Marvel’s Avengers spokesman loses role over offensive tweets

A promotional photo for Marvel's Avengers, featuring the likes of Black Panther and Hawkeye, faced some red hot threats.

Image: Crystal dynamics

It’s a story as old as Twitter itself: person says stupid, abusive things in the past, person comes to the fore, old tweets are dug up, person apologizes, the internet holds the judge. The whole gig just happened again, this time with the Crystal Dynamics spokesperson and the game design lead Marvel’s AvengersBrian Wagoner.

As A rock paper gun reports, over the weekend, some of Wagoner’s old tweets were unearthed, leading to his apology today, and Crystal Dynamics followed suit to say how disappointed they are and that they’re taking away Wagoner’s spokesperson status. Now everyone involved, who followed the prescribed script, presumably hopes that it will go away.

Waggoner’s tweets, dating from around 2010 to 2016 (during which time he worked for Marvel and Gazillion), were pretty stark. Some were clearly attempted jokes, at least one that relies on lazy, racist stereotypeswhile another just downright mocked people with disabilities. However, others just seem to be brutal dog whistle racism.

As so often seems to be the case, Wagoner reports that he has undergone a complete change of personality since then, these historical accounts of the distant annulments of six years ago are now moot, given his reformed ways. “On weekends,” he explained in a statement on his ongoing Twitter account“old tweets I wrote from before my time at Crystal have resurfaced and I apologize and take full responsibility for the pain they have caused to my followers, community and those I work with.”

The standard apology text continues: “Since then I have learned and grown and the content I have posted does not reflect who I am today.” For those not convinced, he adds, “I understand if you can’t accept my apology because of the hurt I’ve caused. I will continue to listen, learn and work to improve myself.”

Crystal Dynamics then followed upciting:

It’s incredibly disappointing to see employee language and attitudes that don’t align with our studio values. We apologize to our community and colleagues who are rightfully upset by the content. Brian will no longer be a studio spokesperson or communicate about studio projects.

Look, you don’t need my opinion on this because you already have your own opinion, and frankly this feels like a story we’ve already written three hundred times, just with another guy’s name at the beginning. But hey, I still have opinions.

What I hate about all of this, every aspect of it, is that none of it is truthful. Any side.

Those scripted “apologies” are meant to save face, cover all bases, and “draw a line under it,” without ever actually saying sorry to anyone for anything. It is empty, performative, aloney fooling those entrenched in the business thinking she writes.

At the same time, Waggoner’s tweets did not willfully cause massive damage to large communities. They were crappy, bigoted comments that were ignored at the time (a single “like” on one, a solitary retweet on another), and now they’re reemerging as evidence in the online courts to convict him (possibly rightly so). People pretending they’ve finally taken down this tyrannical threat from his hate campaign is ridiculously dishonest, and it’s just as deceptive for Wagoner to offer “apologies” as if that’s what happened.

Crystal throws in, then, with nonsense about “language and attitudes” that “don’t match our studio values,” as if the corporate entity itself is some kind of moral being, with a purely driven platonic perfection of ideal values. Has that ever occurred to you? Every company is morally impeccable without ever having to state how, instead letting the individual assume that means their values ​​are well aligned with their own. A person at the company causes outrage, to which this vague impeccability adjusts are notand everyone is asked to assume that this anomaly has been erased in their perfection.

Read more: Marvel’s Avengers reminds you it still exists with the addition of Winter Soldier

People say and do stupid things. People have horrible views or make mean jokes. I know because I know. We all do. Even the most lascivious champions of wakefulness have bad thoughts, say things they regret, or hope that what they said will stay private for once. Sometimes people surround themselves with so many others like them that they lose sight of how horrible such things sound when said publicly on social media. Later that comes back to bite them in the ass. And it should!

I just wish people’s reactions were fair. ‘God, yes, I really was a dick, wasn’t I? Damn, I really need to think before I speak.’ Or, “You know what, that’s an intolerance I’ve always had, and I really need to do something about that.” Sure, in this particular case Wagoner may well have been reformed, but the idea that the views we had last Tuesday don’t reflect who we are today is so tiresome, and the attempted implication is that we’re perfect now, if only everyone else would catch up.

And no one, anywhere, just says, “I’m sorry.” It is always with caveats and justifications, and almost always includes the word “apologies.” An action, rather than a feeling, a semiotic difference that the procedure brings out, rather than speaking from the heart. Seems like it really is the hardest word.

Oh, and let’s not forget, the braying gallery. “He’s not fired!” We have no idea if he deserves to be fired, or if he’s a champion for good these days. But more importantly, let’s stop pretending to care about this person Never heard of it before today, who said things you didn’t notice ten years ago, can keep his job. What people want is for offensiveness to disappear, and the idea that an ignorant public claiming this man’s head will somehow achieve it is fucking idiotic. If he’s a dick to work with, Crystal should fire him. But also let’s all be honest and not pretend we know what’s best in every goddamn situation.

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