Josh Olin, the community and eSports manager at Evolve developer Turtle Rock Studios, is no longer with the company in the wake of a series of remarks related to vilified Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Olin, a former community manager at Treyarch Studios (Call of Duty: Black Ops) and Riot Games (League of Legends), said on Twitter on Wednesday, "Here's an unpopular opinion: Donald Sterling has the right as an American to be an old bigot in the security of his own home. He's a victim."
The tweet was in reference to Donald Sterling's private racist remarks being made public, the ensuing media attention and punishment meted out by NBA league commissioner Adam Silver. The commissioner announced on Tuesday that Sterling was banned for life from NBA events and would pay a fine of $2.5 million. Silver is also attempting to force a sale of the Clippers.
After Olin's remarks hit Twitter, some of his followers — he has some 142,000 — challenged the original tweet. "When you were raised in an era where segregation was perceived as 'right', that will stick with some people," Olin later said. "Doesn't make him a monster."
Olin later clarified that he believed Sterling was a victim because of "illegal wiretapping resulting in a MASSIVE, life altering breach in privacy." Today, Olin tweeted he was "expressly not defending [Sterling's] remarks or actions."
The situation appears to have come to a head today, with developer Turtle Rock tweeting, "The comments made by our former community manager stand in stark contrast to our values as a game development studio. We sincerely apologize for his remarks and in no way endorse or support those views." Olin said the situation was "very poorly handled by malleable management."
Polygon has reached out to Turtle Rock Studios seeking comment. A representative for 2K Games, which is publishing Evolve, declined to comment, but confirmed that Olin is no longer at Turtle Rock.
Olin said in an email to Polygon that "it appears" he was fired and called the situation "developing." He provided the following statement:
"Anyone who follows me knows my tweets were not in support of Sterling's actions. Rather, they were promoting three core tenets I believe in: 1) The harm sensational media presents to society. 2) The importance and sanctity of your privacy within your own home. And 3) The right to be whatever you want to be as an American, as long as it isn't hurting anyone else. That last point not to be confused with condoning Sterling's actions, which I don't.
"That said, it's disappointing to see that a select few in Turtle Rock and 2K Games management bought into this hysteria without even having a conversation with me - or even thoroughly reviewing the context of the tweets themselves. Ironically, it serves as a great example of why I hold tenet #1 above so close to heart. That said, everyone should totally still buy Evolve. The guys and gals making that game know their ***, and are making it good."