Fort Gay, WV resident's Xbox Live gamertag blocked

Microsoft apologizes to resident of 800-person town after his online handle was ruled in violation of online service's code of conduct.

Josh Moore is 26 years old and an unemployed industrial laborer. As a result, he has a lot of time to play games on Xbox Live. According to an Associated Press report (via CBS), he logged dozens of hours playing Call of Duty and Ghost Recon titles under the handle "Joshanboo" while looking for his next job.

Or at least, he did.

Recently, a member of Xbox Live's compliance team noticed that Moore was listing his hometown as "Fort Gay, WV" on his online profile. The compliance officer flagged his account for code of conduct violation, presuming the name was intended as a homophobic slur of some sort.

Yes, Fort Gay is an actual town in West Virginia.

There was a slight problem, though. Fort Gay is a real town of 800 people in West Virginia near the Kentucky border that was founded way back in 1789. Moore did his best to convince the Xbox Live customer support team members of that fact but found them unresponsive.

Said Moore, who is straight, "At first I thought, 'Wow, somebody's thinking I live in the gayest town in West Virginia or something.' I was mad. … It makes me feel like they hate gay people," Moore even offered the town's ZIP code as proof of its existence. "I told him, Google it - 25514! He said, 'I can't help you.'"

Fort Gay mayor David Thompson also tried to assist Moore but received similar treatment. He told the AP that the Xbox Live compliance team would not even say the word "gay." "They said, 'that word.' It's beyond me. That's the name of our town! It's appalling. It's a slap in our face."

Once the story began to gain media coverage, Microsoft reversed its position. Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen Toulouse apologized to Moore and Thompson and had the former's gamertag reinstated. "In this very, very specific case, a mistake was made, and we're going to make it right," he told the AP.

Fort Gay-gate comes just six months after Microsoft allowed gamers to reflect their sexuality in their gamertags, specifically permitting use of the word "gay.". Previously, any reference to homo- or bisexuality--as well as religion or anything else possibly offensive--was verboten in Xbox Live online handles.

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Discussion

216 comments
berto64
berto64

thats dumb its a town name,dont blame the gamer blame the town founders

M3ran
M3ran

wow that is so stupid of MS

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

Grow up, Microsoft and start living in the real world!

Kfoss
Kfoss

Not really surprised actually, cause if the consumer base demands that gaming network providers be politically correct in terms of how TOS orders are issued and carried out- then what is there to complain about really...i mean we essentially both created the problem and the solution...right- cause ya know Bangkok-Thailand is ok, Dild0-Newfoundland is ok- but Fort Gay , USA - NOOO its a scary place

wahyudil
wahyudil

only return of gamer tag? thats it? wow, MS is very cheap for trouble they have given ... this man should stop playing Xbox aftert this ...

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

You know you have a fail customer service when even the Mayor of the town is unable to convince them the town is real. And you definitely know you have a lazy *** (stupid) compliance officer when he could have just simply Google the town's existence, instead of handing down the ol' ban hammer.

Doc_Fulk
Doc_Fulk

What the hell happens if you're from Fort Dix? I'd sue them. End of story.

XanderZane
XanderZane

He should have at least gotten a free year or two of XBox Live for that hassle. I would have taken them to small claims court and won. Got $5000 for waste of time and suffering. lol!! M$ needs to train their customer service better. Please remove "ignore the customer" & "I can't help you." responses from your training manuals.

Mr_Manikin52
Mr_Manikin52

*"Plays Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver*

isshiah
isshiah

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

wyan_
wyan_

The first line in the article alludes to a lot. Basically, an unemployed loser with too much time on his hands gets all butt hurt.

ChiliDragon
ChiliDragon moderator

This reminds me of a certain South Park episode where the f-word that in the UK refers (or used to refer to) cigarettes was officially redefined as referring to general jerks and not to homosexual people... hilarious episode, and so very spot on.

SaintJimmmy
SaintJimmmy

i think this is an example of how society as a whole needs to calm down about specific words im a straight white male so i guess i wouldn't know. but, i don't understand why people let words get to them like i have a very close friend thats homosexual, and anyone can call him gay a F**, a homo or anything like that and he doesn't let it get to him hes proud of what he is he doesn't let stupid people get to him and i have alot of respect for that. I also know alot of African Americans that don't take the N word offensively they more take it as a joke and even if its from skinhead white supremacy kid cause they reilaze slavery ended along time ago if people wanna hate them cause of there race its just sad. The Town of Fort Gay Should Get Free XBL for the disrespect and un-cooperation of Microsoft.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

News flash I got modded because I used the name of the city (Fort Gay in my post! Gamespot hasn't learned from MS's mistakes. What's next I can't say Lake Titticaca?!

DarthDestroyer
DarthDestroyer

Here in Canada one Province has 3 towns like that... 1) D*ldo, 2) Come By Chance and 3) Conception Bay...I wonder how they are doing...lol But yeah this could have been cleared up if they just checked his zip code when he gave it to them...I think he should get a year of Live for FREE!!!

thesovvolf
thesovvolf

@traykey1 Lets not forget Penistone. Though the way it's actually pronounced doesn't make it sound all that bad... Still, to those that don't live near... It does look like Penis stone or Penis tone...

NukeKnight
NukeKnight

I'd say MS owes him a life time subscription to xbox live. So everyone join in and tell MS they owe the guy that.

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

jodyben
jodyben

I don't think it's as much the fact that MS banned the guy, but to not take his explanation into account. He gave the frigg'n zip code for them to look it up. It's MS's responsibility to get it right by spending an extra minute or two looking it up.

traykey1
traykey1

Here the UK there is a town called sh*tterton, they would proberbly ban this too.

magicalclick
magicalclick

LOL, I wonder if there are more of those cities we can really put into good use :P. Stuff like city of Holy Bible or something. Haha.

