Though she claims to disagree with using it for the purpose of targeted harassment, a transgender member of the Montana state legislature has voiced her approval for the recently-shuttered Hogwarts Legacy Twitch tracking list.
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Since 2020, pro-transgender activists have attempted to boycott Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and lambasted those who continue to either support or enjoy her works. This was due to comments she made regarding biological sex being real, and attempting to avoid offending transgender people would result in offending and giving less rights to women.
Despite pushing for a boycott of Hogwarts Legacy — with efforts including false claims the game was anti-semitic — the game broke Twitch’s record for having the most live viewers for a single player game. Along with the infamy of the boycott, the game releasing early for those who bought special editions may have helped.
Instead, activists turned to harassing streamers for playing Hogwarts Legacy. One notable case showed a streamer being on the edge of tears despite her pleas of being an LGBT “ally.” Another case was a Vtuber cancel plans to stream the game, though was only suspected to have been harassed. Activists have also attempted to spread spoilers for the game on social media.
One person even created a website to uncover which Twitch streamers had played the game. After nigh-universal scorn from those outside the boycott, the site was shut down less than 24 hours — the boycott and harassment itself was mocked and rejected by streamers.
There was one individual who voiced support for the boycott despite the harassment, made all the more surprising because of their role as an American politician.
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Openly transgender Montana House Representative Zooey Zephyr (D) voiced her support for the boycott on social media, despite another Twitter user alerting her to the hate raids it perpetuated.
“@NikatinePrime is hurting your constituents, @ZoAndBehold [Zephyr]. Do you endorse this?” asked @ScotchTape72MC., to which Zephyr admitted, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Can you elaborate?”
“Short version: politicizing a video game (Hogwarts Legacy) and calling for a boycott due to JK Rowling’s beliefs,” @ScotchTape72MC explained. “A data base is also being created against all streamers who buy it and stream it so they can be hate raided live on stream. It’s just a game.”
While @ScotchTape72MC later elaborated upon the issue, Zephyr seemed unmoved. She later quote retweeted the user’s first comment and seemingly offered full endorsement of @NikatinePrime’s boycott efforts.
“I support @NikatinePrime boycotting the game, as well as encouraging others (who have the financial means) to join in her boycott,” Zephyr rallied. “I believe in the power of art, which means believing in its power to influence discourse. Also, you can’t separate art from those who profit off it.”
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Zephyr did state she was against the harassment, but took no issue with the tracking website. “Also, I think it’s perfectly fair to compile a list of people who are streaming the game, so that people may make informed decisions on which streamers they choose to support,” she said.
“I obviously don’t support harassing streamers who do stream the game, but I support informed boycotts,” Zephyr declared.
“In case the tweet isn’t visible, I was asked about my stance on boycotting the wizard game on twitch. Also, if the tweet is visible, let me get ahead of things & say please don’t harass anyone who simply asked for my stance on an issue (even if they have a different opinion),” Zephyr clarified.
A transgender herself, Zephyr’s reasons for supporting the boycott certainly have a basis. On the other hand, she had offered to help streamer Pokimane’s plans for new legislation to combat online trolling and harassment in late December last year.
In a recent Ask Me Anything on r/politics, TheDudeBeto asked, “How do you feel about this Hogwart’s Legacy mumbo jumbo?” Zephyr reiterated what she had already stated on Twitter, declaring, “I made a tweet about it. Short version is I support people protesting the game. I think it’s bad to pay for a game based on an IP that directly funds a TERF. But also, don’t harass people if they decide to play it anyway.”
“Not much more to say. My energy is best spent focusing on what’s going on in my legislature.”
Discussing the story, YouTuber YellowFlash2 was aghast at the idea that an elected official would support “targeted harassment of people playing this game.” Responding to Zephy’s incongruous voicing support for the curation of the list while also attempting to discouraging harassment, the YouTuber rhetorically questioned her, “What are people doing with those lists, by the way?”
“You think they’re just gonna peacefully protest that person?” YellowFlash mocked. Claiming there was alleged DDOS attacks and doxxing attempts, he felt Zephyr’s support of the boycott was “pretty disgusting.”
“This is insane. It’s a video game. People are losing their minds over a video game,” YellowFlash despaired, as he showcased Twitter users, game journalists, and developers making outlandish claims about Hogwarts Legacy, and what it’s support would result in.
“And now you’ve got a US Representative, saying it’s OK to compile names of people playing the game. This is getting insane. All over a game. That if everyone had just ignored, it would’ve passed and gone after a week,” YellowFlash proposes, adding, “and then the game would have faded away into obscurity. […] I don’t think it would have had the staying power an Elden Ring would have had.”
“But now, this is probably going to be a conversation for weeks, because people are becoming unhinged over the game, and it’s gonna drive sales up,” he concluded.
[Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Zephy as a member of the US federal House of Representatives rather than a member of the Montana state House of Representatives.]
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