Employees of Destiny 2 developer Bungie recently scaled back their social media communication in response to threats and harassment, and now court filings in Canada have revealed just how intense those threats were.
According to a report from the Waterloo Region Record, in June an Ontario judge ordered Canadian anonymous phone service provider TextNow Inc. to release the name of customers who made “racist and serious physical threats” against Bungie employees. The ruling details some of the threats made against two Bungie employees, which included doxxing, harassing tweets, racist phone calls, and threats of violence.
The Record’s report states that the harassment started following a tweet on the official Destiny 2 Twitter account which included a video featuring Twitch streamer Uhmaayyze, who often freestyle raps while he plays Destiny. Superior court judge Fred Myers said in the ruling that, following the tweet, Bungie employees were doxxed and harassed, with one anonymous person sending threats to kill Bungie employees to Bungie Twitter accounts.
“Shortly after, several employees of Bungie began receiving voice mails and text messages on personal, unpublished telephone numbers repeatedly using the racial slur referred to colloquially as the ‘N-word,'” the judge said.
Harassing and threatening phone calls continued for one Bungie employee and harassers also sent texts to the phone of their spouse, the ruling said, while also ordering pizza to the employee’s home, revealing that the harasser had uncovered their home address. That raised the concern that the harasser might try to “swat” the Bungie employee. Swatting involves making false reports are made to police in an attempt to provoke them into sending an armed response against the target.
Two Bungie employees sought a court order to compel TextNow to identify the customers who made the threats. The judge granted that order in June, but only released the ruling a month later because of the seriousness of the danger the allegations presented. It’s not currently clear if Bungie will take against the customers TextNow identified or what it might be.
Last month, Bungie community manager Dmg04 discussed in a Reddit comment some of the harassment employees had received, describing it as much more serious than “rude replies on Twitter or vague comments.”
“Here’s the thing, the harassment we’ve spoken to isn’t just rude replies on Twitter or vague comments,” Dmg04 wrote on Reddit. “There have been real threats towards our people and our studio. We’re taking them seriously, which is leading to an amount of reduced communications as the team plans future protections/strategies to help avoid these sorts of things.”
Dmg also wrote that he took time off from his job at Bungie in part because of the harassment he and his family had received.
“None of it is meant to be a punishment to the people who can leave clear and respectful feedback for our developers, mind you,” Dmg04 wrote. “There are no instances at Bungie where people actively look at a conversation and plan retaliatory actions towards our playerbase via hotfixes, updates, or comms strategies. Sometimes, we just need to take some time to get things straightened out. Can take weeks, can take months–just like any given development pipeline, as we want what’s best for our players AND our employees. That said, we can’t just move about ‘business as usual’ until things are resolved. It sucks, but we want to be sure that folks are safe and taken care of.”
Bungie is currently suing a player it accuses of regularly breaking its terms of service and harassing Dmg. Neil Paris, a lawyer representing the Bungie employees in the TextNow filing, told The Record that that “these reasons for decision are unrelated to any other litigation that has been reported in the media.”
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