E3 2013: Microsoft apologizes for rape joke made during press conference

Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference on Monday included a live demo of Killer Instinct, its upcoming revival of the fighting game series originally created by Rare for the launch of the Xbox One console. However, the live demo was marred when two employees engaged in some banter on stage that was basically an attempt at a rape joke.

During the demo, a male producer of Killer Instinct was playing the game against a woman. At one point, the woman said, "I can't even block correctly, and you're too fast. The man replied. "Here we go. Just let it happen. It'll be over soon."

Many who watched the demo were offended and thought that the words were scripted. CBS News reports that, in a statement from Microsoft, the company at first said that the comments made on stage were not scripted and that there was "no ill intent" when they were made.

Later, Microsoft flat out apoligized for the statements. Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer is quoted as saying:

Yesterday, during the Xbox E3 briefing, one of our employees made an off the cuff and inappropriate comment while demoing 'Killer Instinct' with another employee. This comment was offensive and we apologize. At Microsoft, being open and respectful with others is central to our code of conduct and our values. Bullying and harassment of any kind is not condoned and is taken very seriously. We remain committed to make gaming fun for everyone, and in that effort, we must lead by example.

Killer Instinct will be released as a digital download for the Xbox One launch. The fighting game will be "free-to-play" with just one character available at launch, with the ability to add other characters for additional fees.

Source: CBS News | Image via Microsoft

Neowin's E3 2013 coverage is sponsored by Alienware

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Rape?! Seriously? All of a suxdem we are getting toichie about a phrase? That coukd be taken so many ways and you choose to take it the worse way? WTH is wrong with people? I am sure it was a women who was offended. Uet if a man cheats on a women she will say he dwserves to die. How am.i suppose to accept that.

Apologize...really? All kf a sudden u can say words or phrases bec everyone is carry there heart on theeir shoulders. Who got offended needs to have some sense slapped into them.

And they need to just shut up and let kt happen. And no I wont apologize.

What a bunch of B-U-L-L. What rape joke? Extremely subjective to say that little trash talk was a rape joke. Seriously. There is NOTHING to apologise for about this (save the apologies for XB1's DRM).

Maybe it was sexist that one of the players selected a female character to receive such a pounding? I mean, doesn't that condone domestic abuse? /s

I don't accep Microsoft's apology.

Because no rape joke was made. No inappropriate comments were made. It is an embarrassment that anyone took this as anything but the exact words they were. She was getting beaten at a videogame and he told her she may as well give up. How dare these morons accuse that man of making rape jokes to that woman. How DARE they. He probably feels like utter **** now. I'm sick of this pathetic human race. On one hand we have cruel, selfish, evil nasty people doing ****ed up things and on the other we have over the top unintelligent freaks looking to take a massive pop at anyone doing anything they can twist as wrong. You know what? If the woman had said it, not one ****er would have batted an eyelid... So no, I do not accept any apology as a member of the public and I would NOT have apologised had it been me in charge. In fact I'm sure you can imagine what my statement would have been.

the one that should apologize its sony, the way that they "raped" microsoft in its conferences was priceless.

time to rollback they did it with w8.1 now do it on xone

Well, given the juvenile remarks heard over XBL multiplayer across the board, where 30-year olds talk like 12 year olds, and perverts, it won't hurt to apologize before it becomes an issue.

Within the gaming world, yeah, I see how it would most likely be taken.

MorganX said,
Well, given the juvenile remarks heard over XBL multiplayer across the board, where 30-year olds talk like 12 year olds, and perverts, it won't hurt to apologize before it becomes an issue.

Within the gaming world, yeah, I see how it would most likely be taken.

No, this was pathetic and nothing to do with being juvenile or not. Apologising makes them look like they agree with the TINY amount of people who complained.. Who I'd like to point out, probably complain every minute they get a chance about everything they see. Losers. They have nothing good in their life.

It has to do with the realities of sexism in online gaming. The article says many, not tiny, but even a few is enough. I think they did the right thing in apologizing. The people who drive normal well adjusted people away from online multiplayer think there's nothing wrong with their behavior as well. Good that Microsoft is a little more intelligent than that.

God the world has gone crazy if people get offended. The people who get offended obviously dont play these games cus i bet theres a lot worser stuff said in voice chat. If they were getting into the game, stuff just gets said without thinking.

Well geesh if he had to apologize for a rape joke, then he should have at least said "Just be lucky you aren't bent over a table with your hands tied"

That's typical internet trash talking, maybe a little bit in bad taste, but I wouldn't call it a "rape joke". It's a little creepy though thinking about it in that context, but who added that context? I'm guessing people who aren't familiar with trash talking. But you never know I guess, maybe the person who he was saying it to had actually been raped. That would definitely feel ****ty.

Well, if this is how low the bar is for what counts as offensive, "big dongles" should've resulted in a public hanging rather than just a tweet.

This is really bad PR for MS... out of all the things they could have apologized for they picked this non topic? ... Now it just looks pathetic.

