Subnautica Dev Fired Over ‘Hateful’ Statements

Subnautica Dev Fired Over ‘Hateful’ Statements

Subnautica’s sound designer Simon Chylinski has been fired following outcry over insensitive statements made on his Twitter account.

Subnautica is an underwater survival game full of eerie animal noises and a techno soundtrack. Over the weekend, fans of the game discovered a history of racially insensitive tweets and tweets critical of gender diversity on sound designer Chylinski’s account. The tweets appear to have been discovered following the resurfacing of a 2016 poll made by game director Charlie Cleveland. The poll asked if players would rather have the ability to “play as a woman” or have developer Unknown Worlds “improve [the] core game.”

Cleveland subsequently deleted the poll, to which Chylinski had responded in 2016, “we need a ‘diversity’ slider in the options. It will make the character progessively [sic] darker more feminie [sic] and less sexy.” Cleveland called Chylinski’s behaviour “trolling” in early February.

Subnautica Dev Fired Over ‘Hateful’ Statements

Twitter users subsequently found many questionable statements in Chylinski’s Twitter feed, including tweets about immigration claiming “importing random ppl from the 3rd world is also importing 3rd world tier crime rates and IQ.”

Another tweet mocked a poll on YouTube about gender diversity by referencing attack helicopters, a meme commonly used to make light of transgender issues.

Other tweets make light of global pay inequalities between men and women, praise colonialism, or reference “SJW logic.” While some of these statements seem to be made at least in part as trolling, it was enough for Unknown Worlds to take action.

Subnautica Dev Fired Over ‘Hateful’ Statements

At the start of February, according to his Twitter feed, Chylinski had been working on a Subnautica expansion. Today he tweeted “So. I just got fired…”

Game director Charlie Cleveland confirmed that Chylinski is no longer with developer Unknown Worlds, telling Kotaku, “Over the weekend we discovered that one of our team members had made many hateful statements online that are against our company values. After discussing the matter with him, we decided to stop working with him immediately.”

Subnautica has been positively received since its release from early access. The sound in particular has been praised by players.

Sea creatures all have distinct sounds, and the soundtrack changes depending on which area of the game players are in. Given this, it’s easy to see why many fans were disappointed by this behaviour from a member of the development team.

The game’s development team also drew political attention in 2016 when Cleveland explained that he wouldn’t be adding guns to the game as a statement against gun violence.


  • Did he get fired for the statements or due to the backlash the statements caused recently, and the developer is just saving face?

      • Oh no, definitely the former. Cleveland blew up briefly on Twitter when he was made aware of the comments, clearly genuinely pissed. This is a guy so pro-niceness that he chose not to put guns in his game as a political statement.

        • I mean… is that bad? Whatever happened to just… not being a dick? It seems like in this day & age, unless you’re going out of your way to make Bill Burr-esque jokes (and I love Burr — don’t get me wrong — but most people aren’t that funny) you’re immediately labeled an SJW. What if you just don’t feel like potentially pissing people off? Why is being considerate suddenly this horrible thing?

          *I’m not saying you specifically think this way. Just speaking generally.

          As for why he was fired… why does it matter? Both reasons are perfectly valid.

          If the guy’s boss had a genuine problem with what he was saying, and only found out when he discovered his messages on Twitter, then obviously Simon knew he’d be in hot water if he ever expressed his real views on these subjects, and probably wouldn’t have been hired to begin with. Have any of you ever said anything even close to what this guy was saying on Twitter in a job interview, or shortly after being hired? Not if you actually wanted the job, I’m betting.

          If he was fired for damage control, then his boss felt he was doing more harm than good. And if “This person is hurting my company” is not a valid reason to let someone go, then… no one is allowed to be fired… ever.

    • It’s both, they’re not unrelated. A studio has a right to protect itself against a backlash, whether that backlash is even warranted or not. You don’t stand on principals of free speach for a single employment if that stand threatens the value of your company or the many jobs that you provide to the rest of your employees. And in this case, there would not be a backlash if the comments hadn’t been made in the first place. So he got fired both for making the comment so and because those comments caused a backlash.

    • its funny because throughout human history there has been a group of people that identified as attack helicopters, and who have been killed and discriminated against because of that identity.

      Oh wait. Not there hasnt. So its not really the same, or funny. Its just dismissive of real human suffering to make a half-baked meanspirited joke at the expense of a group which has always been maligned and suffered at the fringes of society.

      • Or, sometimes a joke is just a damn joke. Christ, there are seriously people so far lost in the chop on their shoulder that they consider everything to be offensive.

        I’m not saying this guy is a model citizen or anything, but getting mortally offended because someone dares mention identifying as an attack helicopter is ridiculous hypersensitivity.

  • Should being an intolerant asshole outside the workplace give reason to fire someone? Don’t agree with his opinions at all, but feels very well much like groupthink TM.

    • Agreed. As soon as we get into the territory of firing people due to their political beliefs, regardless of how inflammatory, we step into a dangerous territory.
      I legitimately feel there should be protections against this, whether you lean left or right.

        • I was referring to the views on immigration. Regardless of how poorly and inflammatorily articulated, this is unquestionably a political belief.

          relating to the government or public affairs of a country.

          Transgenderism and gender equity are social issues that I wasn’t referring to. Your political leanings like determine to a great degree where you fall on these issues, so that’s worth mentioning.

          Don’t worry though. I won’t bother discussing it with you. I’ll just go and ‘get stuffed’ instead.

      • You cannot be fired for your political beliefs. You can be fired for how you express them in relation to your job and it’s codes of conduct. Pr people who work for a company that wants mass appeal and inclusivity from its customer base should understand this. It’s not 1984, there’s no slippery slop, it’s just the basics of operating in the adult world.

        For instance, Christians believe that sinners go to hell. But if you talk about sinners in your office going to hell you will likely get fired.

        This is not abstract theoretical stuff. Nor is there an easy line or box. But that doesn’t mean it’s all or nothing. being concerned about thought police is not a reason to just say anything goes

          • Not a bad case either. I read the entire complaint, and if events transpired as outlined in court documents, he certainly has a leg to stand on.

          • That letter is very concise and well structured and I would wish more people would have read it.

          • Same. And in the process, put aside their presuppositions if only for a moment.

