Vertagear, a self-proclaimed “top gamer chair brand trusted by many esports teams,” is now under fire by everyone else for trying to turn a sexist joke into an edgy meme.
Last Sunday night, the chair company posted a mock-up side-by-side comparison of male streamers vs. female streamers. In the guy’s feed, he’s barely visible, while in the woman’s feed the ratios are reversed. “Is this accurate?” Vertagear tweeted with three crying laughing emoji for good measure.
By the time most people saw it, however, the tweet was already failing to load. “You deleted it, but you can’t pretend that wasn’t tweeted Vertagear,” wrote Facebook streamer MissHenley. “You owe the women in the industry a major apology.”
This morning, the chair company tried to pay that debt with one of the longer notes app apologies I’ve come across in recent memory. “Discrimination and bias are the opposite of what we want to create, and they completely jeapardize the values we stand for,” it read in part. “Unfortunately, we were slow to see the mistakes being made and have hurt many people with a recent Tweet that we made. We take full responsibility for the pain that it has caused to members of our community. We will make things right and set ourselves as a better example for others.”
Vertagear went on to write that it’s put new measures in place and created a “more defined guideline” to try and prevent itself from pedaling misogyny in the future.
But as Twitch partner LowcoTV pointed out, this was far from a one time deal for the gamer brand. Screenshots of four past tweets, including three from 2021, showed Vertagear engaging in other toxic stereotypes, seemingly in a play to look cool to the type of people who regularly make Twitch chats a cesspool.
In the meantime, some people are calling for gaming influencers to not display any Vertagear chairs in their streams and for esports events to not use its chairs as prizes at events. And for every other aspiring gamer brand out there, a simple reminder: You don’t have to tweet sexist shit, or at all for that matter.
Update (07/19/2021, 7:46 p.m. ET): Vertagear has released a second apology, this time acknowledging the pattern of misogynistic behavior on its social channels rather than the most recent incident.
“These types of actions will not be tolerated moving forward,” the latest statement, ostensibly signed by unnamed members of Vertagear management, reads. “Effective today, the individual responsible for these posts will no longer be with the company. We have taken the time to reflect on the situation, and are restructuring the way business is conducted here at Vertagear, starting with immediately increasing the level of gender diversity in all facets of company operations, including oversight of all social media content.”
“Vertagear strives to create a more inclusive platform, work environment, and social media presence, and will be instituting several additional protocols moving forward to ensure that these new standards are upheld,” the statement adds.