Update: Nintendo of America has now issued a statement in relation to the reasoning behind Alison Rapp’s termination.
Original Story: Nintendo of America has made the tremendously disheartening decision to terminate Treehouse product marketing specialist Alison Rapp’s employment.
After controversy had swirled around the company’s localisation effort with Nintendo 3DS exclusive Fire Emblem Fates, Rapp, who had no involvement in making them, unexpectedly found herself become the target of criticism surrounding the changes.
That attracted harassment from the notoriously hostile Gamergate smear campaign, who immediately set out to discredit her in any way that they could. Their most damaging discovery was a thesis that she wrote while at Augsburg College called “Speech We Hate: An Argument for the Cessation of International Pressure on Japan to Strengthen Its Anti-Child Pornography Laws,” which had explored the differences in cultural traditions between Japan and western countries relating to the subject matter.
Gamergate chose to interpret this as Rapp holding views that support child pornography, even if she had actually argued to introduce stronger laws against child exploitation.
Still, activists hounded her as supporting paedophilia, a relentless campaign that has since descended into madness, eventually seeing The Wayne Foundation’s Jamie Walton, an organisation who seek to spread awareness of the commercial sex exploitation of children, report her views to Nintendo of America without any comprehension of the situation.
Mounting pressure came to a head this week, surely elevated by prominent articles in the media, and the disappointing conclusion was reached. In speculating, it is likely that Nintendo of America have looked to protect their family-friendly brand, and prevent any further prominence that Gamergate could continue to attract to such matter.
“As many of you know, the last couple months have been quite a whirlwind of controversy and GG [Gamergate] harassment,” Rapp shared on Twitter. “I mean, at this point (if it ever wasn’t), GG is a nebulous group without a real cause except chaos.
“The reality is, I actually had no involvement with localised content changes of any kind. Come on, I *wanted* the Xenoblade Chronicles X boob slider! But that’s not really what any of this was about, ya know? The attack campaigns have always been hardest against women.
“Over the last few weeks, I’ve had to talk safety measures with my family – including talks with police to warn them of possible suspicious activity. Throughout this, GG has been digging up all kinds of things about my personal life and contacting Nintendo about them. Today, the decision was made: I am no longer a good, safe representative of Nintendo, and my employment has been terminated.
“Your support over the last few months–and years!–has been wonderful, and I love you all for it. Obviously this is a lot to sift through and some of it’s highly confidential, so apologies that I can’t go into tons of details.”
She closed, “I do want to also say that I had some truly incredible coworkers at Nintendo, and I’d love it if you continued to support them.”
Since the news emerged Feminist Frequency, Anita Sarkeesian’s educational nonprofit that promotes a more equitable media landscape and online world, has swiftly criticised Nintendo of America’s decision, writing: “When companies cave in to vile harassment tactics aimed at women, they send a message that those tactics of gendered abuse are acceptable. Companies should support their female employees in the face of such attacks. To stay silent is to be complicit. To give in is unconscionable.”
That it has empowered those that have attacked her for months on end has come as a unanimous disappointment, many taking to social media channels to scorn Nintendo of America for their decision.