On Doug TenNapel, Bigotry and supporting Hate
Doug TenNapel, co-creator of the beloved Earthworm Jim franchise, is currently trying to fund a new game, Armikrog, a spiritual successor to his cult hit The Neverhood.
It’s not surprising. Ever since Double Fine proved that you can bank on gamers’ desire for retro-flavored projects, other developers have been coming out of the woodwork to try and get their own projects funded and released. And good on them. Kickstarter has proven that sometimes people really do put their money where their mouths are, and that when the chance comes along they’re eager to support something they believe in.
But when you support someone’s project, you’re also supporting what they believe in, whether you like it or not. And when you’re supporting Armikrog, you’re supporting the work of a person who has said some truly troubling things.
Much has been made of TenNapel’s comments on homosexuality and gay marriage. If you’re interested in reading those I suggest you check out this article on Gay Gamer (and be sure to check out the comments, where TenNapel tosses out a sly AIDS joke). If you want to read some other horrible things the man has said, I suggest checking out his work at Brietbart, the conservative website best known for being racist liars. Some choice pieces there include this one, where he tosses off the ACLU as defenders of pedophilia, and this banger where he says that women are happier when they let feminism go and “let men be men.”
He’s also not a big fan of the right to abortion, but I assume you would have figured that out by now.
More than a few people have gone public saying that they will not support TenNapel’s Kickstarter because of his bigoted views. They don’t want to support someone who supports hate. But just as many, if not more, are willing to turn a blind eye to TenNapel’s hate because, hey, they really really liked The Neverhood.
Okay, now if you too are a bigot who hates gay people, or if you are a men’s rights activist who encourages people to “take the red pill” then yo, go nuts. Support your fellow bigot.
But if you’re not a homophobic, sexist bigot and you still want to back Doug TenNapel, I have one question.
What the fuck is wrong with you?
Look, I get that his bigoted hate and his game are (hopefully) unrelated. But when you support a bigot, you’re saying you’re okay with their bigoted views. You’re saying you don’t care that he thinks gays aren’t deserving of equal rights. You’re saying you don’t care that he sees women as accessories to men who shouldn’t speak their own minds. You’re saying that you don’t care about all those things as much as you care about playing a video game. And if that’s how you think, then you have to work on your priorities.
But what about tolerance, you may ask? If Doug TenNapel is being intolerant for his beliefs, aren’t I being intolerant as well? For attacking him for what he believes in? This is certainly a popular train of thought for TenNapels’ defenders, and TenNapel himself LOVES to go on about how he is the victim of religious intolerance for what he believes. For example, on his own blog he once said that someone putting up a “Stop the H8te” bumper sticker on their car (a message against the Proposition 8 bill in California that banned gay marriage) was “no different than calling someone a faggot for believing differently than you” and an example of religious intolerance. That’s TenNapel’s favorite tactic. When someone comes at him about his hate, he lambastes them for “intolerance.”
Let me explain something to you Doug (and every other bigot out there), protesting someone’s intolerance is not being intolerant. No one ever says “you’re being intolerant by disrespecting that person’s views as a racist.” So why are we supposed to be tolerant of someone’s misogyny or homophobia? It’s a bullshit double standard and it needs to stop. There’s nothing “intolerant” about speaking out for equal rights. There’s nothing intolerant about speaking out against someone else’s desire to dehumanize a group of people.
Finally, there’s the argument that we can’t boycott and picket every creator whose political views we don’t agree with, that would be impossible.
Two things. Firstly, this is not political. Equating the right to marriage to the right for a man to take a dump in the woman’s room (itself a horrible, sickening transphobic comment) is not a political statement. It’s a hateful statement. If TenNapel’s only public comments about his religious/political viewpoints were that he voted Republican and that he was against welfare or socialized medicine then I’d probably think he was kind of a dick, but I wouldn’t urge others to cut off their support of him. I’m not a big fan of Tom Selleck’s or Drew Carey’s political beliefs, but I’ve never heard them speak out against equal rights. They don’t believe that large segments of the population are lesser than them, or if they do, they sure don’t say that in public.
Secondly, yes, it’s impossible to boycott or protest everyone whose views you disagree with. We don’t know what everyone believes. The author of my favorite book may be a sexist, racist, homophobic bigot too, but since he hasn’t gone out and made comments about it, I’m going to go ahead and assume he’s not. And even when you do know what someone believes, it’s sometimes hard to boycott their work completely.
I wanted to see Expendables 2 last year dammit, so I sucked it up and dealt with the fact that Chuck Norris was in it, even though he is a despicable human being. To me, watching a movie that he had a cameo in wasn’t justifying or excusing his beliefs. The Expendables 2 was not his creation, he did not direct it, write it or produce it. Hell, he barely starred in it. It’s not like I’m funding his creative vision, I’m just watching a movie that he happened to be in.
But with a Kickstarter, you’re giving your money directly to the creative talent. And when that creative talent hates someone for how they were born, then you’re saying, at least a little bit, that you’re okay with that.
I don’t know if I have a point here. I don’t know if I’m rambling. I don’t know if what I’m saying about all this really matters. I just know that when I see that a man who likes to toss AIDS jokes at gay men who threaten him; that a man who believes women are second-class-citizens; that a man who calls transgender people “trannies” or “men who want to take a dump in the women’s room”; and that a man who says that any act against his hateful bullshit is, in fact, an act of hateful bullshit, is getting support from people I love and admire, it kind of makes me feel like my head is going to explode, and writing shit like this is the only thing that stops that from happening.
I can only delete so much vitriol, comments on this post are now disabled. This is why you can’t have nice things, Internet.