I don’t understand why we have to get offended over non-offensive or trivial things but are simultaneously expected to ignore the big stuff that actually is dangerous and unacceptable.
CBS News, for instance, is running an article titled: E3 audience offended by “rape joke” at Microsoft Xbox One event. That headline caught my attention enough that I clicked on it, and I’ll admit that I was disgusted by what I read…
“Microsoft had a splashy showing of next-generation Xbox One hardware and games at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on Monday that included Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg and ...a rape joke?
“During a demonstration of ‘Killer Instinct’ a male producer of the game was matched up against a woman, who appeared to be bad at playing video games…
“‘I can't even block correctly, and you're too fast,’ she says.
“‘Here we go. Just let it happen. It'll be over soon,’ he says.
“The audience laughs at the remark that many have been interpreted as a rape joke. The banter continues between the two, further adding fuel to the allegations that the joke mimicked a sexual assault scenario.
“‘You have a fight stick,’ she says.
“‘Wow, you like those,’ he says.
“‘No, I don't like this,’ she says.
“On Twitter, the audience reacted right away.
“‘Wow. This is really gross. Male overpowering a female in a game, so of course, rape joke. Good one, Msoft,’ .
“‘Oh my god. One of the people just made a rape joke onstage and the audience actually liked it. That's sick,’ .
“‘Even if it was unintentional, Microsoft should've realized they shouldn't make a rape joke in an environment already toxic with misogyny,’
“‘Let's bring a woman on stage and joke about how she's bad at games, and say stuff like ‘relax, just let it happen, it'll be over soon’??’ .”
It reads pretty darn damningly, right?
But always one to consider issues from more than one angle, I then turned to the accompanying video of said “rape joke.” And guess what? It wasn’t at all.
Put in context with gaming terminology, tone of voice, actions and pauses – and the fact that said “rape victim” went on in the next match-up to beat her previous “rapist” handily – the demo wasn’t offensive at all and therefore not newsworthy anywhere outside of gaming sites and publications.