            It’s not the assault on women people make it out to be. It simply explains potential reasons why there are differences in male/female representation in tech and actually offers alternative approaches to reach higher representation.

      • I agree political beliefs should be protected and they are here but….

        importing random ppl from the 3rd world is also importing 3rd world tier crime rates and IQ
        Doesn’t sound very political. If you go through his tweets there is quite a few racist ones. So regardless of his political beliefs they had plenty of reason.

    • I agree with what you say, except it looks like he promotes Subnautica on the same account he used to post his own personal opinions. That’s not a very smart thing for anyone to do.

      • He’s one of the devs who worked on the game… why wouldnt you be promoting a game you worked on?

        • Mixing personal opinions, specially those that can be controversial or distasteful with your profession is stupid. The company has their own values and if he’s representing the company he has to follow their values. Why not create a personal twitter account completely separate and say what you want?

          • Weren’t these comments on his personal twitter account?

            Or should he create an entirely separate account under an assumed name that he posts all these comments under, then a separate one where he does all his professional stuff? Then wait until someone links the two and he gets fired anyway.

            The kangaroo court of public opinion is heading in a worrying direction.

          • Generally, companies recommend creating an entirely separate account if you are planning to do anything official with the platform.
            So yes to above. Personal accounts of people doing PR work often puts a note on the account bio saying that the views expressed in personal account does not reflect the views held by the company.

            Or if you are going to mix the use, then you do so very carefully to make sure you don’t bring your affiliated company to disrepute.

        • Not commenting on the situation, but it seems obvious to seperate your professional and personal lives.
          Shitting where you eat and results of doing so are far from being new or alien concepts in the world of business.

    • If it’s among friends and family? No.

      If you haven’t set your privacy options on Facebook/Twitter/Whatever then you’re making public statements. If you make inappropriate public statements then I’m fine with you being reprimanded by your employer. Especially if you use those same accounts to talk about or link to the work that you’ve done for that employer.

    • I don’t know. Hate speach is a criminal offense in many countries. Who you are as a person matters as much as what you can do. He’s free to go seek employment with a company who’s a better fit for his outlook.

      • ‘Hate speech’ is not a crime. Furthermore, if I say something that you don’t like or agree with, all of a sudden it’s hate speech? No, it’s called disagreement and people get their panties in a twist over opinion.

        Free speech is protected yet it seems the court of public idiocy is heavily influenced by garbage from the far left, somehow trying to invalidate anything that *isn’t* left as a hate crime, bigotry, homophobia or whatever else they conjure up.

        The world has gone mad.

    • “Should being an intolerant asshole outside the workplace give reason to fire someone? ”

      Yes, particularly when you openly advertise the fact that you’re associated with the company.

      As an employer, do you want your company and product associated with this? When’s the line drawn? Should we also employ ISIS supporters provided they keep their views ‘outside the workplace?’

    • Yes. Given their workplace/game was referenced on their personal twitter so the comments arent made outside work as such. See thats the thing about freedom of speech (depending on the country is involved, to a varying degree). You can say whatever you want, you just have to be willing to face the consequences and their are limits.

      One simple one… if you are working for a company and say such things outside work in a public arena, when they can sill be tied to work, you arent going to have your job for much longer.

    • I kind of see your point but think of it another way.

      We’ve seen time and time again brands be negatively affected because of social media reviews/pressure etc. based on something an employee of theirs did.

      How would you feel if the company took no action against the guy and as a result the game was boycotted and everyone (including innocent people) lost their jobs?

      The minute you put yourself out on social media, just realise you’re representing many things other than just your views.

  • Hahahahahahahahahahaha this is so laughable. He got fired because he didn’t gel with the ‘SJW’ logic of the developers…major disappointment. I love this game and have been playing for a year, but they need to check their shit and let people be people.

    All these SJW people nowadays need to chill out.

    • I got a better idea- all the asshole douchebags need to piss off and try and be less worthless people. I’m sick of scumbags like you acting like being a racist, disgusting piece of shit is “the norm” and the “SJWs” are the ones being unreasonable and unfair. “Let people be people”- right, let scumbags be scumbags. I got a better ided- how about we fuck that shit?

      If you can’t manage to not be a scumbag, then fuck off. This guy has paid, and I’m sure you will pay when you show yourself to be a scumbag and face the consequences for it.

      • Thanks for having the same logic that all far left people have nowadays; not let anyone say what they want and vilify those that do.

        Call me a scumbag all you want, I don’t mind. I do good for people and I’m proud of myself.

        Like I say here and I always say to those that know me, ‘chill out. Everything will sort itself out one way or another.’ And clearly here, this guy getting fired it did. I just don’t believe he should’ve been fired over these reasons. And I stand by that.

        • Maybe if it was your daughter or wife he’d slagged off you’d have a different opinion?

          • Of course I would. But I’m not going to get angry over his thoughts and opinions until they are directed at my loved ones.

          • As far as holding yourself to a moral framework, I guess fair enough if you’re going to just be blatantly nepotistic, but that seems an extremely bizarre thing to demand of others.
            For most people, they care about everybody on some level, kind of like how you care about the people closest to you, so it feels kind of similar when they see a total stranger getting treated poorly.

          • Thank you for demonstrating everything that is wrong with people like you.

            “If the behaviour of people contributes to the institutionalised discrimination of peoples that do not include me or my loved ones, it’s all good, we can all be chill: I because it doesn’t affect me, and those who are affected, because sheez, learn to take a joke! I mean, it’s not like I have any idea what is to be discriminated, but it cannot be so bad that you have to go all SJW near me and break my chill.”

            In other words, not only you don’t give a crap that other people are discriminated against, you also wish they could take it in silence, not to disturb the (read: your) peace. However, you are hypocritical enough to admit that other would be your tenor if the people affected included yourself or your loved ones. Thankfully, the status quo is one that historically has fiercely protected your race, gender, orientation, etc. and you get to feel that you’re entitled to your chill.

    • This is the same attitude that people have used throughout history to ensure the status quo. If every sjw chilled out nothing would change. That sjw logic was not making fun of trans people and calling immigrants stupid. These are not exactly noble stances that need defending, nor are they precious pearls of wisdom that social justice warriors have crushed from the world. They are the actions of a jerk. You can be fired for being a jerk, you don’t need social justice warrior conspiracies for that to happen.

