Microsoft changes online Xbox One form letter after getting sexism complaints

Last week, Microsoft sent out an email letting people who were buying an Xbox One during its launch a way to create a fictional "Doctor's Orders" note to get out of work to play on the console. The humorous promotion could be customized at various points and then printed out to give to an employer (we assume as a gag and not as an attempt at a real deception). Now it appears that a similar online form letter has gotten Microsoft into a little bit of trouble.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the latest promotion for the Xbox One was directed at men who have a wife or steady girlfriend to convince them, again in a humorous way, to let their man buy the Xbox One this holiday season. However, the default choice for one of the lines in the customizable letter stated, "You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out on this: Xbox One is actually for both of us."

That default selection generates a lot of complaints on Twitter, including this one from Danielle Burger:

Later in the day, Microsoft removed the "knit" choice in the menu options completely. A Microsoft spokesperson said, "The letter is fully customizable and we meant no offense, but understand how the defaults could be perceived. We’re making changes to the letter defaults and apologize for the oversight."

Source: Wall Street Journal | Image via WSJ

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Thank God mine is a bigger gamer freak than I am and she loves killing zombies and totally kicked my Cough! Playing Splinter Cell Blacklist online.

I honestly don't think it was meant to offend, but I also don't think it's crazy or over the top for someone to say, "hey Microsoft, this looks a bit sexist", and then they go fix it. What's strange to me is that it became a news article, because in this case it just doesn't seem like a big deal. All is well. No need to hate on the girl.

Let's look at this the other way, shall we? Would there have been a complaint had this been Tiffany & Co. saying something to the effect of "I know you'd rather sit and watch hockey than admire my jewelry..."?

It makes me wonder.

The Gamer said,
Let's look at this the other way, shall we? Would there have been a complaint had this been Tiffany & Co. saying something to the effect of "I know you'd rather sit and watch hockey than admire my jewelry..."?

It makes me wonder.

I don't think men would really care... There's a lot of ads geared towards ladies... And for the most part, men just just don't care.

Showan said,

I don't think men would really care... There's a lot of ads geared towards ladies... And for the most part, men just just don't care.

Exactly what I was thinking.

I hate the human race sometimes, can't do jack **** these days because it offends somebody.. worse still, everyones too afraid of offending people, why did Microsoft remove it? If people don't like it, so what? Can't please everyone, i appreciate companies are in a difficult position though.

Maybe this girl missed the point of the letter entirely. It's a template with a humorous side that can be changed to suit whichever situation it is to be used in. No sexism in that unless you're a militant.

This is a little petty.... Especially when it's an obvious joke.., wasn't meant to be sexist or racist or any of that...

When someone is obviously offensive, I get it.
But this lady, is being super petty...

How about putting this energy toward real world issues for women. Like getting women equal pay to men in the work force (yep this still happens)
Or standing up to sexual harassment and things of that nature...

This... Is just too small an issue in the grand scheme of things

VinnyJ5 said,
I wonder what would've happened if they made a reference to the kitchen instead of knitting.

Sometimes the boyfriend/husband is the better cook in the house.

LightEco said,
Can't a company do one funny thing without being penalized by one group or another?

Agreed. People are just way too serious about everything anymore...

I think they look for reasons to be 'insulted'...

Until you're the one that's insulted.

It's easy to complain that "everyone is too PC" or similar if you're not the but of the joke.

ZipZapRap said,
Until you're the one that's insulted.

It's easy to complain that "everyone is too PC" or similar if you're not the but of the joke.


Doesn't make it make it any less true.
<rant>
People are too concerned about being politically correct, instead being concerned of things that actually matter. Newsflash: Being insulted doesn't matter. Instead of whining and complaining like a baby...here's a thought: just get over it and move on.
</rant>
EDIT: Not directed at you specifically ZipZapRap...more of an "in general" rant.

ZipZapRap said,
Until you're the one that's insulted.

It's easy to complain that "everyone is too PC" or similar if you're not the but of the joke.

Two of my cousins are girl gamers, one is married and when they saw it they found it hilarious, not offensive.

SharpGreen said,

in general

Take it from someone who HAS been on the receiving end, most of his life, from racist jokes. It gets old, fast. And hearing someone say "get over it" or "get a sense of humour" when you bring it up, is doubly insulting.

Walk a mile in other people's shoes folks.

ZipZapRap said,

Take it from someone who HAS been on the receiving end, most of his life, from racist jokes. It gets old, fast. And hearing someone say "get over it" or "get a sense of humour" when you bring it up, is doubly insulting.

Walk a mile in other people's shoes folks.


Except this isnt racism or insulting. This is just some silly woman who wants her 15 minutes of fame and attention.

ZipZapRap said,
Until you're the one that's insulted.

It's easy to complain that "everyone is too PC" or similar if you're not the but of the joke.

Show us where the insult is in the wording of this joke form letter. Is saying "he" or "him" somehow insulting where putting "he/her/it/whatever" isn't? It's a FORM LETTER, the concept of which is you take the general wording and alter it to suit.

Sheesh.

ZipZapRap said,
Until you're the one that's insulted.

It's easy to complain that "everyone is too PC" or similar if you're not the but of the joke.


I'm gay. I'm used to being the butt of a joke and understand this better than most. does not change the fact that some people look for reasons to be offended. Nothing was meant by this and it was only an option in this letter.

She chose, rather than choose a different option, to make a big deal about one she didn't like.

People need to grow up and stop looking for things to cry about where they don't exist.

ZipZapRap said,
Until you're the one that's insulted.

It's easy to complain that "everyone is too PC" or similar if you're not the but of the joke.

As a white male I'm the butt of most jokes in media, we seem to be the only group businesses can make fun of without repercussion.

LightEco said,
Can't a company do one funny thing without being penalized by one group or another?

If they want to be funny, maybe they should focus on humor first instead of trying to appeal to gamers with lowbrow material.

dead.cell said,

If they want to be funny, maybe they should focus on humor first instead of trying to appeal to gamers with lowbrow material.

For quite a lot of gamers, lowbrow is highbrow.

auziez said,
Glad i don't have a girl like that. I always poke fun like this.

I just want to give her a call and say "you go girl", "change the world one step at a time".

My girlfriend's knitting is huge problem for me... Then again, so is her LifeAlert. It keeps going off when we're having sex in her hospice bed after Golden Girls

Spicoli said,
Obviously a girl who prefers whining and complaining over killing zombies.

Don't be so patronising. She doesn't always have to be on the xbox killing zombies. Girls do have to do other things, like men do, for example... ... she could tweeting while she's waiting in the kitchen while her boyfriend's food finishes cooking... *don't worry i'm already running for the hills*

Spicoli said,
Obviously a girl who prefers whining and complaining over killing zombies.

...and the first hypocrite award goes to ^. Anything else you want to whine or complain about?