Blizzard Engineer Poses Blacklist for Gamergate, backpedals

By Matthew Farmer – 18th November 2014
Blizzard Engineer Poses Blacklist for Gamergate, backpedals

Yesterday, Matt Schnee, a web engineer for Blizzard Entertainment, suggested an employment blacklist for supporters of GamerGate.

Unfortunately for Schnee, this suggestion was met with the expected amount of outrage.  Supporters, and even some opponents of GamerGate quickly pointed out the unethical and illegal nature of this idea.  According to this aggregated list of state laws, any attempt at blacklisting of potential or former employees is illegal in some form in more than half of the US.  In response to these criticisms, Schnee made the situation worse with a few more clumsy tweets before offering a non-apology to the public.

The specific “problem” that Schnee is referring to here is apparently that GamerGate supporters are able to obtain jobs.  Also, the fact that an engineer’s mind so quickly goes to an illegal solution to a perceived problem is not very encouraging to Blizzard’s fanbase.  Even if Schnee was not aware of the illegality of blacklists, there is still an ethical concern here.  Regardless of legality, attempting to bar people from work in an entire industry sounds like the kind of idea that shouldn’t even make it past an engineers mouth, let alone posted on Twitter for the whole internet to see.

Here, we see Schnee’s apology.  The problem is that he’s still framing himself as the good guy in this situation.  The man who proposed a blacklist against an entire group of people based on an ideology just wanted to “promote healthy discussion.”  That said, it is still an apology, which is far more than most people have offered regarding negative actions towards GamerGate.  It’s apparent in later tweets that Schnee has at least learned that he should think before posting insanity on social media.

This story seems to be over for now.  Schnee seems to have learned that he should think a little harder on things before posting them to Twitter.  The original tweet, however, gave us a valuable insight to Matt Schnee’s thought process.  Personally, I hope that his generalization of the 20,000+ behind GamerGate does not affect his work at Blizzard.  Hopefully, Schnee’s apology becomes a trend for other figures in the games industry who have demonized the supporters of GamerGate.  

For discussion regarding GamerGate, check out this subreddit.

How do you feel about this situation?  Are you buying Schnee’s apology, or do you think he’s just trying to save face in response to the many tweets calling him out on his horrible idea?  Let us know in the comments!  

  • Gyr0Man

    These people are insane.

    • Realkman666

      And now we can find out in 140 characters or less.

  • NO MORE BLIZZARD GAMES!!! What the hell is wrong with them?

  • whatever

    Given how anti-gg and feminists in general love blacklists, block bots, name calling, labeling, shaming, bullying of their opponents why on earth would Schnee think this idea was “problematic”?

  • Naime

    Remember that guy who lost his job for questioning Felicia Day on her value to the industry. Now we’ve got a blacklisting advocate. How this guy’s treated will show just where Blizzard’s values are.

  • Mr0303

    I don’t think this was an honest apology. The use of diminutives reminds me of the behaviour of a child that knows it broke the brand new TV and it is trying to reduce its punishment. This idiot called for people to be never find jobs and compared them to criminals just because he disagrees with them. Agree or not with GamerGate free speech should not be silenced with these dirty tactics.

    After that he realized he was representing his company and got a mental flashback of what happened to Adam Orth. At this point he goes “work with me”, “togetherness :)” and “peace on Earth”. Well Matt, I too am an engineer, but I want nothing to do with you.

    • ‘Blacklist them from working!’ ‘Work with me!’

      Those two statements do not jive. Damage control detected.

  • Green Sub Zero

    Yeah, “Healthy discussion”, just like Hitler. /facepalm

    • Mr0303

      I usually avoid using that comparison because of Godwin’s Law, but guys like Ian Miles Cheong make it really hard to do so.

      • Green Sub Zero

        Sorry, I could use latin america dictactors but no dictactor is well known as Hitler. The reality is that there are more “little dictactors” around us than we would like (that is zero), sadly we can’t do nothing because since those people rise the “good cause” flag all is acceptable.

        • Mr0303

          I hear you. As the saying goes – the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • Joey P

    Doesn’t sound very repentant to me. In the final tweet he’s still talking about “work with me and we can fix this”, along with a sly emoticon, *wink wink* which suggests he’s still referencing the earlier tweets.

  • under_score

    Guys, he’s just iterating on a Problem. Each iteration presents a potential solution, until we arrive at a Final Solution to ze Problem.

  • Nicolas Winitzky

    He’s requesting an illegal action, without even trying to understand GamerGate and the movement and being swayed by anti-GG journalism. If he doesn’t know what’s going on, he shouldn’t be formulating an opinion in the first place, let alone one which states illegal activity.