3 years ago
Before I begin what will most likely turn into a lengthy explanation and group mea culpa, let me just say that everyone at Rooster Teeth has enormous respect for the fighting men and women of the United States military.
We recently had a visitor to the Austin Rooster Teeth studio who came in full uniform and presented us with a special gift -- a hat which he said had been damaged in combat. We thought that was a very cool tale and we thought it would be fun to honor a fan's combat service by posting his story in our blog. Shortly after the post hit our front page, we started to receive emails telling us the story was false and that we should remove it from our feed. Some of our staff examined the links being sent to us and determined that it looked like enough people with enough knowledge were saying this was a fabrication. Keep in mind, we're not ballistics experts. We have no idea what size exit hole a round from an AK-47 should make. A member of the armed forces showed up in full fatigues, told us a story, showed us a hat and we took him at his word. That was our first mistake. While we are an irreverent comedy group, we do feel an obligation to post truthful information on our website especially when it comes to the very serious issue of battlefield valor. So without any real way to prove or disprove the story, we decided to remove it. We now believe that story was false and we don't want anything on our site to indirectly diminish the service of soldiers fighting in an active war.
However, removing the story from the site didn't stem the tide of emails flowing to the inbox and they arrived in varying degrees of politeness. In replying to those emails, our new Community Manager made a comment in an email that in essence said the emailer should spend their time worrying about something more important. While she essentially meant "something more important than someone lying on the internet" this was very understandably interpreted as "something more important than someone lying about their military service." That was our second mistake. Our Community Manager deeply regrets making that comment and sent an apology to the person to whom she made it. I also regret that we sent that original email. I feel that her private apology for a private comment is appropriate, but private emails can be posted to public forums making it feel like a public statement. It was not and I apologize to any combat veteran or their families who read that email.
Hopefully, people will understand that this all began when we posted a reverential story about a (purported) combat veteran. In our attempt to do something nice for a serviceman, we ended up pissing off a whole bunch more. However, this whole misguided adventure started from a place of respect. We made some mistakes along the way, but I hope people can see through that to the underlying genuine spirit of the post.