Ubisoft was making dirty jokes all night!

Some people got their panties in a twist on Twitter and MS has to apologize and we get another Neowin article. Give me a break.

In this politically correct society we live in now, you have to watch everything you say. I don't have a problem with what he said, but I can see where others may have. Same as making comments that the gay and lesbian community panic about. Certain words that I grew up with, is deemed disrespectful by their community. We should all just be mindful of our surroundings now. Never know who's listening.

The only rape joke and E3 was when we all found out that microsofts customers wont be able to do what they used to do with used games.. oh and when ps4 was announced microsoft got a raping then.

Its only a rape joke to people who watch the news. While engaged in debate on rape, some politicians have expressed criminally apathetic points of view such as rape being a natural process and the best thing to do is just let it happen and enjoy it. The joke echoes this alarmingly mainstream point of view within the political process and criminal justice system.

if folks here on the neo can see how non-issue this is, the folks at the conference prolly felt the same, with a minority of those who did. nothing to worry about. carry on Microsoft!

Not a rape joke. If it is then anything could be. "Do you like that?" "I'm pounding you!" "Oh, brutal!" "What a beating!" "IN YOUR FACE!" I mean that's game banter through and through. If this is two guys playing a game it's a non-story. It's such a slippery slope dealing with this stuff. One person will say you're a misogynist for saying it's a non-issue and the other will agree it's a non-issue. Well to me this particular case is a non-issue. It was just smack talk in a game. Why didn't they get two pros to play each other? Just sayin...

uh ok..... that's just dumb... I'd of expected it more like "I cant do this"....."I'm going to rape you in this game!"

I did not see it as a rape joke either. But i though the way the guy acted was still uncalled for. This is exactly the type of person i despise online.

This was a really bad demoing of a game. Both players were really bad with the girl being totally helpless. There's so many great girl gamers these days no excuse to demo a game with a girl acting like she was in 1980.

It's so cool to watch two great players play a fighting game. Two of my friends are awesome Mortal Kombat (1 and 2) and Street Fighter players and it's really impressive to watch them play those games.

I really wanted to be excited about Killer Instinct since i loved the game in arcade when i was young. But seeing this jerk and this helpless stereotypical woman play the game gave me a urge to actually stop the stream and puke. It was really a missed opportunity to bring on stage two pro fighting games players (one man/boy and one woman/girl) and let them give justice to the demo of the new Killer Instinct.

If this is how the dev disrespect its own game it doesn't look good for the final product. It was already disturbing to hear that Double Helix was making it ...

He really couldn't have used a worse phrase to be honest, not convinced it was deliberate, maybe he's just watched too many episodes of Family Guy

Mikeffer said,
Erm.. so where's this rape joke then? Cos it sure wasn't that.
To be honest, the term "Just let it happen" is something that has commonly been said during a rape, especially if the woman knows the guy.

Bad Man Duke said,
To be honest, the term "Just let it happen" is something that has commonly been said during a rape, especially if the woman knows the guy.

It's also a very common term for a lot of things.

Bad Man Duke said,
To be honest, the term "Just let it happen" is something that has commonly been said during a rape, especially if the woman knows the guy.

Perhaps (and that's a stretch), but that's if you're willing to completely ignore the context. Lots of harmless things people say can also be twisted into something wrong/evil rather easily if taken out of context.

Mikeffer said,

It's also a very common term for a lot of things.

It is, but when combined with "It'll be over soon" people can get the wrong idea.

Max Norris said,

Perhaps (and that's a stretch), but that's if you're willing to completely ignore the context. Lots of harmless things people say can also be twisted into something wrong/evil rather easily if taken out of context.
Which is why MS apologized. There are a lot of hypersensitive people out there. Context is irrelevant to those people.

Bad Man Duke said,
It is, but when combined with "It'll be over soon" people can get the wrong idea.

And those people should have no say in society. The dude was thrashing her at a computer game ffs

Max Norris said,

Perhaps (and that's a stretch), but that's if you're willing to completely ignore the context. Lots of harmless things people say can also be twisted into something wrong/evil rather easily if taken out of context.

While I agree that context is everything (almost), I have to point out that certain words and phrases never lose their original context despite their usages.

JesseJ said,
While I agree that context is everything (almost), I have to point out that certain words and phrases never lose their original context despite their usages.

Sure -- just for example, "I'm going to put a bullet in your face." Doesn't get more blatantly obvious than this. Say it to a person sitting next to you playing a first person shooter, then say it to the person sitting next to you on a bus. Going to get a quite different reaction, first person thinks you're an asshat, second person is probably going to react rather badly. Now take something like what was said in the original article, which is very subject to interpretation.. context matters quite a bit.

