Alison Rapp, formerly of Nintendo America, was fired recently by Nintendo during controversy over the company’s approach to game localisation. Rapp released a series of Twitter updates (via. Polygon) after the situation arose, explaining the issue arose after months of repeated harassment directed at her and Nintendo.
Rapp spoke about the “whirlwind of controversy and [Gamergate] harrassment” in recent months, and mentioned that she had had to “talk safety measures” with her family, and warn police about “possible suspicious activity.” Meanwhile, she stated that “GG has been digging up all kinds of things about my personal life and contacting Nintendo about them.”
“Today, the decision was made: I am no longer a good, safe representative of Nintendo, and my employment has been terminated.”
The situtation was later confirmed by Nintendo of America in a statement to Polygon, which gave violations of company policy as the reason for Rapp’s termination.
“Alison Rapp was terminated due to violation of an internal company policy involving holding a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture,” Nintendo said. “Though Ms. Rapp’s termination follows her being the subject of criticism from certain groups via social media several weeks ago, the two are absolutely not related. Nintendo is a company committed to fostering inclusion and diversity in both our company and the broader video game industry and we firmly reject the harassment of individuals based on gender, race or personal beliefs. We wish Ms. Rapp well in her future endeavors.”
Rapp then elaborated on the situation, explaining on Twitter that her dismissal followed her return from a recent holiday to find Nintendo reviewing her social media accounts. “When I got back from [vacation], Nintendo stripped me of my spokesperson status and did a ‘lateral move’ so I wouldn’t lead games as a [product manager] anymore,” she said.
“This was because the GG mess meant they ‘looked at my tweets’ and decided I wasn’t a good representative of the company… “
Rapp had also begun ‘moonlighting’ in a second job under a different name in order to repay student loans. This information was sourced by an anonymous individual and given to Nintendo of America. “It was moonlighting Nintendo didn’t like, despite the fact that it was anonymous,” she said.
She continued, “Do [you] honestly think that without GG’s attacks, the ‘lateral move’ and the obsessive privacy digging would have happened?…Do you think that if the industry wasn’t afraid of women, sex-positivity, etc. that the [anonymous] moonlighting I did would have been a problem?
“The amount of obsession it must take to dig up old tweets, find addresses, link me to anon things not related to games is … not normal for a professional industry.”
As reported by Polygon, Rapp worked as a product marketing specialist at Treehouse, the in-house localisation section of which became subject to online harassment last year. Fan frustration over the alteration of localised titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles X and Fire Emblem Fates (such as modification of certain ‘revealing’ outfits). In response to this, Rapp mentioned that she had nothing to do with these alterations.
Earlier this year, Rapp was accused of paedophilia on the grounds of a 2011 college paper she wrote (via. Kotaku). Her harassers even rallied an anti-sex trafficking organisation against her and Nintendo. The stories were included in a Kotaku article on gaming culture wars.
In some of her final posts regarding the situation, Rapp stated that she’d like to see the games industry become more progressive.
I would LOVE if the convo was less about specific actors and more about how we can make the industry the best, most progressive it can be.
— smol pterodactyl (@alisonrapp) March 30, 2016
She continued (via. Polygon), “Again, please remember that there are so many good [people at Nintendo] who do incredible work. Let’s make the industry better for them too…Fact is, feminist politics, sex, etc. ARE dangerous to companies [because] that’s where we’ve let the industry go. It doesn’t have to be that way.”