The studio behind the massively successful game World of Tanks walked back their controversial actions against one of their former community YouTubers today.
“We acted too quickly and over the line when we threatened to have YouTube remove SirFoch’s video through a copyright infringement complaint,” the company said in a statement. “And we are apologizing for that.” Now, Wargaming says they will not take copyright action against “opinions based on our publicly released content.”
Wargaming’s about face follows several days of backlash against the gaming giant. Among the things the company apologized for today was its own prior statement on the matter, which had been supplied to Kotaku and other outlets on Friday.
This drama began on Friday following the release of a video by SirFoch, a “fanfluencer” who posted a critical video tearing down the Chrysler K Grand Finals premium tank and its $80 price tag. In it, SirFoch refers to Wargaming as “greedy fucks,” adding, “GG Wargaming and fuck you.” Citing his lack of decorum, a Wargaming rep booted SirFoch from the community contributor program and issued a copyright strike. On World of Tanks forums, the game’s community spoke out against what they perceived to be censorship.
In today’s statement, Wargaming admitted that they “could have handled the situation a lot better.”
Wargaming’s previous statement on Friday noted that “We are more than willing to give members of our community second chances, but there is a level of toxicity and/or offensive language that is unacceptable.”
But, today, the company walked that back, too, possibly buckling to the argument that YouTube’s copyright system shouldn’t be used to police hurtful language or, more specifically, acknowledging that what they said SirFroch said wasn’t relevant to the controversial tank video. Wargaming says, that it “inferred that SirFoch’s videos contained hate speech and homophobia. While we would obviously not want such content to be associated with any of our games – this video clearly did not. We apologize for this statement, and we don’t stand behind those claims. We love our players and our contributors – and we appreciate their honesty and commitment – we are committed to using this incident to grow and improve.”
The company also noted that “We strongly support our players’, including our Community Contributors’, right to speak critically about us and our games.”