GameStop Employee Canned for RapeLay Comments?

Being interviewed for an article on RapeLay may have cost a GameStop employee his job.

GameStop employee Derek Littlejohn was interviewed for a piece on the controversial game which ran in the Point Park University publication The Globe. Littlejohn was quoted in the story stating, “I’ve both heard about and played RapeLay myself, and I find it as nothing more than a game.”

Littlejohn went on to offer some theories on Japanese culture before discussing banned games, saying, “It’s relatively easy to pirate these games, when all one has to do is type in the name of what they want and add ‘torrent.’" He added, "Usually, some sort of link turns up.”

GameRant claims LittleJohn, employed for about two years by GameStop in Oakland, was fired shortly after the article was published.

As noted in the article, Littlejohn could have been fired for calling RapeLay “nothing more than a game,” or for discussing game piracy, as GameRant wrote, “Having an employee, in print, note that, ‘it’s relatively easy to pirate these games,’ and then describe how to torrent them, necessarily runs counter to the very purpose of GameStop as a retail entity.”

The GameRant piece itself seems a bit split on the subject, understanding how GameStop might react to an employee commenting on such matters, but then serves up the following passage:

There is no indication that Littlejohn made any of the statements in the interview during a shift at GameStop.  Is he not free to speak his mind on his own time?  Whether we agree with him or not, the man has a right to his opinions.

GameStop did not respond to inquiries from GameRant.

GP: Simply identifying Littlejohn as an employee of a “large videogame retail chain” probably would have made everyone happy and saved his job.

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  1. Cecil475 says:

    "Rapelay? No comment."

    "I haven’t heard of it."

    "I don’t care to comment."

    "I can’t talk about that."

    "I have no opinion."

    "Rapelay? What’s that? Nope, haven’t heard of it."

    Any of those replies and he might still have his job, just don’t talk about it.

     – W

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  2. sharpshooterbabe says:

    He should have never lost his job! 🙁 He was speaking his mind. It doesn’t matter if he spoke his mind during work or in his free time. The media is very stupid to have said details about what Gamestop store and his name was in papers. Oh that’s right……the media doesn’t care!



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  3. josh111888 says:

    I personally think that Gamestop is evil, but the ex-employee should have asked that the company’s name be kept out of the article. 

  4. TBoneTony says:

    <i> “RapeLay pushes the envelope. A guy who rapes a girl, then gets caught, then rapes the family, could hit a little too close to home for some people,” Williams said. “The fact that you are forced to play as a character who is a rapist is absurd. The storyline of the game doesn’t even have any kind of alternate ending. RapeLay takes elements of gaming too far and is ruining gaming’s good name.”</i>


    I found an error in this article, when the guy (not littlejohn but another person) commented about the game having no alternative ending, they failed to put in that the game at the end always has the rapist being killed by their victim.

    Major error and I believe without people knowing about the REAL ending of rapelay, they will still be attacking the game.

    Like…someone who is able to say something, must at least talk about the ending of the game where it has the rapist being killed at the end, or else this whole media bashing the game is not going to end otherwise…


    Also the game is already banned even in Japan, it was banned from store shelves since 2006, why hasen’t anyone ever talked about that yet?


    <i> “This game is perhaps the most vile thing to come out of Japan’s entertainment, and that’s saying something,” Milano said. “Your goal is to molest women on a subway, and the title speaks for itself, really.” </i>


    Once again, some people have seemed to forgotten to mention that games like Rapelay have NO GOALS…they are just a storyline that you play though with no points for anything…


    like…seriously, the ammount of miss-information is really embarrasing… at least they were able to mention that Japanese porn often censores the genetalia in Japan…



  5. Shahab says:

    Of course this guy is free to speak his own mind. Just as free as Gamestop is to no longer employ him due to his public statements. If this guy really wanted to speak out he should have asked to have his name withheld.

    Either way, GameStop is a dead end career wise and they did him a favor. He was supremely stupid for making those comments and not thinking they might get back to his employer and cause issues for him.

