Today on Mastodon I saw news going around of videos documenting how a particular employee of Zenimax/Bethesda received some extremely toxic, transphobic treatment, and was basically railroaded into resigning.
If you’ve been following this blog at all, you know how much love and time I’ve been throwing into Elder Scrolls games since 2021. So believe me when I say that I was extremely disappointed to see this word going around.
More behind the fold.
The relevant YouTube videos I saw linked to on Mastodon are:
As I said on my Mastodon, I am not planning on bailing on the Elder Scrolls games I already own. They have been too much of a lifeline for me, helping me keep my shit together during COVID, and especially now that I am still limiting my social interactions, thanks to having high-risk medical factors involved. Hell, I’m doing raids with my guild in ESO now in no small part just because it lets me jump on voice chat and talk to friends. I really, really need that.
But that said, this news going around has really kicked me in the teeth. And I cannot in good conscience give Zenimax/Bethesda any further money for ESO or buy Starfield unless I hear that they’ve taken concrete steps to make this right.
I have also contacted them directly off their website to say so.
Here is a copy of the email I sent to them. If you’re also a player of any Elder Scrolls game and you’d like to contact them too, you have my permission to use my letter as a template.
Dear Bethesda staff,
My name is Angela Korra’ti, and I’m writing in today to express my extremely strong disappointment over news I’m seeing circulating on Mastodon today about an employee being basically railroaded into resigning because she is trans.
I provide links to the videos in question at the bottom of this letter.
And let me be abundantly clear: I am a dedicated player of Elder Scrolls games. I started playing Skyrim in 2021 as part of trying to keep my mental health going during the height of the pandemic, and eventually expanded my playing to other games in the franchise, Morrowind, Oblivion, and ESO. I am a member of an active guild in ESO, and while I am not an ESO+ subscriber, I _have_ spent money on some of the DLCs. And had been in fact planning to subscribe to ESO+.
I even keep a playthrough blog documenting all of my adventures in these various games.
And I was starting to get excited about the coming of Starfield.
I am not kidding when I say that involving myself in the Elder Scrolls franchise has been a huge boost to my psyche and has helped me keep going through the last two years. Most people in the country have managed to return to normal lives but right now I don’t have that luxury. I have some medical risk factors that make COVID exposure a high risk for me, and so I’m still very limited in what human contact I get to have outside the scope of my immediate household. So being able to talk to my guild in ESO has helped a _lot_ with that.
But then I saw these videos going around today.
And I need you all to be aware that if this is how Zenimax/Bethesda treats its transgendered employees, I cannot in good conscience buy Starfield or give any further money to ESO, unless I hear confirmed news that you all have taken steps to make this right.
Characters like Alchemy in ESO put forth a message of inclusiveness to your players (and as a cisgendered but also queer woman, I REALLY appreciated Alchemy when I ran that storyline with my ESO main). But if you are doing this to your actual transgendered employees, the people who are helping you _build these games_, then you are not upholding the message put forth in your own games.
_Please_, I’m begging you, make this right.
Staffers reading this mail, this is obviously not your immediate fault and I do not require an immediate response. Please just forward this up your chain of command so that this feedback reaches the appropriate ears.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Sincerely, but unhappily,
Angela Korra’ti, author of the Anna Plays Skyrim blog, and Gyllerah and Marwyth on ESO