THQ Nordic's decision to host an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session on the 8chan website - a site banned from Google for grossly offensive material, including child pornography and hate speech - has been almost universally condemned by the industry.
"We're doing an 8chan AMA and we have no idea why. Come join us!" said a tweet posted yesterday evening. When hundreds of people queried why THQ Nordic had selected 8chan - leading many to presume the account had been hacked - THQ Nordic responded with: "The opportunity was here and we took it, we got apporached (sic) in a very friendly and polite manner and were assured, said person (shoutout to Mark) will take care of the nasty stuff. so, here we are."
A subsequent statement prepared by PR and marketing director, Philipp Brock, after the event said Brock had not done "due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site", but the reference to "the nasty stuff" in the tweet above contradicts these claims. Additionally, the AMA thread itself was filled with extremist and offensive material, and when one poster asked Brock - posting as "THQN_Philipp" - to not "censor any games nor appeal to the SocJus crowd, you guys are doing fine as is", Brock replied with: "Thanks! we'll try to stay that way."
The official THQ Nordic account also "liked" a tweet by a Twitter user that told the company, "don't worry about it. Lots of sensitive simons here atm. The AMA is going well and is pretty (sic) funny guy". Following further condemnation, the account has now "unliked" the comment.
"I personally agreed to this AMA without doing my proper due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site," said a statement from Brock later that same evening. "I do not condone child pornography, white supremacy, or racism in any shape or form. I am terribly sorry for the short-sightedness of my (!) decision, and promise to be far more vigorous in my assessment of these activities in the future. This was not about being edgy, this blew up and I very much regret to have done it in the first place."
When pressed by GI.biz to justify why he kept the AMA going after the criticisms began, Brock replied, "I was f--king overwhelmed with a plethora of different emotions to be honest.
"I am not a white supremacist, nor into child pornography, nor do I think this AMA was smart in hindsight and if I could, I would undo."
THQ CEO Lars Wingefors would not comment further, saying the company had already given a statement via Twitter.