Bungie has been in a legal tear lately, basically suing cheaters and at one point, someone filing illegal YouTube copyright claims in their name. But now, file Judgment won Against a particular individual who harassed and intimidated a prominent Destiny 2 Community Manager.
The bizarre story begins when a community manager (I won’t name them here, but most players know who he is) featured a black creator, Uhmaayyze, as part of Bungie’s highlighting of their community members.
The offender, named Jesse James Comer, then proceeded to somehow obtain the community manager’s phone number and home address. He began leaving racist and profanity-laden voicemails on the community manager’s phone And Somehow his wife’s phone, sending text messages of the same nature. Then, he ordered a Domino’s pizza to their home, told the delivery driver to knock loudly on the door (the story is, the customer was wearing headphones), and made the order with cash on delivery.
The fact that he was now sending actual items to their home made them fear for their safety, as that could easily escalate into something like SWATing if that information was known by this unstable person, or someone actually showed up at their home in person.
Bungie’s response to this was to send an “executive protection” within an hour of the pizza incident and notify the local police. Then the investigation began to uncover who was behind it, and we ended up with this case that resulted in a default judgment of $489,435.52.
There’s a long thread from attorney Katherine Towson about not just winning, but why winning was so important, and what it bases around this type of harassment, which actually involves recognizing a new tort.
“By recognizing a new tort based on Washington criminal statutes prohibiting electronic and telephone harassment, the Court has created a path for those with the resources to identify and hold indiscriminate terrorists to do just that and recover their costs in court,” Towson said.
The result was met with high praise from Bungie employees who celebrated the win, as well as from (ordinary) community members who believe this ruling is exactly what the harasser deserves. The community manager has since left Bungie, but he’s thankful for Tewson’s help, too.
The hope here is that with acknowledgment of the real-world consequences, including exposure of an unknown identity and massive financial loss, less of this behavior occurs among gaming communities. In this case, a solution was found, but the goal is for this not to happen in the first place.