Alison Rapp was a product marketing specialist at Nintendo Treehouse, and for a bit of time, she was front and center in a lot of Nintendo’s marketing, especially at E3 2015. Her fun personality was a lovely addition to the cast, and she genuinely made some of the segments much more enjoyable. However, she was also one of the most outspoken individuals in Nintendo of America’s history, and she did not shy away from speaking up for women and victims of harassment. Unfortunately, she was also a product of constant harassment herself while employed with Nintendo, and she was terminated thanks indirectly to some toxic individuals on the internet.
This is that time Nintendo fired Alison Rapp thanks to “GamerGate”.
This is a curious story filled with lots and lots of details, and I want to say up front that I am not necessarily siding with anyone. I just wanted to get all of the information out there for this E3-themed That Time article.
Nintendo in the current age is very family-friendly, but that has not always been the case. Alison Rapp came on board when the company was very much in a place where a strong, positive image was key, and for the most part, Alison represented Nintendo very well, especially in front of the camera. On social media, however, things were a bit different.
Alison was responsible for the marketing on some pretty big titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Bayonetta 2, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. On social media, since she was quite active and often spoke her mind, detractors began to grow and push back harshly. Initially this was all child’s play, but the harassment and abuse got worse and worse when people started blaming her directly for things she was not even responsible for, like the localization efforts for Xenoblade Chronicles X and Fire Emblem Fates, which both saw some altered content when translating from Japan to North America.
Despite the fact that she was not a localizer or translator herself, these individuals online directed all of their hate and disapproval towards her. Alison Rapp actually had all of the misogynistic and homophobic slurs aimed at her recorded on both Twitter and on a Google Doc which has since been deleted, and it really did paint her as the victim in this picture.
Around this time, GamerGate began to rise and cause all kinds of havoc and problems within the gaming world, and they used social media as their weapon. However, the timing of their organizing and Alison Rapp’s harassment do not really line up. Actually, it is suspected that the group Revolt was mostly responsible for a lot of the online harassing.
Also, there was a bigger entity that was responsible for Alison’s firing, and that is the people behind The Daily Stormer, an American far-right, neo-Nazi, white supremacist, misogynist, and Holocaust denial commentary and message board website that advocates for a second genocide of Jews. They took a thesis she wrote in college out of context and basically labeled her a pedophile-empathizer, so they went on a mission to constantly contact Nintendo and share their “concerns”. There was even a comment on The Daily Stormer’s site that instructed its readers to contact a list of major people at Nintendo and, “When you contact these people be very respectful, act as a concerned parent, link to the pro-pedo statements she’s made but obviously don’t link back to [Daily Stormer] or she’ll be able to dismiss it as a white supremacist conspiracy.”
Since their only source was the thesis she wrote, the site was relying on its own circular reasoning and kept spreading a very misinforming message about Alison.
Sadly, it does not end there, as Alison Rapp did not stay quiet during any of this, which only fueled the fires of her enemies even more.
The combination of this Revolt group and The Daily Stormer only exposed Alison more and more, and the two groups began digging into her personal life in an attempt to find skeletons in her closet. They already had some stupid reasons, but they ended up finding something that Nintendo deemed worthy of firing her. That was the fact that she had a second job that did not comply with “Nintendo’s corporate culture”.
She tweeted, “Among the list of concerning tweets? Talking about my college thesis and posting my wishlist. The second job thing? Funny story. Moonlighting is actually accepted at Nintendo. It’s policy. To pay off student loans (weeee), I started moonlighting under a fake name, and with no real identifiers. An anon find out, told [Nintendo], and here we are. It was moonlighting Nintendo didn’t like, despite the fact that it was anonymous. Here’s the thing, do you honestly think that without GG’s attacks, the ‘lateral move’ and the obsessive privacy digging would have happened? Do you think that if the industry wasn’t afraid of women, sex-positivity, etc. that the anon moonlighting I did would have been a problem?”
Alison once again tagged her harassers as “GamerGate”, which did not seem well researched, and she continued to not only post aggressive tweets and provocative pictures, but her Twitter account was linked to Nintendo’s page, which was not a good look for the Big N.
Alison’s moonlighting became the focus of Nintendo, and the ambiguous statement from Nintendo after firing her only makes the scenario even more curious.
So what exactly went down? It is honestly hard to say, but you can only imagine that the groups already involved in it all had their theories, including that Alison Rapp was prostituting herself. Alison has since made her Twitter private for her protection, and she is pretty much out of the spotlight because of everything that went down in 2016.
If you are interested in learning more about the situation, Polygon and Kotaku both wrote some excellent articles covering the scenario, but they also end on a lot of speculation. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration with this story, but it is a truly bizarre one where we do not have all the details we need to make a concrete conclusion.
But this is a strange That Time that is full of drama, intrigue, lies, harassment, and ambiguity, and my eyes just kept getting wider and wider the more I dove into it.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link and enjoying this “That Time” article. What do you think of this Alison Rapp situation? Did you follow it before? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.