In episode #312 of his podcast – at around 19 minutes in – things ‘seem’ to take a turn towards the ‘teenage “that’s so gay” route’ when Hryb and co-presenter “E” think someone changing Hryb’s Xbox Live Avatar to resemble the cowboy from the Village People is hilarious, but says one of our tipsters “in a rather insidious manner with obvious gay hate subtext”.
Now we’re not suggesting that IS the case, we listened to it and it could certainly be taken either way, that’s why we’d like you to go take a listen and see what you think yourselves (and drop it in the comments).
In the podcast Major Nelson and E discuss new Xbox Live Avatar clothing (this occurs after their Gears of War chat). There is lots of laughter when it’s first mentioned, then the story follows. Someone went into Hryb’s office, onto his XBL account and changed his avatar into “western wear” with a “handlebar mustache” which made it look like one of the Village People essentially. This allegedly led to further jokes being made on some forum.
Then Hryb relays a story about how he and his wife sat down that night for some Trivial Pursuit, which uses the XBL Avatars in game. Hryb states his wife said “what is that?” “What happened to your avatar”, “what are you doin?!” then got really angry. It was funny to the co-host when this was mentioned.
If it was the ‘gay subtext’ that was so hilarious then this is in very bad taste and perhaps highlights that the homosexual issues MS seem to have stem from an inherent immaturity regarding the subject itself (even at the highest level). If Hryb and E were cackling like teenagers in the manner some gay gamers believe they were then where does it leave the rest of the gay community with regards to feeling comfortable and safe? If the Director of Programming for Xbox Live is acting in this manner, is there any wonder it filters downward in a hateful manner?
As we said, we’re not sure, but the fact is some people that heard it were upset by it and that is damaging enough in itself.