THQ Nordic Formally Apologizes for Last Week’s Disastrous 8chan AMA
THQ Nordic is coming off a very bad week. This past Tuesday, the company made the rather baffling decision to hold an AMA on 8chan, which went as well as you’d expect. For those unfamiliar with the shadier corners of the Internet, 8chan is where 4chan’s worst elements migrated when the latter brought in some (very light) moderation. 8chan has been linked with trolling and harassment, hate speech of all kinds, and the discussion and dissemination of child porn. Needless to say, it’s not a place you want to hold an AMA if you’re a major, mainstream publisher.
And yet, the AMA went ahead for several minutes, with THQ Nordic product director Reinhard Pollice and PR head Phillip Brock answering some eyebrow-raising questions. It was a deeply embarrassing incident at best, a long-term damaging one at worst. Brock soon issued an apology on Twitter, saying he hadn’t properly researched 8chan before agreeing to the AMA and that he didn’t “condone child pornography, white supremacy, or racism in any shape or form.” Many found his explanation hard to believe, but even those who accepted it had to wonder why THQ Nordic hadn’t formally addressed the incident. For the past week, a few hastily-written tweets have been the only official response.
"This letter is to offer my sincerest apologies and regret for THQ Nordic GmbH Vienna's interaction with the controversial website 8chan last Tuesday, February 26. I condemn all unethical content this website stands for. Even if no one within the THQ Nordic Group would ever endorse such content, I realize simply appearing there gave an implicit impression that we did.
As Co-Founder and Group CEO of THQ Nordic AB, I take full responsibility for all of THQ Nordic GmbH's actions and communications. I have spent the past several days conducting an internal investigation into this matter. I assure you that every member of the organization has learned from this past week's events. I take this matter very seriously and we will take appropriate action to make sure we have the right policies and systems in place to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
As a Swedish based, fast growing group, we firmly support equality and diversity. We are also working actively to combat discrimination, harassment, and misconduct. We are already in the process of developing new work processes, based on the United Nations' SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and using the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards, and we will accelerate this work going forward.”
While it’s nice to finally see a formal response, this incident could stick to THQ Nordic for some time. Fans seem to be split on the issue, with some welcoming the apology, while others continue to call for firings and further consequences.
Hopefully the company’s promise to do better in the future in genuine, because there’s going to be a lot of eyes on them going forward. You can perhaps accept this was just a colossal screwup – there’s no definitive evidence it wasn’t – but if something similar happens again? Well, that’s a different story.