Gamer Suspended From Xbox Live for Living in West Virginia
posted Friday Sep 10, 2010 by Scott Ertz
Josh Moore, a 26-year-old Xbox Live fanatic recently received notice from Microsoft that his account had been suspended for offensive language on his profile. When he went to look at what was so offensive, he found out he had been suspended for having the word "gay" on his account. The only problem with that is he lives in Fort Gay, West Virginia.
While it is a little town, I do not believe it is offensive for him to live there, and neither did he. He promptly called Microsoft support and figured he could clear up the misunderstanding.
I figured, I'll explain to them, 'Look in my account. Fort Gay is a real place.' I told him, Google it - 25514! He said, 'I can't help you.'
The rep was uninterested in hearing his story and threated to cancel his account and keep the money he had prepaid for 2 years of service.
For more on this story, hit the break.
His next step was to get the mayor of the town, Dave Thompson, involved. This didn't help either and the mayor was told that the word was offensive no matter the context. This is not true, as Microsoft made a change to their policy a while back making it OK to express your sexual preference through Xbox Live after months and months of complaints about discrimination from Microsoft as gays and lesbians were banned for doing so.
Finally, the director on policy for Xbox Live, Stephen Toulouse, was brought in. He said on the matter,
Someone took the phrase 'fort gay WV' and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner. Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. ... When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension. In this very, very specific case, a mistake was made and we're going to make it right.
If you have even filed a complain with Microsoft on Xbox Live, you know there is no context to the complaints so the interpreter had to go with what he knew - someone was offended by the word and they acted on it. Luckily, the training for team members has been fixed so anyone else living in an offensive town (Slaughterville, Oklahoma, Spunky Puddle, Ohio or Hooker Hole, Louisiana) will be able to continue playing Xbox Live.