Nintendo PR representative, Alison Rapp made waves last month when she stood with Nintendo Treehouse on what many have said to be some of the worst localization practices in recent history. At the time, Alison Rapp was the representative for Fire Emblem: Fates, the contested game in question which lead to a intense scrutiny from online fans, leading individuals using the hashtag Gamergate as well as TorrentialDownpour, to dig deeper into the character of Rapp.
When diving into Rapp’s twitter accounts and past works, they found a litany of Twitter posts and thesis work which disturbed and shocked many. The thesis she presented at the Japan Studies Association Conference which took place in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 8th, 2012, titled; Speech We Hate: An Argument for the Cessation of International Pressure on Japan to Strengthen Its Anti-Child Pornography Laws, was a particular point of scrutiny with subjects involving child agency involving sexual encounters, describing pedophilia as “not a dangerous condition in itself”, and relating drawn pornography involving minors to that of actual pornography made with minors.
Later Jamie Walton, President and Co-Founder of the Wayne Foundation as well as a “counter trafficking survivor advocate since 2009”, found the actions of Rapp appalling, contacting Rapp’s employer and posting several tweets on the issue. Later she would be dismayed at the fact that she was used in essence as a political tool for leverage in the debate over Rapp. Kotaku.com’s Patrick Klepek sought comment via email, but was later called out for what many believed to be “[…]dicisive act of underhanded tactics, meant to pull Walton into an unwanted conflict in which Klepek could use for nefarious means.” This incident is thought to be the source of Nintendo’s Internal investigation of Rapp, which ultimately lead to her termination of employment.
Rapp stated on Twitter:
As many of you know, the last couple months have been quite a whirlwind of controversy and GG harassment.
GG standing for the hashtag GamerGate.
Today, the decision was made: I am no longer a good, safe representative of Nintendo, and my employment has been terminated.
Which incited a flurry of response in support of Rapp. Users of the closed member forum, Neogaf openly showed support for Rapp, with many members ignoring or defending Rapp’s stance on Pedophilia, instead blaming the hashtag GamerGate for her termination. Alex Seedhouse of Nintendo Insider was also quick to blame the hashtag GamerGate, even going so far as to state “Gamergate chose to interpret this as Rapp holding views that support child pornography, even if she had actually argued to introduce stronger laws against child exploitation.” Though Rapp’s thesis linked above clearly states clear objections towards laws enacted to prevent child pornography as well as its distribution. Patrick Klepek of Kotaku, was also quick to defend Rapp in a post titled: Nintendo Employee ‘Terminated’ After Smear Campaign Over Censorship. The list of individuals involved in the games industry to defend Rapp as well as her actions quickly grew to include: Gamasutra’s Katherine Cross and Brandon Sheffield, New York Media’s Jesse Singal, Andy McNamara and Anita Sarkeesian. Others such as Leigh Alexander drew attention to her own plight when scrutinized by individuals in the using the hashtag GamerGate for what was seen as multiple ethics violations.
Gamasutra’s Katherine Cross statement;
I cannot stress enough that what these gamers felt entitled to were sexualised images of little girls. That’s what Nintendo gave into today.
was seemingly ignorant of Rapp’s stance on these issue;
The reality is, I actually had no involvement with localized content changes of any kind. Come on, I wanted the XCX boob slider!
Nintendo later released a statement which ran counter to Rapp’s as well as many others statements about the termination:
“Alison Rapp was terminated due to violation of an internal company policy involving holding a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture. Though Ms. Rapp’s termination follows her being the subject of criticism from certain groups via social media several weeks ago, the two are absolutely not related. Nintendo is a company committed to fostering inclusion and diversity in both our company and the broader video game industry and we firmly reject the harassment of individuals based on gender, race or personal beliefs. We wish Ms. Rapp well in her future endeavors.”
Rapp later reply to this official company statement on Twitter, saying:
Fact is, feminist politics, sex, etc. ARE dangerous to companies bc that’s where we’ve let the industry go. It doesn’t have to be that way.
This continued throughout the day, becoming seemingly more combative. Going in to guarded detail about said second job, “moonlighting” or paid work that you do in addition to your normal job, especially without telling your employer and usually of a sketchy nature. In this job, nude photos were taken of her, with some cropped photos posted by Rapp on twitter as seen below.
Images posted via Rapp’s Twitter in Febuary 2016, but have since been deleted.
The issue of termination is still being contested after the official statement by Nintendo by Rapp as well as main stream gaming press.