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Jennifer Hepler

Jennifer Hepler Did Not Quit BioWare Because Of Harassment, Plus Updates On Xbox Support

The Truth Is Out There

Yesterday, we started noticing traffic on a story from February 2012 -"Inclusion: What Jennifer Hepler's Story is all About." It was a while later we realized the traffic was as a result of a new story popping up saying the BioWare employee was quitting her job there as a result of the terrible harassment she received, including threats against her children. But here's the thing, according to Jennifer Hepler herself - that's not why she quit. This story just happened to bookend a week when we posted about another instance of video game related harassment so we're going to fill you in on the latest for both. 

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Things We Saw Today: Cat Doughnuts

Things We Saw Today

Some context, if you want context for cat doughnuts: This feline food was inspired by anime series one Nya hup, which features… wait for it… doughnut-shaped cats. Sadly, they're only available only in Japan. (Laughing Squid)

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The Mary Sue’s 10 Most Talked About Stories Of 2012

The Mary Sue

We've had quite the year here at The Mary Sue. Looking back on it now, we can say without any snarkiness, it was a great one. Part of that has to do with all of you, the folks who visit our site daily to participate in (usually) engaging conversations. When we post an article, we hope it garners discussion, even if that discussion is about how much Peter Jackson must have spent on shampoo for The Hobbit or how hilarious tap dancing zombies are. Some posts never get any comments (and how sad they must be) but others take on a life of their own when a particular topic gets readers talking whether the topic was controversial or not. We like it when things remain civil and do our best to step in when they don't, but it's always interesting to see different perspectives. Here now are our Top 10 Most Talked About Stories of 2012 on The Mary Sue.

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BioWare Officially Confirms Support For Jennifer Hepler and Anti-Bullying Campaigns

Officially Official

We reported on the intense round of harassment leveled at BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler recently, due to a number of quotes that were mostly fake, but, when true (and still half a decade old), were made regarding her opinions on how to improve the inclusivity of games to people outside the demographic of "hardcore gamers." The fact that Hepler herself has a voice in the games industry but neither identifies as hardcore nor fits the narrow, stereotypical but prevalent stereotype of the hardcore gamer (a relatively young, usually single, usually white, straight male), undoubtedly increased her perceived threat to the strangers who called her home phone and called for her to commit suicide on Twitter. In the wake of it, many called upon BioWare itself to make an official statement denouncing the treatment she'd received from a segment people who claimed to speak for "real gamers." Well, BioWare has, with words and money.

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Inclusion: What Jennifer Hepler’s Story is All About

If we got angry about this kind of thing we'd be angry all the time

Gather around, boys and girls, and let me tell you a familiar story. It's about a person who works in the game industry, who said some things about games five years ago. Then a week ago, some gamers took screenshots of those things and photoshopped them next to a picture of that person, a nickname that drew negative attention to the person's physical appearance, some completely unrelated quotations (made to appear attributed to the person) and added a list of descriptive words: "CANCER INFECTION BLIGHT VERMIN DISEASE SEWAGE PLAGUE WASTE." Then they put it up on Reddit, in post calling the person "the cancer that is killing Bioware." Upvotes and downvotes were voted, gamer rage was raged, and eventually moderators on r/gaming deleted the post entirely because that person from the game industry had started getting harassing calls on her home phone. Shortly afterward this Jennifer Hepler launched a twitter account tied with her professional identity and was immediately accosted by requests that she commit suicide; imprecations that verbally reduced her to her genitalia and implied low intelligence and lack of subjectively appealing physical qualities; and accusations of forcing gay characters "down gamer's [sic] throats," moreover, accusations that she had a "fetish" for such characters and relationships. Oh, did I not mention that this person who works in the gaming industry is female? That's because I don't want this post to be about gamers hating women. Do I think the fact that Hepler is female made some of the vitriol leveled at her more vitriolic than it would have been otherwise? ...Possibly. Do I think that there were misogynist aspects to the specific words that were chosen to be used against her? Absolutely. But I think what this is actually about is some gamers violently reacting to a perceived scapegoat that they can blame for a trend in games towards a greater measure of inclusivity, a topic that is related in a number of ways to the acceptance of women into gaming, both as fans and creators.

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