Warhammer 40K creator Games Workshop released a statement earlier today outlining a zero-tolerance policy for hate groups at officially-sanctioned events. “The Imperium is driven to hate. Warhammer is not,” begins the post, before explaining the differences between the game’s setting versus the behavior that’s acceptable at community events.

Although it doesn’t seem like a zero-tolerance policy for hate groups would be necessary to be stated, Games Workshop implied that they were referring to a Spanish Warhammer 40K event.

This post from the Spanish-language blog El Descanso del Escriba explains the specific incident. In short, a participant in a tournament of 800 players in Talavera (Spain) regularly uses a nickname that obliquely refers to Adolf Hitler. The event was attended by the man wearing numerous Nazi symbols, including the logo for the 13th Panzer Division, which committed many atrocities in Poland during World War II. The tournament organizers penalized anyone refusing to play against him and refused to allow the person to leave.

Co-opting and infiltrating other subcultures is a problem that Neo-Nazis have been addressing for a while. The Dead Kennedys gave a powerful response to their presence on the punk scene back in 1981. Subsets of heavy metal have remained a refuge for Neo-Nazis. This issue has been a problem for Wargaming since its inception. Since the 1960s, players were suspiciously biased towards one side of WW2 games. They also founded magazines called “Fourth Reich”. This issue is not unique to Warhammer.

Because Warhammer 40K is fiction, it is vulnerable to hate groups co-opting it. 40K is a world that is almost deliberately absurd and grim. Its fantasy centers on a future Imperium of Man, where life might be brutal, nasty, and short. However, it does look like heavy metal album artwork. 40K’s neo-Nazi fans seem to be unaware or do not care that the fictional setting they choose is mocking them. Games Workshop clarified that this was satirical fiction and stated that “The Imperium of Man” is a warning tale of what might happen if the worst of Humanity’s lust for power, extreme, unyielding fear, and greed, sets in.”

This is a great statement of purpose from Games Workshop. It is also well supported by a zero-tolerance policy. Although the post doesn’t specifically call out Nazis and fascists it does outline the consequences for any form of prejudice or hatred in our company or Warhammer hobby.

You will be asked to leave if you behave in a way that is not Games Workshop-approved, such as wearing symbols from hate groups or displaying them at events. We won’t allow you to participate. We don’t need your money. The statement goes on to say that we don’t want your money in the Warhammer community.

Games Workshop ends the announcement by asking independent event organizers for their support in organizing inclusive, safe gatherings.

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