      • “If every saw chilled out nothing would change.”

        haha see, I laugh at this so much because I’ve been in the presence of an SJW losing their mind over an issue that didn’t concern them. Every time an SJW loses their mind, the issues could mostly be resolved if they just chilled out.

        I’m not talking about the major issues, I am talking about the minor things. Like not being referred to as their correct gender. They lose their mind over the smallest things. Take a chill pill, or have a glass of concrete and harden up. This is the problem with everyone today.

        Yes, you can be fired for being a jerk. But in saying all that, you do have freedom of speech. Everyone is entitled to say what they want, when they want it. If he’s being racist, let him. It doesn’t effect the game he is working on does it? Are there racist things in the game? Anything sexiest in there? Nope, didn’t think so.

        They fired him over ‘hateful comments’ that didn’t go with company ‘values’. Fine, but to me it just seems like no one can voice their own opinion without fear of being called out by angry bands of SJW. Case in point, Kotaku, Gizmodo and Lifehacker comments. If it doesn’t gel with the general consensus, they prepare to be slammed for it.

        • You know what is always hilarious, watching someone get hysterical and upset over SJW’s getting upset. Priceless. Then again anyone who uses the moronic and meaningless term SJW is already a laughing stock. Because understanding the social complexities of why X is harmful to Y, takes intelligence, insight and empathy. You dont always need to agree but merely respect people who are different. typing the three letters S. J. W. and mocking those people takes nothing at all. Most definitely no intelligence, no insight, no empathy.

          Then again if you cant even understand why freedom of speech doesnt play into this, being that it is part of a workplace, in which contracts and code of practices are above the law of land, in terms of staff behavioural guidelines.

          • Good point. Those three words, SJW, are beneath me. I won’t use them. Social Justice Warriors need to chill out. Again, and again. People need to have a voice whether good or bad.

            And it was not part of a workplace. He wrote those comments on Twitter. He did not work for Twitter. Work saw those comments and didn’t like it and because they were against the work values, he was fired.

          • look at the tweets… he is talking about HIS game, while his profile bio mentions the game by name. thats like a hit and run driver in a work van. it doesnt matter if he wasnt driving to or from work, he is still representing his work. it doesnt matter if this dev was off the clock his social media says he represents his work, especially when he is talking about his work product.

          • Oh I know that. But that was what you originally said. You sai it was part of a workplace. It wasn’t. He was promoting his work via Twitter. That’s like me being involved in a hit and run while driving my own car but wearing a work uniform. Very different.

          • Every time any one posts anything on twitter, snapchat, Facebook or any other social media about their place of employment or work, one in which your work details are clearly readable. that IS a workplace.

            this wasnt a case of him on a private twitter, with no connection to work, talking about issues he believes in. People need to realise any time you are walking around in a uniform doing anti-social things you are making a statement and representing the company. whether you like it or not. Social media is no different.

          • That could get you fired for bringing the company into disrepute.
            A lot of places have in their fine print that uniforms are to be removed when leaving work for the day and are not to be worn in public.

        • Hey, you’re free to say what ever you like.
          You’re just not free from the concerquences.

          Once upon a time, you’d be linched for standing up for a black.
          Or saying the world was round.
          Or suggesting that slavery was wrong.

          Well, the world changed and standards changed along with it. Some people are struggling to deal with that it seems.

          Hateful, biggoted remarks were never ok. People are just being held accountable for it now.

          • Again, I understand what you’re saying. Racist remarks are not okay. My point is, WE need to stop getting angry over these things when they don’t concern us directly.

            We also need to give people the freedom to speak their own thoughts and opinions. Stopping people from speaking puts you right back to all those blacks that couldn’t speak up in the past. Or women that couldn’t vote. By not giving people a voice, whether positive or negative, you end up being that which you hate or fight against.

          • My point is, WE need to stop getting angry over these things when they don’t concern us directly.

            Respectfully, I don’t agree with this. You may be familiar with a poem by Martin Niemoller in the 1940s, First they came. The message is that we all have a responsibility to stand up to prejudice, even when it doesn’t concern us directly, because to not do so is to allow ourselves to be divided and persecuted on the terms of those seeking to do that injustice.

            Chylinski’s freedom to speak hasn’t been infringed, neither before nor after the fact. His Twitter account is still active, he’s still able to say what he wants, nobody is stopping him from speaking. But you know already that freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence – he’s free to say what he wants, others are free to condemn him for it, free to choose whether they want to associate with him in a business context, free to sever those ties if need be. Regardless of whether you think his being fired is reasonable or not, it’s not a case of freedom being curtailed.

          • I don’t understand you. Freedom of speech means having the ability to speak your mind. No matter what. Here, he spoke his mind on twitter and was fired. He continues to speak his mind and that’s fine.

            But from seeing this, there are probably ten others who wish to speak their mind, but are silenced because they fear losing a job. The reprocessing for speaking out it seems, are being fired. That’s not freedom of speech.

            Say what you want but fear being fired. No way. How is that freedom? All you do is silence people with opposing voices and allow the others to speak up even louder.

          • Your logic would mean someone who decides not to call their boss an arsehole to his face every day because they don’t want to be fired is having their free speech impinged. That’s nonsense of course, it’s not freedom of speech you’re advocating but freedom from consequence – you want people to be able to say what they want without consequence because they might fear that consequence. That’s not what free speech is or has ever been about.

          • As said before, freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence. He was not censored or told that he isn’t allowed freedom of speech. He was sacked because they company he works for doesn’t agree with what he said, he can say it all he wants, just now not while representing that company.

          • My first thought is how, but then my second is, what freedom of speech are you talking about as no country has true freedom of speech because, well just stupid.
            He was not censored, he was not punished under law for it, he was punished by a business, that was exercising their rights to protect their property and identity.
            So how was he punished for his freedom of speech?

          • Your earlier reply is in moderation I assume, so I’ll put this here instead: what you’re advocating is for anyone to be able to say anything without consequence, simply because the consequence might be negative. By that logic, someone who decides not to insult their boss because it might get them fired is having their free speech suppressed, which is obviously not the case.