  6. Chris Kimberley says:

    Slightly off topic but applying to your last comment.  The "on store premises" part was voluntary on Radio Shack’s part.  They could have said "anything you invented" and had done with.  My contract explictly states that any work I produce which is applicable in anyway to my company’s field belongs to them.  It doesn’t matter if I do it at work, or at home, or if i scribble in on a wall in blood just before dying while on a supar sekrat mission for the Turkish government.  It belongs to my employer.


    Chris Kimberley

  7. GoodRobotUs says:

    I will note that your contract states ‘anything you invented on store premises’, if he’d been standing behind the counter of GameStop making those comments, then it would have been a different story, I agree.

    I will agree, however, that if the small-print of his contract said that he shouldn’t mention Piracy at all, he bought it, to a degree, on himself, but it’s amazing that such small-print should exist which controls people’s opinions outside of work, as someone stated earlier, maybe stating he was a GameStop employee was stupid, I can understand that, possibly a ‘computer retail employee’ would have been wiser, but I balk at the concept of a company being able to summarily sack someone without even so much as a reprimand for something that took place outside the workplace (Edit: At least something of a non-illegal ilk).

  8. nashligo says:

    It’s actually not about any of that. Not sure if you’ve ever had a job for a big company, but they make you sign several contracts, usually one of which is a disclosure contract which specifies things you are not allowed to talk about.

    I worked for radio shack for a time, and part of their contract said that if I invented anything on store premises, they owned complete rights to it.

    If I didn’t like that, I didn’t HAVE to sign the contract. Just like this guy didnt’ HAVE to sign the agreement with gamestop promising not to talk about piracy. But just like I chose not to fiddle with circuit boards at work, this guy should have chosen not to talk about piracy to a media source. It has nothing to do with the constitution, and everything to do with the signing of a contractual agreement. If he disagreed with what he was signing, he could have taken another job. You’ll notice that even GamePolitics has one of these contracts you agree to by clicking "Post Comment".

    Moral of the story: Learn to read the fine print of what you stick your name on.

  9. GoodRobotUs says:

    It’s the ‘whatever’ in the ‘gender or race or whatever’ that is important here though.

    So what American companies are effectively saying is ‘You have the Right to freedom of speech as long as you don’t say anything we don’t want you to, otherwise, expect to lose your livelihood’? What sort of Freedom is that?

    If what had been said had been pointed at GameSpot in any way, shape or form, then there may have been grounds for investigation or further actions, but he made no comment whatsoever on the operation, practice or belief of the company, he merely stated a personal opinion on something, and for that he got summarily kicked out of his job, ignoring the subject matter, that’s bloody scary.


    Edit: And yes, I know no reason has been given and there may be more to the story, but what scares me is people implying that even if it was purely over the TV interview, this was somehow justifiable, I don’t think so in the slightest.

  10. Chris Kimberley says:

    I don’t think he was fired because of his beliefs.  I’m sure no one at GameStop gave a damn what he believed… Right up until he was identified as an employee of GameStop and voiced opinions that are counter to their policies.  Apparently even speaking to the press is counter to their policies.  And I’m sure his contract clearly laid out that violating company policies was grounds for immediate dismissal.

    I see this as being no different than signing a non-disclosure agreement.  I’m not allowed to tell anyone about the work I’m doing.  If I got caught doing so I would be fired on the spot with no compensation and potentially sued over the issue as well.  It’s got nothing to do with free speech.  It’s my employers policy.  I knew it going in and accepted it.  Just as he did.


    Chris Kimberley

  11. GoodRobotUs says:

    However, the Constitution states that you have a Right to be free from persecution for your beliefs, and there is ‘supposed’ to be law to back that up, whether those be religious, political or about computer games, the ‘size’ of the subject is not important. If this person believes that Rapelay is not a terrible game, then that is his belief to hold, the company cannot, should not define what a person thinks or says in their private life, that’s a terrifying precedent.

    If anything, I’d say the admission to Piracy is a bigger deal, but even then, as I described above, that would by grounds for investigation, not summary dismissal.

    At the end of the day, if Gamestop were unhappy with what was said, a simple statement distancing themselves from the situation would have been easy, much as you get on many forums, ‘The opinions of GameStop employees do not neccesarily reflect the opinions of GameStop itself’.

