Google Drops the Ball: Reinstatement of the Alt Right-Friendly Mobile Game, "BitBashed: Clinton vs Trump"

Google Drops the Ball: Reinstatement of the Alt Right-Friendly Mobile Game, "BitBashed: Clinton vs Trump"

Google's Failure and the Worrisome Rise of the Alt-Rights Influence on Online Media

I have chosen to write this article anonymously in lieu of recent attacks towards feminists/progressives on social media. Before going any further, I also want to issue a small trigger warning for people, particularly women who may have been victims of online harassment in the past.

As a silent observer of the gaming scene since the right wing fanaticism over Gamergate, I've been quite disappointed to see how this industry has evolved. Beyond the proliferation of clearly misogynistic imagery in triple A titles like Grand Theft Auto, the online community as a whole has become increasingly belligerent and violent towards women. It has been particularly bad for women of colour like Leslie Jones, who recently was attacked by popular figures in the realm of social media and gaming like Milo Yiannopoulos and PewDiePie. In a day and age where simply being black can be a death sentence, it seems like being a woman of colour will earn you double the scorn from the online trolls and alt - right fanatics.

Rewind to a few weeks ago, there was a game released on the Google Play store for Android called BitBashed: Clinton vs Trump, the first free, online multiplayer, mobile fighting game for android themed around Star Wars and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, featuring playable characters like Trump, Hillary Clinton and the controversial Milo Yiannopoulos. The game itself allows players to match against Trump/Milo supporters, Hillary supporters, Bernie supporters, etc, in one on one match-ups where the objective is to "kill" your opponent with laser swords. Before each match however, each player has a 15 to 20 second window to "trash talk" against the person they matched against, typically someone from the opposite side of the political spectrum.

-----------------------------------Promotional video from the app's Google Play page-------------------------------------------

This quickly devolved into a platform which members of the alt right used to chastise feminists and progressives, reverting back to their tired tactics of racist Harambe and Pepe jokes, sexism, homophobia, and everything in-between. After being introduced to the game for the first time, It didn't take long for me to see the negative direction that the developers were taking by allowing a certain group users to continue using their game as a conduit to spew hate speech. The game soon received multiple reports by users and Google proceeded to take it down.

Google Drops the Ball: Reinstatement of the Alt Right-Friendly Mobile Game, "BitBashed: Clinton vs Trump"

---------------------------Screenshot from the game's Google Play page as it stands now--------------------------------

Now fast forward to today, Google has allowed the developers at Beyond Dreams Apps to re-upload the game onto the Google Play Store. Apparently, the developers along with supporters of the game lobbied and petitioned via an email campaign to allow it back on. Even now, one can jump into the game and be immediately hit with a barrage of blind, sexist Milo supporters talking of "spanking" Hillary.

Google Drops the Ball: Reinstatement of the Alt Right-Friendly Mobile Game, "BitBashed: Clinton vs Trump"

--------------------------------------------------------Screenshot taken in-game--------------------------------------------------------------

I reached out to one of the developers and inquired if they were at all concerned that their game was being used by the less-friendly elements of society as a medium to spew hate speech. They had the following to say,

The game was designed to give everyone, regardless of their political beliefs, a place to engage with people on the opposite end of the spectrum in a fun and light-hearted way. We aren't liable for the things a small fraction of people may choose to say. And of course, we as part of a diverse company do not support racism, sexism, or harassment of any kind.

As the game attempts to regain its player base, I'm once again left shaking my head at the decisions by large companies to appease these people. Gone are the days where women and minorities could log on to their favorite websites or online games and feel safe or welcomed. Instead, we have a proliferation of anti-feminist YouTube personalities like Blaire White, Sargon of Akkad, and The Amazing Atheist that do nothing more than regurgitate far right talking points. It's time that liberals and progressives alike started waking up to this growing encroachment of far right nationalism that has already dug its claws into many popular websites.

The rise of authoritarians like Donald Trump has emboldened many of these people to leave the shadows they were previously bound to, and an unregulated internet gives this band of internet thugs carte blanche to say and do as they please. It's time that politicians and the normal people of society wake up and realize that we're in the middle of a war, whether you realize it or not. It's time that more action is taken in order to ensure a cleaner and safer internet for everyone.


- A proud feminist and concerned citizen

Edit: Comments closed due to excessive harassment

Google Drops the Ball: Reinstatement of the Alt Right-Friendly Mobile Game, "BitBashed: Clinton vs Trump"
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