Hogwarts Legacy and the Dilemma of Ethical Consumption

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redcream

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#1  Edited By redcream

I want to say firsthand that I do not agree with J.K Rowling about her opinion on Trans rights. It is hurtful and harmful.

On the other hand, I caught myself half rationalizing potentially buying this product based on the trailer shown and convincing myself that this is not her direct work and the developers only took inspiration from her books (which I recognize is a MASSIVE stretch). I also caught myself thinking that this product is unrelated to her beliefs so it shouldn't affect my positive impression about the game. I am kinda hoping it would turn out bad so I will not be forced to want it because I do not want her to profit off of this game. But what about the developers who are making this game in good faith? They need to make a living somehow, right? Maybe Warner could pay out J.K Rowling just like Microsoft did with Notch on Minecraft to resolve this issue.

So what do you guys think? Is buying the game equivalent to cosigning the nasty belief of its author? Will you even consider purchasing this product in the future despite of Rowling? What are your thoughts on divorcing the game with its author? If you're an executive at Warner Bros. what would you do? Should there be a dilemma at all? Let me know your thoughts!

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stantongrouse

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The question of reject the artist or the art is and old and endless debate. Personally, if someone has done some pretty awful stuff and the consumer has to have a mental debate about whether they still feel okay giving the artist money you can't be too bother by it really. If it really bothered you, you feel just not bother with it and probably request other to do so too. I really have had no interest in the Harry Potter stuff ever, so maybe this example isn't great for me, as I'd just say don't give them any money - but mostly because I thought it was pretty bad (in it's social commentary) in the first place.

The trouble with a lot of these things is they are created by huge teams of people, so at what point does it become about the team rather than the person who came up with the concept. I effing love Quincy Jones and some of his best production work was with Michael Jackson, but am I comfortable listening to Michael Jackson music (not just for his own alleged behaviour but the way his father and label treated him and his brothers too) - truth is I don't know.

I stand by the thought activity, how would you feel about playing it in front of the people most hurt by this? If a trans friend walked in while you were playing the Harry Potter game do you feel that you'd have to explain or justify why you're playing it? If the answer is yes, probably best not to play it, if no, crack on.

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chaser324

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#3 chaser324  Moderator

This is unfortunately a pretty complicated question, and I'm not sure if there's a clear cut answer.

The developers clearly put a ton of work into this game, and it's incredibly unfortunate for them that JK Rowling has done everything possible to poison the well for anything associated with her or Harry Potter. Personally, I'm not sure if I'm capable of divorcing Rowling's hate from her work at this point, but I also never had any personal attachment to Harry Potter to begin with.

Also...

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doctordonkey

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At the end of the day, Rowling effectively gets a cut of every new copy sold, that's just a hard fact. People will have to weigh their own morals against separating art from the artist, buying used to circumvent it, or choosing to abstain all together. However, as much as people will argue that the devs have already earned their wages and therefore they don't need to feel bad about boycotting, teams are hit with potential lay offs and no bonuses should a product perform poorly enough. They also pour their heart and soul into these games, and seeing their sacrifices go unappreciated would be incredibly disheartening. Not that any of that would happen with this particular product, it has Harry Potter in the title so it will sell millions of copies day one.

I don't think there's a right answer here, unfortunately. People will have to decide for themselves. I don't enjoy anything Harry Potter, so it's an easy decision for me, but I imagine fans that are aware of her views will have a difficult time.

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Hayt

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#5  Edited By Hayt

I recognise it's a messy scenario for sure. I just hope every bit of news for this game doesn't become a shitfight of people giving the other side shit for boycotting/not boycotting. It'd be nice for the game to get a chance to exist on its own merits rather than as a proxy for a shitstorm. Personally this a game that I'm really pumped for and it's a shame it has to have any sort of funk over it.

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Justin258

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#6 Justin258  Online

You have to decide for yourself.

However, if I had worked my ass off for months or years on a product and people refused to buy it because some very rich person is turning out to be awful, I'd feel like I had been slapped in the face. I can't justify an action that might contribute to hurting a whole team because of one rotten person.

