Waterbed Racism In A Virtual World: Just When You Think You’re On Top, Something Else Pops Up

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Regular readers of New Matilda will probably be familiar with the story we ran last week about a game being sold through Apple, Amazon and Google, which enabled players to ‘beat to death a virtual Aborigine’.

By way of update, the game has been removed from all three retailers. And federal minister Mitch Fifield has demanded ‘an investigation’ into how it occurred… or at least that’s how some media reported it. In truth, an ‘investigation’ might be a bit of a stretch – Fifield has in all probability simply asked for a briefing… mindful, of course, that in a week this will no longer be news in the mainstream outlets, and we can all move on.

In the New Matilda spirit of public service, we can save the taxpayers some money here – behold, the briefing Fifield should be getting:

Dear Minister, Someone developed a game that was stunningly bad. A lot of people got very upset about it. Justifiably so. The Sydney Morning Herald eventually weighed in on the story, and rather than quote Aboriginal people, quoted Bianca Jagger. As you do. And the game was subsequently pulled down. Oh, and by the way, your government and all before you have been doing Aboriginal people over for decades, but not in the virtual world… in the REAL world. Briefing over.

But, sadly, the issue isn’t quite yet.

Just when you think you’re getting on top of humanity-diminishing racism… a page has cropped up on Facebook called ‘Survival Island 3 Hunt The Aboriginals’. It’s a fan page for the game, clearly run by a young, frustrated Australian male, who is most likely based in Western Australia (where there is, sad to say, a higher percentage of redneckery when it comes to ‘Aboriginal memes’ than other states).

So we complained about the page to Facebook. Facebook’s response? Priceless.

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NM understands we’re not the only people to complain. Guess that means it really, really doesn’t contravene Facebook’s community standards.

On the upside, a total of 81 people have liked the Facebook page. The petition to remove the game has received more than 90,000 signatures, and it’s still growing, even after the game was long ago pulled down.

Anyhoo, by way of final update, we promised readers we’d report back if and when we heard back from Apple.

Their media folk rang and left a message, so we called them back, only for them to tell us they had nothing to say. Yes, it was one of ‘those’ conversations….

So that’s it folks – Apple Australia has nothing to say, and no apology to add. They’re choosing to forget about the issue and are hoping you will too.

Oh, and Facebook thinks a page that celebrates the virtual slaughter of Aboriginal people doesn’t breach it’s community standards.

We live in interesting times.

New Matilda

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.

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