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January 2018 Retro Gaming Article


January 31, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Atari founder's exclusion from GDC award reveals a very binary approach in the "Me Too" movement

Nolan Bushnell
I support the Me Too movement, but labeling all offenses in a binary manner - all deemed equally vile - is unrealistic and weakens the the movement's value and success.
Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell was to receive the Pioneer award at this year's Game Developer's Conference. The award was rescinded after internet outrage about his business practices in the 1970s. Several examples of sexual behavior were laid out as reason to deny him the award.

I feel the Me Too movement is in it's infancy and no one knows how to properly move past the accusations. Each accusation culminates in the "perpetrator" being stripped of their job/status/award. Me Too did wonders for public awareness, but the point at which random public outcry becomes the judge, jury, and executioner... well, that's a big problem.

I do not condones sexual harassment, but in my opinion, lumping every instance into one category is wrong and weakens the Me Too mission.

Shoplifting and murder are both crimes. Most of us recognize they are vey different crimes. While neither are "good", we recognize the circumstances and outcomes of each and logically weigh them differently. The punishment for murder is logically more severe, as it should be. But this distinction is not being readily made or recognized by the Me Too movement.

Nolan Bushnell Harassment within the Me Too climate seems to be a binary offense - either it happened or it did not - all instances treated identically. The punishments seem equally binary. Social Justice Warriors are eager to call out anyone for any offense without regard for individual circumstances.

While harassment should never be tolerated or allowed, the Me Too movement makes no distinction between a lewd remark, an unwanted kiss, or a violent rape.

All such atrocities fall under the purpose of the Me Too movement, but seemingly lack the shoplifting vs. murder type of distinction. Any and all acts are intolerable, but let's make sure we aren't doling our murder sentences to those who swiped a candybar!

Nolan Bushnell made significant contributions to the creation of today's video game industry. His achievements at Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre are award worthy. As the Me Too movement ramps up, I hope the benefits of awareness aren't overshadowed by a desire to influence punishment. We have laws and courts for that.

Nolan Bushnell's polite response on Twitter...
Nolan Bushnell response on twitter

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