    I can tell you what happened here, someone at the top heard ‘OMG he played a Rape game!!!!!’, and that is the core of this sacking, the very thing we here are supposed to be standing against, the labelling of anyone who plays a computer game involving a certain kind of violence being intimately linked with that kind of violence.

  12. MechaTama31 says:

    "if value of employee < damage to PR then terminate"

    Wow.  Bobby Kotick must be reeeeeeeeeeally valuable then.  😉

  13. MechaTama31 says:

    And in the case of Rapelay, it’s pretty much the only way anybody in this country is going to get their hands on it.

  14. DraginHikari says:

    The problem is as, good is Free Speech is applying on the level you speak of is impossible.  It’s the downside to the open speech world the increased awareness has made people including employers more aware of the world around them including what they’re employees do.   What was once an issue of not acting idiotic at work is being applied to pretty much everything in whole?

    Even if someone was fired for the reasons what would stop anyone from finding a reason to fire you.   Employers don’t need to use the precise reason why they fired you but can find a dozen better looking ways to do it. 
    As beautiful ideal that Free Speech is, it is better on a certain levels than others; you will never be
    able to make private entity comply with it in a way that is going to change anything.  They will just simply find another way around it.
  15. TK n Happy Ness says:

    Well if people want to get fired from Gamestop, you know how. Also, who would want to work for Gamestop?

  16. nightwng2000 says:

    The Anti-Freedom of Speech supporters and much of US law would say "Yes, it’s legal to fire him".

    I would have to break the issue down:

    Was it said on the business property, especially during his work hours?  As they say, that would be on company time.  While your Rights shouldn’t be deprived and the company doesn’t own you or your Rights, a statement that COULD be linked to the business, including the reference to piracy in the Gamestop case, COULD be directly considered a negative directly to the business.  The owner could probably treat it in a professional review manner and consider it a negative.

    But if the comment were made away from the business, on personal time, then retaliation should be considered illegal.  It IS, and SHOULD BE, considered a violation of the speaker’s Human Rights, and SHOULD BE punishable by law.

    Again, this problem isn’t limited to the business world.  We’ve seen similar in regards to elementary shool kids who post things on their public blogs and social networks from home and schools punish them based on school punishments (such as detention or even suspension).

    And many news articles point out that what’s on your public blogs and social networks can even affect whether a business will hire you or not.  Though it’s much harder to prove being punished for your public statements that way than being fired from a job you were already working at.

    On the one hand, you have said business and it is their Right to create policies for their business.  "It’s their house" has been my stance before.  BUT, at the same time, an individual DOES and SHOULD retain their personal liberties and freedoms.  They should not be subject to retaliation for expressing themselves.  I’ve always put to argument "The Rights of the individual end where the Rights of antoher begin" and have offered a serious challenge to dispute that, hoping to improve it if it seriously fails.  One big area where there MIGHT be difficulty is in the form of a business entity.  Still, no serious takers on the discussion.

    The Anti-Freedom of Speech forces LOVE to raise the issue of "government", that way they can support censorship and the false Right to punish others for expressing themselves.  But my fight is to demand personal protection of Freedom of Speech as a Human Right, not limited to protection from government intrusion. 


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  17. feitclub says:

    Again, and I hate to bring this up again but you keep ignoring it, if this theoretical vegetarian was hired on the condition that he was not to speak to the press, then YES, the owner can fire him for discussing his worldviews on TV.

    Do I think it’s petty that GameStop fired a guy for opening his big mouth? Yes. Do I feel bad for him? NO. He broke their rules, rules which are pretty easy to follow.

    Do Not Talk About Feitclub

  18. GoodRobotUs says:

    Here’s a hypothetical question, say someone works in a vegetarian restaurant, the restaraunt has no visible policy on meat-eating, but the guy who owns the building believes ‘meat is murder’.

    Now, at this restaurant there is a chef, he is vegetarian, has been most of his life, does a good job, is rarely off and gets on well with his workmate. One day, a TV crew approaches him and asks him his opinion on carnivores, he says, ‘Well, it’s a question of personal choice, I choose to eat only vegetables, and I do quite well, but I’m not going to hate someone just because they choose to eat meat’.