Also, a rotten creator doesn't make a work lose its value. I know that giving money to these people might feel shitty, and I understand you might not want to, but Ender's Game, Planescape Torment, and Harry Potter are still worthwhile. Trying to shun such experiences because the creator sucks only really hurts you, the other people that made the work possible, and art in general.

Finally, this is capitalism! You decide where your spare change goes, if you're fortunate enough to have it, so if you think that a creator being shitty does rob art of its value, then spend it elsewhere.

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quadeo

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I may be ignorant here but why can't you do both, buy the game and enjoy the thing you like while also speaking out against Rowling? AFAIK if harry potter disappeared off the face of the earth forever she would still be one of the richest people in the world.

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apewins

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#8  Edited By apewins

JK Rowling is wealthy beyond her wildest dreams, so if you think you can blackmail her into changing her entire world view, you're probably mistaken. If it helps you justify your purchase, think of it like this: the licensing fee she is potentially getting off the game will go to her Swiss bank account where it will stay untouched until she dies. So she is technically not benefiting from it since she never gets to spend it. But by boycotting the game, you are definitely hurting thousands of working people who are involved in the franchise.

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cikame

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I'm pretty good at separating someone's works from their personal issues, when nasty stuff about Mel Gibson came out it didn't stop The Patriot from being one of my favourite movies, i've enjoyed loads of music from people who take drugs and have questionable histories. I do believe that a product, or most products, might be the invention of one person but is created by many and it would be rude not to reward their hard work, but i don't use that as an excuse because regardless of who made it, if a piece of entertainment exists that itself is harmless, i don't see the harm in being entertained by it.

How do we feel about Michael Jackson these days? Were any of the allegations proved true? Does that stop you having a favourite Michael Jackson song?
This post is not an answer it's an opinion.

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bigsocrates

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J.K. Rowling's views on trans people are reprehensible. She's hurt a lot of people.

Ubisoft had a culture of sexual harassment and abuse for many years. They recently made Black Lives Matter the villains in one of their games. They hurt a lot of people.

EA has predatory commercial practices involving loot boxes that draw people into gambling addictions and destroy their lives. They've hurt a lot of people.

Rockstar has a culture of extreme crunch. It's hurt a lot of people.

Oculus is owned by Facebook, which is a blight on society. They've hurt more people than all the rest of them combined.

I'm not saying that any of these companies are better or worse than any others (Except for Facebook, which is literally the worst and is responsible for spreading all kinds of hate and horribleness) but that you can find faults in any large company and any product. You need to make your own choices about how to balance their bad acts against your own consumption. I wouldn't buy this game even if I liked Harry Potter because the anti-trans stuff is too far for me, and I don't buy any Facebook products, but I do buy Ubisoft, EA, and Rockstar products sometimes. I don't have a comprehensive rational explanation for these choices, except that Ubisoft and Rockstar mostly hurt their own employees and you don't help those people by boycotting, but Ubisoft's Black Lives Matter villains was a really bad decision that hurt people outside the company.

You just have to make your own decisions based on how much harm you're causing vs. how much benefit you get. Every company does bad things and there are lots of creators out there saying and doing bad things as well.

I think part of the problem here is that J.K. Rowling in part was popular because she made people feel included in Harry Potter and like everyone mattered, and then she destroyed that with her anti-trans views.

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fluffynutkicker

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There are many times that I need to just separate the art from the artist. There’s no shortage of people’s work I enjoy who were bigots, evil, or anything in between. Off the top of my head Michael Jackson and HP Lovecraft come to mind. IT Crowd is another. Part of me hates that I still enjoy their works, I think that will always be there.

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Humanity

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#12  Edited By Humanity

If you want to attempt rationalizing some of this then you can think that despite her views on gender, she has in the past donated a lot of money to various charities and just recently donated a million pounds during the COVID outbreak. So while on one hand her words and viewpoints offend a lot of people, on the other she does use her wealth to help a lot of others as well. I mean nothing is 1:1 and you can't really do the conscience algebra on what is more important because everyone is different, but at least unlike some other people in our very own industry, she doesn't appear to be a complete monsters for whatever thats worth.

