Nintendo has been known within the electronics industry as the “Disney of video games”. They occasionally have some mature-themed games but for the most part they’re considered as a toy company that caters toward kids. Well, one of their public relations representatives may have worked a second job as a professional escort, and when Nintendo found out they opted to fire her. The media was not at all pleased at this turn of events, and have been attacking Nintendo since the firing.
Gamezone picked up the news after The Ralph Retort posted some very damning evidence, including photos, which appeared to link the Nintendo rep with a job at an escorting service, where she worked under the pseudonym Maria Mint.
The rep mentioned previously on Twitter that she had used an alternate name and was very careful to keep her job at Nintendo and her second job completely unrelated, but the diggers from KiwiFarms managed to make the connection. The second job was supposedly setup to pay off student loans.
The Nintendo rep hasn’t confirmed the connection but the photos from the escort service match certain information that was found in other photos she had posted on her DeviantArt page. The marketing representative couldn’t be reached for verification because she has me blocked.
Strangely, just after the media lambasted Microsoft for hiring gogo dancers for their after-party at GDC, they seem to be attacking Nintendo who has tried distancing themselves from gender politics.
Nintendo had warned the rep before to leave sociopolitical discussions off her feed given that she was the face of Nintendo, even going so far as to promote their products during live Treehouse events and at E3. However, the representative invited lots of controversy over various topics that not everyone was comfortable with, leading to various individuals and organizations contacting Nintendo about said topics, one of which included child pornography.
Sterling wrote in his piece…
“Given Nintendo’s history, it’s not a surprising move. It’s fucking dismal, but it’s not surprising. The company’s long been known to pull tightly on the leashes of its employees, to control what they say in public.”
Sterling claims the Nintendo rep was good at her job, but she tells a slightly different story based on what Nintendo actually thought of her performance, explaining to Polygon…
“When I got back from [vacation], Nintendo stripped me of my spokesperson status and did a ‘lateral move’ so I wouldn’t lead games as a [product manager] anymore,” […] “This was because the GG mess meant they ‘looked at my tweets’ and decided I wasn’t a good representative of the company…”
It’s also rich that Polygon would jump on the story given that back in mid-March they attacked Microsoft for being “sexist” when they hired dancers for their GDC after-party.
In the Nintendo case, a lot of parents were not very pleased with the discussions around child pornography that were found on the rep’s Twitter page.
Nevertheless, despite the socially rocky relationship the rep had with Nintendo, others still ran to attack Nintendo for their decision to fire the former representative.
VentureBeat posted a message from IGDA director Kate Edwards, who stated…
“Unfortunately, the company seems oblivious to the consequences of their actions, not realizing the perceived victory it handed to the online hate groups who are now pursuing the dismissal of other women game developers by derision and defamation to their companies. By now, we would expect that all game development and publishing companies would be fully aware of negative social media dynamics and be more discerning of online feedback, as well as more protective of their employees — especially their employees of diverse backgrounds. Many have become proactive and aware but this industry obviously needs to make more progress.”
Wired attacked Nintendo for not backing their employee, stating…
“Through it all, Nintendo remained silent. It could have—should have—backed [their employee] and emphatically denounced such harassment.”
The Verge made similar comments as well, stating…
“[…] when [Nintendo] lets one of its own go, while she’s weathering exactly the kind of abuse her employer says it stands against, Nintendo’s stance doesn’t seem so strong.”
The claims of harassment weren’t really evidenced by any of the media outlets, and for now it’s a he said/she said scenario. However, Nintendo would most certainly not back the former marketing specialist if she really was engaged in being an escort, that would make them liable for supporting an illegal act once they became aware of it.
“A person is guilty of prostitution if such person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.
“For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” means “sexual intercourse” or “sexual contact,” both as defined in chapter 9A.44 RCW. Prostitution is a misdemeanor.”
It seems unfathomable that Nintendo would stand by an employee engaged in an escort service. Rockstar Games, Running With Scissors, Volition Software or Team Ninja? Well sure, we would expect them to stand by an employee involved in a misdemeanor act of a sexual nature, but Nintendo?
As mentioned, it just seems bizarre that the media would attack Nintendo for not advocating prostitution, while at the same time attacking Microsoft for hiring gogo dancers for an after party. As the old saying goes: they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
(Squid Vivian image courtesy of Koishiji)