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Microsoft Ban Gamertag Critical of Obama

Freedom of expression is possibly one of the greatest things about the internet. The ability to be who you want to be and say what you want to say and to mix with individuals being and saying exactly what they wish is something that should be highly prized and indeed zealously protected. However on the 17th of March WorldNetDaily brought to us news that Microsoft had disallowed an Xbox LIVE username titled “mpeach obama21” on the grounds that it might cause offense and if that doesn’t sound silly enough then wait until you hear the justification Xbox LIVE gave for this decision.

Now I think that most of us would agree that freedom of speech should carry with it a certain amount of responsibility. Racial slurs and other discriminatory usernames are clearly only chosen with the intent of inflaming and offending, but how would a company explain not allowing an account by the name of “mpeach obama21”? Well if that company were Microsoft they’d apparently explain it in the following way.

“This name is actually, it’s not likeable,” Jordan, a Microsoft Xbox LIVE spokesman said to WorldNetDaily. “If you were Obama, what would you feel if you saw this?”

When I first read the article, I automatically assumed it was some kind of joke, but tragically it isn’t. I shouldn’t have to explain why the Microsoft spokesman’s closing question is ludicrous but since this is the internet, I will. Any public figure has to accept the fact that they are going to be subject to public scrutiny and when we’re talking about political figures it’s essential that they are. The fact that we in the Western World have the freedom to question or even criticise our leaders is what makes our respective democracies so great. Now I could quote any number of founding fathers and countless other historical figures to explain why censoring dissenting voices for the sake of what has become known as “Political Correctness” is a bad and indeed a very dangerous thing but if I actually need to do that then I will truly lose all hope for humanity.

Do you know how devastated the most powerful man in the world would be if he found out a 15 year old wanted him impeached?

Now some might say “well it’s just a gaming account so frankly who cares?” but this attitude misses the point for a couple of reasons. First of all, it implies that certain venues are or should be allowed a wider range of freedoms than others and secondly, the Xbox LIVE Code of Conduct was recently altered to allow tags making reference to a users sexual orientation. My question is, aren’t your political views every bit as much of who you are as your sexual orientation, and if so, is that something that should be censored because other people might disagree with it?

WorldNetDaily asked Jordan whether the Xbox policy prohibits political speech (which it doesn’t) and he replied with, “Well it doesn’t actually say anything about politics, but it could pertain to historical events.”

The Xbox LIVE policy dealing with “historical events” states, “Don’t create a gamertag, profile content, or in-game content that references controversial religious topics, notorious people, organizations, or sensitive current or historical events that may also be considered inappropriate.”

Leaving aside the fact that Jordan himself doesn’t sound too certain of what exactly the justification for banning the gamertag should be, is there a single person out there who believes that the username “mpeach obama21” in any way fits into the above policy description?

The account in question belonged to a 15 year old who wanted it reinstated because “it’s the principle of the thing”. His father, Chad Willis, also has strong views on Microsoft’s decision stating, “This just confirms my resolve in making sure that my family and friends are aware of the collusion, albeit veiled, between Microsoft and the current occupant of the White House.” Microsoft Xbox LIVE have refused to reinstate the name.

Personally, I think that the name “mpeach obama21” being used by a 15 year old on Xbox LIVE is silly and it’s not a sentiment I agree with politically speaking and nor do I have any comment on his father’s implied conspiracy theory because frankly I don’t know enough about what he is referring to. But you know what? None of that matters because like the kid himself said, “it’s the principle of the thing”. How much you or I might disagree with the title of the gamertag is completely irrelevant, the point is that a political statement is being suppressed for the sake of political correctness and no matter how insignificant an Xbox LIVE username might be, if history has taught us anything it’s that censorship of this kind leads us onto a slippery slope. A slope that descends into places we really don’t want to go.

In other words Microsoft… just give the kid his damn gamertag back and stop going along with this suffocating nanny state that has been creeping up on us in the last two decades.

So what do you make of Microsoft’s Decision? Silly censorship or justifiable safeguarding? Comment below.

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Rating: 8.4/10 (31 votes cast)
Microsoft Ban Gamertag Critical of Obama, 8.4 out of 10 based on 31 ratings
  • https://?u=IronFury Dave Turcotte

    Obviously it’s silly censorship. I would also make that an opportunity to troll the ever loving hell out of Microsoft by getting a group of as many people as I could to make gamertags of “impeach_obama(insert number here.)”

