Update: Randy Pitchford responded directly to this post. Please see his response and my reply in the comments.
This week, developer Gearbox Software announced the multiplayer options that will be available in the latest installment of the franchise,, including a spin on “Capture the Flag”, titled “Capture the Babe.” Rather than trying to steal another team’s actual flag or taking an enemy captive, the objective is to “capture” a woman.
The first reports about “Capture the Babe” stated that while playing, you slapped “the babe” in the face to get her to calm down. The CEO of Gearbox Software, Randy Pitchford took to twitter to correct everyone – it turns out she gets slapped on the ass instead of the face. Here’s a quick note for Mr. Pitchford – slapping a woman who is scared and trying to break free, on the ass, instead of the face doesn’t make it better. It means the word “sexual” should be added to the assault.
As CEO, Randy Pitchford is the one in charge, and I have no problem blaming him for the consistent misogynistic crap his company continues to promote. In fact, he thinks it’s “great” and “awesome” that he has angered feminists with the game’s promotion of sexual violence and objectification of women. Randy, you know what’s not awesome? The reality of sexual violence against women – statistics, such as, there’s a woman sexually assaulted every two minutes in the U.S. According to Pitchford, the game can be used by feminist organizations as a teaching tool. I guess it never occurred to him that making a game that promotes respect towards women could achieve the same educational effect.
By not just allowing, but rather, encouraging sexual violence to be perpetuated against women, Randy Pitchford (and Gearbox Software) are not only affecting the gaming community, but rather society as a whole, by adding on to the millions of images and messages that further promote and perpetuate a culture of violence against women. If Randy really thinks the work that feminist organizations are doing is “really important” then maybe he should try changing the messages in Gearbox’s games to include positive female role models, rather than to promote violent gameplay against women.