DEI gaming company accused of trying to ‘silence’ video gamers who are fed up with diversity-driven storylines

News & Politics

A group of gamers who grew tired of the same diversity, equity, and inclusion messaging that has permeated throughout television and movies are under attack for simply pointing out which video games include diversity-driven narratives.

The peaceful gamers, who plainly list which games they don’t recommend, are the latest target of cancel culture for noticing that one company is predominantly responsible for writing, tweaking, and consulting for the storylines of popular video games.

That company is called Sweet Baby Inc., a self-described “inclusion-focused narrative and consultation company.” The company creates storylines, performs diversity consultations for existing storylines, and overall appears to act as an approval process for major gaming companies that want to ensure their projects pass the DEI checklist.

It notes that its process includes a “multitude of perspectives” while bringing in “diverse voices to solve diverse problems.” Its website also states that the company provides “Cultural Consultation, Sensitivity And Inclusivity Reading, Risk and Opportunities Assessment, and more.”

In addition to boasting that it can “assemble and lead” teams of “new and marginalized voices,” the company also provides resources for “new and marginalized talent” with the potential to “change this industry if given the proper support.”

The company makes no secret about being diversity-focused, promoting its work for popular mainstream titles like Spider-Man 2, God of War Ragnarok, and Suicide Squad.

Sweet Baby Inc.’s founder, Kim Belair, also told Marketplace in 2021 that the company was created as a place for women, “marginalized identities,” and those who “don’t have a place.” She even noted in 2020 that the goal of the company was to “make the industry a better and safer place.”

Despite all of its love of diversity, which presumably would include diversity of thought, at least one employee at the company was recently accused of trying to silence a group of gamers who wanted to steer clear of narratives Sweet Baby Inc. has worked on.

As Bleeding Fool reported, narrative designer Chris Kindred appeared to make posts on X asking his followers to report a gaming community and its creator.

Kindred allegedly told followers to “report the f**k out of this group” and “report the creator since he loves his account so much.”

Kindred also allegedly stated in a post that the group was a “curator harassment group” and claimed the group’s creator was trying to get away with “discriminatory language.”

He also claimed the group was defying the code of conduct for Steam, the gaming platform that hosts it, by allowing comments that criticize Sweet Baby Inc.

Steam’s parent company, Valve, did not respond to a request for comment surrounding whether or not the group in question is breaking any terms of service or violating community standards.

The group in question

The community is called “Sweet Baby Inc Detected.” Its purpose is to “not recommend” any game that Sweet Baby Inc. has worked on, warning other players of games that are made by companies that “want to destroy” particular franchises. The warning can be as simple as stating that Sweet Baby Inc. worked on the game; no derogatory or damaging remarks seem to be made by the group whatsoever.

For example, for the game Gotham Knights, a label is applied that says “Sweet Baby Inc. involved. Proof on closing credits,” with a link to the game’s end credits that show two Sweet Baby Inc. writers are credited.

Only 16 games are curated on the group’s list; it is not a complex operation hell-bent on any form of hatred or harassment.

The community has exploded in popularity since the controversy started, gaining hundreds of thousands of followers in a few short days. It sits at around 265,000 at the time of this writing.

The curating group’s operator, a Brazilian who goes by Kabrutus, spoke to Blaze News about the apparent attempts to have his page mass-reported.

“I wanted to find a way to help the gaming community organize itself and be able to make a stand against companies who just want to destroy franchises that we love,” he said in response to why he started the community.

Regarding Sweet Baby Inc., he said that the company was essentially trying to get him canceled.

“I think that they just want to silence anyone who doesn’t like what they do. They even tried to get me banned on Steam and lose my 13-year-old account.”

The gamer also referred to a statement posted on the group’s page, which noted that the group was not by any means “a group that is trying to ‘kill’ [Sweet Baby Inc.] or even convince people to not buy any game that they’ve worked on, everyone is free to buy any game, even if it’s a game that SBI worked on, it’s YOUR decision,” the statement read.

Referencing the “high number of reports” the group received, Kabrutus said that Steam directly contacted him and said that he needed to “take actions” with some of the potentially inflammatory remarks being made on the group’s public posts.

“I’ve already told my moderators, and we’re working on it,” he added.

The Brazilian stated that Sweet Baby Inc. had not tried to contact him in any way, to his knowledge.

Blaze News made multiple attempts to contact the company for comment regarding the remarks made by its employee Kindred, the community in question, and freedom of speech in general. It did not respond.

Kindred also did not respond to a request for comment.

Sweet Baby Inc.’s position

While attempts to contact Sweet Baby Inc. failed, the company spoke to Kotaku for a friendly article that presented the overall theme that the company is not actually pushing diversity-driven narratives.

CEO Belair told the outlet the following:

Sweet Baby is, at its core, a narrative development company. That means anything from script writing to narrative design to narrative direction to story reviews. One of the things that we do offer is cultural consultations or authenticity consultations. For us, that generally means that we might be asked to look at a story if there’s a character in it who is marginalized in certain way, and [the studio] wants us to connect them with a consultant who can bring a little bit of authenticity. … But the perspective is never that we’re coming in and injecting diversity. … For the most part, it’s the reverse. It’s that a company has created a character and they want to make that character more representative and more interesting.

Co-founder David Bedard also provided comment, echoing the sentiment that the company’s work was not akin to injecting diversity.

“Making something more representative and more joyful for a marginalized person in a video game is not a zero-sum game. It doesn’t make anything worse for the male character in the game, for the white character in the game.”

Belair continued, defending her work as more than “adding Pride flags” to a Spider-Man game.

“People can’t imagine that we might do anything else but DEI. … They can’t imagine that we’re just talented writers, that we’re talented narrative designers and that people are hiring us because we tell good stories, because we collaborate well, and because we write video games. They have to diminish our accomplishments to our identities.”

As YouTuber Asmongold TV pointed out, Kotaku author Alyssa Mercante took a strong stance in favor of the company’s position. Infiltrating the group, she noted a meme that users posted comparing the femineity of female characters in the video game Stellar Blade to characters featured in games that Sweet Baby Inc. had worked on.

This was followed by posts on X about “conspiracy theorists who live in echo chambers” who “get radicalized” by YouTube videos.

“If you’re a woman/queer person/POC in this space, you’ve prob experienced harassment,” she explained.

Misdirecting statements

Sweet Baby Inc.’s public position that DEI injection is not its mainstay in the industry is indeed peculiar given the reality that outside this latest controversy, diversity initiatives are promoted by the company consistently.

Specifically, on its website, but also including its founder’s statements, the company appears to take issue with outsiders presenting their own expressed views back to them, rejecting the notion that what the company was admittedly founded upon does not represent its current operations.

As well, the company’s Instagram page still links to a 2022 university screening of the film “Get Out.” The event was part of a movie-night series focused on “award winning Black films.”

Promoting an event that was hosted by the Black Perspectives Office of Concordia University does indeed seem like an odd thing to do for a video game company that allegedly doesn’t focus on diversity initiatives.

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