            The other side of what you’re advocating is restricting free association. You’re saying that employees should be free to say whatever they like without consequence, but employers should not be free to choose who they do business with in response. This is the problem with the idea of unrestricted free speech and why it doesn’t exist anywhere in the world, because it impinges on other freedoms. To maximise freedom for everyone, not just for the individual, some of those freedoms must necessarily be limited.

        • A Nazi is badly beating a black person, who screams for help. An onlooker tries to jump to defend them. “Shh!”, you reprimand the onlooker, “don’t lose your chill! If you’re chill, everything will sort itself out.” After a while, the black person finally succumbs to his injuries and his screams die with him. “Ahhh”, you say, taking a big breath, “peace and quiet again! See? i told you that everything would sort itself out, no need to be a *spits* SJW. Nazis, I can take, but noisy SJWs breaking the chill? Those are the real and only evil in the world.”

    • “He got fired because he didn’t gel with the ‘SJW’ logic of the developers…major disappointment.”

      He was ranting about “third world IQ’s” to a far-right activist and referring to Indians as subhuman street shitters who have only acheived anything because of the white man.

      If taking issue with these comments make you an ‘sjw’, you’re insane.

      “but they need to check their shit and let people be people.”

      Really? So if this was a Muslim developer talking about how subhuman and awful white infidels are, you’d be okay with it?

      No, I suspect you’d rant about ISIS and MUH ESS JAY DUBBAYEWS.

      • What is MUH ESS JAY DUBBAYEWS?

        Yeah, I’d rant about ISIS because THEY ARE KILLING PEOPLE. That is a big difference to a guy calling himself an attack helicopter and a terrorist group.

        If he is racist, then not much can be done. Maybe he just doesn’t know any better and needs to be educated. But if he wants to say anything on twitter, then so be it. That is the platform.

        I recently read a rant on Twitter by a popular games reviewer. In said that, she went on about bullying someone and saying that men can’t be bullied because its just not the way it is. Other co-workers of hers then jumped on board and berated anyone that attempted to say she was wrong. It should be noted that none of the games reviewers were fired from their job, even those that told people to kill themselves…but a guy that is racist, he gets fired? Sorry, but maybe I’m not reading it correctly.

        • When people in the West kill because of homophobia or racism it is usually the alt-right that drives them, not Islamic extremism. This is an issue that is much more of a threat to the vulnerable people around you.
          I’m sorry to hear you ran into someone else who apparently said dumb stuff on Twitter, though. Maybe it’s for the best: I’m sure you can appreciate how little it would matter to you if someone came by and told you to just ‘chill’ about your grievances instead of listening to them, so perhaps you now have some perspective on how you sound when you say it.

    • Usually not. Look at his Twitter feed. There’s a smorgasbord of adulation from thousands of right wingers congratulating the hateful behaviour and condemning retribution. He’ll just get in where he fits in, just with a more anonymous persona.

    • Well no. Since guys like this always find work and it never ruins their careers. But sure stick with that imaginary persecution complex.

      The irony of ironies being that historically transgender people and immigrants, you know the groups he was making fun of, are the ones that find it hard to get work due to discrimination. I’m sure this guy will be fine

  • If you are an asshole in a public space then of course you should get fired for it.

    People think that you should have freedom of speech, which is fair enough, but you do not have freedom of consequence.

    If you say something that your employer doesn’t want reflecting back on them then being fired is a completely valid response. A private company does not have to deal with you being an idiot and saying stupid shit online.

    • Here’s the problem though: Who is allowed to determine what constitutes ‘stupid shit’?

      Saying ‘mass immigration from people of war-torn countries is our international duty’ may seem like stupid shit to a company run by conservatives. Would the termination of this employee be justifiable because they feel the remarks are stupid? With respect, this is not rhetorical – I’m genuinely curious as to your thoughts.

      • if a company doesn’t want one of their staff saying that then sure, they should be able to fire them.

        If a Fox News reporter had a history of posting on twitter “Trump is a terrible president” you bet your ass they’d be fired (or at least severely demoted) because it blemishes their image as the conservative news source.

        Once again, there is no concept of freedom of Consequence, every action has a reaction and if that can apply negatively to your company then they aren’t going to want to keep you.

      • It also depends in part on what the company’s own policies are. If they have a clearly stated policy regarding what is or isn’t acceptable behaviour for employees in social media and other public forums (eg Twitter) and this guy has violated that policy, that’s one thing. But if they had no kind of policy about it and have just fired him as a panic response to an online lynch-mob without attempting to come up with some kind of compromise solution with him first, then that’s very different.

      • “Who is allowed to determine what constitutes ‘stupid shit’?”

        Bro, he was literally talking about ‘third world IQ’s. He was responding to a far-right activist who’s openly racist.

        From the perspective of a moderate and reasonable person, these are hateful and moronic comments.

        Stop trying to pretend this is just a ‘political disagreement.’

        • I never for a second said they weren’t bad things to have been said. I happen to agree that he seems to generally be a bit of a trolling douche. What I ask is whether that constitutes a terminable offence?

          You could correctly label his comments as hateful in intent, sure, but they are not entirely inaccruate on the point of IQ. It is a fact that IQ’s in developing nations are generally lower on average than those of developed nations. This is due to the body’s physiological response to harsh living conditions. Cognitive development is inhibited, both in the womb and in the formative first 5 years after birth due to the body’s more urgent need for prioritising stable homeostatic conditions in the absence of food, water, proper shelter from enviorment, disease and myriad other sad realities of the developing world.

          An absolutely shitty thing to say, but you can’t really fault the accuracy of his IQ claim. You can only fault it’s intent – which is subjective – and that’s my point.

          You can’t for a second say that there isn’t a political aspect to this fiasco – conscious or not. People’s politcal persuasions form their identity in many respects and in turn, what they deem acceptable.

          • Suffice to say the employee in question said worse things that would not be fit for publication

      • I’m not going to comment of the specifics of the story but to answer your question, it’s already been determined.

        If the actions of an individual cause negative results for the company then you will find its grounds for dismissal in most industries and places.
        (Obviously not including wrong doing on the part of the employer)

        These aren’t new ideas or concepts.
        I can guarantee that even if a company agrees with everything an employee says, it quickly becomes irrelevant when it impacts the bottom line..


