Game publisher THQ Nordic concluded a rollercoaster of a promotional Tuesday by apologizing for its use of the controversial imageboard site 8chan as a host for an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session.
On Tuesday morning, THQ Nordic’s Twitter account announced and linked to the AMA, saying, “We’re doing an 8chan AMA and we have no idea why.” The session had been announced nearly a day prior on 8chan’s “/v/” sub-board by its own moderators, but it was THQ Nordic’s official announcement that garnered wider attention—and drew responses about the site’s reputation for either outright hosting child pornography or skating on the edge of state, federal, and international laws on the matter.
Within three hours of the AMA’s launch, THQ Nordic’s Twitter account had changed its tune and directly called out 8chan’s reputation for illegal and despicable content. As written by PR and Marketing Director Philipp Brock:
I personally agreed to this AMA without doing my proper due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site. I do not condone child pornography, white supremacy, or racism in any shape or form. I am terribly sorry for the short-sightedness of my (!) decision and promise to be far more vigorous in my assessment of these activities in the future. This was not about being edgy, this blew up and I very much regret to have done it in the first place.
Before posting that apology, Brock tried explaining away his use of 8chan in a Twitter post: “the opportunity was here and we took it, we got apporached [sic] in a very friendly and polite manner and were assured, said person (shoutout to Mark) will take care of the nasty stuff. so, here we are.” The apology that followed appeared to acknowledge what many Twitter respondents pointed out: that the “nasty stuff” was inherent in the site’s reputation.
But THQ Nordic’s answers to various 8chan questions didn’t help matters. In one exchange, a questioner pleaded, “Please don’t censor any games nor appeal to the SocJus crowd, you guys are doing fine as is.” (“SocJus” likely refers to the phrase “social justice,” which is applied as a derogatory term to art and entertainment that embraces diversity of perspective.) THQ Nordic’s official response: “Thanks! We’ll try to stay that way.”
Another fan asked about the publisher’s long-dormant Destroy All Humans franchise, and THQ Nordic responded by saying, “We work it like an alien prostitute.” And when one 8chan user posted an image of a medieval knight that was captioned, “cease all f____,” which used a homophobic slur, THQ Nordic Business and Product Development Director Reinhard Pollice responded by saying, “That could be from one of our upcoming games.”
In spite of the apology, the aforementioned responses have not been removed from the 8chan thread. THQ Nordic did not immediately respond to questions about these quoted posts.
THQ Nordic came to be in 2016 after the Austrian game publisher Nordic acquired the rights to various THQ game properties in 2013 in the wake of a massive bankruptcy hearing. The publisher’s fused name change came three years later. Other franchises in the THQ Nordic umbrella include Darksiders, Timesplitters, Kingdoms of Amalur, and Red Faction.
This article has been updated to clarify a second THQ Nordic staffer’s identity.
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