An Ontario court ruled in favor of Bungie's request to identify the source of multiple threats and harassment in June.
(Image credit: Bungie)
Bungie recently filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit (opens in new tab) against Destiny 2 player Luca Leone for cheating, evading bans, and threatening studio employees: At one point, for instance, he told the studio to “keep your doors locked,” and indirectly threatened to “commit arson” at Bungie’s headquarters. But a ruling issued in June (opens in new tab) by the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, Canada reveals just how serious those threats were, and how they went far beyond simple trash talk and “jokes.”
The June 15 ruling, which ordered a company called TextNow to provide the real name of a user who had issued threats against Bungie, includes disturbing new details on the nature of the attacks, which began earlier in June after Bungie employees tweeted an ad for Destiny 2 (opens in new tab) featuring Twitch streamer Uhmaayyze.
“Shortly after [the Bungie tweet], several employees of Bungie began receiving voicemails and text messages on personal, unpublished telephone numbers repeatedly using the racial slur referred to colloquially as the ‘N-word’,” Superior Court Justice Fred Myers wrote. “That night a person who called himself ‘Brian’ left a voicemail on the personal telephone line of the employee who posted the ads. Brian referred to the employee by name and requested that Destiny 2 provide a scene or a downloadable piece of the game (DLC) for ‘N-word killing.’
“A few minutes later he called back and identified himself as a member of a far-right-wing social network known to publish material that is censored from mainstream social media. He repeated the request for an ‘N-word killing’; DLC to be added to Destiny 2.”
Another employee was also subjected to multiple voicemail messages from the same number, containing homophobic and racist slurs.
That’s horrific in its own right, but the threats against the Bungie employee in question also grew more overt. A person using Leone’s number had a pizza delivered to the employee’s house, indicating that they knew where the employee and his partner lived, and left a voicemail telling them to “enjoy your pizza.” Leone also tweeted a picture of the employee’s Bungie identification, and said the employees “is not safe.”
The judge also took note of Leone’s Twitter handle Inkcel and its similarity to “incel,” which he described as “a violent misogynist ideology.” The similarity between the terms “makes the threats more frightening,” the judge said: He did not refer to it specifically, but the city of Waterloo, where TextNow is based, is less than two hours from Toronto, where a self-described incel murdered 10 people in a 2018 van attack (opens in new tab).
Judge Myers said in his decision that he didn’t know what Bungie was going to do with the alleged perpetrator’s real name, but indicated that he didn’t care, either.
“Whether they sue in the US or just give the name to the police, I am satisfied that the exceptional equitable remedy ought to be available to identify people who harass others, with base racism, who dox, abuse personal information, and make overt threats of physical harm and death,” Myers wrote. “It makes no difference that the wrongdoer target is not in Ontario or that proceedings will not be brought here.”
The ruling in favor of Bungie was issued in June but wasn’t released until a month later because of “the serious nature of the allegations of danger,” according to a report by The Record (opens in new tab). Bungie has since taken legal action against the alleged perpetrator, and earlier this week Bungie general counsel Don McGowan indicated that the studio’s legal department had no intention of backing off (opens in new tab).
Community manager dmg04 also recently commented on the situation, saying on Reddit (opens in new tab) that Bungie has reduced its public interactions with Destiny 2 fans because of “real threats towards our people and our studio.” He also indicated, as this ruling confirms, that the situation is often worse than it appears: “Just because you can’t see it directly in a given tweet or forum reply doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.”