Games Workshop has been accused of being “vicariously racist to community members” by multiple organizations including No More Damsels (NMD), Feminist 40K, and others in an open letter.
For those unfamiliar with No More Damsels, the group claims to be a “charity which wants to improve the gender balance of the London RPG and Wargaming scene.”
They also claim to “provide events to encourage a greater gender diversity of people in roleplaying, DMing and wargaming, as well as safeguarding guidelines and codes of conduct for clubs and conventions.”
The organization was “originally founded by Sarah Pipkin and Naomi Clarke.”
In an open letter posted to their website, the group accuses Games Workshop, the producer of Warhammer and Warhammer 40k of racism.
The letter begins by asking two questions of Games Workshop in reference to their recently public and divisive “Warhammer is For Everyone” statement.
Their first question is “What specific actions are you making to address prejudice, hatred, or abuse inside the Games Workshop company?”
They then ask, “What specific actions are you making to ensure that racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia has no place in the Warhammer community?”
The open letter then cites claims by Josh Mallett that he “has been a victim of racism in the Warhammer community several times.”
He specifically claimed, “My experience in the Warhammer community of first hand racism is when I went to the Warhammer weekender and they were announcing the Alpha Legion Praetor…”
Mallett continued, “But the lead Tony Cottrell literally said to me, ‘You are like the black guy at the end of Avengers.’ Now, if you’ve watched Avengers: Endgame the last scene, you will see what happens at the end. And that is racist. That is what we call covert racism. And the most painful thing is people just laughed.”
NMD writes, “We have yet to have any public response to Josh Mallett’s account of his experience of racist comments from a Warhammer staff member (which he later expanded on in the Brush Wielders Union podcast). Mallett himself has been very open about his attempts to reach out to you, the lack of communication, and the fact that he doesn’t want staff to be “punished” but rather to be educated so this doesn’t happen in the future. Mallett has not heard back from Games Workshop.”
They then go on to cite Thomas Parrott and his account as to why he was fired from Games Workshop and The Black Library.
Parrott wrote on Twitter, “Black Library has decided to terminate their association with me on the grounds that I am a poor representative of their brand.”
He added, “This is obviously devastating for me for a lot of reasons. I don’t consider it a fair decision on their part, but fair rarely matters in life.”
Parrott would further explain why he believes he was fired in a lengthy Twitter thread, “The issue arose a month ago. A member of the Twitter community made a joke about gay space Marines, and got death threats for it. I was furious, and made statements to that effect. These were reported to the company by an “investor and “customer” and I was called to task.”
He continued, “The statements included things like there being a fascist element of the fanbase, and that I considered that a serious problem that had to be confronted. I also made lore related statements the mystery individual took issue with, like I considered SM eunuchs.”
Parrott then claimed that Games Workshop attempted to blame a leak back in May on him.
He stated, “There was also a really transparent attempt to pin the May leaks on me a few days ago, presumably so they’d have a better justification for this. As it is, I can say with absolute certainty I leaked nothing. Their “evidence” was that I… accessed a document.”
He went on to admit that he did access the information, “Accessed it, mind you, while editing a novella based on information in that document.”
“I told them a month ago that I would separate my political talk from discussion of the IP. I felt guilty for that much compromise in the face of such toxicity that people get death threats. But I’ve made every effort to bend and keep my word. Evidently that wasn’t enough,” Parrott added.
He would conclude the lengthy thread writing, “One last thing, there’s a lot of people reaching out. I don’t think there’s any salvaging this for me, especially after my honesty here. I don’t want it to happen to another author, though. I’m sorry if I don’t reply directly. I’m pretty broken and my spoon drawer is empty.”
NMD would then claim that Parrott’s firing “served as a disquieting sign that your commitment to inclusivity is not supported by the internal behaviour of your organisation.”
The open letter continued, “It was also seen by people who did not welcome your inclusion statement, such as Arch, as evidence that the “Warhammer is for Everyone” post is not reflected in corporate actions.”
They then stated, “Without further action or communication on what exactly you are doing to make the community more inclusive, all we have left is rumors. And those rumors, so far, do not inspire confidence in the Games Workshop corporation.”
The letter then concludes claiming, “These examples are not isolated incidents of rare cases of prejudice, but part of a larger issue in the Warhammer community of harassing women, people of colour, and LGBTQI+ fans for their existence in the hobby.”
NMD continued, “As a world leader in the gaming hobby, your actions set the tone and shape the community around your products. Providing open and clear measures around discouraging hatred and abuse would go a long way towards making the community more welcoming and tolerant for all. Your silence so far is concerning.”
They then accuse Games Workshop of racism, “You appear to be punishing staff members who criticise and acknowledge the negative aspects of the community rather than responding to cases where your company has been vicariously racist to community members through your employees. Your action sets the example.”
Finally, they write, “We look forward to your support and seeing the precedent you set by taking repeated and consistent action to address prejudice and build “a community united by shared values of mutual kindness and respect.”
YouTuber Arch Warhammer would react to the open letter saying, “Yea GW? What are you doing to ensure that you are not called set ‘isms;’ sexism, transphobia, homophobia? What are you doing to ensure that you are not being phobic towards, well, group A, B, Z, D, E, X, Y? What are you doing GW?”
He added, “Because before this, of course, nobody cared. We just went and bought our miniatures and that was the end of it. That was all we expected of you Games Workshop. But now, well, you have opened the door haven’t you? Are you starting to realize this was a mistake, yet?”
Arch continued, “I tell you, sure as shit there are a fair few people over at GW right now thinking to themselves, ‘Ah f***’ why did we do this? why did we engage with this?’ Good question. Very good question.”
Later in the video, Arch would state, “Before this, you didn’t have a problem. Before this GW was for everyone. Before this Warhammer didn’t have a problem. And yet, now, well shit, I guess you’re all racists now.”
He continued, “The entire point of this open letter here, of course, basically is to say, ‘Okay, you virtue signaled, but we don’t give a shit.’ Because they don’t care. They don’t care about your virtue signaling.”
“They want you to take actions. They want you to start firing people. They want you to start sending people to their reeducation camps. They want you to start hiring diversity officers. They want you to start enforcing their ideology,” Arch added.
“And all you have done GW, with your half-hearted “Warhammer is for Everyone But” statement is antagonize every single side,” he states.
Arch then distinguishes himself from No More Damsels saying, “And again, once more, the difference is, who am I going after? I am sending mails to Games Workshop as a company, I am saying, ‘Stay out of it. Don’t get involved. Just simply keep making miniatures.'”
He continued, “Who are they going after? Well, they are picking out a specific example and going after an employee. As always the Extreme Left goes after people not organizations. Because they wish to infiltrate those organizations. They wish to subvert them. And they wish to turn them to political tools. That is their eventual goal.”
He later adds, “Fortunately, GW does not seem to have surrendered to the ideology yet, which reinforces the notion that this was indeed just a brainless community team member who thought to themselves, ‘Oh hey, you know what if we put out a vapid statement people will praise us, not understanding that a significant portion of the Warhammer community do not swallow this bullshit. We do not want politics in our hobby. We want to keep it as far separate from it as humanly possible.”
What do you make of this open letter from No More Damsels? What do you make of Arch Warhammer’s response to the open letter?