Video game maker Bethesda has banned a group of Fallout 76 players for life after they harassed other players with homophobic slurs.
Fallout 76 player AJ reported the encounter on Twitter on November 15, the day after the video game was released, asking for advice on how to report players.
He uploaded two clips showing his character chased by a group of players laughing as they make homophobic remarks.
The videos were seen more than 20,000 times and shared hundreds of times on Twitter.
“So Bethesda, how do we report people in Fallout? ChipWhitehouse, Handsandhead and I literally had our characters hunted down and killed by homophobic players,” AJ wrote in his first tweet.
AJ added: “Called themselves the ‘gay eliminator’ ‘cleansing the wasteland of the queers’ ‘know what we did to your people back then, we killed them’ THIS is the stuff said to us tonight when playing Fallout.”
“I don’t hate gay people. It was just a late night of having fun”
Fallout 76, an RPG game set in a lawless wasteland, allows up to 24 players to talk, trade, and group-up with one another—the audio can be turned off, but there is no function preventing players from bothering other players’ characters.
In one of the clips AJ uploaded on Twitter, one player identified as NathanTheHicc in the game can be heard saying: “Attention all queer—We have come to eliminate the gays.”
So @bethesda, how do we report people in @Fallout? @ChipWhitehouse @Handsandhead and I literally had our characters hunted down and killed by homophobic players. I’ll post more of the video in a thread. Strong language warning. pic.twitter.com/gN1rsRFz1h
— AJpls (@twitch_ajpls) November 16, 2018
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He and then players then proceed to harass AJ’s character, continuing to use anti-gay slurs and laughing throughout.
AJ told gaming publication Eurogamer he and his friends had a previous interaction with NathanTheHicc.
“The three of us were having a good time and talking to him and then one of us commented on his character or his characters outfit being cute. He replied, ‘I don’t fuck with that homo shit’ and left,” AJ recalled.
Fallout 76 banned player said he won’t apologise
NathanTheHicc then returned shortly afterwards with a group of players to harass AJ and his friends.
The player, an American high school senior who had uploaded his own version of the incident under the title “Cleansing of the queers,” told Eurogamer he had no regrets over the incident but that he is not a homophobe.
“I don’t hate gay people. It was just a late night of having fun and after the first encounter (seen on my channel) we felt it would be fun to offend them somehow. You can call that evil but I think it’s just playful immaturity,” he said.
He added: “I do not regret the incident. I will not apologise given the opportunity. I don’t plan on doing anything like this in the future but to be fair I didn’t plan the initial incident, I just found them and decided to go through with it.”
After AJ reported the incident, Bethesda issued a three-day suspension for the players, but this later became permanent.
“We gave an initial ban of three days while our CS team looked into the matter further to verify the individuals involved and what took place,” a Bethesda spokesperson told Eurogamer. “After additional review, we have now permanently banned the players we’ve identified.”