Max Norris said,

Sure -- just for example, "I'm going to put a bullet in your face." Doesn't get more blatantly obvious than this. Say it to a person sitting next to you playing a first person shooter, then say it to the person sitting next to you on a bus. Going to get a quite different reaction, first person thinks you're an asshat, second person is probably going to react rather badly. Now take something like what was said in the original article, which is very subject to interpretation.. context matters quite a bit.

You're repeating yourself because I agreed with you that context matters. In addition, certain things retain context such as a rape joke applied to a videogame. Another example would be a homophobic or racial slur. The context changes for you but it hits a nerve for someone else because of a common context associated with the word or phrase.

There are two portions of communication. What you say and what others hear. For communication to be effective we must be mindful of both.

Bad Man Duke said,
I wouldn't go that far...

Haha yeah, no that was a bit far. However i do wish the overly PC crowd would allow the rest of us normal types to carry on with our days without being over analised.

I'd be the first to find them in very poor taste if they had actually made a rape joke, but this wasn't one at all. O_O
Guess it's what happens when you're hypersensitive and on some sort of crusade. You see what you want to see everywhere, even when it doesn't exist.

How in the hell do you get "rape joke" out of that? It's pretty bloody obvious what he was referring to, namely stomping the female player into the dirt in the game.

Absolutely ridiculous this is an "issue", let alone news.

""The fighting game will be "free-to-play" with just one character available at launch, with the ability to add other characters for additional fees. ""

that to me is being raped by ms


DKAngel said,
""The fighting game will be "free-to-play" with just one character available at launch, with the ability to add other characters for additional fees. ""

that to me is being raped by ms


Cry me a river boohoo, what's bad about that?

DKAngel said,
""The fighting game will be "free-to-play" with just one character available at launch, with the ability to add other characters for additional fees. ""

that to me is being raped by ms


You're one of those "I want something for nothing" people, aren't you?

techbeck said,
Rape joke? Really? Umm, ok

Guess anything anyone says these days will offend someone.


Well - that was a little offensive now

-adrian- said,

Well - that was a little offensive now

I would of never thought of rape with that comment. First thing I would of thought he meant was that her being beaten/losing in the game would be over soon. Who in their right mind takes that comment and associates it with rape?

techbeck said,
Who in their right mind takes that comment and associates it with rape?

People who are perverts and more likely to actually rape someone i guess. They act all high and mighty and like they're sticking up for people, but in reality they're the bad ones yet often don't even know it.

I don't view it as a rape joke. I wish some wouldn't make up hidden meanings in things people say. That's how religion works and we all know how that worked out for everyone.

chAos972 said,
Not sure if serious. That's not a rape joke at all.

Exactly. People are really waaaaaay too sensitive anymore. That guy must feel horrible.

It's sexist because the man is beating the woman. Women are just as good at gaming so the Woman must win. Even though she has never played the game and the man is an experienced developer of the game.

chAos972 said,
Not sure if serious. That's not a rape joke at all.

Yeah are they for real this is not a rape joke at all. It could mean so many different things but definitely don't see the reason to go as far as rape. People *are* way too sensitive sometimes...

Gaffney said,
It's sexist because the man is beating the woman. Women are just as good at gaming so the Woman must win. Even though she has never played the game and the man is an experienced developer of the game.

And everyone forgetting the next round the woman beat the man...

Obry said,

Yeah are they for real this is not a rape joke at all. It could mean so many different things but definitely don't see the reason to go as far as rape. People *are* way too sensitive sometimes...


Maybe we missed the part where he unzipped his pants while he said it.

"Take it" and that is a term that is commonly associated with serial rapists, male porn actors, and husbands/boyfriends when an assault is taking place.

I was accused of rape when handing the salt to a female in the mess hall because I loudly said "take it" when she asked and failed to pay attention. The IRS, traffic officers, and politicians are exempt from that law.

Patrick Danielson said,
"Take it" and that is a term that is commonly associated with serial rapists, male porn actors, and husbands/boyfriends when an assault is taking place.

I was accused of rape when handing the salt to a female in the mess hall because I loudly said "take it" when she asked and failed to pay attention. The IRS, traffic officers, and politicians are exempt from that law.

You can thank the feminist leaders of this country for that.

Patrick Danielson said,
"Take it" and that is a term that is commonly associated with serial rapists, male porn actors, and husbands/boyfriends when an assault is taking place.

I was accused of rape when handing the salt to a female in the mess hall because I loudly said "take it" when she asked and failed to pay attention. The IRS, traffic officers, and politicians are exempt from that law.


You should have slapped that female right on the spot.

recursive said,
He probably had to let her win in case he next got accused of bullying or harrasment..

Domestic violence! /s

Patrick Danielson said,
"Take it" and that is a term that is commonly associated with serial rapists, male porn actors, and husbands/boyfriends when an assault is taking place.

I was accused of rape when handing the salt to a female in the mess hall because I loudly said "take it" when she asked and failed to pay attention. The IRS, traffic officers, and politicians are exempt from that law.

After this incident at E3, I heard the US Government is looking to ban all sales of "Take That" albums across the USA.