        • I agree. I just think that’s sad.

          Public perception is king. It’s a shame the public has such a mob mentatlity most of the time.

      • Your statement was political which is protected. This guy made comments about Indians being sub human, which is racist and isn’t protected.
        He made lots of comments on lots of topics, stupidity doesn’t really come into it when he clearly broke some rules.

    • I’m sure you’d have the same position for someone being fired for beliefs you share that someone has deemed as “stupid shit”.

      And destroying someone’s livelihood for making comments on Twitter seems like a suitably weighted response.

      To top it all off, it wouldn’t have “reflected on the employer” if it wasn’t for the Twitterati thought police patrolling social media, and the employer deciding to act on the wishes of the 0.00000001% of the player base that would have seen the tweets.

    • So if I support women’s reproductive rights, but my boss is Christian, it’s off to Centrelink for me?

      • no. Unless you call christians assholes or subhuman or post jokes about them. Then maybe. Welcome to adulthood. It also depends if youre in a country where christians are the majority and hold positions of power and influence, versus say making fun of transgender people, who are traditionally powerless and maligned, discriminated against and kept to the margins of society.

      • If you work for the Catholic education yes actually they are legally allowed to sack those that don’t abide by Christian teachings. I’m to lazy to link but just Google something like Catholic teacher sacked for being gay I’m sure you’ll find lots.

  • Okay – cool. I suppose we simply disagree on that point and that’s good. This kind of discussion is so important.

    We can’t discount the fact that today’s social media culture means the spread of conflicting ideas of seemingly everyone, including employees representing a business, runs rampant now.
    There would always have been the reality of ‘business thinks one way, employee thinks another’ however the actual impact of their views could not have been felt broadly before due to lack of reach. This is no longer the case.

    There are two solutions to this:
    – Everyone shuts up and doesn’t discuss their political beliefs in public out of fear of being terminated, thus inhibiting the process of open political discourse amongst non-pundits.
    – Everyone can simply get fired for working at a company where there is a public instance of political/ideological misalignment.

    Would this Subnautica developer’s ever have broadly spread his political sentiments without something like Twitter? I would say ‘no’. But this is simply the world we live in now, and it’s only going to get more prominent that things like this occur. I don’t think ‘fire who you want’ is sustainable, considering the nature of today’s with-us-or-against-us identity politics. Something’s gotta give.

    In an ideal world, Unknown Worlds (or any other company with a similar situation) could simply publicly denounce the attitudes of Chylinski whilst retaining him as an employee, stating that the opinion of an individual is an inalienable right that must be respected, whilst not necessarily respecting the actual views. An ideal world that we’ll never get to see because peoples’ emotions are so darn prohibitive.

    Fact of the matter is, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. This current political climate is so toxic and destructive.

    Take for example the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. During the SSM vote campaign, many companies came out (lol, no pun intended) in support of marriage equality.

    Sydney Symphony Orchestra chose not to state their position as they didn’t want to politicise their organisation. They just wanted to celebrate music. The backlash from the ‘Yes’ campaigners was SIGNIFICANT, with boycotts and other childish behaviour as a response to them NOT saying anything. If they said they supported the vote, they risk alienating those against marriage equality. They simply couldn’t win.

    Whether you state your political opinion, or not, you always lose. It’s a damn shame.

    • We live in a world where your opinions are recorded and published for the world to see. Some of those opinions come with some nasty concequences. It’s just that we’re used to existing in bubbles, surrounded by those who often share our beliefs.

      Companies are groups of individuals, hopefully alligned with a shared set of values and goals. I wouldn’t want to work for a boss who was a KKK supporter and I suspect my boss wouldn’t want to keep me on if I was one.

      If people want to hold ultraconservative ideas, they’re free to find other ultraconseratives to work with I guess.

      • Nor would I, however I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to use the grand wizard being your boss as an example.

        If we were however to use the James Damore case as a relevant and practical example, it’s easier to see how things aren’t always so clear cut. Herein lies the dangerous territory.

        I don’t propose to offer a solutions to this changing landscape, but it’s definitely going to become a bigger problem.

    • He was being blatantly racist. Stop picking out the one defensible action he did while ignoring the rest.

  • Here’s why this attack helicopter meme isn’t funny or clever: Nobody has ever been killed because they identified as an attack helicopter. Transgender people are frequently assaulted, discriminated against or murdered specifically because of how they identify their own gender. This is why it is offensive to compare the two scenarios sarcastically

    That’s the difference. But I’m sure it easier to just lol and meme and play devils advocate and both sides and feel super clever and completely unaffected.

    When the amount of people fired for having gross, dismissive and offensive “politics” or “opinions” comes anywhere close to the amount of people historically fired or looked over for jobs because of their sexuality or sexual identity, then we can start playing this game with a straight face. There is no slippery slope here.

    Until that point is reached (hint, it never will be), responses like this will remain as obfuscation, whataboutism, and privileged “I’m just saying” garbage

    He was in a pr position, he joked dismissively about serious things, and made remarks that would be considered offensive and unnaceptable in the majority of work places. In the grown up world that has consequences. There is no slippery slope here, you won’t be able to be fired for following a political party. But if you say racist things in the workplace you can’t say “hey those are just the beliefs of my political party”

    This hair splitting is easy to do when you are completely unaffected by discrimination and have no real understanding of how it manifests in individual cases or in systemic ways.

    • Nobody has ever been killed because they identified as an attack helicopter.

      Except in, you know, war.

      • How many people who identify as attack helicopters have been killed because of that identity during war? I’m curious to see the stats on that one.

        • @zombiejesus I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re deliberately missing the point here to be contrarian.

          The intent behind my comment is to highlight how ideologues often miss the big picture for the sake of perpetuating their own narrow ideas. The notion that there has been no greater suffering than the one they are experiencing, or in most cases online, the perceived suffering of another group or individual they are defending (often without invitation).

          Also @prohass your eye-for-an-eye position when you say:

          When the amount of people fired for having gross, dismissive and offensive “politics” or “opinions” comes anywhere close to the amount of people historically fired or looked over for jobs because of their sexuality or sexual identity, then we can start playing this game with a straight face.

