Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of the global gaming phenomenon Minecraft, set off a firestorm on Twitter last week with a tweet that was definitely not appropriate for the game’s many younger fans.
Persson has since deleted the original tweet, but it was captured in screenshots.
“Heterosexual Pride Day” - more a concept than an actual event - has been promoted by social conservatives pushing back against LGBT Pride celebrations each June. Many took Persson’s tweet to be both homophobic and, potentially, in violation of Twitter’s prohibition against violent incitements and threats. Another Twitter user promoting the #HeterosexualPrideDay has reportedly been suspended.
Gamers and other Twitter users were quick to castigate Persson, and he seems to have partially and grudgingly acknowledged that his statement was misguided.
His mea culpas, however, were mixed with plenty of harsh criticism of LGBT identity politics.
Minecraft and Mojang, the studio Persson co-founded around the game, were sold to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion. Much of that went directly into Persson’s pocket, and he has since made headlines for both his spending habits and his erratic personality.
The episode is reminiscent of the travails of Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, another awkward tech nerd turned opinionated billionaire. Two years after his company was acquired by Facebook, Luckey became embroiled in controversy over his funding of a group that said it would use satirical memes to support Donald Trump's campaign for President.
There is one notable distinction, of course: While Luckey is still in his early twenties, Persson is nearing forty.