Despite $500,000 win against abusive ‘fan,’ Destiny 2 developers are still being harassed ‘just because they work at Bungie’

Bungie recently won nearly $500,000 in damages from a Destiny 2 player who subjected one of its community managers to repeated racist harassment and threats. The victory was hailed by developers at Bungie and beyond as a significant step forward in the effort to eliminate abuse from “fans”: Kathryn Tewson, a paralegal who worked on the case, said the ruling in favor of Bungie “has created a path for those with the resources to identify stochastic terrorists and hold them accountable” in court.

That may be so, but it doesn’t mean that the problem is going away anytime soon—in fact, Bungie recently said in the Destiny subreddit that developers, including some who aren’t community managers, are still being harassed “just because they work at Bungie.”

The statement came in response to a post that asked Bungie to make more use of the Destiny 2 Team social media account the studio established in January “to help us move away from using community managers’ personal accounts.” Bungie said at the time that the goal was to “avoid the need to follow and tag several CMs,” but there was no overlooking the fact the change came just months after former community manager dmg04 said on Reddit that CMs had “reduced communications” with fans because of the persistent, serious abuse they were facing.

“I’m not saying you should expose your employees to people who might actually harm them,” redditor Cruggles 30 wrote in his request for more activity from the studio. “As someone who has been threatened (and actually almost attacked) at the workplace, I completely understand where you guys are coming from.

“That said, it would be beneficial for everyone if you used the account more than you currently do, whether it’s actually a response to specific feedback tweets/posts every now and then or responses that explain why certain things are unfeasible (so you can receive less feedback that you can’t do anything with) or whatever… I just think it’d be better for everyone.”

Bungie made it clear that’s not going to happen anytime soon, however. “Unfortunately, devs who aren’t even CMs are still being harassed just because they work at Bungie, so using the CM account on Reddit will put a bigger target on all of the CM’s backs,” the player support team wrote in response.

“I completely understand the want to go back to how we used to respond all the time here, but that time has passed. Until everyone can feel safe again, I wouldn’t expect to see many responses from us here for the foreseeable future.”

Bungie reassured fans that it is still “listening” to their feedback, and even though it can’t always act on it, “we do share it with stakeholders every single week.” It also recommended that fans with issues or questions take them to Bungie’s own help forums, where “you may find us responding more.”

As if to illustrate the intransigence faced by developers, one redditor (whose comment has since been removed by moderators, but not before being noticed by GamesRadar) said that harassment is “just part of life,” even if it’s not deserved, and that “basing your PR strategy on the actions of 0.1% worst actors is strange to me.”

“We don’t accept that being harassed is ‘just part of life’,” Bungie replied. “This kind of mindset is unhealthy, and we aren’t going to put ourselves in danger for a video game, much less Reddit.”

The comment echoes a sentiment expressed by Bungie general counsel Don McGowan, who said in 2022 that “bad actors” are often tolerated because the people with the power to do something about them simply choose not to. “We disagree,” he said. “In our view, removing harassment and abuse from our community is not only the right thing to do, it is also good business.”

It’s less good for Destiny fans who’d like to have more contact with the people who make the game they love, but as long as gamers insist on hurtling racism, threats, and other abuse at the people who make the games they supposedly love to play, it’s a situation that’s not likely to change.

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