Hogwarts Legacy Developer Quits Following Backlash Over YouTube Channel [Updated]

Illustration for article titled Hogwarts Legacy Developer Quits Following Backlash Over YouTube Channel [Updated]
Image: Hogwarts Legacy

Troy Leavitt, the game developer at the centre of a controversy last month after it was discovered he had run “a reactionary YouTube channel focused on attacking feminism and social justice”, has resigned from his position at Avalanche Software, developers of the upcoming Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy.

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Leavitt announced his decision to “part ways” with Avalanche in a series of tweets:

As we reported in February:

Among Leavitt’s...videos are lengthy defenses of both John Lasseter, the Pixar co-founder who left his position at Disney in 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct, and Nolan Bushnell, the Atari co-founder who Kotaku’s reporting found to have fostered a toxic work environment for women. In some of his videos, Leavitt expressed support for Gamergate, a movement that fostered harassment against women and other minorities in the gaming industry, and criticized Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women series as an “uninformed fringe position.” Leavitt discussed his opinions on Gamergate in-depth during a 2017 interview, saying, “Gamergate, while painful at times, on the whole proved to be a good thing,”

Illustration for article titled Hogwarts Legacy Developer Quits Following Backlash Over YouTube Channel [Updated]
Screenshot: YouTube/Troy Leavitt

In the wake of this revelation, and continued opposition to Potter author JK Rowling’s transphobic views, it was reported last week that the game will feature some added “customization options related to gender”.

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Asked for comment, publisher Warner Bros. tells Kotaku, “Senior Producer Troy Leavitt has made the decision to leave Avalanche Software.”

Update, 3/13/21, 11:26am—In a YouTube video of a Zoom presentation directed at Avalanche colleagues, Leavitt says he left the studio to deal with an ongoing family matter. He says that WB “did not in any way pressure me to retire...In the end, I made the decision to re-retire, just like I had planned to last August, and I’m very pleased with that decision because I think it’s the right thing to do for me at this point in my life.” In the video, he writes that “the articles were a catalyst in this - but not the cause.”

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Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

DISCUSSION

wakingmind
WakingMind

Let me guess his upcoming video is going to go like this: something something cancel culture something something I’m really not an asshole but... I’m the asshole?