Hogwarts Legacy Developer Quits Following Backlash Over YouTube Channel

Hogwarts Legacy Developer Quits Following Backlash Over YouTube Channel
Image: Hogwarts Legacy
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

Troy Leavitt, the game developer at the centre of a controversy last month after it was discovered he had run “a reactionary YouTube channel focused on attacking feminism and social justice”, has resigned from his position at Avalanche Software, developers of the upcoming Harry Potter game Hogwart’s Legacy.

Leavitt announced his decision to “part ways” with Avalanche in a series of tweets:

As we reported in February:

Among Leavitt’s…videos are lengthy defences of both John Lasseter, the Pixar co-founder who left his position at Disney in 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct, and Nolan Bushnell, the Atari co-founder who Kotaku’s reporting found to have fostered a toxic work environment for women. In some of his videos, Leavitt expressed support for Gamergate, a movement that fostered harassment against women and other minorities in the gaming industry, and criticised Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women series as an “uninformed fringe position.” Leavitt discussed his opinions on Gamergate in-depth during a 2017 interview, saying, “Gamergate, while painful at times, on the whole proved to be a good thing,”

Screenshot: YouTube/Troy Leavitt Screenshot: YouTube/Troy Leavitt

In the wake of this revelation, and continued opposition to Potter author JK Rowling’s transphobic views, it was reported last week that the game will feature some added “customisation options related to gender”.

Trans Inclusion Means More Than Just Adding Potential Gender Options To Hogwarts Legacy

Upcoming Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy will feature some customisation options related to gender, according to a report by Bloomberg. It’s a step toward trans inclusion in a game mired in controversy, even if it still shows the limitations of video games’ handling of trans people.

Read more

Report: Warner Bros. Games President Says Transphobe J. K. Rowling Has “The Right To Hold Her Opinions”

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is a transphobe. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. Maybe someone could share that distinction with Warner Bros. Games president David Haddad.

Read more

Comments

  • Online lynch mobs need to stop, but it would be nice if everyone wasn’t so hypocritical about it.

    I mean, Troy Leavitt’s entire shtick was playing to the lynch mob, inluding piling on to the usual suspects such as Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, and generally doubling down on culture wars bullshit.

    So, a culture wars warrior got push-back from other culture wars warriors? Cry me a river dude. Live by the sword die by the sword.

  • Seeing as my comment has been deleted twice now I take it criticism of the actions of the games media in this situation is not allowed?

    Because the actions in this saga warrant severe criticism.

    • Online lynch mobs need to stop, but it would be nice if everyone wasn’t so hypocritical about it.

      I mean, Troy Leavitt’s entire shtick was playing to the lynch mob, inluding piling on to the usual suspects such as Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, and generally doubling down on culture wars bullshit.

      So, a culture wars warrior got push-back from other culture wars warriors? Cry me a river dude. Live by the sword die by the sword.

  • // and Nolan Bushnell, the Atari co-founder who Kotaku’s reporting found to have fostered a toxic work environment for women. //
    Is this the same ‘reporting’ that was later put into question when women who’d worked for them at the time being discussed were basically like, ‘Uh… wut? We actually liked it there.’ ?

    If I recall one of them was even a bit miffed that Kotaku’s ‘reporter’ was clearly digging for a gotcha moment, almost as if said reporter had their story written before they even started doing any research.

      • I thought so. Well, gotta love peddling blatant lies I suppose.

        Genuinely curious how scummy and underhanded you have to be as a person to do shit like that without any sort of remorse or shame, or to be someone who defends such bullshit.

        I mean fuck, if they actually have a conscience I don’t know how any of them sleep at night.

          • This is so very completely at odds with what Kotaku *actually* reported.

            https://www.kotaku.com.au/2020/12/sex-pong-and-pioneers-what-atari-was-really-like-according-to-women-who-were-there/

            I know there was a lot of reactionary reporting when that first kicked off, but Cecilia’s piece here was very impartial and, noticeably, wasn’t met with any of this kind of invective when it launched.

            I know that Reeder wasn’t thrilled post-publication that not everything she said was quoted, but many interview subjects often recoil when not everything they say is used. Reeder wanted more coverage of the business side of Atari or the company’s formality, but that was never in question and not why Atari had come into the spotlight again, so of course that material was never going to be used.

            Please re-read what was actually posted before going down a hate-filled rabbit hole. And please go and re-read the depth of how much was put to paper before even claiming that something that extensive could be done in advance.

          • Alex –
            So I recalled right about some of the interviewees being a bit put off by some of the reporting, but I genuinely couldn’t recall the article as a whole.

            However, did I miss any others? Because if not then that one article actually almost counters whatever Mr Plunkett is referring to then, so he would indeed just be pushing a bullshit narrative out of thin air instead. Really not sure how that screams of someone who has a conscience.

            And it’s not hate, not on my part at least. Don’t twist what is little more than calling bullshit for what it is, because I genuinely believe this sort of ‘journalism’ is dangerous.

            Though I understand why one might like to label it hateful, harassment, etc… It makes it much easier to dismiss and villify critics, and to moderate anything they say out of existence and allow it to feel justified when they’re now the ‘bad guy’.

  • How was this even a controversy? Yet MTG keeping a known rapist on the payroll has almost no coverage while their sets are constantly promoted? Hypocrisy, really does diminish the credibility of the media.

  • Congratulations games media you got what you wanted. Every outlet that covered this bs story should be ashamed of themselves. Kotaku included.

  • People on both sides should really wait to hear the reasons, In his latest update he points out there’s far too many assumptions and that he hasn’t been “cancelled” despite the optics and claims.

    • He didn’t have to be “cancelled” to feel that leaving the studio would make life easier for his coworkers. What the “media” (opinion blogs in reality) did was still a massive dick move over a non-event.

      • I don’t have much love for the media and that could very much be the reason despite him saying otherwise but it still better to wait and hear his upcoming side to the story when he actually leaves his role in a few weeks.

        I suppose it’s impossible to escape the hypocritical tribalism wars these days though, absolutely nobody waits to see things out and everything is either a huge or non issue for any given side, that’s the problem with those damn [insert relevant ideology here]

        • I’m too used to hearing “I didn’t have to leave according to management, but I didn’t want the media harassing my co-workers” to think it could be anything else in reality with this timing. I’ve heard it so many times that my optimism in this area is thoroughly dead. But we will see when he posts his video (where I’m still expecting that line somewhere in it).

  • ‘Shame and eternal shame, nothing but shame!’

    Kotaku, is this what you have become now? You send lynch mobs after someone for having a disparate opinion? Inclusivity is only important when points of view match your own? The insecurity of journalists who spew this level of hate and intolerance is shameful. You ran this man out of town. Who is next?

  • Yo Alex, can we get an update on this story? Troy’s put his video out and it’s actually rather positive on WB’s HR department. Worth an article on good industry behaviour on the studio’s part.

  • Has the Kotaku staff watched Leavitt’s video? He was thoughtful, respectful and measured, everything that the gaming media, baying for his blood, was not. You should reflect on this before you set out to destroy the career of the next person whose opinions don’t line up with your own. Is Kotaku capable of such introspection?

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!