(This was written for my Twitter Account (@JustAGuy66), but I never posted it)
Let me begin by repeating something I’ve said many times in the past, I am an idiot. Please keep that in mind if you decide to continue wading through this writing.
To save time, I will disclose my deep dark secret right away. I am a fan of the Harry Potter Franchise and have played many of the games over the years (I especially liked the Lego Harry Potter series).
I understand that this may have shocked some of you, but hopefully you are still reading, otherwise I’ve wasted 10 minutes writing this for nothing.
The first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, came out in 1997.
The first video game based on that film was released for Game Boy, PlayStation and Windows in 2001.
After “liking” Tweets that criticized the transgender community as early as 2017, the first inciteful (not to be confused with insightful) comments by the series author, “She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named”, began trickling out a few years later. I will not attempt to represent what she said, what she meant, or what she said she said she meant. I could not possibly do it justice. Simply put, it wasn’t anything good and regardless of her reasoning, it hurt a lot of people that felt personally attacked by a very prominent figure that created a world that many of them had escaped to for decades.
I can tell you personally, that being a hugely popular and influential public figure is a tremendous responsibility. The dozens of people who read my Twitter and Facebook posts or watch my finely crafted videos, put their trust in me to provide informative and entertaining content. They are often disappointed, but that is something that they have also come to expect.
Having attained this celebrity status has in no way made me more intelligent or capable in commenting on anything of import, so expecting my views to carry more weight solely because I’m so popular and universally beloved is a mistake. In fact, the more time I spend playing games, the less I devote to developing a better comprehension of the things that are meaningful in our world.
I know this about myself and so I typically refrain from offering up actual opinions on anything of substance (meme posts require less thought). When you know that you are an idiot, it never hurts to remind yourself every now and then before someone else does.
But occasionally, I ignore my own better judgement and speak out when I feel the situation demands it. In these rare instances, I chose to add my voice to issues that I felt particularly vested in.
What instances you ask?
Well, in the past I have chosen to take such risky positions as: Wearing a mask during a Pandemic is not really a thing to get mad about; Sexual harassment is bad; Hurting people just for being different than you is wrong; Pineapple on pizza should result in a fine; and Letting people live their lives however the hell they choose to when it doesn’t affect you in any way shape or form, is called being human.
I know, wild stuff here.
So, when another celebrity speaks out in a way that hurts an entire community, the backlash that it creates is as predictable as when I embarrass my kids on Twitter. You never know when it’s going to happen, you just know eventually it will.
The issues that “She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named” created with her comments and support of anti-trans rhetoric are far beyond my competency level to discuss with the respect they deserve, and that isn’t my specific focus today.
What I did want to touch on is this. Engaging with material that was created by a person or company that has behaved terribly in the past is interpreted as supporting that person or company.
This is not new.
Yes, Hogwarts Legacy is the current hot topic because of its amazing popularity and mainstream release. This type of widespread boycott has been targeted at many people, companies, and countries over a very long period. It can be a very effective means of protest and a powerful weapon to enact social change.
The Boston Tea Party was a boycott.
Boycotts and protests helped overthrow Apartheid in South Africa and were instrumental in the Civil Rights movement in the 50s and 60s. Gandhi used them effectively against the British occupation in India and consumer boycotts have helped change the workplace for the better for centuries.
The US boycotted the 1980 Olympics in protest of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and four years later, Russia boycotted the 1984 Olympics as a protest against the traffic in Los Angeles.
In 1966, John Lennon commented that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. If you’re not old enough to remember this, It didn’t go over well.
In 2003, The Dixie Chicks (now The Chicks) were blacklisted for comments they made criticizing President Bush and the invasion of Iraq. It also didn’t go over well.
In 1933 Germany, there was a widespread boycott of all Jewish owned businesses.
All protests and boycotts are not the same.
There is nothing wrong with using your voice or your choice to affect change. It is one of the fundamental rights that this country was founded on for a reason.
What I do have are concerns over the way many of those who do not choose to join the boycotts are treated by those who do.
I own Dr. Seuss books.
This does not mean that I approve or condone the content of every one of Dr. Seuss’s writings or some of his very questionable behaviors late in life.
I sometimes eat at Chick-fil-A.
I honestly hope this is not interpreted as my supporting any agenda that is “anti” towards any group.
I own a foreign car.
I don’t hate America.
I have been a big fan of comic books my entire life.
Since the industry began, comic books have often been guilty of being racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and much worse. At times, they have also tried to lead the movement for social change and equality that society desperately needed.
Reading comic books does not in itself make me a member of either the negative or positive side of their history. It just means I enjoy indulging in this form of entertainment. My actions in my life, my treatment of others, and my behavior as a whole should be a much more clear indication of my value (or lack thereof) as a person. If you choose to judge me (and for all the Christians in the audience, I will refer you to Matthew 7:1-2), then at least do it with as informed a picture as possible.
Isn’t judging and mistreating others for not thinking and acting the way you want them to what got us here in the first place?
Not every choice should be so simply defined and not everyone sees things the way you or I might.
And that’s ok.
Close to home, Blizzard Entertainment has a past that includes harassment and abuse on an epic level, almost like they were working hard on earning an achievement badge for it. I happen to take these things very personally for obvious reasons.
The fact that I still play games from this company is not a statement of support for any past or present failures. It is the notion that I can call out injustice and advocate for the changes that are obviously still needed, while enjoying games that were made by so many faultless individuals and that add value to my life.
To those currently angered by the players and streamers of Hogwarts Legacy, I firmly believe you have every right to feel how you feel. You can advocate for others to join you and boycott the game and explain exactly why you know this is the right thing for everyone to do. I respect you for your convictions and would never believe I can completely understand how this must affect you.
What I don’t agree with is the behavior by some that crosses that line, which include wishing any type of financial, emotional, or physical harm to befall those who don’t decide to join in.
Life is tough enough as it is, and games are often one of the only escapes that allows it to be just a little less difficult. Don’t think that all those playing may not also be willing advocates and supporters for what’s right.
We can be both.
Be Well and Stay Safe,