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navster15

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@humanity: Wealthy people donating money should never be seen as a *good* thing, precisely because it’s such a bandage solution to the option that they don’t want, which is actually paying their workers livable wages and paying taxes in line with their enormous wealth. JK Rowling donating to charity is literally the bare minimum she can do for her immoral wealth hoarding.

As for the question about the game itself, it looks really cool but no way I’m giving that ghoul my money. Maybe I can rationalize a used copy purchase years down the line but that’s as far as it goes. TRANS RIGHTS.

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chaser324

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#14  Edited By chaser324  Moderator

@humanity:

The uber-wealthy love making a big show of giving to charity to sway public opinion (and dodge taxes), so I would encourage everyone to take that with a grain of salt and not let that color your view of them. It doesn't excuse her awful behavior, she's still a monster. If you need to rationalize enjoying Harry Potter or buying this game, I would suggest finding another avenue.

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Panfoot

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@humanity said:

If you want to attempt rationalizing some of this then you can think that despite her views on gender, she has in the past donated a lot of money to various charities and just recently donated a million pounds during the COVID outbreak. So while on one hand her words and viewpoints offend a lot of people, on the other she does use her wealth to help a lot of others as well. I mean nothing is 1:1 and you can't really do the conscience algebra on what is more important because everyone is different, but at least unlike some other people in our very own industry, she doesn't appear to be a complete monsters for whatever thats worth.

Don't jinx it, she may just start donating to anti-trans groups now(after all, it seems every other week she seems to keep digging that hole even deeper in a hilariously petty way).

It's definitely a damned if you do damned if you don't situation though. Personally while I like but don't love Harry Potter(I only ever got through the first 3 movies and books, both versions of Goblet of Fire put me to sleep for whatever reason), and this does look like the kind of game I wanted for years from that franchise...this is one that I just really can't feel okay about. I know ultimately it will sell well and my non-purchase is negligible, but for me it matters enough to not give them 60(or I guess 70 probably) dollars. I'll still probably eventually get it when it's practically free in a Humble Bundle or like 5 dollars during a same a long time for now when it really doesn't matter anymore.

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Humanity

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@chaser324: @navster15: Like I said, if you have to find some reason to make yourself feel better about potentially giving her money, this is a decent avenue to go down. Much better than doing the mental gymnastics of "well it's only based one her books but she's not involved in it directly" because as stated above, she gets the money regardless of her involvement. At least you can talk yourself into thinking that money may end up helping children or domestic abuse victims at some point. Is it the least she can do? Sure. You don't have to applaud it, but at the end of the day it is actually helping people out there which is more than empty platitudes of "doing better" from companies like Ubisoft that then continue to go on their merry way doing almost nothing at all.

At the end of the day nearly all game companies we engage with are immoral to some degree. It's really up to you to decide what you are willing to live with. Ideally like good ol' Geralt, if you have to choose between two evils it's best not to choose at all, but realistically speaking a lot of folks are going to continue buying the games regardless of what filth gets dredged up.

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navster15

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@humanity: You know what’s a better rationalization? That Sonic jpeg that chaser324 posted. Just accept that the purchase is ethically fraught and move on. That sure would be a lot better than deluding ourselves that the billionaires are good, actually.

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cikame

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@navster15: Ditto, as nice as it can be seen it irks me when a wealthy person donates a miniscule amount of their net worth to charity, who am i to judge i donate very little, but i've got a lot of problems in my future.

Just want to add to my previous post that despite being able to separate the issue, it would be REALLY cool if JK decided maybe the developers deserved a large portion of her cut more than she did... which is kind of true anyway, it's their effort.

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Onemanarmyy

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#19  Edited By Onemanarmyy

These kinds of situations are very personal and i wouldn't blame anyone for putting their line somewhere else than i would go for. I can totally understand why one person would look at all the Ubisoft scandals and refuse to ever buy a game from them again, while others just want to see certain people leave the company before they start spending again, and a third group would not let it impact their purchase at all.

Personally i think a singer like Morrissey is total trash as a human, yet i still listen to the music he made with the band The Smiths and probably support him with 0,004 cents through Spotify every year. But i won't go out of my way to listen to his current stuff, despite knowing i might miss out on some enjoyable songs and the financial support i'd provide would be negligable. That's the (arbitary) line i have drawn that works for me, while others might straight up banish his voice entirely out of their lives or not let it impact them. I bet there are a lot of Michael Jackson listeners that deal with similar thoughts.