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  • https://?u=StevenTaylor Steven Taylor

    How pathetic. At least I got banned for credit card fraud…

  • Parapraxis

    Ever consider that maybe this kid was being a little prick and got reported?
    with a username like that and an obviously “brilliant” parent, don’t you think just maybe he was grieving? …just sayin’

  • Dac2u

    FYI: The US is not a Democracy, it’s a Republic. Also, a privately owned company does not have to allow you any freedom of speech when you are using their services. Think about it, if some guy goes into a restaurant and starts shouting obscenities at other customers, the owner of restaurant has the right to throw that person out.

    I do agree that the kid shouldn’t have lost his username, because the username was imo, allowed by their policy.


    I don’t think that the gamer tag is that bad but xbox live isn’t the place to express yourself freely just because you think that you can. Every member of xbox live had to sign\agree to a disclaimer that basically said that conduct will be decided by the people in charge of xbox live and that they can decide what is good and what is bad. There are thousands of places to voice your opinion about the President and Microsoft feels like xbox live isn’t one of those places.

  • Kris

    I just dont know if a 15 year old can really have those kind of political views….I mean, maybe the kid is more intelligent and is active in political news….but, again, when youre that young, its really rare for someone to have fully developed their own views on not only politics, but alot of other issues in the world. The was probably no real reason for him to make a gamertag like that other than to create controversy….which, in some cases isnt wrong..its important to question, but its also important to do that in appropriate places and to a lesser extent times….what could he have possibly thought would come from a name like that used for online gaming? It would only incite arguments. youre playing video games, if you want to engage your peers in discussions about the president and his failures/successes/socialist plots/muslim religion/american citizenship (by the way, if you actually believe those last three, youre an idiot) do it where it actually matters…which, for this generation, would probably lead you to forums and chatrooms which also mean NOTHING but hey, thats what we seem to do….flame online but dont take it further than that.

  • Darkie

    VERY good points you bring up here, and I agree 100%. On this one I think MS is indeed all wet. Besides, I seriously doubt had this person made a gamertag mpeach bush, at the height of the Bush hate, MS would have had a problem with it.

    I have to admit there is a very strong mainstream bias in support of Obama in the USA. In fact usually when MS does one of these bannings, it is top news on every gaming web site LOL! This will likely be ignored by most of the gaming press in the US, simply because most folks don’t feel Obama should be impeached, and that is the wrong way for the media to handle this.

  • Dac2u

    Kris: Personally, I think you’re an idiot if you don’t believe he’s socialist.

  • Paul R

    Darkie you are wrong If this person made a gamtertag,mpeachbush 3 years ago he wouldn’t of gotten banned, there was so much anger and hate towards bush then, now obama is like a god he uses the internet to show the citizens what teams he will pick for march madness. the media is doing everything they can to make obama seem like a the man who saved our country while secretly hes destroying all freedoms we have, just wait and see

  • Christopher Bosak

    This is ridiculous, i mean come on Microsoft. I mean seriously, I own a PS3 & 360. I have had nowhere as many problems with PSN as I do with LIVE.M$ give the kid back his gamertag or this will continue to get uglier than all of the RROD problems that your company hasn’t fixed at all. You say every year that you have fixed RROD but yet, it somehoe resurfaces.

    Personally i’m glad i bought the 60 GB PS3 back when it became $499. That way I dont have to worry about waiting for the return of “Backwards Compatability” through a FIRMWARE UPDATE which is likely to end up happening this year.

  • AnonymityismyName

    ” is there a single person out there who believes that the username “mpeach obama21” in any way fits into the above policy description?”

    Was that a rhetorical question? Because the answer is yes.

    The user name fits perfectly into that policy description. Obama is a notorious person (by the way, notorious does not necessarily mean that someone is evil, it means that they are of note, they have a lot of notoriety) and he is currently the president so the possibility of his impeachment would be a sensitive current political event. That is exactly what the policy states, can you people read?

    Now, none of this is to say that I agree with the policy. I think that this particular screen name isn’t that offensive honestly, and that’s coming from someone who is a supporter of the President. They probably wouldn’t ban a name that says “vote_for_Obama,” so banning the opposite is a bit of a double standard. Plus given the fact that clearly the person who has such a screen name clearly knows nothing about the structure or current state of american politics, who cares? You can’t just arbitrarily impeach the president; impeachment is not recall, and the congress is currently controlled by the president’s party anyway.

