Microsoft Apologizes to Fort Gay for Xbox Live Ban

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Microsoft Apologizes to Fort Gay for Xbox Live Ban

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Microsoft is saying sorry to an entire West Virginia town after suspending a gamer who registered for Xbox Live with an address from Fort Gay.

26-year-old Josh Moore was recently suspended from Xbox Live, not for cheating, hacking or inappropriate behavior, but simply because of his address. He lives in Fort Gay, West Virginia, a real if somewhat unfortunately-named town of about 800, but after entering his address into his user profile, he found himself cut off and confronted by a customer service department that refused to take his explanations seriously.

"At first I thought, 'Wow, somebody's thinking I live in the gayest town in West Virginia or something.' I was mad... It makes me feel like they hate gay people," he said. "I'm not even gay, and it makes me feel like they were discriminating."

"I figured, I'll explain to them, 'Look in my account. Fort Gay is a real place'," he continued. But the customer service rep he contacted wouldn't even Google the zip code and warned him that if he persisted with the Fort Gay story, his account would be canceled outright and he'd lose his membership fee, which was paid up two years in advance. It eventually reached the point that the town's mayor, David Thompson, got involved, although he didn't fare any better, being told that the word "gay" wasn't appropriate under any circumstances.

That's not actually Microsoft's policy, according to Stephen Toulouse, the director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live. "Someone took the phrase 'fort gay WV' and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner," he explained. "Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. ... When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension."

Toulouse claimed that mistakes like this are rare and said that Microsoft's training programs would be updated to help ensure that it doesn't happen again. He also intends to contact Moore and issue a direct apology. "In this very, very specific case, a mistake was made," he said, "and we're going to make it right."

Source: Associated Press

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Thanks for the humorous press Andy ;)

-Iscin

While the employee should have taken the time to check his story (Google would have taken all of 5 seconds), I don't blame them too much. It does sound like a fake name, and given the attitude of many gamers when online, I would probably jump to the same conclusion that it was a joke made to disparage gays.

And props to MS for taking the time to issue a direct apology to the gamer. That's awesome.

Ha ha.

I wouldn't go around putting that in my profile.

It DOES sound fake, and I'd have been just a skeptical, and just as lazy. I wouldn't have Googled it, either.

But it's not my job, is it?

That employee is way too lazy. And I'd have fired myself, despite likely doing the same thing.

Fire the tech guy. Microsoft stay cool!

This isn't the first time they've just gone balls deep with stuff like this. The fact that the representative didn't even bother to look up the address was just silly. Microsoft has been kinda dropping the ball lately with PR recently, hasn't it?

Seriously, I'd hope all the people who refused to even google maps it get fired, immediately. Incompetence is what this is.

What a twat! But it is really an unfortunate event.

Why would you name a place "fort gay"?
EDIT: I know gay meant happy in those days, but it's still an odd name

.... I wonder if there's anyone from wetwang in Yorkshire on live? Or Bald nob in arkansas.... What? They are real places.

It eventually reached the point that the town's mayor, David Thompson, got involved, although he didn't fare any better, being told that the word "gay" wasn't appropriate under any circumstances.

I have a few issues with that statement.

There are loads of places with funny names in the UK which have evolved over the centuries.

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Hosker:
Why would you name a place "fort gay"?

...because it was named more than a few decades ago, at which point 'gay' didn't mean anything related to homosexuality?

GamesB2:
Fire the tech guy. Microsoft stay cool!

Im suspecting the tech rep wont be in the department for long. Seriously, I just googled Ft. Gay, West Virginia and it took a total of about 10 seconds to type it in, 258,000 results (0.12 seconds) and the first thing was a google maps picture of the place, the second was a WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE of the place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Gay,_West_Virginia

Xbox VP guy intends to contact him directly.

Why haven't you done it yet? Why are you sending a press release BEFORE apologizing to the guy? So he can hear about it in the news and prepare himself for the honor of being talked to by someone from Microsoft?

Lawl ;D

They should ban the word Gay really. Gay people don't find it offensive, it's just like being called straight.

the customer service rep he contacted wouldn't even Google the zip code and warned him that if he persisted with the Fort Gay story, his account would be canceled outright and he'd lose his membership fee, which was paid up two years in advance. It eventually reached the point that the town's mayor, David Thompson, got involved, although he didn't fare any better, being told that the word "gay" wasn't appropriate under any circumstances.
-Srsly....uneducated losers are who run the Customer Service Dept?(of a lot of companies) GOOGLEMAPS

That's not actually Microsoft's policy, according to Stephen Toulouse, the director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live. "Someone took the phrase 'fort gay WV' and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner," he explained. "Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. ... When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension."
-Shift/Caps Lock helps and its good to know that Microsoft isnt so blind to the amount of assholes using Live....

