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THQ Nordic parent company issues formal apology for the 8Chan AMA

Oct 27, 2017
2,818
That they felt the need to apologize shows that this isn't completely blowing over. So it seems that people have kept up the pressure on them (hopefully their partners and contractors also weighed in, as they're caught in the middle of all this), which is good.

But on the whole, this response is pretty unsatisfying. If Reinhard can manage operations for the company that actually screwed up, he can manage an explanation and an apology. Having the CEO come down from on high to absolve his subordinates is just shielding the people who actually engaged with hate speech and child pornography.

I still won't be buying any THQ Nordic GmbH games, but at least somebody finally deigned to respond.
 

Zips

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,045
This is one of the most shallow "by the books" response I've seen from a company. It took them a WEEK to say the equivalent of saying nothing at all.

It's a statement made just to say they made a statement. There will be no follow-up to this. There will (probably) be no firings from this (if only because of how labor laws are in Austria). There will probably be no repercussions made to the person that is on the board of directors that took part in this.

It's about as meaningful as a YouTuber "apologizing" for a heated gaming moment.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,180
would be very interesting to see a graph of recent traffic to that particular despicable website

i'm not convinced that this was ever intended to actually generate positive PR for the company - i think the intent was to get that website trending in the news to boost its popularity
 
Dec 6, 2018
149
Seems reasonable to me. Someone fucked up. They're looking into it and they've apologised. I don't think they could really do much more.
 
Oct 25, 2017
431
The fact it took them this long to get out this level of apology effectively cuts the apology off at the knees.... They need to do more follow through before I consider buying any of their products again.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,332
Well, if it took them fifteen hours to take down a tweet, I suppose it shouldn't be surprising if it takes them a week to start an investigation.
 
Oct 26, 2017
6,374
I spoke to a relative with strong credentials and experience working in HR in an EU country, and they said that in their opinion this situation would easily meet the criteria of immediate suspension so that they could investigate (which the employer could state publicly), and very likely meet the criteria for dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. Were the employer compelled to go down that route.
 
Jan 30, 2018
185
Germany
Some snippets from a German podcast (gamespodcast.de), see also this post in the other thread:

Re Brock: "He was described to me as somebody whose personal ideology could not be farther removed from the extreme right." (heard by both, seems to come from several persons)

Re Pollice: "I have met him several times. I can not vouch for him because I do not know him very well. However, we had many interactions and he seemed to be a pleasant and open-minded person."
 
Oct 27, 2017
187
I spoke to a relative with strong credentials and experience working in HR in an EU country, and they said that in their opinion this situation would easily meet the criteria of immediate suspension so that they could investigate, and very likely meet the criteria for dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. Were the employer compelled to go down that route.
yep, easily. at least in germany, you could fire someone over this.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,513
If i dont see Indeed postings of a bunch of openings for THQ Nordic's PR team in the next two weeks, I wont be buying any more of your games
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,332
Seems reasonable to me. Someone fucked up. They're looking into it and they've apologised. I don't think they could really do much more.
They could, you know, actually do something.

Also they could acknowledge that the "someone fucked up" is actually multiple people doing something on purpose because that misconception still seems to be going strong, but that's probably not going to happen.
 

Bigg

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,076
Some snippets from a German podcast (gamespodcast.de), see also this post in the other thread:

Re Brock: "He was described to me as somebody whose personal ideology could not be farther removed from the extreme right." (heard by both, seems to come from several persons)

Re Pollice: "I have met him several times. I can not vouch for him because I do not know him very well. However, we had many interactions and he seemed to be a pleasant and open-minded person."
A person can be very pleasant and charismatic in public and still secretly hold hateful views.

A lot of people liked Palmer Luckey when Oculus first got huge - by all accounts, he seemed very likable and passionate, and even showed up on some Giant Bomb E3 podcasts. Literally no one had any inkling that he was funding alt-right trolls until it was reported on.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,402
This is the type of bullshit, PR non-apology that you expect to see like 6 hours after the event in question.

After a week, you're either firing people or you're not actually sorry.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,332
This is a minor thing, but:
As a Swedish based, fast growing group, we firmly support equality and diversity.
THQ Nordic GmbH, the publisher, is actually from Austria. If you go to their website and look at their contact information it's from Vienna. Reinhard Pollice is educated in Vienna and probably Austrian himself.

So it's THQ Nordic AB, the holding company is based in Sweden? How many people are actually in that company?
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,053
This is a minor thing, but:

THQ Nordic GmbH, the publisher, is actually from Austria. If you go to their website and look at their contact information it's from Vienna. Reinhard Pollice is educated in Vienna and probably Austrian himself.

So it's THQ Nordic AB, the holding company is based in Sweden? How many people are actually in that company?
That's right. THQ Nordic AB is based in Sweden, while the THQ Nordic subsidiary is in Austria.
 
