THQ Nordic

It's been roughly one week since THQ Nordic GmbH decided to do an AMA on 8chan, a site that is best known for allegations that they host and link to suspected child pornography, a site that contains rampant racism, a site that engages in harassment campaigns, and a site that engages in doxxing. These are just a few of their most notable "issues." Again, it's a place where people go when even 4chan thinks they're too fucked up.

It took THQ Nordic over 15 hours to remove the link to 8chan from their Twitter timeline. That's 15 hours that a game publisher left up a link to a site that has been delisted from Google for hosting suspected child porn. THQ Nordic's Philipp Brock served as the scapegoat and took the fall for the entire event. He put up an apology that was disingenuous at best and flat out full of lies at worst.

Today, the CEO of THQ Nordic GmbH's parent company, THQ Nordic AB, offered up another public statement about the events of last week. Here is what CEO Lars Wingefors said in a statement released to the THQ Investors site.

Statement regarding the recent AMA event
To: Group employees, Partners and Consumers

This letter is to offer my sincerest apologies and regret for THQ Nordic GmbH Vienna’s interaction with the controversial website 8chan last Tuesday, February 26. I condemn all unethical content this website stands for. Even if no one within the THQ Nordic Group would ever endorse such content, I realize simply appearing there gave an implicit impression that we did.

As Co-Founder and Group CEO of THQ Nordic AB, I take full responsibility for all of THQ Nordic GmbH‘s actions and communications. I have spent the past several days conducting an internal investigation into this matter. I assure you that every member of the organization has learned from this past week’s events. I take this matter very seriously and we will take appropriate action to make sure we have the right policies and systems in place to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

As a Swedish based, fast growing group, we firmly support equality and diversity. We are also working actively to combat discrimination, harassment, and misconduct. We are already in the process of developing new work processes, based on the United Nations’ SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and using the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards, and we will accelerate this work going forward.

Lars Wingefors
Co-founder and Group-CEO, THQ Nordic AB
Lars says that he has spent "the past several days conducting an internal investigation into the matter." Alright, so what did that investigation find? This statement says literally nothing about it. This is just some toss-away statement with zero actual substance. This is a massive failure on multiple levels within the company when even Reinhard Pollice, a senior executive at THQ and THQ Nordic's business and product development director, was seen to be engaging with users on that site during the AMA.

And how is 8chan merely a "controversial website?" Nah. That's not how this works. Saying 8chan is merely "controversial" implies there is somehow a debate about whether or not a site that allegedly hosts suspected child porn is bad.

I want to know what exactly is going to change here. What is happening with the employees that willingly engaged in this ill-conceived AMA? Given certain labor laws throughout Europe, especially in Austria where THQ Nordic GmbH is located, it is entirely possible that those involved cannot be outright fired, but were they reprimanded at all? Was it a slap on the wrist? Was it paid time off? Did you go, "hey, this was bad, don't do it again, ok?" and call it a day?

This answers nothing. What are those "new work processes" that you mention? How are you working to combat discrimination, harassment, and misconduct?

You need to do better, THQ. This really isn't something that should just be hand waved away with a shallow apology. Yes, this is a start and it's something that I honestly never expected to actually see, but actual change needs to happen and they need to be made apparent to the public.