          Isn’t actually helping anyone. We shouldn’t be operating with the ultimate goal of equal discrimination, just as much as we shouldn’t be operating with the ultimate goal of equal outcomes. We’ve got to approach each situation with a critical eye and always see the nuance and consequence of everything we are arguing.

          If there was a simple answer for the inequalities we all face in our day to day lives that didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, we’d already have it. I take issue with anyone who claims to know the solution to a problem that seems baked into the very nature of our species.

          This hair splitting is easy to do when you are completely unaffected by discrimination

          You’re right, that’s why it’s important to listen to voices from both the discriminated against and those who are seemingly unaffected (I disagree on that, but for the sake of productive discussion, i’ll follow your logic here). We can’t just listen to those with skin in the game to the exclusion of all others, they have inherent bias and often can’t or shouldn’t have to sift through the details. We need to listen to those who have enough distance from the situation as well who can break things down unemotionally and parse the shades of grey.

          Speaking of PR, why do you think it is that big companies often hire external PR firms to manage their image in times of crisis? Because those outside parties are able to see both the bigger picture and hidden details of your situation without dogma or bias. When you’re in the thick of it, you literally cannot see the forest for the trees.

          • The question served its purpose to highlight how you view the issue of gender identity to begin with – with what would appear to be no respect at all.

            When it comes to gender identity, prohass is right. The attack helicopter response presents the false equivalence of an obviously ridiculous response to the question to try to say “see, attack helicopter is stupid, just like any other non-binary identity”. It’s a slippery slope fallacy that tries to deliberately undermine a perfectly reasonable request to recognise a handful of extra identities that actually exist in the real world by painting them as equivalent to absurdity.

            I understand that transgender issues may not be something you’re well-versed in, not a lot of people are. Many trans people experience something called gender dysphoria, a distress caused by their gender identity not matching the gender they were assigned at birth. It can be debilitating and can manifest as feeling disgusted with their body in a way that can’t just be ‘fixed’ like an overweight person could. The attempted suicide rate for young trans people is over 40% in Australia; depression, anxiety and self-harm are all above 70%. It’s a really serious thing for them, even if it’s not serious for you.

            Add on top of that people who consciously refuse to use the gender identity they prefer when referring to them. We’re not talking accidental mistakes but wilful refusal. Imagine if someone at your work kept referring to a guy in the office as “Black Jim” every time they saw him because of his skin colour – it’s the same effect here, a seemingly minor thing that wears down at the person on the receiving end day-in, day-out, driving home that they’re not just another person, they’re something other, different because of something they have no control over.

            It takes so little effort to just show a little respect to those who are different to you by recognising that they are the way they are, and not making their difference a mockery. You may not appreciate the effect that things like the ‘attack helicopter’ thing has on them, perhaps because you haven’t had the experience they’ve had being on the receiving end of that or perhaps because you have difficulty empathising with them, but the effect that ‘joke’ has is real nonetheless, whether you realise it or not.

            You’re not harmed in any way by recognising alternatives like the ones that appear in the Youtube question. It costs you nothing to just let them be and not mock and devalue them. There’s no slippery slope, there are just people who identify differently to you that just want to be accepted. I get it, you didn’t know things like that ‘joke’ would be hurtful, but now that you do I think the mark of your character is in how you choose to act with that knowledge going forward. Personally I hope you choose a path that doesn’t ostracise and ‘other’ trans people and helps bring those suicide and self-harm rates down, not one that contributes to them.

          • The question served its purpose to highlight how you view the issue of gender identity to begin with – with what would appear to be no respect at all.

            Look, let’s just skip past all this stuff here. Neither you nor I disrespect someone’s right to feel comfortable in who they are, and neither of us have used said “attack helicopter” joke against someone who is expressing their gender.

            It’s pointless bordering on discourse-killing to jump straight to the “because we’re not agreeing on the points that are important to me you must be alt-right, or nazi, or disrespect people who are part of x, y or z group”. While you’re being respectful in your delivery, the message is still the same.

            Now we’ve cleared up that neither of us want to do harm to anyone else, let’s move on.

            Every single person has a disconnect between how they want to be perceived and how they are perceived by others. It’s not a feeling exclusive to marginalised groups, and neither is feelings of depression and self-doubt and even self-loathing. My initial comment was highlighting these blinders that we can wear, when comments like “nobody has ever been killed for being an attack helicopter” can be made without recognising the inherent fallacy in the words. We’re so wrapped up in our own perceived troubles that we can’t recognise how they fit within the whole.

            I think what things like the attack helicopter jokes boil down to is a flawed criticism of internally conflicted people who are willingly and unwillingly part of very isolated cultures within society.
            Being part of an isolated culture and expecting wider society to be aware of, engage in, and actively celebrate the terms, identities and concepts they use is at best naive and at worst egotistical.

            Said more simply, it’s when a trans person or social activist vilifies another person for not knowing the exact pronoun to use, or attacking them for saying something that on the surface is an innocuous comment but is actually a personal trigger point for a stranger they have never met. It’s for assuming at all times malice instead of ignorance. It’s for demanding that people adhere to their strict and niche cultural and social dogma but refusing to teach them the way to do so without using condescending or accusatory language.

            What i’m saying is, if people are, as you say, experiencing dysmorphia around their own identity (to the point where new words and terms are created all the time to try and describe the way they feel), it’s an impossible standard to expect the world to perfectly understand and identify them as well.

            I’m not saying those who say attack helicopter are in the right, because they’re not. But i’m definitely not saying those who demand someone is fired for not aligning with their personal values are right either.

            Moving forward, we need to find a way to discuss these issues with understanding on both sides. We need to learn how to discern those who lack the emotional and mental intelligence to discuss these concepts without making jokes from those who are debating the topics of “diversity” and “social justice” and their consequences with a critical eye. We need to discern those who are experiencing genuine gender dysmorphia from those who lack the emotional and mental intelligence to understand that every time they create a new pronoun to describe being a wolf trapped in a human body they are doing harm to those who genuinely need these new ways to identify themselves.

            Above all though, we need to assume less and listen more. When someone upsets you, don’t just jump to the conclusion it was deliberate. When someone asks you to see them for who they wish to be, don’t just assume it’s a game.

