A lead designer on the Warner Bros. upcoming game Hogwarts Legacy has come under scrutiny after the discovery of his anti-social justice YouTube channel.
Troy Leavitt, Avalanche Studios Lead Designer, is facing criticism after the discovery of his YouTube channel by Did You Know Gaming correspondent Liam Robertson on Feb. 19. Robertson took to Twitter to shed light on the channel in a short thread detailing the nature of the uploads found there. He included a screengrab of several videos bearing titles such as "In Praise of Cultural Appropriation," "The Injustice of Social Justice," and "Pretty Polys: The Myth of the Male Gaze in Video Games."
Troy Leavitt's Anti-Social Justice YouTube Channel
Robertson drew attention to one particular video, "In Defense of John Lasseter," where Leavitt speaks about the Me Too movement.
"He characterizes the #MeToo movement as a 'moral panic' and downplays Lasseter's many sexual harassment allegations essentially because he doesn't think any of them qualify as outright illegal..." Robertson wrote, "...he claims that making this distinction within the climate of #MeToo could cause him to be branded a 'rape apologist' and says 'after all, I’m a white male myself and so my mere existence is assumed to be part of the problem'."
Major outlets Kotaku, PC Gamer, and Gamespot have since written about the channel.
Kotaku's Ian Walker wrote, "In some of his videos, Leavitt expressed support for Gamergate, a movement that fostered harassment against women and other minorities in the gaming industry, and Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women series as an 'uninformed fringe position.'"
Natalie Clayton from PC Gamer noted that the channel was still linked to his Twitter profile at the time her article was published — and remains there at the time of this article's publishing.
According to Leavitt, WB was aware of his channel as he disclosed it to the company. He discusses the issue in his video about Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari who was accused in 2018 of fostering a misogynistic workspace following anecdotes from women who worked in the studio over the years.
"They [don't] endorse anything that I’ve said, of course, but at least they seem more concerned with making good games than with pushing some kind of a social justice agenda," said Leavitt.
The channel as been inactive since March 2018. It averaged low numbers with only 26,400 subscribers and an alleged total of near 2 million views in total—though this figure may have increased because of the influx of attention.
Neither WB nor Leavitt have yet to publicly comment on the situation at the time of writing.
This is the second time Hogwarts Legacy has been in hot water after a stream of transphobic tweets by franchise author J. K. Rowling in June 2020.