PS5 Subreddit Bans All Mention Of JK Rowling Amidst Hogwarts Legacy Controversy
Hogwarts Legacy is launching tomorrow, and ahead of this, the PS5 subreddit has opted to blanket ban all talk of JK Rowling. According to the moderating team, there are two "conflicting responsibilities". They have to "ensure that [trans people] are treated with respect," and they have a responsibility to "those in the general gaming community who just want to talk about a video game they're excited for."
To try and juggle these two, the team has decided to put the ban in place to help stave off transphobia while still letting discussion of the game take place, "Many Redditors have concerns about Rowling's views, particularly as they relate to the Trans community. However, without fail, any discussion of those concerns has been met with hostility, contempt, and transphobia from the greater Reddit community."
Based on the comments, this thread mostly hit the latter responsibility, those who want to "talk about a video game they're excited for" without considering the implications. Such as JK Rowling making royalties, further pushing her and Harry Potter into the limelight.
Hogwarts Legacy is steeped in controversy, however, and separating it from that may prove to be difficult. For one, it features a trans character with a transphobic name, Sirona Ryan, and two, the main plot itself is anti-Semitic, revolving around the goblins who are mired in Jewish stereotypes. You can either join their rebellion (which is in response to the wizard's attempts at enslaving them) or oppose it, but given that they are working with dark wizards, the game heavily hints at opposition being the 'moral' choice. Hogwarts Legacy has become a deeply controversial and problematic game, whether or not you're discussing everything around it.
Interestingly, this looks to be the first time the PS4 or PS5 subreddit has blanket-banned a topic before a game's launch. Hogwarts Legacy has been dubbed by the moderating team as "one of – if not the – most controversial game titles in recent memory", but The Last of Us Part 2 saw death threats and abuse hurled at actors and LGBTQ+ fans over Joel's death and the mere inclusion of Abby. TLOU, however, does not appear to have seen any similar restrictions during the PS4 or PS5 subreddits' lifetimes.
The moderator team, toward the end of the post, addressed the backlash this choice may receive, "This is not a decision we've taken lightly, and there will doubtlessly be those who feel this is an [act] of 'aggressive neutrality' that effectively takes the side of the hive mind, but we view this as the only way forward at this point."
If you plan to discuss the game at all in the subreddit, your post will be removed, though you yourself won't be banned. The goal of all this is to reduce the transphobia that people receive in threads about the game, but given that this is the internet and the ban mostly caters toward capital G gamers who just want to discuss their game without any consideration for those it impacts, that seems like an unlikely result.
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