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Humanity

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@navster15: I wrote as much in my reply. Personally I've made my peace with whatever evils go on in various game companies and otherwise. When I can I don't engage, other times I just accept the fact that I am in some way aiding bad people for the sake of my own personal entertainment and thats on me.

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llubtoille

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#21  Edited By llubtoille

Was visible harm caused in the making of the product? - such as nestles products.

Is harm likely to be caused from purchasing from that vendor/maker? - such as buying from amazon.

Is there something I am acting trying to limit in not purchasing that product? - such as co2 emissions.

If no to the above, then I apparently have no problem with it.

Personally I have no problem with someone expressing and debating their views online. If they were harming or suggesting others should cause harm, that would be different (and probably a legal matter), but otherwise I don't really see the issue.

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fugoy

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I'm gonna buy it because it's the potter game kid me has basically always dreamed of finally happening. Adult me recognizes that JKR sucks massive shit but I live in Orlando, she ain't gonna stop making money. I'll shit on her every chance I get and can only hope that public perception of her plummets to the point that she has to either divest or stop being in the public eye so much. This is how it works now and while it's a bummer I'm not letting myself lose sleep over it.

Personally I have no problem with someone expressing and debating their views online. If they were harming or suggesting others should cause harm, that would be different (and probably a legal matter), but otherwise I don't really see the issue.

If you don't see the harm that hateful views such as transphobia and terfdom do to actual trans people then either you're ignorant or you're arguing in bad faith. This isn't a debate or some view that you can understand both sides on, it's hate. Get a clue.

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Kitamuramiike

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Maybe a way to look at is, yes you are giving SOME money to Rowling, even if you disagree with her terrible fucking takes on things. But. You are ALSO giving significantly more money to the studio and team that created this game, which may not share those views, and will enable them to make more games in the future. So maybe the question is, is it better to penalize potentially hundreds of people who have nothing to do with Rowling's issues JUST to punish 1 person (Rowling) a little more, or better to let Rowling get a small cut at the cost of supporting people that may deserve it?

(I know nothing about the studio or it's team, just making some basic assumptions they're good people until proven otherwise)

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Gundato

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@llubtoille: Its a complicated question. Ignoring the rabbit hole that is people donating to charity on their own time as it were, there is still the question of whether the media itself causes harm.

Directly? No. Unless you require the blood of a trans person to get JUST the right shade of red then I doubt anyone was directly harmed as part of the creation

But let's add one degree of separation. How many people will it inspire? I am in a stem field and I have plenty of friends with stories like "I wanted to become a coder because of video games" or "Bill Nye/Carl Sagan/Neil Degrasse Tyson got me passionate for science" (and that last one makes me feel really old). Similarly, representation in media is important. I am really glad I grew up with Peter Parker (the good one, not the movie ones. Although Holland is awesome) and am really happy that kids these days have Miles and Gwen.

And that is where things become problematic. Because the continued mega-success of Harry Potter tells people "being a shitbag terf and racist won't stop you from achieving your dreams" in the same way that the ever looming shitstain has normalized so much hate.

Its up to you if you still support it. I know I bought The Last Of Us 2 knowing Naughty Dog have lots of problems. But just like "there is no ethical consumption under capitalism" is a massive cop-out, so too is "well, nobody is getting hurt"

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dudeglove

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Considering it's a WB joint, given what they've done to all their other games in the past ten years, it'll be microtransactioned out the ass and release with horrendous bugs and terrible ports.

Give your money to something else.

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csl316

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#26  Edited By csl316  Online

Honestly, I made the decision long ago to divorce the art and the artist. It may be frowned upon, and it still certainly colors my view of whatever I'm looking at. And these days it's easy to argue that there's more stuff than ever out there so why even bother with someone problematic.

But that's been my personal way of approaching these sorts of situations, for better or worse. With video games, though, I kind of feel bad that I'm boycotting hundreds of workers because of the problematic nature of an individual.

