YouTube deleted several videos and even banned some YouTube channels that show players in the video game Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR 2) beating and killing a suffragette.
YouTube closed by channel because I killed a female NPC in #RDR2
They said It promoted violence.
— Shirrako (@ShirrakoGaming) November 7, 2018
RDR 2 was the most anticipated game of the year and has received high praise from players and critics alike.
Users have uploaded videos of main character Arthur Morgan punching, killing and hogtying a suffragette character in-game. At least eight videos have been removed for violating terms of service.
According to Google’s subsidiary the videos had breached its rules on acceptable content. Reportedly, at least one of the videos had received more than a million views before being taken down. Several users had joked about the fact they were able to attack a “feminist” in the linked comments. The YouTube account named Shirrako uploaded the popular video and after seeing the way it was regarded, uploaded two more showing the player attempt to feed the suffragette to an alligator and lassoing her and leaving her on the train tracks to get hit by a train.
“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit among other things, gratuitous violence, nudity, dangerous and illegal activities, and hate speech,” a YouTube spokesperson was cited by the BBC. “Creative formats such as video games can be challenging to assess, but when content crosses the line and is flagged to our attention, we take action as necessary.”
The video game is developed by Rockstar Games, also known for their highly praised Grand Theft Auto (GTA) franchise. Its set at the end of the 19th century and is a Western highly acclaimed for its high level of realism. Women back then were not yet given the right to vote.
GTA III also let players hire a sex worker, after which the player could kill the said woman and take their money back.
During the story missions of Red Dead Redemption 2, protagonist Arthur Morgan helps suffragettes demonstrate in the town of Rhodes. Later, suffragettes can be found in the main city, Saint Denis, and interacted with just like any other non-playable characters in the game.
The problem mostly stems from some comments. “Rockstar, making dreams a reality,” wrote one. “Why can’t we do this in real life?” wrote another. Other users said they had done similar things while playing the game.
“This is a complicated problem with detailed, open world games that prioritize player choice,” wrote Emanuel Maiberg, managing editor of technology site Motherboard, on Twitter.
Motherboard asked Shirrako, according to them why the video gained such popularity.
“I know you’re probably expecting some political answer, but the truth is it was simply a funny moment from one of my streams which I’ve decided to upload as a separate video,” they said. “Not sure if it was intentional by Rockstar Games but the NPC is made to be rather annoying, when you try to shop for clothing in the game, your dialogue with the shop keeper keeps being interrupted by her shouting, so I simply wanted to shop in peace, I’m sure that as a gamer you’re familiar with these annoying NPC situations.”
Shirrako claimed that most users are aware that the video is a joke and they’re aware of the toxic comments. They’re also aware that some users were offended by its content.
“I mean obviously I don’t agree with the sexist comments, but there is not much I can do about them, I don’t like censoring people’s opinions, regardless if I like them or not,” they said.
RDR 2 provides freedom to the player, which is within the narrative. Arthur Morgan can’t retire his cowboy life and become a pianist. Rockstar Games chose to include the ability to harm the suffragette in their game as part of realism. For example, the player cannot hurt children, which clearly is unrealistic.
The first time the player meets suffragettes he assists them and protects them during their protests. That’s a legitimate and historically accurate concern, as suffragettes were publicly beaten, sexually assaulted, imprisoned, and force fed.
Thus, it wouldn’t be historically unrealistic for the player to kill a suffragette in the game, the issue is mostly due to the toxic comments.
The issue, however, stands – the videos were removed because they were presenting violence against imaginary women. This is more than likely a move to please a very vocal SJW minority. Since, it goes without a doubt that the majority of people do not, in fact, support violence against women, or against anybody for that matter.
It also provides an interesting picture of the skewed morals in current media – a video that presents a player playing a video game in the manner they prefer is censored, while videos that present a woman pouring “bleach” on men who are “manspreading” is allowed. Expectedly the videos keep receiving reactions, however YouTube appears to be content with both sides of the story.
In the RDR 2 suffragette controversy, however, the narrative in mainstream media regarding social justice requires to be propagated and it must fit “extreme” feminists’ requirements for, in their view, equal rights.