NZXT Twitter Joke Falls Flat, Apologizes for Any Offence Caused
The brand account for NZXT attempted to make a joke but found itself offending the disabled community instead. An apology was published.
The Twitter brand account for NZXT with over 779k followers had a bit of a wild ride last night when its social media had attempted to make a blunt joke. However, the content used in the joke wound up causing nothing but trouble for the company well-known for their computer cases, cooling, and accessories for PC gamers.
The company tweeted that the account is turning on the Twitter profanity filter to “remove some obscene terms.” This was followed by the account stating that they would block anyone who ends up using the words: 30 FPS, Controller, ASMR, Subtitles, Free, and Light Mode.
We’re turning on our Twitter profanity filter to remove some obscene terms from our feed.
Please refrain from using any of this despicable language or you will be blocked:
– 30 FPS
– Light Mode
— NZXT (@NZXT) January 15, 2020
Now, the tweet itself, while it has the style of a serious tweet, as someone who uses blunt, sarcastic humor all the time I can see that a joke was trying to be made. The problem is that not only is the joke not abundantly clear, but it also uses accessibility options that disabled players have been doing nothing but fighting for over the years.
It’s understandable that disabled players would take offense to something suggesting that the very options they may require, and have been fighting for, are simply removed and suddenly a blockable offense to mention. The dark mode is a great feature for various reasons such as light sensitivity, or color-blindness, and subtitles are required for Deaf players, and even hearing players, to understand what’s being said in the game.
The offense is even more understandable if you’ve been witness to the discourse surrounding accessibility and how ableist players deem specific features as “cheating” or saying subtitles ruin a visual experience. In particular, I’m referencing the Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice discourse surrounding the difficulty, but there have been other conversations online where disabled gamers are being told they’re ruining games.
NZXT ended up ignoring a lot of tweets from irritated tweeters, but as soon as Ewok, a popular Deaf streamer who recently joined Mixer in a similar fashion to Ninja, tweeted, the account replied to apologize. Ewok initially pointed out the mention of subtitles, then went on to tell the company that they can do better,
You guys can do better, customers come first as always…
— ewoken (@Ewok) January 15, 2020
This prompted NZXT to apologize for any offense caused and explained that it was a joke about the subbed vs dubbed anime debate. So it’s hardly surprising that the joke was not instantly recognizable for those who aren’t part of the anime community.
We’re sorry if this post offended you or anyone else. We love and support all gamers and were attempting to make a joke about subbed vs dubbed anime that fell short. We will be more mindful in the future. 💜
— NZXT (@NZXT) January 15, 2020
The subbed vs dubbed meme seems to stem back to 2017, with 2016 being the earliest I’ve found. It’s a, apparently ongoing, debate within the anime community about whether it’s better to watch an anime either dubbed or with subtitles. NZXT tripped over its own foot here, and a more obvious reference would have sufficed without having to bring accessibility features into the mix at all.
The fact the tweet includes a list of what the person writing the tweet deems as “obscene” enough to use as a joke is a bit baffling. Especially when it ends up making the brand account look ableist. It’s safe to say that next time the account attempts a joke, it might actually work on making it a well-told joke.