LGBT+ Blizzard employee rebuffs rainbow capitalism backlash: ‘these shirts were a labor of love’
Blizzard has launched a range of Pride merchandise, but has been accused by fans of their games of rainbow capitalism, something their LGBT+ employees strongly deny.
The developer behind Overwatch, World of Warcraft and Diablo now has T-shirts available with their logo in rainbow colours.
However, as Blizzard do not donate the proceeds from these shirts to LGBT+ charities or campaigns, many queer fans have been left feeling disappointed.
is it just me or is it upsetting that companies will be LGBTQ friendly but wont donate any of the profits to LGBTQ non-profits idk
slapping your logo and making having pride colors just seems wrong https://t.co/fdFwdkMvcz
— 『 yokai girl 』 (@ardbert_) May 11, 2021
Blizzard’s new Pride merch is still rainbow capitalism even if the people who made it are queer and made it authentically. The cash still goes to a corp looking to profit. I’m sure people worked hard on it. I’m also sure Blizzard could do a lot more, and chooses not to.
— Stacey Henley (@FiveTacey) May 12, 2021
What did inspire you to release a pride collection?
— ユルゲン (@thebursche) May 14, 2021
Valentine, World of Warcraft UI Senior Software Engineer at Blizzard, responded to the comments in a long thread.
Seeing people criticizing Blizzard for rainbow capitalism, and I can understand that reflex. I’m here to set the record queer on this. I’m a queer, trans person who works at Blizzard. These shirts were a labor of love by LGBT people at this company.
— Valentine 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@valentine_irl) May 12, 2021
“I’m here to set the record queer on this. I’m a queer, trans person who works at Blizzard. These shirts were a labor of love by LGBT people at this company,” said Valentine.
“They were designed and created by LGBT people here for Pride, and a lot of us wanted them to be made publicly available. After a lot of hard work by some awesome people at this company, we made it happen.
“For me, these shirts and the pins we did for the Trevor Project charity fundraiser are meaningful, because Blizzard is interwoven with a bunch of amazing LGBT+ people who have poured ourselves into creating our games.
“Blizzard, and the entire industry have a long way to go, but we are working on it every day. And visible representation is a big part of that. I’m really proud of the people who made these shirts happen, and I’m so glad to live in a world where our fans wanted them.”
The thread has since received a positive response from Blizzard fans and game developers.
Thank you for mentioning this, I bought one of them and am glad to hear it was a labor of love. 💜
— Frazley (She/Her) (@Frazleytastic) May 12, 2021
As a trans woman trying to get into the industry, Blizzard is one of those companies I would love to work for just knowing how inclusive they are. Too many companies are still dudebro centric and wouldn't even hire me being openly trans.
— Dana Queue (@eelektrik1138) May 12, 2021
As a fellow queer game dev, thank you so much for highlighting your work and involvement ❤️
— Jake (@AlphaLvSim) May 12, 2021
"…here to set the record queer…"
— That Mean John Saxon-Type Guy (@Cave_DweIIer) May 12, 2021
The T-shirts are available from the Blizzard merchandise store, priced $24.99.
Blizzard is gradually including more LGBT+ characters in its games.
Overwatch includes the likes of Tracer and Soldier 76 who are both queer. However, their sexuality isn’t revealed in the game but in extra comics released separately.
World of Warcraft also includes a trans character, now confirmed in a new book on the game.
Related topics: LGBT gaming