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Harry Potter Hogwarts Legacy Lead Designer Criticized For "Anti-SJW" Videos

The lead designer, a veteran of the game industry, has been under fire for his YouTube output, which praises GamerGate and condemns the MeToo movement.

The lead designer of Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy, Troy Leavitt, has been criticized online for his YouTube videos, which express reactionary political views and "anti-SJW" positions. These videos include defenses of "canceled" cultural figures like Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and ousted Pixar boss John Lasseter, as well as critical takes on the work of influential feminist essayist Anita Sarkeesian.

Bushnell has been accused of fostering a sexist work environment in his time at Atari. Lasseter was accused of serial sexual misconduct to his fellow employees in 2017, which led to his exit from Pixar in 2018.

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Though the channel has always been publicly available, a series of tweets by Did You Know Gaming contributor Liam Robertson has brought new attention on Leavitt's channel. Robertson described the videos as "anti-feminist" and "pro-GamerGate," and stated that he's "not trying to 'cancel' [Leavitt]." Robertson cited the John Lasseter video as particularly revealing: In it, Leavitt describes the MeToo movement as a "moral panic" and says that he'll likely be branded a "rape apologist" due to his views on Lasseter.

In his video on Bushnell, Leavitt claims that publisher WB Games was aware of his YouTube channel when he was hired at Avalanche Software, the developer of Hogwarts Legacy, and that it "wasn't an issue" for them. Though Leavitt hasn't posted a new video since mid-2018, his Twitter profile still links to the YouTube channel.

Despite being one of the biggest media properties in the world, the Harry Potter name has been mired in controversy in recent years, thanks largely to the unrepentant transphobia of the books' original authors, J.K. Rowling. In light of Rowling's controversial statements, WB Games took the unusual step of posting a FAQ that clarifies that Rowling is not involved in the creation of the game. However, when Kotaku asked a WB representative if Rowling is expected to receive royalties for the project, they declined to comment. Hogwarts Legacy is slated for a 2022 release date, and will release for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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