Makers of popular word building board game, Scrabble have acted quickly to adapt all future online releases of the popular game to allow for full protection of speech.
The decision, announced on Thursday evening by Mattel and Hasbro CEO Marley Spinthrift, follows the brutal massacre of 12 staff members of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in a quiet Paris neighborhood on Wednesday.
Ten people at Charlie Hebdo were gunned down on Wednesday by two men, who announced they were taking revenge, as they felt the satirical publication repeatedly insulted Islam.
Spinthrift said in order to protect all Scrabble’s loyal online gamers against accusations of insult and religious bigotry, all tiles would in future be blank.
“It will be up to the player to confidentially and honestly score the word placed on the board, with no correspondence entered into. No questions will be asked and all words placed on the board using the blank tiles available will be accepted and scored accordingly by the person submitting the word,” said Spinthrift via online forum late on Wednesday evening.
Spinthrift said with the rapid and unpredictable change in religious rhetoric, and the violence with which it is often associated, the safest option was to eliminate all visible words with immediate effect. As far as the actual board games are concerned, Spinthrift said a decision would be made shortly.
“We need to assume that with the case of the actual board game version, all players in any given game would be of at least a similar religious persuasion and therefore able to discuss any words that might prove offensive. We just cannot take that chance online, though,” said Spinthrift.
Makers of Snakes and Ladders have reportedly also agreed to remove all snakes from future prints fearing accusations of religious connotations, with the idea to replace them with broken ladders.
The world is still in shock following the brutal massacre. Many mourners are now openly insisting freedom of speech and expression be maintained.
In Bordeaux, mourners gathered late into the night and early on Thursday morning leaving candles and even inscriptions of support and copies of Charlie Hebdo at a memorial site.
#newsbyrory intends no offence with the above satirical report. The sensitivity of the topic is appreciated, however, this report has been released timeously as an expression of the importance of satire and humour, and moreover, freedom of speech. To limit language is to limit the encouragement of thought, open debate and potential resistance.