You’re a popular voice in an already-toxic-for-females gaming industry. You make a comic strip that hinges on a rape joke*. People who have been raped, or who live with the ever-present consideration of that potential threat, don’t find it hilarious. In fact, they find it downright awful, and they say so.
You double down by issuing a series of nopologies that culminate in a comic strip basically mocking rape victims. And you triple down by creating merchandise based on that rape joke, which is interpreted as a fuck-you to rape victims.
There is an outcry. You end up pulling the merchandise, but proudly wear–and encourage your followers to wear–your rape joke at your huge gaming expo.
Fast-forward a few years, where you are at said huge gaming expo. You are one of the stars and prime movers. You’re asked onstage about things you regret, in front of a crowd of thousands…
…and you say you regret pulling the merchandise. And you accept the cheers of your followers.
And you…try to explain that you felt pulling the merchandise was reopening old wounds, and that’s what you really meant. Was it worse to pull a few T-shirts and listen to a few misogynists complain, or to flood your huge comics expo with a rape joke that you already knew significant numbers of rape victims didn’t find so fucking funny? That they found, in fact, hurtful and re-traumatizing? That might underline and express approval of the misogyny and harassment female gamers, game designers, colorists–oh, hell, any female in the gaming industry or who likes gaming–encounters?
Really. Whose wounds were you concerned about opening, again?
In your…well, your “clarification,” you don’t address the people cheering, your followers and fans. You don’t say, “What I did was dismissive to rape victims and I am very sorry. I take responsibility for my actions and I would like to make amends.” (Note: if you’re serious about apologizing, here’s a good way to do it.)
No, none of that. You say you regret pulling the merchandise. You say “Any action we took at the time just dug us deeper regardless of what it was.” And you say “I certainly can’t blame the people who still want to hate me.” Because, in all this, we are to understand, you are the victim. You have been wronged. You have been outright bullied.
So…that about covers it, right? That’s what went down.
* Side note: “Dickwolves” as a word is hilarious. The critique of the ethics of those game quests was spot-on. The rape joke? Not funny. You could do so much better.