          • I think I did a reasonable job of not pointing fingers or jumping to conclusions on intent in my post above. I’m not calling you Nazi or alt-right and I don’t think I called you wilfully disrespectful to anyone either, so that rings as a straw man to me. Nevertheless, if I gave you the impression I was blaming you, I apologise. I’m trying to take a positive perspective on the issue and look at how things can be improved, not pointing fingers of blame.

            Your response that everyone feels a disconnect in how they’re perceived or feel depression reads as really strong false equivalence to me. Gender dysphoria is orders of magnitude different to the day-to-day disconnect other people face. It’s a recognised serious condition in DSM5, and appears a lot more commonly and intensely in trans people than any typical disconnect does. I think it’s doing a major disservice to how badly it affects people to brush it aside as something we all face.

            When prohass says “nobody was ever killed for identifying as an attack helicopter”, he wasn’t presenting a fallacy, he was outlining why the two aren’t equivalent despite the joke trying to draw an equivalence between them. I think it’s a perfectly reasonable explanation of why the joke doesn’t work and is hurtful to the people it’s directed against.

            I also think you have the cause and effect wrong on isolated communities within society. Trans people join like-minded communities because of the way society treats them, not as an antecedent to it. The only way to introduce the issues important to trans communities to society at large is to talk about it, to say “hey that’s not cool” when someone makes a hurtful joke, to explain why it’s important to them to have their identity accepted. Calling the desire for broad social acceptance egotistical comes across as incredibly selfish. Wanting acceptance can’t possibly be interpreted as egotistical.

            Vilification isn’t something anyone wants, but neither is generalisation. Of course there are trans people who get upset at accidental pronoun misuse, but projecting that onto the whole community isn’t fair. The majority of the trans community understands that society isn’t used to dealing with their preferences and the ones I know are incredibly patient as long as you’re receptive to their needs and aren’t deliberately rubbing things in their face. Start deliberately calling them the wrong pronoun or deliberately dropping jokes about how gender identity is stupid and that’s when the hostility comes out. And I think that’s a perfectly reasonable response too.

            I agree that the ideal outcome here is for both sides to be able to understand each other. Doing that needs both sides to be open to hearing the other side. Making a joke or mockery of the identity issue that’s so important to them is a surefire way to shut down that conversation and push both sides into their battle lines.

            Again I’m not pointing fingers or laying blame. I know that a lot of people who use the attack helicopter thing don’t realise the effect it has. But like I said in my earlier post, even unintentional it can still cause hurt, and it’s important for people to be able to say “hey please don’t do that, it’s offensive” without the response being “it’s a joke bro harden up and deal with it”. Doubling down is a pride move that just doesn’t help anyone, and just pointing out that it’s not a good thing to say doesn’t mean anyone’s assuming it was intentional.

          • I feel like we’re talking past each other on some of these points rather than getting to the root of what we’re actually arguing here.

            Things like cause and effect of the communities we form are essentially chicken/egg scenarios where we can debate for hours about what comes first, but I did in my comment mention willingly and unwillingly being part of isolated groups.

            Wanting acceptance is possibly the most ego-driven thing I can think of, it’s directly tied to one’s self-esteem and self-acceptance (and there’s nothing wrong with that). Some people let their ego control too much of their worldview and end up on the right side but for the wrong reasons. These are often the ones with the weakest arguments and a disastrous end goal.

            I will say that while it might seem important to say things like “Gender dysphoria is orders of magnitude different to the day-to-day disconnect other people face.” it’s actually the opposite of what you want to be doing. By saying “this is way worse than anything you’ve ever had to experience” you’re basically saying “We’re not the same”, “Your pain isn’t as bad as mine”, “I care about what’s happening to me not what’s happened to you”, etc. All of these things only serve to widen the gap between different people, not close it. We need to be encouraging these points of sympathy / empathy, not shutting them down.

            What it really comes down to at the end of the day is, what does your idea of a solution look like? Does it look like these people that you (you as in people, not you specifically) hate being silenced and ostracised and fired and eradicated? Or does it look like these same people who caused you pain now treating you with respect and love, and you accepting that fully? It takes a big person to do that, and enduring suffering is not a guarantee that you become closer to goodness.

            My biggest trigger point, the thing that will always get me ranting in comments sections, is when I see self-sabotaging behaviour. Those who define themselves as The Left are masters at it. When you vilify a man for his ignorance, publicly shame him, get him fired from his job, etc. You aren’t making the better world, the world of equality, that The Left claim to be for. You’re creating a deeper intrenched enemy who is now a martyr for his misguided cause. You’re creating more hate and less acceptance.

            Which is fine if you fully embrace your status as an ideologue, but one of the biggest sticking points for people is this notion that social justice movements are “good” and anything opposing them are “bad”. This idea of being “good” only holds up if you’re willing to take the high ground, always, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. As soon as you start baying for the blood of your enemies, punching “nazis”, for example, you lose the very high ground your ideology relies on to shake most of its stickier criticisms.

            You say vilification isn’t what anyone wants, but observe the scorched earth approach to anyone who steps out of line (whether it’s the concrete, like Harvey Weinstein, or the less clear, like Aziz Ansari). See how strawman rhetoric from the left (if you vote for him you’re a racist / sexist / etc) got everyone blindsided by Trump’s election. This doesn’t fix people, it just puts them hiding.

            Acknowledging that there are bad people, scared people, stupid people, selfish people, you name it, who are arguing on the same side as you right now is an important insight. Acknowledging that “good” is a matter of perspective frees you from the dogmatic, moralistic lens that this issue is plagued by.

            I think we both want the same thing, which is for everyone to be able to live as who they want to be, without fear or hate. But maybe the difference between us is I am totally comfortable tearing down the flawed positions of allies and “enemies” (i’d rather call them potential allies) alike if it means getting closer to that goal. This was not a right or proportionate response to this developer’s behaviour, and it’s not going to fix anything.

  • After reading the tweets linked in the article I think the guy would have a case for unfair dismissal. Questioning the validity of the gender pay pay gap and arguing that colonialism wasn’t all bad might not gel with left-leaning thinkers but they are hardly what I’d call “hateful”.

    • You don’t think comparing transgender people with a mocking idea that they are identical to an imagined group of people who think they are attack helicopters is hateful?

