Christchurch Tragedy Shows Need For Cultural Change In Games Industry

Game Workers Unite Australia utterly condemns the massacre on Friday 15 of March at the Al Noor and Linwood Avenue mosques, and urges members of our community to help by raising support for the victims and their families of this shooting.

There are a number of organisations collecting money and helping on the ground, which are all worthy of your support, for those of you who are able to put forward something to help. It is important in these situations that we work to give concrete material assistance to Muslim communities in the aftermath of this crisis.

Alongside these immediate efforts, we believe that our industry must also address how obvious games culture references were — explicitly and implicitly — used by the terrorists to demonstrate their support for a culture of white supremacy that festers on the internet, and to make clear they intended this act as an extension of their participation in that culture. We recognise the white terrorist responsible for this attack is just one part of a clear and dangerous global rise in fascism and white supremacy that is empowered by a culture of Islamophobia and racism.

In this case, live-streaming, the comments to ‘subscribe’ to a gaming YouTuber figurehead, and the content in the shooter’s manifesto, make it clear that to address the rise of global fascism, we must address the spaces it inhabits in gaming.

We as an industry must face how and why our artform and the culture around it are so readily adopted by white supremacists, and how they seem to find so many games-related spaces ready to adopt them.

A discussion must be had over how the games industry has fostered Islamophobia through the dehumanisation and ‘othering’ of Muslim people, and how our community continues to give platforms to people who normalise and profit from bigotry.

Our industry must stop giving a platform to fascist and white supremacist ideologies. We must call out the transgressions of bigots, both minor and major. We as workers and gamers must take this stand and make it clear that we will not continue to support the bigotry of fascists, their apologists, or the organisations and corporations which profit from promoting them.

The families of victims and the Muslim community have asked for the media and people to not view or circulate the violent content circulated by the shooters and we believe these wishes should continue to be respected.

We must learn to do better in how we navigate our diverse world and encourage our peers to do the same.