The guy recording racist and sexist crap in online multiplayer matches know he's going to stop doing it soon. "I really only play one game these days; [Call of Duty:]Ghosts on Xbox Live," he says. "I am a pretty nasty FIFA player but I really don't want to invest any more money or time into video games. I'm pretty sure 360 will be my last game console." But, while he's still playing, the man behind The Bigot Gamer says he's still going to expose the toxic behavior of others, whether they like it or not.
You're not going to find out the name of the man running Bigot Gamer. He requested anonymity when I reached out to him over e-mail. "It's not so much [that] I'm trying to hide my identity as I'm trying to create an Identity within the gaming community," he says. The revelation of a gamertag—NYCSoccer—is as much as he's willing to offer. His last handle TheBigotGamer was banned because of a TOS violation. "I'm sure 'Bigot' is not appropriate within the Xbox Live community."
NYCSoccer knows the stuff he's posting on YouTube is the norm for a vasrt majority of online gaming experiences. "I don't think what I hear is any worse from what most players in the online gamer community hear on a regular basis," he offers. "Most of what I hear is despicable, but a lot of the times it's just simple smack talk by an individual with limited and bigoted vocabulary. I don't particularly enjoy posting a 13-year-old going off on a bigoted rant because hey, he's just 13 years old. We were all emotional and 13 at one point in time. I try to give those kids a break but sometimes I'll post one here and there. On the other hand, adults are fair game." He did note that no parents have ever reached out to him after he posted video of younger players saying offensive things.
"I don't particularly enjoy posting a 13-year-old going off on a bigoted rant because, hey, he's just 13 years old. We were all emotional and 13 at one point in time."
"The worst is when you are in party chat with team members that are ignorant and hateful. You can't just mute the player cause he's just a friend of a friend that's really good and you need to communicate with that player in order to win. I have very thick skin so I mostly just ignore it (while keeping tabs on the record feed). Most of the people that are on my friends list know who I am and what I'm about. These days, I give "friendlies" fair warning that anything they say can and will be posted to the internet. Ever since I started recording, I've weeded out many of the bigoted friendlies. If any still remain on my friends list, they know to keep their trap shut."
In the previous post about The Bigot Gamer, some readers said that it seemed as if NYCSoccer were goading or baiting other players into saying bigoted things in some of his videos. I asked him how he responded to that assertion and if he could give some context as to the conversations viewers see. "When I first started recording, I would announce to the lobbies that I was recording. As I played on and continued to record, I found that to get a true representation of what kind of fucked up things are being said on a daily basis, I would have to take a completely hands-off approach. I stopped informing people and just let the hate flow completely unprovoked. Sometimes when I've heard enough, I'll announce that I'm recording and then mute them. These days, the only thing I bait players with is my gameplay (which can be pretty infuriating)."
"I once had a player accuse me of slander through Xbox Live. I asked which video he was referring to and, if he could prove it, I would immediately take it down. I never heard back from the person. I'm sure there's going to be plenty of backlash in the coming weeks though."
"Is this sort of thing—recording other people on Xbox Live—allowed? "From my research, I do not believe I have to inform gamers that I am recording as Xbox Live game chat is a sort of public place and gamers can expect to be recorded when using the service. I am not a lawyer and there seems to be a bit of gray in this area but, just to be safe, I do my best to inform lobby members that I'm recording, especially if they say something bigoted. Probably the best way of going about it is to have the gamer tag, 'I am recording.'" Kotaku has reached to Microsoft for the company's official stance on recording gameplay like this.
Update: Here's Microsoft's official comment, via a spokesperson:
"Microsoft does not provide tools that record game-playing audio, other than that of the person doing the recording. Any questions around the legality of this practice should be discussed with a legal expert.
We remain committed to preserving and promoting a safe, secure and enjoyable experience for all of our Xbox Live members and take this issue very seriously. Our Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement Team is guided by the Xbox Live Code of Conduct and Terms of Service and considers the appropriate enforcement actions needed to address cases of misconduct."
"I even name myself as a bigot [in the video above] because I yell, 'Allahu Akbar' as I hold a grenade and blow myself up for the game-winning kill. If you listen further to the conversation you'll hear that it's just a bunch of dudes being exactly what dudes do online; bullshit and trash talk while playing a competitive video game. It's therapeutic for many people to be able to go online and release some anger. It would just be nice to leave the bigoted thoughts behind."
He recognizes that his own 'Allahu Akbar' moment is a problematic one, though. "We all make mistakes. I thought it was funny but then I looked back and realized that it wasn't. It's religious discrimination, I guess. I'm not any better than the common person. But I'm not going to try to hide." The thirtysomething says he's seen bigotry up close and personal while growing up in suburban Pennsylvania. The Grand Wizard of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Ku Klux Klan lived down the street from him, NYCSoccer told me, and he and a group of friends stumbled onto a KKK rally while walking through in the woods during their teenage years. "So, when people say terrible things, I know where that comes from. I've been around that. And I also know that it's possible to grow beyond any ignorance you absorb when you're growing up."
"Here is an excellent example of one of the completely unprovoked (other than my 30 - 3 K/D) videos. This is typical of a recording session as I just hit record and let people say what they want. Ideally, this is exactly how all the videos should be. The simple fact is that anyone that's familiar with online multi-player knows that it doesn't take any provocation for [people] sometimes to yell bigoted slurs. That's part of the deal when playing online and you either mute the player, leave the lobby or stay in party chat."
"I'm hoping that this website can serve as a basis for a dialog on how to curtail the amount of bigoted language online. I believe that anonymity is the key here and online communities such as Xbox Live should have a more robust and transparent identification system. People would think twice about saying something bigoted if there was some kind of way to personally identify them."
The fact that he's a parent to a four-year-old served as partial inspiration for The Bigot Gamer, after sitting through yet another session filled with young players dropping epithets. "Man," he remembers thinking, "it would suck for my kid to grow up and talk this way. How funny would it be to record and post this stuff?"
NYCSoccer says he's not planning on leaving video games behind because of the things he hears when he plays online. Rather, it's fatherhood that's pulling him away from the analog sticks. "I'm not going to want a console in the house until he's old enough to appreciate it." And he knows that there'll still be trash talk when the moment his own son eventually jumps into online gaming. "Trash talk is part of sports. I do it all the time. What I want is trash talk without racist, sexist, homophobic language. Being bigoted… there's just no place for it in the world today."