I can see how they'd be on edge about the word "gay", what with all the child abuse on Xbox Live recently. Still pretty funny story, and the guy got his account back, so all's well in the end, I suppose.

I actually had trouble when I signed up for Xbox Live since my family name is "Gay." I couldn't even put my full name in my Live profile until earlier this year (or lateish last year, I can't quite remember).

Wow ...that was really stupid of them, I hope the tech that didn't even bother checking get laid off.

The word gay isn't acceptable, like he's named himself I RAPE KITTENS or something!? Seriously... Buh... fuhhhhh.

What is this I don't even.

Meanwhile, off topic...

Onyx Oblivion:
Ha ha.

I wouldn't go around putting that in my profile.

It DOES sound fake, and I'd have been just a skeptical.

That employee is way too lazy, though.

ARGH! Hynpotoad! @_@

thenumberthirteen:

It eventually reached the point that the town's mayor, David Thompson, got involved, although he didn't fare any better, being told that the word "gay" wasn't appropriate under any circumstances.

I have a few issues with that statement.

There are loads of places with funny names in the UK which have evolved over the centuries.

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Don't for get titty hill west Sussex.

It must really suck to be from that town...

ok first belly laugh of the day :D

kudos

Not that I've had issues like in the story but I do get the occasional (are you serious?)look when I say my last name is "Blackmon, black m o n I'd be offended too if someone refused a quick verification like that,but not for questioning it.

Onyx Oblivion:
Ha ha.

I wouldn't go around putting that in my profile.

It DOES sound fake, and I'd have been just a skeptical, and just as lazy. I wouldn't have not Googled it, either.

So you wouldn't google it or is that a double negative to say you would?(It's seems more like the 1st)

Mr.Pandah:
This isn't the first time they've just gone balls deep with stuff like this. The fact that the representative didn't even bother to look up the address was just silly. Microsoft has been kinda dropping the ball lately with PR recently, hasn't it?

Wow, you like balls! Just pulling your leg.

What a strange event. I can sort of see why it happened, but I don't think it was handled brilliantly by the guy/gal on the other end of the phone.

luvd1:

thenumberthirteen:

It eventually reached the point that the town's mayor, David Thompson, got involved, although he didn't fare any better, being told that the word "gay" wasn't appropriate under any circumstances.

I have a few issues with that statement.

There are loads of places with funny names in the UK which have evolved over the centuries.

image

Don't for get titty hill west Sussex.

I'm glad I live in such a humorous land.

The employee wouldn't Google the name of the town? I mean, I know you hear all sorts of crap on a customer service line, but that would have taken all of ten seconds, if that.

BloodSquirrel:

Hosker:
Why would you name a place "fort gay"?

...because it was named more than a few decades ago, at which point 'gay' didn't mean anything related to homosexuality?

Yes, still quite unusual though.

To all the people saying the guy should have checked out the post/zipcode, most call centres don't allow general access to the internet on their systems. Whilst I feel sorry for the guy for having to go through all that just to get Live, it is pretty damn funny!

BloodSquirrel:

Hosker:
Why would you name a place "fort gay"?

...because it was named more than a few decades ago, at which point 'gay' didn't mean anything related to homosexuality?

Gay is actually a last name... see John Gay who wrote the Beggar's Opera.

Isn't 'gay' a relatively polite way of saying 'homosexual'? I mean, originally 'gay' stood for 'happy' and it really does *not* sound even remotely as offensive as say...fag. :p

I guess some people have to seek the sanctity of political correctness even with terms like 'gay' and 'straight' these days...though the latter one is of course completely fine while the former is just icky! DO NOT USE! *sigh* Yeah...whatever.

Hosker:
Why would you name a place "fort gay"?

According to Wikipedia, it was renamed in 1932 from Cassville because the city council was tired of pranksters covering up the "C" on roadsigns. This town has not had much luck with names.

Gay = happy, merry. And that customer service dude is a proper moron, I'd have sued their asses for discrimination.

i feel sorry for the people who live in Dildo, Newfoundland, Canada, if this is how microsoft's customer service works

coldalarm:

Mr.Pandah:
This isn't the first time they've just gone balls deep with stuff like this. The fact that the representative didn't even bother to look up the address was just silly. Microsoft has been kinda dropping the ball lately with PR recently, hasn't it?

Wow, you like balls! Just pulling your leg.

What a strange event. I can sort of see why it happened, but I don't think it was handled brilliantly by the guy/gal on the other end of the phone.

Great balls of fire! I've been caught ;P I understand why it happened as well, just handled very poorly.

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