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The PAX East “Boston Teabag Controversy” is stupid and all parties involved should be ashamed

This is perhaps the biggest tea-related event that has happened in Boston since, you know, the main tea incident.

Boston Teabagging at PAX East 2018
Image: Metro

By now, you have probably heard about the incredibly horrific controversy that happened over the weekend at PAX East. If you haven’t yet, please, for the love of all that is holy, close this page and do something more productive with the next five minutes of your life. Just go, I don’t even want to be here.

For those that haven’t heard, here’s a recap of the softest controversy to rock the video game industry in at least the last five minutes.

Amanda Farough was team-killed in a game and teabagged in said game by a developer at PAX East this year. The dev later (allegedly) stated they thought it was another dev and that it was a mistake. Amanda took her displeasure to social media, and that’s where the downward spiral truly started.

Gaming journalist Mike Futter then started to passive-aggressively voice his displeasure, taking the discussion from bad decisions to borderline sexual assault. Both sides of the peanut gallery jumped to both sides, demanding blood and flinging insults. Somehow, along the way, people started calling for the job of those involved in this teabag controversy. Our own J White has even been accused of being a rapist and sexual predator for encouraging Futter to call out the guilty party instead of stoking outrage during the incident.

Here’s the thing, it’s all dumb. It’s seriously all so fucking dumb that it hurts. Let me start here, it’s not uncommon to have a dev play a little prank on a member of the press while you are demoing their game. However, it’s typically been part of a rehearsed skit that devs do to either have fun or use a learning tool to show off a game feature. Team killing and teabagging a member of the press for a laugh is pretty stupid and not necessary. Goofs happen, but that falls under the responsibility of the devs to judge if the joke will be taken in stride or be deemed offensive. It was Amanda Farough, you basically asked for the controversy.

At the same time, Amanda and Mike made the situation exponentially worse. We’ve all gone online to voice displeasure with things. Search my Twitter, it’s there in droves, but allowing the mob to start calling for the livelihoods of people in the industry is willful non-compliance. Airing grievances directly allow the devs to defend themselves or let the story naturally unfold. Unfortunately, due to indirect outrage in this incident, there have been individuals and media outlets literally running with actual fake news about the situation. To their credit, Amanda and Mike have tried to dissolve some of the zealous mob’s anger by saying that their goal isn’t for someone to lose their job, but to call out their lack of professionalism. Ironically, that pendulum swings both ways.

Devs, take note, don’t act like asshats during presentations if you don’t want to be responsible for backlash. Press, remember that your words influence emotion and the public. That can be a huge responsibility and our favorite uncle, Uncle Ben, would tell you that “With great power comes great responsibility.” So fucking act like it, ok?

Hopefully, devs will use this experience as a learning experience and gauge their pranks in the future. Maybe the press will be more careful with what they say? Maybe my 4-year-old will stop fighting with us for hours after bed-time so I can actually get work done so you can see more writing from me. None of these things will probably happen, but wouldn’t it be nice?

Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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