    But the real reason why microsoft banned the name is something I think any actual gamer can understand: Games are not the place for politics. I don’t want to get into a political debate with someone while playing Halo or MW2. MS is tired enough of people being rude and obnoxious on their servers already, and they don’t want to have to deal with people becoming more cantankerous because they’re picking fights over politics. Games exist to bring us together despite our political and other differences, and it’s just not cool for people to ruin everyone else’s fun by instigating conflict. Still, I think people should just be adult enough to just not comment on tags like this if they do see them since it’s clearly just dumb kids trying to be provocative for the sake of getting attention that they otherwise aren’t getting from friends and family.

    @ Dac2u,

    Do you even know what socialism is? Do you realize that every modern western industrialized democracy aside from the United States is effectively socialist (all of Europe, Canada and elements of the Japanese and Australian economies)? Do you realize that socialism does not exist in contrast to capitalism, and that in order for a country to be socialist it must necessarily be capitalist, just with certain socialized industries?

    Do you realize that a republic is a form of democracy? If a country is a republic then it is necessarily a democracy, I’m sick of idiots saying that “America’s not a democracy, it’s a republic” as if that justifies being less progressive for some reason. There is no way that a democracy could exist on any scale other than a small local community unless it takes the form of a republic.

    Do you realize that the president has not made one proposal that even resembles a patent socialist philosophy? If anything, that problem isn’t that he president is a socialist, the problem is that he isn’t a socialist. American right wingers tend to talk about socialism and communism without knowing a single thing about the political theory or history behind them beyond vague notions of Ronald Reagan being the best guy ever (a terrible a lie) and Stalin being a monster (an unfortunate truth). Please, don’t comment on political matters if you have no understanding of politics.

  • TheGeek

    While I don’t support derogatory names, this defintiely falls under free speech. It doesn’t even infringe on the agreement. Its an obvious “politically correct” move. Bad move on Microsoft’s part.

  • Jake’m

    This suddenly makes me want to get a 360 and name my Gamertag “Anti-Obama”

  • PFX

    lol! my live account name is PS3Roxx and MS didnt ban that!

  • Volomon

    This is easy, PRIVATE networks are not subject to Freedom of Speech. So take your Whine out and get some cheese for it. I also believe that the name EASILY fits into that description given. It was a name used for a promotion of an IDEA, which clearly the guidelines prohibit, for instance you can not put ChristSucksEggs, 911wasfake, ect ect,.

    Only an idiot can’t see this.

  • Brian

    This fake sensitivity cloud that covers our country is so dangerous. People fought for freedom of expression, but I see it was all for nothing. I really regret voting for ObamaClown.

  • Real Life

    Once you agree to their TOS, you’re their bitch :D

  • Aidy

    Microsoft should concentrate on moderating X Box Live and kicking out the racists, sexist and homophobic users who proliferate the service spouting their bile. The same can be said for the Playstation Network. It seems to be getting progressively worse and is the reason I don’t use a headset when playing ranked games online, and also why I seem to spend as much time disabling voice comms with people as I do playing the game as their voices come through the television speakers when the headset is unplugged.

    I remember a couple of years ago Microsoft not allowing me to have the motto: ‘World Wide Suicide’ - the title of a Pearl Jam song as it was deemed inappropriate. I assume it was the fact that it contained the word suicide and not that it was an anti war song.

    In any event, it seems rather petty to ban a user for such a gamer tag as detailed in the article. Of course Microsoft have the right to ban them if they feel it violates their terms and conditions of usage, but it is petty to do so. I have seen much worse gamer tags doing the rounds.

  • https://?u=StevenTaylor Steven Taylor

    ^ You’re all gay.

  • blu-ray for 360

    Blu-ray for 360.
    M$ are a bunch of cunts who spend their money you pay for their goods on drugs, guns, whores and killing little nigger kids.
    CUNTS !!!!

  • Connie Dobbs

    Worldnetdaily is a right wing hate speech haven. Just making sure you know your source.

  • https://?u=admin James Ireland

    Who told you that? Fox News. Wake up. Hate speech lmao, Obamanoid

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