Should Gamers Be Able to Use a Swastika Avatar? Xbox Says No

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Though some have been angered saying that Microsoft is infringing on their first amendment rights, Xbox defended their decision to block any users who insist on using a swastika as their avatar. The ban is a direct response to a gamer who asked Xbox LIVE Policy and Enforcement Director Stephen Toulouse if the player could use the symbol as his Call of Duty: Black Ops logo.

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“I was wondering if I would get banned if I used a swastika as my emblem in Black Ops,” user JohnJohnson tweeted at Toulouse. “It’s not to offend people I just like design [sic].”

To which the Xbox Live director replied: “Seriously dude? Yes, u will get banned using a swastika as ur black ops emblem. I don’t care if u ‘just like the design.'”

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On his personal blog, Toulouse defended Xbox Live’s decision. He said though he understands that the sign is a religious symbol for other societies, the vast majority of the public connects it with the Nazi cause and that makes the symbol offensive. “Let’s be clear: No educated human on the planet looks at the swastika symbol on a video game service in ‘the year we make contact’ and says ‘oh, that symbol has nothing at all in any way to do with global genocide of an entire race and, even if it did, one should totally and reasonably ignore that because it’s a symbol that was stolen or coop-ted from religions,’” he wrote.

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“It’s not political correctness, it’s fundamental respect,” he added. “If you think the swastika symbol should be re-evaluated by societies all over the Earth, I think that’s great.  Your Xbox LIVE profile or in game logo, which doesn’t have the context to explain your goal, is not the right place to do that.  And by the way, that doesn’t just go for the Swastika, it applies to many other symbols as well that my team does indeed take action on when we see it.”

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Do you agree with Xbox LIVE or do you think this steps on user’s freedom of speech? Is the ban obvious or should the company respect people’s personal beliefs? Voice out your opinions below.

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