D&D 5E D&D Beyond Self-Censorship: Pride Month Digital Dice Blocked In Some Countries

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I've got more than one finger.

Just because someone is doing worse doesn't equal absolution.

Hang on. Riddle me this.

Assume for a second, you're a director at Hasbro (who make toys, aimed primarily at children).

You owe a fiduciary duty to the shareholders of the company to act in the best interests of the company (and the shareholders). You can be legally punished (severely) for breaching this obligation.

As part of your companies Social responsibility programs, you have instructed the company to (as much as possible, without violating your overriding fiduciary duties to your shareholders) promote inclusiveness, including LGBTI positive messaging. One of the programs is these dice, which you have decided to offer for free.

Before the marketing begins, you engage in a risk management process on behalf of the company (required as part of your overriding obligation and duties to the company and its shareholders). As part of this process, your lawyers tell you that there are serious risks in promoting what is a LGBTI positive message in certain legal jurisdictions, of which (going by prior actions in that country) Turkey is one. Those risks include a possible boycott by Turkey of your companies products, and possible criminal sanctions against the company in that legal jurisdiction for 'offences against the public morality'.

This would be in clear breach of your fiduciary obligations to your shareholders, would jeopardize your company, and potentially cost it (and your shareholders) a lot of money, and see you personally prosecuted for breaching those obligations (and you being removed as director).

What do you do?
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Once again all these corporate pride geastures prove hollow, fake geastures. Its all PR. Same with every other movement they pretend to care about.
This is a very shallow and reductive a point of view. The truth is much more nuanced. The people who make up wotc probably genuinely do care. They’re also part of a system that puts very strong pressure toward pretty disastrously anti-social behaviors, like accommodating bigots just because they have power and/or you can make more money by doing so.

“It’s all just PR” imagines companies as entities rather than collections of individuals.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You lay this out rather well. It is important to not think of "the company" as a person with a will. It is an economic and business entity with lots of entangled responsibilities. They are not, in general, free to act in any old way they please.
Can’t dive into the underlying stuff here, but yeah, this is both the exact problem with the very corporate driven modern American economic system, and exactly why companies like hasbro (which is an award winning company in terms of ethical business dealings) sometimes do things that seem very stupid and are very bad.
 

You lay this out rather well. It is important to not think of "the company" as a person with a will. It is an economic and business entity with lots of entangled responsibilities. They are not, in general, free to act in any old way they please.

The Director of the company has fiduciary obligations to the shareholders. He cant take any course of action that breaches that obligation.

That director needs to cover his or her own backside (plus act in the best interests of the shareholders and the company). That's what he or she gets paid to do.

He or she simply is not allowed (legally) to promote a social agenda (or take any actions) that are against the interests of the company or its shareholders.

Corporate Social Responsibility promoting inclusiveness etc is great and I'm all for it (and I support LGBTI inclusiveness fully). You've just got to be careful who you promote it to, and what you direct the Company to do, because if that call gets the Company in hot water legally (or economically effects its bottom line) you're in hot water (and are facing angry shareholders and an unhappy board).

I certainly wouldn't want to be fronting the Board, explaining why we can no longer market toys to Turkey (and possibly other conservative markets) costing the company (and the shareholders) lots of money and driving our share price down.

You're likely out of a job, and facing legal action for breach of your fiduciary duty to the shareholders.

I have zero doubt that Hasbros position re Turkey would be different if Turkey wasnt to hostile towards LGBTI people. The only legal jurisdictions they seem to be hesitant about promoting these virtual dice, seem to be those with laws (and governments) in place that are anti-LGBTI.

Im with the OP in that it sucks, and I wish it was different. I just cant really point the finger at Hasbro, when the real culprit for mine looks to be Turkey.
 

Horwath

Hero
Can’t dive into the underlying stuff here, but yeah, this is both the exact problem with the very corporate driven modern American economic system, and exactly why companies like hasbro (which is an award winning company in terms of ethical business dealings) sometimes do things that seem very stupid and are very bad.
Aiming to earn more is not stupid.

However, methods are not good, but inherently they are also not (very)bad.

It is the "do not rock the boat" approach.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Aiming to earn more is not stupid.
I’m aware.
However, methods are not good, but inherently they are also not (very)bad.
I really thought I’d made it clear that I was speaking generally, but I guess not.

I was speaking generally.
It is the "do not rock the boat" approach.
Which is one of the behaviors that the corporate system strongly pressures individuals toward.
 

Re fiduciary duties:

A fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties (person or group of persons). Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other assets for another person. One party, for example, a corporate trust company or the trust department of a bank, acts in a fiduciary capacity to another party, who, for example, has entrusted funds to the fiduciary for safekeeping or investment. Likewise, financial advisers, financial planners, and asset managers, including managers of pension plans, endowments, and other tax-exempt assets, are considered fiduciaries under applicable statutes and laws.[1] In a fiduciary relationship, one person, in a position of vulnerability, justifiably vests confidence, good faith, reliance, and trust in another whose aid, advice, or protection is sought in some matter.[2]: at p. 68 [3] In such a relation, good conscience requires the fiduciary to act at all times for the sole benefit and interest of the one who trusts.

Fiduciary - Wikipedia

A director of a company is in the position of a fiduciary with respect to the Shareholders. They must at all times act in the best financial interests of those shareholders, and the duty is strictly enforced by the Courts.

Those duties do (to some extent) cover advancing a social position as well, but generally not at the expense of the financial obligations.

I certainly would not want to be a Director of a Company, instigating a not for profit plan in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility, that ultimately hurts the company by costing it money, getting it shut out of a market, or getting prosecuted for criminal activity or breach of a countries oppressive laws.

