A US Congressman has called on Blizzard to take action against “online radicalization” and racism in World of Warcraft after a screenshot of players engaged in what he describes as a racist costume contest was brought to his attention.
On October 31st, U.S. Representative for California’s 46th District Jose Luis Correa posted the screenshot to Twitter, stating that he was “looking forward to welcoming you to Anaheim for your 13th Blizzcon” but instead found himself “asking how this can exist in one of your games.”
.@Blizzard_Ent—I was looking forward to welcoming you to Anaheim for your 13th #BlizzCon.
Instead, I find myself asking how this can exist in one of your games.
The @FBI knows online radicalization is real. I hope you agree & will remedy this immediately. Racism isn’t a game. pic.twitter.com/jAEgk9rw02
— Rep. Lou Correa (@RepLouCorrea) October 31, 2019
In the screenshot, The Enclave guild leader ‘Horrigan’ is clad in white robes, in reference to the standard dress of Klu Klux Klan members, next to two other players role playing as black slaves, one of them named ‘Jessejackson’ in reference to the famous civil rights activist.
‘Jessejackson’ is also seen saying “Next stop: Charlottesville” referring to the Unite the Right Rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
Horrigan and The Enclave are a known quantity in the World of Warcraft community, having accrued a reputation for blatant trolling and offensive behavior. Urban Dictionary entries for Horrigan, dating back to 2010 and 2007 respectively, state:
“Horrigan is the name of a horrible human warrior that plays World of Warcraft on The Venture Co. server. He is the guild leader of The Enclave, a group of the worst PvPers on the server, that spread white power racism through trade chat and on the forums. His character and guilds name are both stolen from the Fallout series of games (Fallout 2, more specifically). At any time you can probably find him running around contested areas, ganking lowbies or jumping similar level Horde 4v1 with his horrible guild members. Also, he attempts to discredit anyone who has ever slain him in PvP combat, though it happens so often and openly that its not worth the memory space to Fraps. Everyone hates him, and his guild, and hopefully they will all transfer servers again, for the 3rd+ time.
A World of Warcraft player who leads a large Alliance guild called The Enclave that is mostly made up of human paladins and warriors. Horrigan himself is a warrior with some pretty nice gear and has made a name for himself by being a jackass in the Tortheldrin community, most notably for reporting names, making fun of other player’s RL appearances, challenging other guilds, and mocking players who have committed suicide in real life. Luckily the paladins from The Enclave are usually quite harmless without their master running around protecting them. If you ever encounter Horrigan in game – its best to focus fire him or just run because he can take a lot of shit.”
The Enclave has continued to be a source of contention and frustration for some players, with one redditor recalling an encounter with the guild in August 2019:
“Not sure what their schtick is, if it’s RP or PvE progression, or both. But the guild is an absolute cesspool of trolls and bigots. Was having gentle banter with the entirety of the guild chat when one of the users started spamming racial slurs. The one with the hard-r, ya know. I told the dude to “cool it”, which led to a bunch of these dudes dog piling me for being a “snowflake hurt by a word” and the guildmaster Horrigan or something of the like supported this with “die, zoomer!”, and kicked me from the guild. (The general discourse of calling me a snowflake led to them having a revelation that I must indeed be a “Generation Z kid”)
Wasn’t going to stay in it anyway, but just giving a forewarning to anyone in or thinking of joining this guild, they’re a bunch of morons. I’ve also seen a disgusting amount of people using the hard R in shit like general chat. These dudes are gonna be QQing on forums when they receive temp bans if they keep this up.
Edit: I’ve seen some confusion on what the word was. It is the racial slur beginning with N, ending with ER.”
However, Horrigan and The Enclave also have a reputation for trolling.
One user pointed out back in April 2010 that the guild is “just trolling” in response to a user inquiring about The Enclave.
They wrote, “If you look at their FAQ, it says that they don’t mean any of it. So basically they’re just trolling. May as well ignore them.”
According to Vice, after the costume contest, the guild met to discuss how to proceed in the face of Horrigan’s alleged racist costume. In leaked audio, Horrigan denied that the costume was in reference to the Ku Klux Klan and claimed that it was a “ghost” costume.
However, one member responded by stating, “You keep saying that you were a ghost but we’re not dumb, dude. We weren’t born yesterday. We can put all those things together.”
In an e-mail to Vice, Representative Correa stated that his concern was with “how far-right extremists are infiltrating online platforms and video games” and called on all gaming companies, not just Blizzard, to “Kick the bad actors out—for everyone’s sake.”
“The user-generated content found in World of Warcraft is just one example of how far-right extremists are infiltrating online platforms and video games.
By allowing white supremacists refuge, companies inadvertently create safe harbors that extremists can leverage to recruit and indoctrinate other people while also degrading the enjoyment of their own fans.
I call on the industry to do better at managing and moderating their communities. Your players and fans want to play your games, not fight with white supremacists. Kick the bad actors out—for everyone’s sake.”
YouTuber The Quartering described the costume contest as a joke saying, “It’s a joke. It’s a joke.”
He continued, “You’re totally entitled to not find it funny, Representative Lou Correa. But it’s still a joke. And it’s totally harmless. Who is the victim here? Seriously.”
He added, “This just perpetuates the idea that if you make a joke that you are the embodiment of that joke. Look, I can make joke about what’s the difference between a picnic table and insert some group of people. That doesn’t make you an evil person. You can tell a joke. Especially if you tell it ironically. It’s just a bit of fun. You may not like it.”
What do you make of the costume contest? What do you make of Lou Correa’s demands? Do you think Blizzard and World of Warcraft need to make changes?