Jan 30, 2018
185
Germany
A person can be very pleasant and charismatic in public and still secretly hold hateful views.

A lot of people liked Palmer Luckey when Oculus first got huge - by all accounts, he seemed very likable and passionate, and even showed up on some Giant Bomb E3 podcasts. Literally no one had any inkling that he was funding alt-right trolls until it was reported on.
Totally agree with that.
 

Taker34

QA Tester
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
553
Earth
User Warned: Inflammatory generalizations
What I got from this is they’ve all already learned their lesson... because the company is based in Sweden. Great examples are obviously Swedes like PewDiePie and Notch.

I’m so convinced they know how to tackle those issues.

Next time something like this happens THQN will send a serious mail to all their employees via 8chan to remind everyone of their core values.
 

GMM

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,207
They are saying a lot, but very little at the same time. Obviously you should condemn sites like these and learn from the colossal clusterfuck this was from the beginning, but you are no saying anything about what steps are being made to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Give insight into how this happened to begin with, the people that signed off on it, how it got planned and how the planning for similar events in the future have changed.

I feel bad for the developers associated with THQ Nordic since all of this is out of their control and could prove to be a major obstacle in making their efforts successful.
 
Oct 27, 2017
927
Keep seeing people saying that Phillipp Brock and Reinhard Pollice legally can't be fired on the first offense or something. What are those claims based on?
Anything Google has pointed me at has basically said the same thing, see quote.

Eurofound
An employer who wants to terminate an employment contract has to inform the affected worker accordingly. There are no legal regulations regarding the form or content, and the employer also does not have to provide a justification for the dismissal. An agreement of the employee is not required for the effectiveness of the termination.
For white collar workers deadlines and dates regarding the notice period are specified in the Employees Act (AngG § 20), for blue collar workers regulations can be found in the General Trade Act (GewO § 77), the relevant collective agreement, the works agreement or otherwise in the General Civil Code (ABGB). Employment contracts of white collar workers can be terminated at the end of each quarter (31 March, 30 June, 30 September, 31 December) unless the individual work contract or a collective agreement specifies something else.
The notice period for white collar workers is:
  • six weeks, if the employment lasted for up to two years;
  • two months, if the employment lasted two to five years;
  • three months, if the employment lasted five to 15 years;
  • four months, if the employment lasted 15 to 25 years; and,
  • five months, if the employment lasted more than 25 years.
The notice period for blue collar workers in business enterprises (Gewerbebetrieb) is two weeks (GewO § 77) - if not specified differently in collective or work agreements. In other cases the regulations of § 1159 AGBG apply; setting a notice period of:
  • one day for those who are paid on hourly or daily basis or by piecework;
  • one week, if the employment lasted at least three months or the worker is paid on a weekly basis;
  • four weeks, if the worker carries out more complex activities ('Dienste höherer Art') and the employment lasted at least three months.
These sites(pdf) Google considered relevant to my search also say that you can only immediately fire someone if valid justification is given.
Disloyalty to the employer, persistent neglect of duties, incompetence with regard to work, theft, falsified qualification, among others.

Firing them immediately is something THQ may or may not be legally able to do.
But by all accounts, THQ can certainly give notice immediately, and have them out of the company within X months.

Whether that is something THQ has done or are planning to do, they do not seem willing to publicly communicate it, for some reason that I don't understand.
But I know that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't fire at least someone. CD Projekt never mentioned or hinted that they were firing the GOG guy. That Eurogamer article was probably the first time people knew about that.
 
Last edited:
Oct 27, 2017
2,879
What I got from this is they’ve all already learned their lesson... because the company is based in Sweden. Great examples are obviously Swedes like PewDiePie and Notch.

I’m so convinced they know how to tackle those issues.
And americans elected trump, so whats your point? It is stupid to generlize countries like that.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,332
That's right. THQ Nordic AB is based in Sweden, while the THQ Nordic subsidiary is in Austria.
Maybe it's because I just noticed a while ago that they had scrolled past an image named hans_judenjaeger.jpg (that would be Hans Jewhunter in English) during the AMA, which I think the people holding the AMA might find easier to notice than I would as they may be native German speakers, but I'm wondering why they specified that. Presuming this apology actually took a week to make and they didn't just shit it out right now, there's presumably some purpose to this statement, right?

Is there any activity going on in THQ GmbH in Austria, where the AMA was actually carried out?
Did they just think Sweden sounded better and wanted to emphasize that?
Is that to emphasize that the parent company is taking responsibility for what their subsidiaries do?

If this is focusing on the holding company, I'm wondering how much power they actually have to investigate and make changes to the subsidiary, including whether or not they actually have the people to do so.
 
Oct 27, 2017
12,053
Maybe it's because I just noticed a while ago that they had scrolled past an image named hans_judenjaeger.jpg (that would be Hans Jewhunter in English) during the AMA, which I think the people holding the AMA might find easier to notice than I would as they may be native German speakers, but I'm wondering why they specified that. Presuming this apology actually took a week to make and they didn't just shit it out right now, there's presumably some purpose to this statement, right?

