In light of everything that’s happening with Blizzard and their decision to silence free speech, I think a conversation is overdue about the concept of mobility and morals and the precedent we face.
Anyone who has ever wanted to progress into sponsorship with a brand – regardless of the sphere – usually has a tacit understanding that in order to do so they will have to forego, by and large, speaking without thought (for the most part; there are exceptions).
We either speak out regarding our real experiences and deal with the consequences or we settle into silence and pretend that this will go away.
That said, this situation is a bit different. Hong Kong is in peril of losing its cultural identity and recognition as a separate entity from China overall. You can read a bit about that here or take a trip through Google.
As I read about this and watch the reactions, I wonder where the people who say, “People shouldn’t lose their jobs for speaking their mind” are. I ponder how a company that makes games about conquering evil and oppressive regimes silence a player who is actively speaking against one.
I also see echoes of my own struggles here; racism, fear of abusive police severing my soul from my body with a bullet and the flimsy defense of feeling they were endangered somehow, anti-LGBTQ+ any and everything, and in many cases, a combo of each because… ya know… I’m black and bi and all of those other things at the same time at all times.
I look at the companies doing this and following suit. There are… a lot of them. They could be using their voices and power for good, but they silence the oppressed instead when it would cost them less than nothing and it is at this point that I wonder about what content creators like myself and others are left with; we either speak out regarding our real experiences and deal with the consequences or we settle into silence and pretend that this will go away.
That we can logic it away. That we can use our positivity-only shield and suddenly we are immune and safe and invisible to the thousands of people following and subbing to accounts that stand for white supremacy in the same place I want people like me and adjacent to me to feel safe.
It is worth me being able to climb the clout ladder if I have to take marginalized voices and bodies to build the rungs? Not for me. We can throw Twitch partnership and sponsorship away and at this point, we probably should. At least until they do better with actually making this place safe and are willing to put some teeth to that statement by de-platforming awful humans.
Until then, we drag them. For filth. Every time.