00Joseph00
00Joseph00

My objection is against angry-word-banning altogether. There should be an option to filter any word for people who don't want to see these words at all. And those people can go and worry about censoring for *only their selves* everything bad we write while we can do what the hell we want and read what the hell we want and not worry about those idiots getting their feelings hurt about a word - a word that is basically just a word and nothing substantially harmful in and of itself, being the representation of a thought, and a thought being absolutely nothing that can harm a logical person.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Only in Christianity obssessed America. I love how they use religion as an excuse for hatred. Way to promote the faith.

topsemag55
topsemag55

What's really sad id the fact that Microsoft even disrespected the city's Mayor. Epic fail to Microsoft.

airshocker
airshocker

This is just another sad example of how politically correct the world makes people. It's truly ridiculous.

Hahadouken
Hahadouken

Only diehard Microsoft fanboys are defending this. What a joke. Banning the NON-offensive slang term for homosexuals is just ridiculous.

IvanKavinski
IvanKavinski

It blows my mind that a word like gay which has been in the English language for hundreds of years is considered "unusable and offensive." Banning it is completely un-American and absolutely ridiculous. It makes me feel the opposite of gay just thinking about it. I mean, what's next? How about a ban on the word Christian or Muslim? Oh wait... too late...

kejigoto
kejigoto

I can see the problem here but how many people do you think get banned and call them up trying to explain away why they were banned? I'm sure they've heard it before and I'm sure this wouldn't have been the first case where someone put something down like that and tried to claim it was real. It sucks it happened but I can see both sides of it.

ffviiifreak
ffviiifreak

@Starbound571 I know exactly how he feels I was wrongfully banned for a 1 day when one of my supposed friends with multiple gamertags decided he was gonna be the biggest a##hole in the world and MS did absolutely nothing to correct this issue and how everyone you are able to talk in customer service has absolutely no power to correct it. The guy on the phone said they are working on this. I hope so for thier sake I really do this seriously violates our rights to face our accusser.

GodOfSyn
GodOfSyn

So dumb that customer support didn't even try to help. Now they may not have rights to reinstate ID's, but as customer support they should have tried harder or escalated to the appropriate group, espeically when he is giving them the zip code of the town, and again the mayor even tried his hand. I'm telling you, I hate MS support, always have, and I'm in IT so I have the awesome privilege to work with them all the time....

wyan_
wyan_

oh noooooooooo!!!! someone got poorly modded by Microsoft staff!!! Big freakin deal. The apology is enough. It's not like the person was stripped, raped and strangled.

otanikun
otanikun

Already been corrected, lame news is lame, but hilarious none the less

ablackman215
ablackman215

Its not really dat deep to report sumbody over a name or sumthin stupid like dat

KnightsBlazing
KnightsBlazing

Hail to the kings of failure. Good job microsoft you make me like you even less becouse your company is incompatent and greedy. First we have to pay more for a asinine fee for XBL and now people are being banned for where they live good job microsoft but I wont pay your higher fee becouse I bought cards instead and i just renewed as well.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

yet when some one really calls you names over xbox live they get away with it , right? lol ms

Snicker-Man
Snicker-Man

this is the 2nd time hearing about this, and this went all out to keep his gamer tag the same

Starbound571
Starbound571

This is about maybe the second or third time I have heard of an incident of this nature. To make matters worse for Microsoft's situation, the one thing I have noticed on both these occasions, and with anyone else who protests that they did nothing to violate the Code of Conduct, is they give people NO chance to prove their innocence. They're right, you're wrong, it's not changing, that's the end of it. I realize this is a company you are dealing with, not a country's laws, but when you declare them in the wrong without first hearing their side of the story, your motivation for doing so comes into question. I'm not going to go as far as Mr. Moore by saying "I feel they hate gay people", but when he attempted to prove his innocence by providing proof, he was given the bizarre answer of "I can't help you"? No person wants to hear that, ESPECIALLY not from a customer service rep... To be fair however, customer service reps don't necessarily handle enforcement, nor would they necessarily have any knowledge of why such action was taken or for what. Many people on Xbox Live have told me that when they wanted to ask questions about filing complaints against players breaking the rules, they were forwarded to the Xbox.com forums instead of calling support, which leads me to believe they have no way of dealing with it over the phone. Put in a department for dealing with moderation issues or questions. It would leave a lot of people feeling less confused, and would even allow people to bring proof forward that they are not breaking the rules.

ffviiifreak
ffviiifreak

They get way too protective over that crap anyway on XBL they should be more lax this has gotten ridiculous. People cuse so much on the mics but Lordy Lordy don't dare write it down anywhere ever thats b.s.

onozhax
onozhax

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Mr_arizona
Mr_arizona

Remember when gay meant happy? I used to hear it everytime I watched the flintstones and thought it meant being cheerful. Also gay is not a bad word it is just used to describe someone just like hispanic or asian.

X-7
X-7

Wow. That is so dumb. Hello? Microsuck? Yeah, it's a real town you DBs. They better give him a free year of LIVE and a free game like COD Black Ops.

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

Wow! An XBLA user gets banned because there was a certain word MS didn't like in a name of a town? FAIL!

petey3
petey3

There is a MiAnus Pennslyvania. i live not to far from it... hmm i have an idea lol

marcg123
marcg123

I find Microshaft offensive...should learn from their own bs

DarkKnight5688
DarkKnight5688

I find it both ironic and humorous that Microsoft takes such a staunch stand on political correctness and in no way endorse homophobia, when xbox live is one of the most homophobic places anywhere thanks to the slurs spouted off by some of the more pathetic gamers.