For most of THQ Nordic's existence, the company has been known for acquiring companies, IPs and games, resulting in a steady growth and generally good PR for the company as fans hope for re-releases and new titles in beloved series. That took a blow yesterday when the company decided to host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on message board site 8chan. It should be stated that the idea of an Ask Me Anything is not controversial, with many run successfully on Reddit and various other sites, but the choice of destination that drew widespread complaint. For those of you who not familiar with the "free speech" site, it has been linked to child pornography/abuse — to the point where Google has blacklisted the site from its search engine — and incidents of swatting (calling the police in an attempt for them to dispatch a SWAT team on a particular address) and doxxing (the publishing of private/identifying information about a particular individual) amongst other behaviour.
After confirming that the AMA was real — and not a hack or rogue employee as some initially suspected — the company apologised for the event on Twitter, with the full statement as follows:
I personally agreed to this AMA without doing my proper due diligence to understand the history and the controversy of the site. I do not condone child pornography, white supremacy, or racism in any shape or form. I am terribly sorry for the short-sightedness of my (!) decision, and promise to be far more vigorous in my assessment of these activities in the future. This was not about being edgy, this blew up and I very much regret to have done it in the first place."Understandably, the stunt did not go over well even with those under the THQ Nordic banner with one developer who spoke anonymously to Waypoint's Patrick Klepek stating "It feels horrible to be associated with this company in any capacity". In a similar vein, recently acquired studio Coffee Stain distanced themselves by correctly pointing out on the account for their next game Satisfactory that the THQ Nordic that owns Coffee Stain (the Swedish THQ Nordic AB) and the THQ Nordic that ran the AMA (THQ Nordic GmbH) are two different entities with the latter a subsidiary of the former.
Philipp Brock, PR & Marketing Director THQ Nordic GmbH (Vienna, Austria)
All in all, a dark day in the history of THQ Nordic and one that may follow the publisher for quite some time.