Stephen Toulouse, Director of Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement at Microsoft, has announced that any player who uses a swastika as a Call of Duty: Black Ops
logo will be banned from the service.
Writing on his blog
, Toulouse said: "If you think the swastika symbol should be re-evaluated by societies all over the Earth, I think that's great. Your Xbox Live profile or in-game logo, which doesn't have the context to explain your goal, is not the right place to do that. It's not political correctness, it's fundamental respect."
Toulouse pointed out that the ruling is not limited to the Nazi emblem, saying: "And by the way, that doesn't just go for the swastika, it applies to many other symbols as well that my team does indeed take action on when we see it."
However, he does not believe that every symbol with detractors should be targeted.
"My Twitter stream
was filled with people stating that Xbox Live should equally ban the Star of David, the Christian Cross, and yes I am not kidding, the infinity symbol," he wrote, "because under various niche interpretations of those symbols they are as evil as the swastika symbol, and I should apply ethical relativism to all symbols on Xbox Live to respect all viewpoints because of the United States First Amendment."
"Even better? The argument that because the single-player [part] of the game is rated mature, the online experience should allow for all manner of horrible genocidal viewpoints," he added.
"I know the symbols might show up in games, but that's content that you know that you are getting, because it is rated content. It's there as part of the experience, not making a statement. Using it as your emblem is different."
"Yes we can have the discussion in other venues about the double meaning of various terms, something my team does everyday," he concluded. "But for many topics, it's kind of a no-brainer."