You'd need advice from Lawyers as a risk management strategy at least, and if they came back and said 'tread with caution' (which at a bare minimum would be the advice I - as a a lawyer - would give to a Director in that situation) you'd be a braver man than I going against that advice, and opening yourself up to possible future lawsuit and loss of employment.

Its a tricky position for the company to be in, but again, they wouldn't be in that position but for the actions of the bigoted countries.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Oh I agree, but surely the fault in those cases rests on the States with those laws (with the negative stances on LGBTI issues), and not with the companies (who are actively trying to do something positive).

There is only so much you can do as a company. Companies hold a lot of economic clout, but it's nothing compared to the legal and economic (and military) clout of nations.

Turkey (at a minimum) could simply ban Hasbro products from sale in the country as 'LGBTI propaganda' under their morality laws (or simply make new laws). They certainly have form on this (banning LGBTI parades on 'moral' grounds, and banning LGBTI support groups and agencies for the same).

Even though Turkey does not have a specific bans on 'LGBTI propaganda' they do have 'offences against public morality' laws that could be used here (or attempted to be used) and that have already been used as justification to prohibit LGBTI marches and entities.

Hasbro doesnt want to poke that bear, and I can understand why.
"Could." It could rain frogs, too.

See, here you are still talking like you know Turkey and its politics better than the actual Turkish person who is saying that worst-case-scenario is all very unlikely. But I guess we can chalk it up to "Westerners know better than anyone else" and ignore people that actually live in other countries.
 


"Could." It could rain frogs, too.

See, here you are still talking like you know Turkey and its politics better than the actual Turkish person who is saying that worst-case-scenario is all very unlikely. But I guess we can chalk it up to "Westerners know better than anyone else" and ignore people that actually live in other countries.
I'm from the South not the West. Australia to be precise. Turkey is closer to Western Europe than I am.

And I have every right to talk about Turkeys abhorrent LGBTI practices, including banning LGBTI marches on the grounds they 'insult public morality' and persecution, discrimination and oppression of LGBTI people.

But fine. Here it is from a Turkish Gay mans perspective:

Murat has watched for years as LGBT people who face persecution in the Middle East have found refuge in his cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Istanbul.

Today, in the face of growing government hostility and vitriol from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the young gay man says he has just one wish: to leave.

"Before, there would be a wave of hatred and then it would calm down," said the 30-year-old computer engineer, his eyes piercing through a haze of cigarette smoke.

"Now, it's been going on for months, turning into a tsunami."

The article goes on with something directly relevant to this discussion:
The immediate cause of Erdogan's fury was a student artwork depicting Islam's holiest site in Mecca draped in the LGBT rainbow flag.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu reported the arrest of "four LGBT freaks" over the display, condemning the "degenerates" in Twitter posts that got flagged for "hateful conduct".

Erdogan later told his female supporters not to listen to "those lesbians", adding there was "no such thing" as the LGBT movement in Turkey.


"It's a hate campaign" aimed at discrediting the student protests, said Can Candan, a documentary filmmaker and professor at Bogazici University.

The top Turkish institution has been spearheading the protests after Erdogan appointed a loyalist as its rector at the start of the year.

The controversial artwork prompted officials to shut down Bogazici's LGBT club, where Candan was a faculty adviser.
Targeted by Erdogan, Turkey's LGBT community face 'tsunami of hate' - France 24

Artwork depicting the rainbow flag in Mecca, prompted hate speech from the President, and the shutting down of a LGBTI club.

And again, totally relevant to this discussion:

While there are no official figures, Turkey has slid down the LGBT rights index published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

Last year, Netflix cancelled the production of a Turkish series featuring a gay character after failing to win the government's permission to film.

In June, the French sporting goods retailer Decathlon became the target of Turkish media boycott campaign, after saying it stood in solidarity with the LGBT community.

And in April, Erdogan rallied to the defence of a top religious affairs official who linked homosexuality to the spread of diseases, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Decathalon company literally got boycotted by Turkey after saying it stood in solidarity with the LGBTI community.

Again, if I was the lawyer advising Hasbro in light of the above, I would be telling them not to poke that bear.
 


We can't blame Hasbro if some choices are based in certain sources of information. At least we should thank the effort to avoid possible homophobic tropes in the fiction.

In some countries the homosexuality is a serious taboo for family-friendly fictions, and even where it is allowed, lots of parents are willing to boycot when certain products mention some threats "that aren't suitable for little children". And if we see a new wave of "satanic panic", I am afraid what will be one of the targets of the "mass hysteria". Some things can be too dangerous to be linked with.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
The Director of the company has fiduciary obligations to the shareholders. He cant take any course of action that breaches that obligation.
And this outlines the problem inherent to the system. They are legally required to be scumbags. All publicly held companies are. They're not good guys. They're not your friend. They're not worthy of defense when they do scummy things.
 



Please don't be snarky. You focus on how the analogy is not perfect, but miss the point - some places can still be extremely intolerant, and that can have repercussions on people who try to put good messages out.
We know with certainty that rainbow iconography that doesn't include religious iconography is permitted. There's a list of companies that have done so.
Bringing up religious iconography is not honest debate. It is a false pretense.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Please don't be snarky. You focus on how the analogy is not perfect, but miss the point - some places can still be extremely intolerant, and that can have repercussions on people who try to put good messages out.
Then we should stop doing business with those places instead of saying 'well we exist to make money, so it's okay to work with bigots and murderers'.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Bringing up religious iconography is not honest debate. It is a false pretense.

Mod Note:
Stop. I now must put on the Mod Hat.

You may not feel it is a valid point, but it is not "honest debate" to accuse people of being willfully false without solid evidence. If your go-to approach will be to accuse folks who disagree with you of dishonesty, please leave this discussion now.
 

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