Is there any activity going on in THQ GmbH in Austria, where the AMA was actually carried out?
Did they just think Sweden sounded better and wanted to emphasize that?
Is that to emphasize that the parent company is taking responsibility for what their subsidiaries do?

If this is focusing on the holding company, I'm wondering how much power they actually have to investigate and make changes to the subsidiary, including whether or not they actually have the people to do so.
It may be the reason why it took a week for this statement to come out. If the Swedish holding company is investigating the antics of their Austrian subsidiary, there could potentially be a lot of weird things we don't know about that they have to dig through. But the statement definitely reads like they're saying "We, the Swedish holding company, are sorry our Austrian office made this fuck-up and we're taking steps to make sure nothing of this magnitude ever happens again."
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,911
The Netherlands
I spoke to a relative with strong credentials and experience working in HR in an EU country, and they said that in their opinion this situation would easily meet the criteria of immediate suspension so that they could investigate (which the employer could state publicly), and very likely meet the criteria for dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. Were the employer compelled to go down that route.
Yeah, I'm a bit confused by EU-ERA claims that you can never suspend/fire senior employees; of course you can, just be prepared to defend that decision in court. Unless there is more going on that we can't see (like correspondence proving that higher management knew all the ramifications of these antics and it's not just one or two persons), a reasonable judge would uphold the dismissal.
 
Nov 13, 2017
2,587
Midwest
They talk the talk but lets see if THQ Nordic can walk the walk. I really think the two ring leaders need to be fired - at best they're incompetent and at worse hold some pretty appalling views.
 
Oct 30, 2017
812
Thought they might ride it out in silence, but now let’s see what they do.

If they just “investigate” and then nothing happens their address of the situation will read insincere as hell.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,332
Firings aren't the only thing they can do here. They could outline measures they have in place to prevent incidents like this from happening again and to combat the damage that they may have caused. Policies, training, charitable donations, and so on.

This statement mentions an investigation which might lead to those, but it in itself isn't a solution.

Who is Mark?

Who stole the Maltese Falcon?
To be fair, we kind of know the first one? Unless you mean the man behind the screen name.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,297
Keep seeing people saying that Phillipp Brock and Reinhard Pollice legally can't be fired on the first offense or something. What are those claims based on?
Anything Google has pointed me at has basically said the same thing, see quote.

Eurofound

These sites(pdf) Google considered relevant to my search also say that you can only immediately fire someone if valid justification is given.
Disloyalty to the employer, persistent neglect of duties, incompetence with regard to work, theft, falsified qualification, among others.

Firing them immediately is something THQ may or may not be legally able to do.
But by all accounts, THQ can certainly give notice immediately, and have them out of the company within X months.

Whether that is something THQ has done or are planning to do, they do not seem willing to publicly communicate it, for some reason that I don't understand.
But I know that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't fire at least someone. CD Projekt never mentioned or hinted that they were firing the GOG guy. That Eurogamer article was probably the first time people knew about that.
Incompetence can be a perfectly valid reason here. And their own words that they didn't do their "due diligence" can be used against those employees to show incompetence and negligence of their duty for hosting an AMA on a site known for doxxing, nazism, real and fictional CP. That they openly associated with this site has dragged the THQ name through the mud and made it a PR disaster.
 
Last edited:
Nov 4, 2017
1,257
"controversial website"
For reals? The "apology" falls off the rails in the very first sentence?? Was there even a point in reading beyond that? Or writing anything beyond that in their case.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,575
Thq endorses pedophelia as far as im concerned as the two heads involved made pretty clear in their conduct they understood the crowd they were enjoying. I will continue to boycott pedo supporters and make it known as long as the guys at the top have a job. Others shoukd do the same.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,354
Oct 25, 2017
6,108
Western Canada
Why do they need to do an internal investigation when they already know exactly who was responsible for this, how, and why it happened?

This apology fucking sucks.

Looks like I'll stay not buying THQN products.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,207
Investigation in to what excatly?

What's the mystery?
The mystery is how the heck did this thing happen and didn't get vetoed.

Everyone here (that's not silent on the matter) seems to be acting like this is a simple case of "pr guy did bad, fire him". Well, Imran Khan was pretty sure this thing got approved by the overall department, which, assuming he was correct, invalidates that. If one person came up with this stunt concept and ran it with some friends but without asking other employees, that's one thing. But overall agreement on it paints a completely different picture. The problem at this point is not limited to one person.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,861
Hope they figure it out and that this doesn’t haunt them for years to come. The mistake that they made is beyond stupid, though. Firing the people responsible is a good starting point. You don’t want public relations people that don’t know about 8chans nature anyway. Just clean that mess up and move on.