One of Ireland's best-known metal bands has distanced itself from the overtly homophobic and transphobic online game Kill The Faggot, which made headlines this week after being pulled from popular gaming site Steam within two hours of its release.
Keith Fay, the lead singer of metal band Cruachan, told Ireland's Journal that he and his bandmates weren't aware that when Skaldic Games approached them six months ago to use their music in a game called The Shelter: A Survival Story, that one of its mini-games would be anti-LGBT.
Skaldic Games picked up the shooting gallery-style game, also known as KTF, after Steam removed it following user complaints about the offensive nature of the game. Rebranded as a mini-game inside Skaldic's The Shelter, KTF awards players points for shooting gay and transgender people, as jokes about AIDS, prison rape, and transition-related surgery play in the background. Users lose points if they shoot someone heterosexual. The game is currently available for play on Skaldic's website.
Fay and his girlfriend, model and actor Rachel Lally, also contributed voices to The Shelter, notes the Journal. While neither voice, nor Cruachan's music, were used in the KTF mini-game, Fay and Lally wanted to make it clear that they fully support the LGBT community.
"It's just been brought to my attention that ... The Shelter is involved in sending messages of hate towards the LGBT community," Fay wrote in a Monday statement on Cruachan's Facebook page. "We have informed the company that they no longer have the rights to use our voice recordings, likeness or any Cruachan music. We are all for free speech, etc., but not when it's spreading hatred towards a demographic." He later asked fans to "boycott Skaldic Games."
Cruachan's Facebook page received over 100 messages from fans upset at the band's link to KTF, while Lally tweeted about people "harassing" her modeling agency about the game, according to the Journal. The pair were quick to assure fans that they stand with queer and trans people. "[The game] is just so vile, I can't put it into words," said a disgusted Fay.
"My younger brother, who is also my best friend, is gay," he added. "My girlfriend Rachel has been campaigning for a Yes vote in the [Irish] same-sex marriage referendum."
As the KTF's fallout continues, gaming communities have begun debating the need for stronger oversight of games being uploaded for sale on sites like Steam, as well as what constitutes "hate speech."
"As for an apology — ain't gonna happen," Skladic Games wrote in a statement. "To everyone that got overly offended. Good, that's what we were going for," adding that the next game released will be "way more offensive."
But Skaldic contends that the game is "not meant to be taken seriously," and that the company does not "endorse murder of any kind."
Under the First Amendment, individuals have a right to speech that the listener disagrees with, and to speech that is offensive and hateful. It becomes a crime, the American Bar Association says, only when those words are deemed likely to cause a listener or the target of that speech to react violently.