    Would, in American company law, the owner be justified in sacking this person for that statement?

  19. nightwng2000 says:

    Freedom of Speech is a Human Right, not something that you can revoke or punish at a whim, whether through law or individual action.

    If you oppose something someone said, then counterargue them.  Banning, censorship, or any form of retaliation IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be considered acceptable responses to someone else’s expression under their Right to Freedom of Speech.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  20. nightwng2000 says:

    No one said you had to like it.  That’s YOUR Right.

    But, supporting retaliation against another individual’s Speech IS a violation of the individuals Human Rights.  Yes, I recognize that you oppose Freedom of Speech and support retaliation, in whatever form, but it IS still Anti-Freedom of Speech.  Whether it’s banning, censoring, firing, beating with a baseball bat, shooting someone, or ANY retaliation against them, it’s Anti-Freedom of Speech.  Stop promoting lies, deceit, and misinformation.

    If you disagree with someone’s views, oppose them using your own Rights to Freedom of Speech. Do NOT deprive THEM of their Freedom of Speech or punish them for having used their Freedom of Speech.

    If you don’t like that someone has expressed themselves publically, then either argue against them or have your citizenship revoked for not supporting Freedom of Speech.  Don’t support Anti-Freedom of Speech efforts through your lies and deceit.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  21. Defenestrator says:

    Are you really that clueless about what "Freedom of Speech" actually entails?  A private company can fire you for saying something they disagree with.  Just because you are allowed to say something doesn’t mean other people have to like it or put up with it.

    Nobody stopped this guy from saying anything to the press, but he had to realize there are consequences for what he said.  Even in a government job, you can be fired for being a disruption in the workplace.  "Freedom of speech" doesn’t even apply there.

    He knowingly violated two company policies.  Getting fired was the consequence.  It’s not a matter of "supporting Anti-Freedom of Speech efforts," it’s the way the world works.  Grow up.

  22. Anonononomous says:

    You can disapprove of their actions, but writing "Freedon of Speech" makes it look like you believe it’s a First Ammendment issue, which it certainly is not. The ammendment only applies to the goverment, not private enterprises.

  23. nightwng2000 says:

    Just because they aren’t the government doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be condemned for violating another individual’s Right as a citizen to Freedom of Speech.

    I realize you may support Anti-Freedom of Speech efforts, but really, in the end, that’s what it amounts to, whether you like it or not.  Punishing someone for speaking their mind is the act of those who would oppose Freedom of Speech, whether it be recognized under the First Amendment of the US, another nation’s Bill of Rights, or Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Ultimately, censorship is the act of Anti-Freedom of Speech forces, no matter what spin or justification they put on it.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  24. Anonononomous says:

    A "violation of Freedom of Speech?" Really? GameStop is not the government. They can restrict speech all they want.

  25. GoodRobotUs says:

    Actually, at the time I stated that, I didn’t realise that there was small print in the contract about mentioning piracy, so, in that respect it’s not like he hadn’t been warned, but I still feel an on-the-spot sacking was a bit extreme. That said, as I conceded earlier, possibly identifying him specifically as a GameSpot employee was a bad idea as well.

  26. Monte says:

     "if he’s not saying anything directly detrimental to GameStop then it shouldn’t matter"

    Except that it could have been detrimental to gamestop. By being identified as a "gamespot employee", his comments end up being directly tied to the company; he may not be a spokesman, but he is pretty much representing gamespot when he is identified as such. many people who read the article may draw assumptions about gamespot based on his comments. It could be as simple as "gamespot is ok with hiring these kinds of employees", or it could be something more like "gamespot is fine with this kind of material"… at any rate, his comments can spark a PR problems for the company. 

    like GP said, his job may have been spared had the name "gamespot" been replaced with something like "game retail store"

  27. Arell says:

    It’s not really about "Freedom of Speech."  He was allowed to say whatever the hell he wants, and he did.  The issue here is, the PRIVATE company is allowed to react negatively to that speech.  And as long as their reasoning isn’t discriminatory based on gender or race or whatever, companies don’t need a reason to get rid of an employee they don’t like.  If they don’t want their namesake being associated with piracy or rape porn, even by the barest of associations, then that’s their right.