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Efesell

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It's a complicated problem with a simple solution which is just accept that you and everyone else are going to support something made by deeply problematic and harmful people. Draw your own lines on what subjects are too far and don't find yourself saying "Well it's okay actually because..."

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TheRealTurk

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I have to keep reminding myself that the whole "cancel culture" concept (usually) comes from a good place of people wanting to do the right thing, but damn if I don't find it endlessly tiresome.

The flaw in the logic of these positions is in assuming that it's a two-way street. Spending mental energy hand-wringing over the ethics of buying the game will just make you miserable. You'll either feel guilt for buying it, or you won't play something you might otherwise enjoy. On the other had, even if the game sold zero copies, I'm pretty sure it's going to do fuck-all to change J.K. Rowling's attitude. The only thing it really succeeds in doing is giving people like her that much more control over your life. Screw that noise.

The bottom line is that buying or not buying a video game, even aggregated across a lot of people, isn't really going to move the needle on an issue. I mean, sure, not buying a game set in a universe with a transphobic creator might make people feel better about themselves, but it isn't going to do a whole lot to fight transphobia on a concrete, real-world level.

If you really want to do something meaningful I'd stop worrying about something as minor as buying a video game. Play what you want to play, enjoy it, and then consider donating your time or money to organizations that support the trans community. Better yet, do it with an organization in your own community so that you can see the results.

@humanity: You know what’s a better rationalization? That Sonic jpeg that chaser324 posted. Just accept that the purchase is ethically fraught and move on. That sure would be a lot better than deluding ourselves that the billionaires are good, actually.

Obligatory some billionaires might be good, actually.

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plan6

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I agree with folks that it is impossible to make JKR less rich and people just need to decide if they can enjoy the thing knowing that it came form the mind of a very shitty person.

Also, never underestimate your abilities. There will be a disk version of this game on some system and a used copy will be on sale at some point. If you are committed to reclaiming your love of Harry Potter and fucking over JKR, you can do it.

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BladeOfCreation

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Orson Scott Card is a raging homophobe and an unmitigated piece of shit. Granted, I read Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead before I knew that, but that doesn't stop me from relating to Ender on a personal level that has helped me process my own traumatic sense of guilt at taking part in a morally indefensible war.

Every left-of-center author knows that Amazon sucks, yet they sell their books there. There is something profoundly amusing about buying a book on Kindle or Audible that educates you about the evils of capitalism. At the beginning of the year, I calculated how much I spend on Amazon through Prime, Audible, etc. My giving-to-charity goal for the year is to exceed that amount.

We are all navigating this world in our own way. If you want to pay $60 for this game and you feel really bothered by it, pick a charity that helps trans people and donate to them however much you think Rowling actually gets from each sale of the game.

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hermes

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The question of separating artist from art is a torny one, and likely not one that is going to be answered here, but in that debate, JK Rowling is an especially particular one. She is not just a (extremely wealthy) writer... She is a brand, her name is displayed front and center in everything she does, writes, approves and even glances at. The "Casual Vacancy"'s cover has her name bigger than the actual title and it was her involvement that made it a bestseller, her name appears on every promotional material of "Fantastic Beasts", and I am willing to bet her involvement in "Quidditch through the Ages" was tenuous, to say the least. She even gets top billing in "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", something that, by all accounts, is a fanfiction turned theater play. It is closer to Disney, Lucas, Warner or Clancy in that regard, with the added bonus that some of them are not even alive today, so they can't really influence or profit of it.

As such, you are not just buying into "Hogwarts Legacy", a game about a magic school... you are buying into the latest J.K. Rowling+Warner's Harry Potter's game. It is impossible to divorce the content of the person, because she has made some very intentional efforts to make that association ironclad.

Bottomline, I am sorry if something you loved as a kid has turned out to be ugly on the inside, I really do. It is extra bitter because its audience is mostly young children, so they are likely to be into her content from a pretty early age. Whether you choose to "stick to your convictions" or "supporting the innocent developers", is a personal decision. Just consider that "separating the art from the artist" is just a rationalization in this case, and if you need to create excuses for enjoying the stuff you are enjoying, it says as much about the content as about you...

