PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a streaming sensation, and there are few with bigger audiences than Dr DisRespect. His cartoonish, evil villain within the game is accentuated by his real-life appearance – a pair of glasses and a dastardly moustache rounding out the incredibly popular character. Dr DisRespect is known for his terrible antics in-game, which have curated him an audience for exactly that. But yesterday a line was crossed, which lead to PlayerUnknown himself having to take a stance.
Battlegrounds has few rules, but one of those strictly prohibits intentional friendly fire when playing in squads. Teams can accidentally kill each other sure, but Battlegrounds actively requests users to report players who are ruining the mode by taking aim at their friends. Video evidence is often required to take action, so it’s a good thing thousands were watching Dr DisRespect break the rules during a stream.
With a motorcycle that only fit three out of the four squadmates, Dr DisRespect solved the problem by killing one of his teammates out of nowhere. The act was funny, and entirely in line with the sort of character he’s playing. But it’s against the rules of the game, and soon after DisRespect found himself banned from playing anymore (a temporary one, but a ban nonetheless). This lead to an arguably entertaining exchange between Dr DisRespect and Mr PlayerUnknown himself, Brendan Greene, on Twitter, with DisRespect staying in character the entire time. It was playful, until it was immediately clear that a line was crossed.
If I could do the splits I'd roundhouse kick you in the neck.
But since I can't, I'll just front kick you in the chest instead.
— Dr DisRespect (@DrDisRespect) July 18, 2017
Suggesting violence is the best way to solve a disagreement is just wrong, even if you are playing a character… https://t.co/ziQtkyyg8E
— PLAYERUNKNOWN (@BattleRoyaleMod) July 18, 2017
Breaking from the good natured to and fro, Greene took exception to the threat of violence and made an example of it. Predictably his replies were quickly swamped with criticism, with many players lambasting Greene for “not being able to take a joke”. Given that Greene is the creator of a game where violence is the only means of winning, you might agree here. But in a long response shortly afterwards, Greene delicately laid out how dangerous threats of violence can be – especially to one’s mental state.
So today I created a little bit of a shitstorm on Twitter.
Before I begin, I have to say that I do enjoy the character Guy has created with DrDisrespect. Hell, I am even part of the Slick Daddy Club! I understand that he likes to talk shit, and I was right there with him until that one tweet.
I was told that I should have taken The Docs threat of violence as a joke. So now I will try explaining why I took this tweet seriously and tweeted out the response I did.
When I was in college, many years ago, I had a disagreement with my flat mate. Instead of talking it out like men, he decided to get aggressive and while I was backing away from him, he kicked me in the chest and put my head through a plate glass door. Thankfully, I don’t suffer from any ill effects due to this experience.
The point of that story is to attempt to explain why I think even the threat of violence is not something that should be joked about. Given my experience in college, and the fact that The Doc’s threat, even as a joke, synced up closely to a bad experience I endured, it could have brought up bad memories, triggered a panic attack or had other consequences The Doc might not have intended when composing the tweet.
All I ask from anyone that reads this is to consider that your words, however flippant they may be, could have unintended effects on those reading them.
So here’s the creator of one of the biggest games around the world today, using a platform that has millions watching it, to talk about the harmful effect of words online and their real-world consequences. In a manner which is fair, with example and thoughtfulness to everyone involved. Can we get more people like Greene curating their massive communities, please?
Last Updated: July 19, 2017