In late March there was a great deal of debate related to Alison Rapp and Nintendo of America, as the former had her employment terminated; Rapp had been a Product Marketing Specialist in the Treehouse team.

Rapp had been, in the weeks preceding her dismissal, at the centre of online campaigns protesting against her perceived role at Nintendo and some of her publically expressed opinions and writings. The reasons for these campaigns were varied depending on the individuals and groups in question, though it was certainly the case that Rapp was under sustained pressure online and in social media. In tweets following her departure from the company, some of these issues and online campaigns were portrayed by Rapp as key factors.

Nintendo of America issued its own statement, however, in which it asserted that the dismissal related to matters of secondary employment.

Alison Rapp was terminated due to violation of an internal company policy involving holding a second job in conflict with Nintendo's corporate culture. Though Ms. Rapp's termination follows her being the subject of criticism from certain groups via social media several weeks ago, the two are absolutely not related. Nintendo is a company committed to fostering inclusion and diversity in both our company and the broader video game industry and we firmly reject the harassment of individuals based on gender, race or personal beliefs. We wish Ms. Rapp well in her future endeavors.

Though Nintendo has sought to separate the issues, as per its statement, there has been criticism in some quarters of its decision - some developers have written strongly on the topic, such as Brandon Sheffield of Necrosoft Games. Now International Game Developers Association executive director Kate Edwards has issued a statement - IGDA has 8000 members globally.

While Nintendo's official statement on the matter of Alison Rapp's firing strives to distance the company from anything related to the orchestrated online campaign of harassment and defamation that was raging against her, their timing in dealing with the issue is dubious at best. Unfortunately, the company seems oblivious to the consequences of their actions, not realizing the perceived victory it handed to the online hate groups who are now pursuing the dismissal of other women game developers by derision and defamation to their companies. By now, we would expect that all game development and publishing companies would be fully aware of negative social media dynamics and be more discerning of online feedback, as well as more protective of their employees — especially their employees of diverse backgrounds. Many have become proactive and aware but this industry obviously needs to make more progress.

It's a highly emotive and complex topic, and the input of the influential IGDA will bring the topic back to the fore. In targeting the timing and public perception of Rapp's dismissal, Edwards is focusing the argument on the nature of the sacking and its reception online, which raises potential issues around how public relations can impact topics such as these.

To briefly go into first person, when reporting on Rapp's dismissal I closed comments, with the feelings and emotions around the debate being - in my opinion - too raw for a constructive debate. I encouraged any readers with feedback to send us an email.

First of all, thank you to everyone that emailed in. I couldn't reply to everyone but I read the emails, both those in support and those against, and the vast majority were fair, civilised and controlled. I appreciated the information some provided, and the opinions on all sides. Closing comments isn't done lightly, as it's considered a cornerstone of our site that they exist. It's interesting to me that a lot of newspapers are selective about which articles have comments sections on their sites, but for communities like this it's expected as standard. That's a good thing, as we can all learn more about issues and each other through debate and conversation.

In any case, as a little time has passed I'm leaving comments open here. Please remain on topic, however, namely on the statement issued by the International Game Developers Association. Any abusive language or replies will be dealt with appropriately.

Thank you for your understanding.

[source venturebeat.com]