By now, you’ve probably heard about the hullabaloo caused by Bioware banning the words “homosexual,” “lesbian” and “gay,” and subsequently locking threads used to discuss said bannings, on their Star Wars: The Old Republic forums. Well, the situation has been addressed, the threads have been restored, the words unbanned, and Kotaku reports that BioWare has since issued the following apology:
Now, since the thread has been restored and the only people who were actually booted from the site were those people who used the forum in derogatory ways, I guess we should just chock the whole mess up to an unfortunate technological kneejerk reaction on BioWare’s part. I mean, I can understand wanting to prevent their forums from being weighed down by offensive and bigoted rantings and ravings. Then again, BioWare's “these terms do not exist in Star Wars” claim was just about the worst thing they could have said.
Let's just assume for a second that this claim were true (and there wasn’t evidence to contradict it), why wouldn’t people be allowed to talk about it? And what kind of precedent would that set if that justification became the forum’s official stance? “All references to Looney Tunes are hereby banned because Looney Tunes does not exist in Star Wars." That’s obviously a terrible example, but you see my point. If you started a thread dedicated to comparing Star Wars characters to Looney Tunes characters, I doubt that it would be banned, and that topic is far less “relevant” to the Star Wars universe than the idea of gay relationships, especially given the immensity and diversity of said universe.
Again, based on their apology, the bannings appear to have been just a precautionary measure on BioWare’s part. But it’s easy to understand why the reaction was so strong, and all of the questions raised by the incident obviously deserve acknowledgement.