Gaming studio THQ Nordic hosted an “ask me anything” session on a website that Google has blacklisted from its search engine for “suspected child abuse content.”
Users on the anonymous message board 8chan routinely post racist, homophobic and pedophilic content that peddles white supremacy and conspiracy theories, including QAnon. So it’s surprising then that THQ Nordic ― a multimillion dollar company that has produced popular games, including “TimeSplitters” and “Darksiders” ― took to Twitter early Tuesday morning to announce it was having a roundtable discussion on a platform with the same virulent people who happily applaud Adolf Hitler.
THQ Nordic games are featured on major gaming systems, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as PC.
In its Twitter post announcing the AMA, THQ admitted it had “no idea why” they were doing it.
“the [sic] 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,” the company said in a tweet.
But even a cursory glance at the bowels of the internet should have told them to never accept the offer. The first thing visitors see when clicking into the AMA is a banner image at the top that displays the phrase: “Lolis with a few extra inches.” Lolis is a Japanese slang term that often refers to prepubescent girls engaging in sex acts.
Google blacklisted the website from its search engine in 2015 because of the concerns 8chan users were engaging in child pornography. And in 2017, The Daily Dot covered the website’s extensive active pedophile network.
During the afternoon AMA session, for every earnest question asked about games in the thread, there are plenty of others that just want to do what 8chan does best: incite hate.
“Welcome to h8chan and Heil Hitler bruders,” one post says. “Is there any chance you can add lolis as playable characters to any of your games? Can never have enough lolis in vidya.”
Images of Nazi flags, along with users posting the N-word and homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs litter the still growing thread.
In a statement on Twitter, THQ Nordic’s Marketing Director Phillipp Brock apologized for not doing his “due diligence.”
“I personally agreed to this AMA without doing my proper due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site,” Brock wrote. “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.”
But a link to the thread is still up on the company’s Twitter account. And the account also “liked” a user who said to ignore the “sensitive simons” upset about the stunt.