Marvel’s Avengers spokesperson loses role after offensive tweets

Marvel’s Avengers spokesperson loses role after offensive tweets

A promotional shot for Marvel's Avengers, featuring the likes of Black Panther and Hawkeye standing in front of some red glowing menaces.

Picture: Crystal dynamics

It’s a story as old as Twitter itself: Person says stupid, offensive things in the past, person comes to prominence, old tweets are dug up, person apologizes, internet holds court. The whole show has just taken place again, this time with Crystal Dynamics’ spokesperson and game design leading the way Marvel’s AvengersBrian Wagoner.

As Rock Paper Shotgun reports, over the weekend a bunch of old tweets by Wagoner were unearthed, which today led to him apologizing and Crystal Dynamics following up to say how disappointed they are, and that they’re taking away Wagoner’s spokesperson status. Now everyone involved hopes, after following the prescribed script, that it goes away.

Waggoner’s tweets, dating from around 2010 to 2016 (during his time working for Marvel and Gazillion), were pretty grim. Some were obviously attempts at jokes, at least one that relies on lazy, racist stereotypeswhile another just flat out mocked people with disabilities. But, others seem to be just rude dog whistle racism.

As so often seems to be the case, Wagoner reports that he has since had a complete personality change, those historic messages from the distant annulments of six years ago now dealt with, given his reformed ways. “On the weekend,” he explained in a statement on his ongoing Twitter account“Old tweets I wrote from before my time at Crystal resurfaced and I apologize and take full responsibility for the harm they have caused to my followers, the community and those I work with.”

The boilerplate apology continues: “Since then I have learned and grown and the content I posted does not reflect who I am today.” For those unconvinced, he adds: “I understand if you cannot accept my apology because of the pain I have caused. I will continue to listen, learn and work to improve.”

Crystal Dynamics then followed upthat says:

It is incredibly disappointing to see language and views from employees that do not align with our studio values. We apologize to our community and staff who are rightfully upset by the content. Brian will no longer be a studio spokesperson or communicate about studio projects.

Look, you don’t need my opinion on any of this, because you already have your own, and honestly, this feels like a story we’ve written three hundred times already, just with another guy’s name at the start. But heck, I still have opinions.

What I hate about all of this, every aspect of it, is that none of it is truthful. On any page.

These scripted “apologies” are designed to save face, to cover all bases, and to “draw a line under it,” without apologizing to anyone for anything. It is empty, performative, only fooling those who are rooted in the corporate thinking who write them.

At the same time, Waggoner’s tweets did not inadvertently cause untold damage to large communities. They were shitty, big comments that were ignored at the time (a single “like” on one, a solitary retweet on another), and are now resurfacing to be used as evidence in online courts to (possibly rightly) condemn him. People pretending to finally take down this tyrannical threat from his hate campaign are ridiculously dishonest, and it’s just as deceitful for Wagoner to “apologize” as if that’s what happened.

Crystal then also throws in nonsense about “language and viewpoints” that “do not align with our studio values”, as if the corporate entity itself is some kind of moral creature, having a pure-driven platonic perfection of ideal values. Have you ever noticed that? Any company is morally impeccable, without having to say how, rather than letting the individual assume that this means its values ​​happily match their own. A person in the company causes outrage, at which point this nebulous taint adapts don’t beand all are asked to assume that this aberration in their perfection is erased.

Read more: Marvel’s Avengers reminds you that it still exists with the addition of the Winter Soldier

People say and do stupid things. People have terrible views, or make nasty jokes. I know because I do it. We all do. Even the most prurient-presenting advocates of vigilantism have bad thoughts, say things they regret, or hope that what they once said remains private forever. Sometimes people surround themselves with so many others like them that they lose sight of how terrible such things sound when said publicly on social media. Later it comes back to bite them in the ass. And it should!

I just wish people’s answers were honest. “God, yes, I really was a dick, wasn’t I? Damn, I really need to think before I speak.” Or, “You know what, it’s a bigotry I’ve always carried around and I really need to do something about it.” Sure, in this specific case, Wagoner may well be reformed, but this idea that the views we held last Tuesday don’t reflect who we are today is so tiresome, and the attempted implication is that we’re perfect now, if only everyone else would take back.

And no one, anywhere, just says, “Sorry.” It is always with caveats and justifications, and almost always the word “apologize” as well. An action, rather than a feeling, a semiotic difference that externalizes the procedure, rather than speaking from the heart. It seems that it really is the most difficult word.

Oh, and let’s not forget us, the tough gallery. “He hasn’t been fired!” We have no idea if he deserves to be fired or if he’s a champion for good these days. But more importantly, let’s stop pretending we care about this person you have never heard of before today, who said some things a decade ago you didn’t notice, gets to keep his job. What people want is for the offensiveness to go away, and the idea that an ignorant public claiming this guy’s head will somehow achieve this is damn idiotic. If he’s a dick to work with, Crystal should fire him. But let’s all be honest too, and stop acting like we know what’s best in every damn situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *