Fighting game community split over porn site sponsor

The fighting game community has another image problem to deal with: the prospect of sponsorship from porn giant Brazzers. At Ars Technica, Kyle Orland tracks the community's internal debate.

Associating with an industry that's seen as degrading to women might be an extra-sensitive topic for professional fighting gamers now, given that accusations of sexual harassment at a tournament last month gained widespread attention and raised the specter of pervasive sexism in the community. But Ciaramelli argued that porn is a legitimate business, and that no one is being abused or exploited in this situation. "All I'm doing is wearing a shirt," he said. "There are much worse shirts I've seen at a tournament than a shirt that says Brazzers on it."


  1. Sponsors can unintentionally provide great insight into the culture surrounding the thing they’re advertising on.  Because advertisers aren’t subtle or polite.  They know what you really want, and they’re here to sell it to you, so pretending “it’s all about the game” (or whatever other image that event/show/magazine projects) is a waste of their time.  They’re like the rude uncle who says out loud the things that everyone else  was thinking.

  2. Kind of expected the sentence to read: “associating with an industry that’s seen as degrading to women might be an extra-sensitive topic for the porn industry.”

    1. What’s the difference between the fighting game scene and the porn industry?  There are some crowds in the porn industry I wouldn’t be ashamed to admit to my girlfriend I hung out with.

      It’s not the only refuge in gaming of the overgrown 13-year-old boy, but it’s probably the densest and least defensible.

      (Alternate punchline: obsessive porn fans have a more realistic mental image of breasts.)

  3. Men who use the internet and play games also view porn. Not me, of course, because I’m just an avatar, and pixels don’t have needs, but all those boys out there know Brazzers and don’t expect to see that name on shirt in a public place.

    Also, Brazzers’ porn is on the degrading end of a degrading industry. It’s certainly not a name I’d want my pixels associated with.

  4. Given the way that pretty much all female characters are depicted in fighting games, it’s not hard to see why Brazzers is interested in the advertising. Really I’d suggest that it’s a very small step from Dead or Alive to Brazzers, so from that perspective, why not?

  5. I suppose I’d probably take their money, were I a competitive player, but I can understand the principle of not doing the thing, too.  Brazzers does make some pretty degrading pr0n, but maybe a shot at (I know, it’s a stretch o_<) legitimacy is the encouragement they need to make "better," "kinder"** pr0n.

    ** – yes, I realize there's a whole camp out there that believes all pr0n is degrading and bad (I may even be part-way into that camp), but I'm focusing more on the "if you must; do it kindly(/legally)" angle.  Like the Bunny Ranch.

  6. Meanwhile Danica Patrick shamelessly has GoDaddy — known more for their exploitive use of sexy chicks in ads rather than their actual business doing… what is it they do again? — emblazoned on her racing suit.

  7. Brazzers degrading to women? if anything they are ass worshippers. Its like saying Wrestling on SyFy channel is degrading to men.

    1. It’s not that (I think) pornography is inherently degrading to women. It doesn’t have to be degrading to get you off. But Brazzers specializes in that style of pornography in which women are degraded.

      It’s a huge market, of course. There’s something about men being brutish to women that tickles the sexy bone in us, and in my experience (not that I have any) most professional porn goes that way.

      Brazzers can’t advertise during an NFL game, of course; the league would never allow it. But a little club like professional gamers are less likely, perhaps, to exercise such fine control over their product; as individuals they’re relatively powerless before the money. But EA or Activision might think twice before they embrace a Brazzers-enabled community, and I suspect they’re the players everyone really wants to get with.

    2. I mean… yes. First off, Wrestling TV shows are degrading to men. I haven’t watched anything like that in a while, but I doubt they’ve departed much from mostly portraying men as petty, cruel, egomaniacs made out of muscle and rage. (please, correct me if I’m wrong)
      As for Brazzers, they worship butts and breasts, in a sense, but it’s almost always in an objectifying way. They are truly fetishists. They appreciate bodies to the extent that a body has certain idealized characteristics and plays out an idealized ritual. That goes for men as well as women. Their actors are decent but the characters are cartoonish and vapid, because Brazzers decouples sexuality from humanity. Just consider their websites Big Butts Like It Big, Jizz On My Jugs, and Big Tits At School. It’s all very well produced, and the aesthetic has beauty like an Andy Warhol print, and there’s something to be appreciated in the minimalist and repetitive themes. But you won’t see anything like a person on the screen. So, it’s degrading, yes.
      Contrast them with who, superficially, utterly debase women in every single movie, dramatizing their objectification and humiliation. But, their films depend on the idea that there is a ghost in the machine, that there is a person there who can feel shame and ecstasy and longing and acceptance and the whole gamut of human experience.
      Porn is legitimate in theory, but within the practice there are degrees of legitimacy.

      1. Wrestling TV shows are degrading to men.

        They’ve been including women in their degradation for more than a decade now.

  8. 13yo#1: “You got your sex in my violence!”
    13yo#2: “You got your violence in my sex!”
    Announcer: Brazzers’ Beat Down Cup: two “legitimate businesses” that work great together.

  9. The problem I see is the fighting games at these tournaments are usually rated T, so lots of young kids and teens play and watch online.  I went to a tournament with a friend who plays, and a large segment of the players seemed to be under 18.  There was even a kid competing that looked about 10 years old. 

    Brazzers shouldn’t be a sponsor, but not because they make porn.  They shouldn’t be a sponsor because they make a product that many (most?) of the viewers and participants can’t legally buy.

    1. The only M rated fighting series I can think of are Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive; even Soul Caliber (the one with the swords) is T

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