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Nodima

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I've never really been able to square "like this thing I know I like" with "well, guess that means I like the person that made it now". I have been listening to music, watching movies, patronizing businesses and, hell, living in cities created or controlled by people I actively disagree with on certain political or moral issues, sometimes to the point I don't know that person well enough to not dislike them solely because of that political or moral disagreement. At the end of the day, I'm sending out this message via a desktop computer and keyboard likely produced under slavish conditions while a phone sits to the left of me that we all know was.

Getting the rent paid is hard enough, I just can't get myself to worry over whether my liking R. Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love" is going to make me look bad to somebody else. I liked that song when I was 13 and it makes me happy to hear at 32.

If you like Harry Potter as an adult enough that you want more Harry Potter than you had when you were a kid, get the Harry Potter thing. That's my belief. Me personally, as someone who found those books so readable as a child I read every single book, even the incredibly big ones, on release day to make sure absolutely nothing could be spoiled in the halls at school the next day...that was then, this is now, and I don't care about Harry Potter. But my queer little sister does, to the point she has a Harry Potter tattoo on her arm, and she'll probably be buying this game Day One because she likes Harry Potter. Harry Potter makes her happy, and that matters more to her than whether JK Rowling makes her happy.

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AdamALC

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You will be hard pressed to consume any form of product on the planet if you judge it by the people that produce it. Humans manage to muck up everything eventually.

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Aistan

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Given the amount of control Joanne has over her property she's going to directly benefit from sales of the game plus probably had final say if not direct input on what the story of it was. That's just going to have to be something one will have to consider when thinking about purchasing it.

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ToughShed

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#36  Edited By ToughShed

Do you but personally I think the huge onus on you as a consumer to "boycott things and right the world" stuff is getting to be bullshit. I agree to an extent but the idea that its on consumers to fix bigotry or labor practices in AAA games and stuff is just bullshit. That's the governments job or a larger problem than one consumer buying or not buying an entertainment product should make.

Same with people who might not have other options and the Amazon boycott. Is it really on the tiny average consumer to break up a giant monopoly or isnt' that what our fucking government is for? it's a joke.

I think its a symptom of how Americans now think the government can't possibly do anything good for them. We should instead be putting effort into pressuring the government on these causes.

Transphobia makes it even more abstracted even, not that it isn't a worthy cause and she doesn't really suck, because it isn't really a government response thing, although there's plenty we can still do for trans people don't get me wrong. But Rowling is going to keep doing this.

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BaneFireLord

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For discrete entertainment products specifically, as opposed to necessities/interacting with unethical megacorps in general where it's basically impossible to be an Ethical Consumer Under Capitalism(TM) and not go completely crazy, it's always a question for me of "is the shitty person directly and clearly getting royalties from my purchase?" For example, I'm not going to feel too bad buying Vampire the Masquerade 2 because Chris Avellone likely already got the money he was going to get for his consulting work on that game and has now parted ways with the dev, while in contrast I don't listen to any of Jeremy Soule's music on Spotify anymore because he probably continues to get a cut of those streams. In this case, there's a very direct and obvious throughline from me buying a copy of Hogwarts Legacy to Rowling winding up with a few bucks in her pocket, so I'm not gonna buy it.

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petesix0

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#38  Edited By petesix0

Boycott the things you think deserve to be boycotted, but own it. If you change your mind, own that too and also own the journey that changed your mind. Joanne's never had theme park, book or game money from me before and that changed to movies too some time ago so it's not hard for me to say that she makes her choices and so do I. Food is food. Water is water. Everything else is something I can afford to have some agency over because I don't want to regret complacency.

People can and will carry on with the slush fund for the lady who hated to be locked out of things so much that she wrote a book about a sweet child intruding on the good place. "No I think she's repugnant but I love remembering how her stories made me feel when I was the age that feelings are" is a polish that wears off.

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Wlleiotl

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#39  Edited By Wlleiotl

There is no ethical consumption under capitalism.

Make choices you can live with yourself. I'll be buying this game. If someone labels me a transphobe over it, then I'll live with myself, because I know buying this game is not a endorsement of the worst person to work on the game. But I'll respect anyone who does boycott it, because if you can't live with yourself buying it then that's your choice too.

