Josh Olin, the community and eSports manager at Evolve developer Turtle Rock Studios, has been fired over tweets he made yesterday in support of embattled LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Olin, who is a former community manager at Treyarch Studios and Riot Games, said on Twitter on Wednesday:
"Here's an unpopular opinion: Donald Sterling has the right as an American to be an old bigot in the security of his own home. He's a victim."
The tweet was in reference to Donald Sterling's private racist remarks being made public by his girlfriend who recorded them. That recording ended up on TMZ. Later the NBA announced that it had fined the NBA team owner $2.5 million, put a lifetime ban on him owning a team, and ordered him to find a new buyer. Sterling has (reportedly) filed a lawsuit against the NBA.
Olin's remarks on Twitter led to some of his followers challenging him about the issue. He later clarified that he believed Sterling was a victim because of "illegal wiretapping resulting in a MASSIVE, life altering breach in privacy." Olin later tweeted that he was "expressly not defending [Sterling's] remarks or actions."
Later in the day, Olin's employer tweeted the following statement regarding his comments:
"The comments made by our former community manager stand in stark contrast to our values as a game development studio. We sincerely apologize for his remarks and in no way endorse or support those views." Olin said the situation was "very poorly handled by malleable management."
By the night's end Olin found himself out of a job. Speaking to Polygon, he offered the following statement:
"Anyone who follows me knows my tweets were not in support of Sterling's actions. Rather, they were promoting three core tenets I believe in: 1) The harm sensational media presents to society. 2) The importance and sanctity of your privacy within your own home. And 3) The right to be whatever you want to be as an American, as long as it isn't hurting anyone else. That last point not to be confused with condoning Sterling's actions, which I don't."
"That said, it's disappointing to see that a select few in Turtle Rock and 2K Games management bought into this hysteria without even having a conversation with me – or even thoroughly reviewing the context of the tweets themselves. Ironically, it serves as a great example of why I hold tenet #1 above so close to heart. That said, everyone should totally still buy Evolve. The guys and gals making that game know their ***, and are making it good."
We will have more on this story as it becomes available. Thanks to Andrew Eisen for the tip.