GOG, the digital storefront owned by CD Projekt Red, have recently found themselves facing significant backlash after their account made the following tweet:
The issue here is the #WontBeErased hashtag that they’ve used, which was recently trending on Twitter. The hashtag advocates for trans rights and is in response to a New York Times story, which reported that the Trump administration wants to establish a legal definition of sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” Such a definition would effectively roll back the rights and recognition of trans people in the US. So you know, a very serious and confronting issue.
And then GOG used the same hashtag to promote their games.
The tweet was very quickly deleted (it’s almost as if they knew it would upset people), and then GOG’s Twitter account issued the following non-apology:
Yesterday, we posted a tweet containing a trending hashtag as a pun. The tweet was neither intended as a malicious attack, nor as a comment to the ongoing social debate.
GOG should focus only on games. We acknowledge that and we commit to it.
— GOG.COM (@GOGcom) October 23, 2018
Since the tweets, Zombie Orpheus Entertainment – most famous for their web series JourneyQuest – has cancelled its contract with GOG, tweeting that it “does not do business with companies that express hate speech”. Zombie Orpheus’s tweet also includes a letter from their CEO Ben Dobyns, directed at the GOG team, which asks for the digital store to “pull our products immediately – transphobia is unacceptable.”
As referenced in Dobyns’ letter, this isn’t the first time that CD Projekt Red’s social media accounts have been involved in controversy regarding the trans community. Earlier this year, their official Cyberpunk 2077 account issued an apology after receiving backlash for responding to someone by tweeting “Did you just assume their gender?!”, a line commonly used to mock trans people.
While you could argue that GOG’s now-deleted tweet was just tone-deaf, the “yeah, how’s that for some use of hashtags” really seems to indicate otherwise. Combine that with their non-apology (seriously, their tweet doesn’t even use the word “sorry”) and their previous Cyberpunk 2077 controversy, and it’s really not a good look for GOG / CDPR. Hopefully they’ve learnt their lesson, and really do just “focus only on games” from here on.