Microsoft defends Live swastika bans

"It's fundamental respect," says StepTo.

Xbox Live chief of police Stephen Tolouse will ban anybody who uses a swastika as a Call of Duty: Black Ops logo.

Yes the symbol has other, older meanings - but its use by the German Nazi party in the lead-up to and during World War II overrides them, Tolouse said.

"It's not political correctness, it's fundamental respect," he declared on his blog.

"If you think the swastika symbol should be re-evaluated by societies all over the Earth, I think that's great. Your Xbox Live profile or in-game logo, which doesn't have the context to explain your goal, is not the right place to do that.

"And by the way, that doesn't just go for the swastika, it applies to many other symbols as well that my team does indeed take action on when we see it."

Toulouse's post was made to silence "contrarians": the type of person who "would never dare to wear a swastika openly, but they love to argue about how the world has 'misunderstood' this symbol".

"My Twitter stream was filled with people stating that Xbox Live should equally ban the Star of David, the Christian Cross, and yes I am not kidding, the infinity symbol - because under various niche interpretations of those symbols they are as evil as the swastika symbol, and I should apply ethical relativism to all symbols on Xbox Live to respect all viewpoints because of the United States First Amendment," he wrote.

"Even better? The argument that because the single-player [part] of the game is rated mature, the online experience should allow for all manner of horrible genocidal viewpoints.

"I know the symbols might show up in games, but that's content that you know that you are getting, because it is rated content. It's there as part of the experience, not making a statement. Using it as your emblem is different."

Tolouse went on to argue that "no educated human on the planet" would look at the swastika and not immediately associate it with the Nazi party - "and the Nazis effectively won World War II if anyone promotes banning the Nazi orientation of the symbol".

"Context," he closed.

"Yes we can have the discussion in other venues about the double meaning of various terms, something my team does everyday. But for many topics, it's kind of a no-brainer."

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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