We have previously discussed free speech concerns over companies firing workers over their political viewpoints expressed on social media or other forums. A most recent controversy arose after the decision of Limited Run Games to fire community manager Kara Lynne, also known as Kara Gooch, because a trans-rights activist found that she has made critical comments about pro-trans policies. Limited Run Games declared that an employee harboring such views was a threat to a “positive and safe environment.” This entire controversy began over the fact that Lynne likes Harry Potter.
Lynne’s demise began when she made a seemingly innocent comment about being excited to play the upcoming Hogwarts Legacy. Millions feel the same way, but activists now consider anything connected with the Harry Potter series to be intolerable after author JK Rowling criticized trans-rights measures.
One of those apparently appalled by anyone expressing interest in Harry Potter was Twitter user Purple Tinker, who lacks the courage to post under his or her own name while seeking to destroy the career of another person.
Purple Tinker decided to investigate Lynne and later denounced her as a “transphobe” due to her conservative views and criticism of trans-rights policies. PT noted that Lynne follows conservative sites and figures on Twitter such as Ben Shapiro and Libs of TikTok. PT also created a dossier on Lynne of past tweets like one in which she says “if you think the # of trans crying about using a bathroom is higher than the perves [sic] using the excuse, you are what is wrong with this world.”
That apparently is all it took for Limited Run Games, which immediately fired an employee for holding conservative viewpoints. The same day that PT ran its dossier on Lynne, Limited Run tweeted that it had “investigat[ed] a situation” and that an employee had been “terminated”. This decision, Limited Run said, was made in order to “[support] an inclusive culture” and “foster a positive and safe environment for everyone”.
We have discussed numerous cases of employees and artists being fired for exercising free speech outside of the workplace. It raises a concern over a “Little Brother” problem of punishing speech. Notably, Lynne did not make any association with the company. It was PT who made that association to seek to punish this Harry Potter fan. PT has since vanished as is often the case in these anonymous drive-by cancel campaigns.
There is a growing intolerance for opposing views on the left that is being weaponized through private companies. The message is clear that expressing such views now endangers your very livelihood. Limited Run Games could have simply said that it does not require employees to confirm their political views to those of the company. Instead, it immediately yield to the flash Internet mob.
Roughly half of this country has supported conservatives and many hold these views. Indeed, many of the customers of Limited Run Games may hold these views. Yet, Limited Run Games has made it clear that, if employees hold such views, they can never speak them publicly. Imagine the uproar if companies began to fire employees for supporting trans bathroom policies or following liberal figures or sites on Twitter. That is not a problem because many on the left simply label any opposing views as hateful and unworthy of expression.
I have little knowledge of Lynne’s views but there is no indication that she sought to associate the company with those views. That required an anonymous intermeddler who knew that the company would cave rather than defend the right of all employees to hold and voice opposing viewpoints.