This weekend, transgender journalist Laura Kate Dale (pictured, left) reported on her Twitter account that she was "completely dehumanised" by comedian presenter Fraser Millward (at right) during an Xbox One event at this weekend's Eurogamer Expo 2013.
According to Dale, Millward (who is not a Microsoft employee but rather a entertainer hired solely for the event) called her "he," "it," and "thing" during his presentation. Afterwards, the people running the stage reportedly apologized to Dale for being upset by Millward's actions, but refused to give her the performer's name or bring him forward so that she could speak to him. Dale later aired her frustrations via Twitter.
Kotaku — the Gawker-owned video game blog that initially reported Dale's tweets — was told by the Eurogamer Expo staff that they would comment on the matter only after concluding their own inquiry into the matter.
"Microsoft's corporate posture is one of support for transgendered persons, through its GLEAM employee resource group, and the company has been visible in that support, notably sending a Halo Warthog and a Master Chief cosplayer to march in Seattle's most recent Pride parade."
After running the story, Dale contacted Kotaku asking them to please remove the article as it made her the target of even more transphobic abuse on Twitter. In reponse, Kotaku removed the link to Dale's Twitter account, but kept the story as per their editorial guidelines.
Gamespot.com's transgender game reviewer Carolyn Petit was also recently targeted for her gender identity. After pointing out the misogyny in the newest installment of the Grand Theft Auto game series, Gamespot commenters came forth with lots of transphobic insults and even created a petition to have Petit fired. Petit has endured this sort of abuse since she first started reviewing games as openly trans two years ago.
"Staff apologised to her, but every single part of the first sentence of that tweet is made up. We called for more women so as to balance things up as there were mostly male gamers on stage, yes. There are ways of complaining in a mature way, but this is inflammatory and slanderous. 350 witnesses saw that this did not happen and that I didn't say those things. I would like to speak to her face to face to sort this out, but she's taken to Twitter and now I'm getting hundreds of tweets per minute….I referred to her as 'this person', at which point some of the crowd laughed. I should have diffused that situation, but I think that is what's caused this to happen. I did not refer to the woman as 'thing' or 'it' at any point."
Said Microsoft in a statement:
"We are aware of an incident today on the Xbox booth at the Eurogamer Expo, at which an inappropriate comment was made, and we apologise for any offence caused."
Millward also tweeted:
I’d like to express my sadness and dismay at what has ensued following a live stage event at the weekend. No offence was intended when I referred to Laura Kate Dale as ‘this person’ after I asked the audience to applaud her and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offence and hurt I may have caused. There will be no further comment or response regarding this matter. Signing off!