Last week, several websites dedicated to covering video games began visibly supporting Palestine and asking for donations to help Palestinian civilians during the current conflict in the West Bank. Now, several of those websites have retracted that support, while a few others continue to publicly support one side of the conflict.
Journalist Sophia Narwitz noted IGN’s initial support for Palestine late last week, posting screenshots of the website, which had included an image of the Palestinian flag next to the IGN logo at the top of the website. In addition to the flag, IGN also provided a link to a page where readers could send donations to various organization to help Palestinian civilians, which the website said “are currently suffering in great numbers.”
Other gaming websites posted similar support for Palestine, including Game Informer, GameSpot, and Kotaku. Within days, however, IGN and Game Informer retracted the pages containing charity links and pulled stories supporting Palestine, Brendan Sinclair of GamesIndustry.biz reported.
IGN released a statement Monday morning explaining its decision to remove the links to charities.
“We have a track record of supporting humanitarian efforts and charities across the globe. In the instance of our recent post regarding how to help civilians in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, our philanthropic instincts to help those in need was not in-line with our intent of trying to show support for all people impacted by tragic events,” the statement said. “By highlighting only one population, the post mistakenly left the impression that we were politically aligned with one side. That was not our intention and we sincerely regret the error.”
Game Informer, which is owned by GameStop, also removed a page with charity links that initially said: “As violence escalates throughout the region with the Israeli Army raising the threat of war, Palestinian civilians are suffering. Numerous lives have been lost, people are injured, and families are being evicted from their homes in Gaza, Jerusalem, and surrounding areas.”
The page now displays an error message.
The decision by IGN was made by management and not editorial staff, according to a Medium post allegedly written by “employees of IGN.” The post serves as an open letter to management, claiming the original post was an offer to “our readers ways to support charities that help injured and sick children, supply educational resources and food assistance to victims, and provide emergency medical relief for those wounded or displaced by the conflict.” The employees “ask” management to explain more thoroughly its decision to remove the post and to reinstate it.
Meanwhile, GameSpot’s article with similar language about Palestine remains active, blaming Israel for the conflict.
“As you may have seen in the news, Palestinian civilians are currently being subjected to great suffering. Significant numbers have been injured or killed in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem after being bombarded by Israeli forces. Areas are now without electricity and water, making the lives of the already helpless and wounded people much more difficult,” the website states.
Kotaku’s article also is still active, predictably making the most bombastic statement of the gaming websites by claiming Gaza is “an open-air prison subject to apartheid conditions imposed by the fascist Israeli government.”
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