    And let’s remember that they didn’t give a reason for firing him (and they didn’t need to give one).  It can’t be proven that he was fired for talking to the press about these things.  Face it, whenever someone gets fired from any job, the first thing they do is complain about the "unfair" reasons why they "think" they’re getting canned.

  28. Duffy says:

    Freedom of speech as the First Amendment right only applies to the government.

    It does not apply to most buisnesses. Just because you have the right to say what you wish does not mean I agree with you, or as a buisness owner wish to be associated with you and your views.

  29. GoodRobotUs says:

    Don’t care whether it’s Gamestops’ ‘rules’ or not, it’s still disgusting, if he’s not saying anything directly detrimental to GameStop then it shouldn’t matter, one does not waive one’s right to Freedom of Speech outside of work purely because their employer says so.

    Never thought I’d see people on here saying ‘Well, that’s just the way things are…’

    Even the admission that he played Rapelay, which must have required Piracy on his part is not an on-the-spot sacking offence, unless he is found guilty in a court, that is an accusation, he may have been lying to try and sound more knowledgable on TV than he was, but the company thinks its’ assumption of guilt is every bit as valid as an entire court-hearing?

  30. Lou says:

    As much as I hate this glorified pawn shop I have to agree with GameStop…. to a point.

    Yes at times companies/organizations have a clearly specified rule that you are not allowed to talk about issues related to your line of work. For example I work for a non-profit organization and if I have somebody from the media asking me questions about issues that are directly related with my line of work I am not allowed to answer and I give them a phone number from "media relations" and they can ask them about it and if I get clearance from them I can talk to them but stick to the guidelines. And here is an unwritten rule… NEVER SPEAK OFF-RECORD.

    Now here is where I draw the line. They were talking about a banned game wich doesn’t affect GameStop as a company (Nobody is gonna goo to their local store to look for that game). And the comment about piracy (again an overused word). Did gamestop found that offensive?? Did the truth hurt them?? Are they THAT stupid that when someone speaks about piracy they go into panic mode and start yapping "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PIRACY… I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT… LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA".. Really??

  31. SeanB says:

    Yup, there were some very basic rules when i worked there too (for 4 years)

    Do not talk to the media

    Do not talk about piracy


    He broke both of those rules.

  32. feitclub says:

    I seem to recall being told not to talk to the media for any reason when I was employee of what is now called GameStop. Unless that rule changed, Mr. Littlejohn should have known not to give a quote to a news publication, particualrly concerning potentially controversial issues.

    Do Not Talk About Feitclub

  33. killatia says:

    I know few Gamestop employee that refused to do interviews because the coprate heads dosen’t allow anyone outside of there pr divison to be interviewed. Atlease that what I’ve been told.

  34. Kojiro says:

    Barring some state level exceptions, US employees are under at-will employment.  They can fire you anytime, they don’t even need a reason.  Anytime you open your mouth and people know who you work for, then you are affecting that company’s PR.  If they find you to be harming their PR, they will fire you.  It’s simple logic really: "if value of employee < damage to PR then terminate".

    Of course, if you can provide even circumstantial evidence that it was discrimination, then you can sue.  So most employers find themselves in a bind where they have to keep thorough documentation on each employee’s performance so when they do fire you, they can provide clear proof that you sucked and they weren’t just firing you because you’re old, a minority, gay, or female.

  35. nightwng2000 says:

    Actually, yes, whether written or unwritten, a company CAN fire an individual for comments made in a variety of public areas.  Most famous are when individuals make comments on Facebook or Myspace and find themselves fired the next day.

    Remember, schools also have been seen doing similar to students, holding them accountable and punishable in school, though comments are made from home computers.

    I do, however, agree that it should be considered a violation of Freedom of Speech.  Although, the implication surrounding pirating might be a concern for the company.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  36. Arell says:

    I’d guess it was a little of both issues.  If the article was about Rapelay, why would he bring up pirating unless he was suggesting that’s how he got the game, or how others might get the game?  I couldn’t imagine a company that thrives in legitimate game sales would be happy with such rhetoric.

Comments are closed.