But don't get me wrong, it is utterly meaningless to do this for any other reason than your own satisfaction, and cancel culture is a myth. The idea that you will have any impact on JKR by tweeting, boycotting etc is absolutely wild. The only people who can affect this, are the executives who are in charge, and they will make the decision on whether she is toxic, not any of us.

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Enchaunter

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#40  Edited By Enchaunter

I’m usually content to just lurk on the forums, but this particular subject is quite close to me, so i’d like to weigh in a little bit (also, hi!). Firstly, to answer your main question, I believe no piece of entertainment is worth that much internal anguish. This is a very minor dilemma on the grand scheme of things, so just focus on which decision makes you feel better, make your peace with the consequences and stick to it, no matter how many strangers on the internet or multi-million dollar marketing campaigns beg you to reconsider. Being indecisive will only stress you out without solving the issue at hand.

On that note, I have a very personal anecdote to share, which I hope adds to the discussion. When I was a child, soon after learning to read, my mother gave me a huge stack of books that belonged to her when she was my age. It was called “Sítio do Pica-Pau Amarelo”, from a very influential early 20th century brazilian author named “Monteiro Lobato”. It’s a collection of 23 children’s literature books featuring two kids having fantastical adventures on their grandmother’s farm: other recurring characters include a talking corn stalk, a living cloth doll and an older black lady who works as their live-in housekeeper. Now, by this point it’s worth mentioning Lobato’s works have been, for some time now, the target of many accusations of racism, including his depictions of the housekeeper character. Nevertheless, I have two or three year’s worth of fond childhood memories reading (and enjoying) the entire collection.

The year I finished them, my mother gifted me four books: the first four Harry Potter novels (oh boy, am I lucky with my authors or what). Being at this point a pre-teen, I quickly read through these and, for the first time in my life, ran out of books to read. So I started visiting the local library, and over my teenager years read through dozens more, eventually adding non-fiction books into the mix. Nowadays, I buy and read through one or two books a month, on all sorts of subjects. I should add that the main reason I can understand english is due to a mix of reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series in english and the many games I've played in the meantime.

The point of this story is not to defend terrible people, but rather to show how even terrible people can, through their art, have a positive impact on others. This process kickstarted by my mother’s old childhood books and their racist writer, followed by Harry Potter and its transphobic writer has had a profound impact on my life, and is quite literally integral to who I became, not by turning me into a raging racist transphobe, but by instilling in me a love of books, a fondness for imagination and fantasy and, as a result, curiosity and the drive to seek out knowledge on my own. It’s why I, personally, try to never let my knowledge of an author’s background influence my enjoyment (or lack thereof) of their work.

P.S. I’m not used to actually expressing myself in english, so i’m sorry for any weird phrasing.

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vaiz

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@enchaunter: The Harry Potter novels are largely what got me in to reading, as well. I'm disappointed in the direction that JK has gone with her public statements in the last few years, but I refuse to let that ruin my childhood memories and the good influences the books had on me at the time.

BTW, your English is fantastic. I would have no idea that wasn't your native tongue if you hadn't mentioned it.

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#42  Edited By ShadyPingu

JK Rowling is the reason I work in the publishing industry today. It angers me that this woman with the power to beam her thoughts directly into the minds of children chose this abhorrent position, of all possible positions, to champion. She could've cashed in all her chips to rail against climate change, or police brutality, or the rising tide of nationalist populism, or literally anything else. But no, hating on trans folks is the one. Ugh. So it goes.

Knowing that, I don't have any strong opinions on whether it's the consumer's responsibility to penalize awful people for their awfulness. She will never feel the sting of your choice to not buy a video game, but if your personal ethics drive you to dip out regardless, I respect that decision. I equally respect the people who just want to play the damn video game. Make your choice and own it.

The decision is easy for me personally since, despite the books' huge influence over my life, I've been content to leave them in the past and haven't engaged at all with anything Potter-related since watching Deathly Hallows Part 2. But I'm sure at some point I will be faced with a similar dilemma and am curious to see what I do.

