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.

Comments (150)

  • NHunt2125


    3 years ago

    Thanks for taking it down and thanks for supporting the Armed Forces. Stolen Valor is a very important issue that has come about and personally it absolutely sickens me. If you didn't live the event don't tell the story.

  • SteelBubbaB


    3 years ago

    Its not your fault you were just doing something nice for someone and ended up being blamed.

  • RyanFoster94


    3 years ago

    No-one deserves our respect more than those who give their lives for us. smiley13.gif

  • sketchbad


    3 years ago

    this was very cool of you, its nice to see you taking the time to right a wrong that could easily have been brushed off and forgotten in time. i'm glad that you guys truly are deeply committed to your fans. though i had nothing to do with this issue i think it speaks worlds about your character the way you handled it. you did good Burns

  • CamperKiller


    3 years ago

    Hi Burnie,
    I don't believe it's your job to do a full ballistics test and go full CSI on everyone that tells you a story.
    Unless the story sounded like a fabrication, or you knew the guy was of a dubious character (like a politician or banker smiley0.gif ), then you're right to publish it - sounded perfectly cool, at the time.

    Not sure I agree with your retraction, though.
    Just because some people on the site gave their opinion based on a single picture of the hat, doesn't sound anymore valid than the original post. If anything, it's weaker.
    None of the commenters were there to hear the guy's account first hard, nor cross examine him at the time. They based their comments on a second hand account and a picture of an RT hat.
    Technically, now you're calling the original guy a liar

    I think the "emailers" need to calm down - it's only a post on the Internet.

    I understand your sentiment, but I think you should have left it alone. At most you should have added a simple disclaimer at the end of the original post.

    I hope this hasn't set a precedent.

    • CamperKiller


      3 years ago

      Fair enough, then! smiley0.gif
      Can't imagine why anyone would make up a story like that (or any other, for that matter).

    • DiMono

      DiMono It's Back Baby!

      3 years ago

      I think you missed the point of the retraction. It wasn't a retraction of the story, it was an apology for the events that happened after the story was posted.

      Also, the original guy has never been deployed, and his hat has never left the country. He made the story up. Plain and simple.

  • fireblast111


    3 years ago

    Good job burnie

  • H_McNally


    3 years ago

    I actually ended up sending Barbara an e-mail apologizing for the idiots that came out of the woodwork to give her hell. She did nothing wrong and people were upset with her for a statement taken out of context. Nobody deserves that.

    As for the faker, I hope his chain of command slaps him on the peepee.

  • Cheeto17

    Cheeto17 Community News Editor

    3 years ago

    Hell yeah, Burnie! Barbs, too. Your podcasts got me through my first tour of Afghanistan, and knowing that you have at least one prior service member on your staff (Geoff had the same MOS as me while he was in the service. I'm not sure if Joel was in the service), I can say with no doubt in my mind that you have our backs. At RTX, I personally felt your hands on my shoulders while you told me welcome home.
    I have been a member of your site for about 7 years, and nothing you guys have done has been anything but respectful to those of us in uniform.

    Seriously, I love you guys. Thanks for taking the time to clear the air from the honest mistake.

    And, to that guy with the hat - If you were lying, which it looks like you were.... This is what you get when you talk about shit you know nothing about.

    Post edited 1/31/12 10:45PM

  • Microbe


    3 years ago

    Good write-up to keep us in the loop, Burnie. Man, I know what this is like too well.

  • johnneyface


    3 years ago

    I find it fascinating that you guys go out of your way to handle problems personally, which is a very rare thing these days when it comes to company. Then people thank that effort with the internet awesome that is "posting things without context". Roosterteeth is an awesome group with very outstanding character.