      Because it is. It’s an attitude which promotes intolerance, othering. People are murdered daily due to their gender identity, it I say an extremely discriminated against and vulnerable group.

      Likewise he doesn’t just have vague positive opinions on colonialism, he thinks that immigrants are likely to be stupider than native born people. It’s a hateful oversimplification of an issue

      You can be hateful without being mean or aggressive. If your ideas promote hate, if they have hateful roots, they are hateful

      • You seem awfully caught up on this helicopter thing. As far as I can see it’s just an expression of being unable to understand the concept – the view is that people can just arbitrarily choose to “identify” as something that they do not appear to be, and that grants them the right to get uppity at anyone who tries to deny them that belief. Most who repeat the meme wouldn’t be anywhere near or aware of any kind of murder related to gender identity, it hardly seems fair to equate the two. Not much different from the way atheists often can be found mocking those with spiritual beliefs, which doesn’t seem to earn much in the way of backlash. At worst I’d think it dismissive.

      • Sorry, but I have to agree thstvyour obsession with the attack helicopter meme being offensive is a bit ridiculous.

        You know what, I’m going to start a campaign against Monty Python for their “ministry of silly walks” skit, because it’s offensive and dismissive of all the people who have palsy and other ailments that cause walking impediments. There people receive insults and discrimination outwardly almost on a daily basis due to something beyond their control. Every time someone references this hate speech skit, they should be punished for ignoring the suffering and discrimination these people face every day.

        I’m sorry, but the only person paying any attention to that enormous chip on your shoulder is you. Everyone isn’t equating attack helicopters with transgender people – they’re mostly treating it as an abstract absurdist joke completely devoid of them.

        You’re transgender? That’s cool. You hate someone because they reference an internet meme? That’s not.

    • I was going to call out those two specific points myself. Sure, some things they said sound like stupid immature stuff an intolerant person would say, but most if not all of us are here having this conversation because of Colonialism, it, like most things, is a mixture of positives and negatives. Shades of grey.

      The extreme left needs to tone down the dogmatic rhetoric and stop talking about things like “gender determined pay-gaps” and “colonalism = bad” as if they are widely accepted truths and instead acknowledge that outside the church of neo-feminism, these ideas are very much unconfirmed and should be debated at length until we arrive at the objective truth.

  • What constitutes hate speech though it’s all personal opinion, what about Anthony Mundines recently made comments about homosexuality he is also a Muslim, he can be against gay’s because of his “faith” would anyone fire him for expressing his “views”. Would firing someone for there “Faith” be worse than there opinion.

    • It would. You can’t fire someone for their faith. You can however fire them for how they express it. There is no magic bullet one size fits all graph for this. It relies on adults being adults and so it is flawed. However just because it is a new imperfect system doesn’t mean people can say whatever they want and just say “lol it’s just my opinion that transgender people are the same as people who think they’re attack helicopters guys chill out”

  • Also love the false dichotomy of “spending resources improving the core game/making a woman main character”

    The guy was a jerk. yes discrimination in the workplace is a complex issue. What it is not is some sort of dangerous slippery slope where soon you wont be able to say which political party you support without getting fired.

    There are protections in place for political support, religious and sexual identity, etc. There is no protections for being a jerk. This guy was making jokes at the expense of transgender people. Thats the actions of a jerk. No judge in the land would say “oh its covered by his political opinions”

    You can support the “I think transgender people are a joke, just like people who think they are attack helicopters” Party, but if you start spouting that kind of crap in the office, you will get pulled up. Now yes, it does get complex in that what is “in the office”. Here, his office clearly includes his twitter account. Yeah it sucks that you cant be a jerk online anymore, but lets not worry that soon people will be getting fired because they are a lefty or a conservative.

    Theres a difference between being a conservative and expressing your conservative opinions like a jerk, in a way that makes your company look like they have a jerk working for them.

  • Uh, the woman whose ‘gamers.jpeg’ comment you used had to private her account. People recognised her profile pic and passed her account name on to Ian Miles Cheong, who sent his fans after her. She was already recovering from a separate harassment campaign by someone else at the time. Maybe next time check before quoting someone, or at least cover up their profile picture?
    At the very least I’m sure she’d appreciate some sort of apology.

    • Twitter is a public forum. Not a personal diary. Much in the same way this dev was fired because of the things they posted in a public forum, the user in question can be targeted for what they post in that forum.

      Please note i’m saying can be targeted and not should be targeted.

      • If not should, then why can? If it’s bad let’s condemn it and try to limit it by being more responsible with our screenshotting. There’s no disadvantages to anyone by doing this.

        • Sure, but does this commitment to privacy extend to the developer discussed in this article, who similarly never asked to be screenshotted and shared by publications?

          • I wouldn’t exactly begrudge a game news site for reporting on a comment by a game developer, at that point we start getting into considerations of public interest. A random Twitter user making a casual sarcastic remark isn’t really newsworthy though.
            Besides which, the developer was only too keen to engage with the limited backlash he got for his poll. The woman I’m talking about had people spamming her every comment and filling her DMs with sheer hatred. Transphobia, and even threats. Even now, she’s still being harassed by the fans of Ian, et al. I don’t see much use in any moral framework that doesn’t condemn the actions that lead to something like that.

  • My children asked for this game, sadly I’ll have to pirate it now, it seemed like good value until they turned it into an identity politics sideshow.

    Stay out of politics and create good games.

    • That is the flimsiest excuse for piracy I’ve seen in a long time. If you want to send a message about the way the company is operating, don’t buy the game at all. Pirating it out of protest just makes you an armchair activist.

      • Agreed. You don’t like the company, but you’re happy to steal from them?

        I detest SJW culture, but how much better are you than them, now? @riatz

    • Imagine all the extra money though. All the page revisits to check the replies. This would have been a highly profitable post for them.
      Plus, whilst there is certainly disagreement about the topic at hand, I’m generally very impressed with the maturity of everyone talking about this – some exceptions of course.

    • @truthfulnerd want to put on a tinfoil hat? our comments regarding gizmodo have mysteriously disappeared.

      wait shit, was it even you I was talking to about Gizmodo’s comments? I might have just tagged the wrong person, haha

  • Every single time I start thinking of buying this game, I find them dragging politics into it. I’m starting to think these devs have a problem.

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