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@enchaunter: If you hadn't made mention of it at the end, I'd have gone on thinking, "this dude clearly had a mother who was on some truly wild shit by giving their kid a Brazilian children's book for their first book!"

My Spanish/French could never.

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bucifer

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#45  Edited By bucifer

I think it's ironic and somewhat poetical that as Harry matured, the adults in the books went from being champions of morality to flawed individuals with their own sins of the past. Dumbledore in the first book/movie is this kindly old man who can do no wrong and then you go all the way to Deathly Hallows to see him not have all the answers, being haunted by past mistakes and ultimately, well you know...

Same thing can be said for Rowling, when we were kids she was this perfect mother figure that gave us a world to fill our imaginations for years and years. I found her website fascinating back in 2005, spent days decompiling it, trying to learn how it worked, it's what got me into web development. But time has passed, we're not kids anymore, the Wizarding World isn't as attractive now as it was 20 years ago and Rowling doesn't have the answers we're looking for. We'll have to figure this one out ourselves. How would Harry feel if Dumbledore didn't come through in the end?

As for ethics, will the value that the work brings be greater than the disappointment of supporting someone who has an unpopular discriminatory opinion? I played Persona 5, it's a great game, yes it got really weird there for a bit but I'm ok letting it slide for the immense amount of entertainment it brought me.

As for Rowling, I might be the only one here and I'll probably be banned for saying this but I think she's entitled to an opinion and the things she said wouldn't be enough to dissuade me from buying her next book for example.

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Shindig

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#46 Shindig  Online

For an answer to that, just see HP Lovecraft. The tentacle horror carries on through generations, his views on race, not so much. We pick what we like, discard what we don't.

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Enchaunter

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@vaiz: Yeah, it's a shame how she's turned out. The more I hear that and similar stories, the more strongly I believe we should update the old adage "Never meet your heroes" to include "And don't follow their social media either". Maybe i'm biased due to avoiding Twitter and Facebook like the plague, but it never seems to end well.

Thanks for the compliment, by the way! Since i don't often post on forums, I'm always afraid of misunderstandings caused by accidentally mistranslating something or using the wrong idiom.

@nodima: Haha, sorry about that! I didn't want to make my nationality too "in your face", so I guess I might've overcompensated.

Funny story: My mother has never really ventured beyond romance novels, so her bookshelf is quite "safe" (other than 50 Shades of Gray, I guess). Mine, on the other hand, is a mess. They're all mixed together and only broadly organized between "fiction" and "nonfiction", so if you grab a random book off the shelf, you are just as likely to end up with something innocent like the Chronicles of Narnia as you are to end up grabbing my copy of Uzumaki or some other Junji Ito manga.

Needless to say, I'm gonna have to be very through properly organizing those shelves if I ever have a child.

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I don't care what a producer thinks or feels, I care what they do: what they make and how. If what they make is harmful to the end user, if they abuse their employees, if their efforts are anticompetitive, etc. then I will not do business with them.

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petesix0

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#49  Edited By petesix0

She thinks that having Trans women in locker rooms and changing areas means an increase in assaults in those rooms and areas, which to say the least is a wildly discriminatory thing. The point where you hear "no no no you've got it all wrong - Trans people are some of my best friends" still seems to be some point in the distant future.

"When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside."

jkrowling.com

I take her broader point that people can be real bad and it's often difficult to spot but saying that you think any one of these people could be the one paints a target on people who did nothing to deserve it. Purchase or consumption before Joanne felt comfy enough to share more has no bearing. Purchase or consumption having not heard or read the thoughts is being ignorant of them. Purchase or consumption afterwards is an affirmation because you don't get to write on the money "Hey I fundamentally disagree with you but this is so you can keep buying pencils to write more". Of course, there are always those who are indifferent or in opposition to, to whom I say Trans rights now. It's not about if you can hurt her by denying her money it's about living with choices we make.

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noobsauce

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If you're a consumer, none of what you buy is 100% ethical. Most of your clothes and shoes are made for less than minimum wage by children, everything you ever threw out is in a landfill or the ocean and playing videogames creates exhaust that destroys the ozone. A transphobic writer of a boy wizard series really shouldn't be where you take a moral stand but you do you.

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