you need to defend his right as a complete fucking random to the issue, in a public forum.. What a fucking twat.

  • Maybe Mr Olin should have expressed his opinion in an other format … Twitter really doesn’t cut it when trying to say the below in 140 characters.

    “Rather, they were promoting three core tenets I believe in: 1) The harm sensational media presents to society. 2) The importance and sanctity of your privacy within your own home. And 3) The right to be whatever you want to be as an American, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else. That last point not to be confused with condoning Sterling’s actions, which I don’t.”

  • And 3) The right to be whatever you want to be as an American, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else. That last point not to be confused with condoning Sterling’s actions, which I don’t.

    Ouch. I’d say that his removal from the company was correct. Believing that racist attitudes and commentaries are not harmful to others is the mark of not the greatest people.

  • Getting fired because your opinion isn’t popular. Everyone is so soft cock now.

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