Troy Leavitt, a lead designer on WB Games’ forthcoming Harry Potter Hogwarts Legacy game, has been called out for his anti-social justice YouTube channel that attacks feminism and sympathises with the Gamergate movement.
Videos made by Troy Leavitt include “The Injustice of Social Justice”, “In Praise of Cultural Appropriation” and “Social Justice Ten Commandments”, that compares the social justice movement to religion. There is also a defence of John Lasseter, the Pixar director accused of sexual misconduct, repeated criticism of Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian, and promotion of the Gamergate movement that began in 2014.
The channel has almost 26,000 followers and has had over two million views. Videos are dated from 2016 to 2018, but resurfaced online as highlighted by Liam Robertson, a contributor to the Did You Know Gaming? YouTube channel. Leavitt’s channel is clearly linked on his Twitter account.
I know this is just shocking but the lead designer of Hogwarts Legacy is Troy Leavitt, a far right YouTuber who used to make anti-fem and pro GG vids: https://t.co/kDNm9ri9zH pic.twitter.com/w3dDy0YXe4
— Liam Robertson (@Doctor_Cupcakes) February 20, 2021
Gamergate involved online harassment against, primarily, women and people of colour in the games industry and press, and concerned the relationship between journalists and developers. The movement ostensibly related to ethics in games journalism and is considered one of the first alt-right online movements.
In a video titled “Gamergate – Thoughts of a Developer“, Leavitt supports the movement and notes how PR teams “treat the press with tremendous reverence”, describing journalists as “feeling pretty full of themselves”, “lords of the industry” and “the cool kids”.
Leavitt is a seasoned games developer, currently working for WB Games studio Avalanche. In a video defending Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Leavitt claims the company is aware of his YouTube channel but “it didn’t appear to be an issue for them”.
“Not that they endorse anything that I’ve said, of course, but at least they seem more concerned with making good games than with pushing some kind of a social justice agenda, so there is hope,” he says.
This is the latest controversy to hit the Hogwarts Legacy game, following explosive comments on the trans community from Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Both consumers and developers on the game have expressed their concerns following Rowling’s tirades.
An FAQ on the game’s website notes: “JK Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World. This is not a new story from JK Rowling.”
Further, in a statement to Variety, WB Games said: “We recognise our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”
Later that month, WB Games president reportedly told employees that Rowling is “entitled to express her personal opinion on social media. I may not agree with her…but I can agree that she has the right to hold her opinions.”