Did Microsoft make a bad call on banning a Gamertag?

The gamer blog Kotaku is reporting on a really weird story involving Microsoft and a decision that is,

shall we say, hard to believe. Microsoft reportedly banned the Gamertag of a gentleman using his legal name, Richard Gaywood. Apparently, the man's actual name violates Microsoft policies on politically correct and clean Gamertags.

Microsoft's Xbox terms of use policy says a user cannot ...

"-Create a Gamertag or use text other profile fields that may offend other members. This includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate any of the following: profane words/phrases, sexually explicit language, sexual innuendo, hate speech (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled substances, or illegal activities."

The Kotaku blog contacted Microsoft to ask what, exactly, is wrong with RichardGaywood, especially since it includes a real surname. Microsoft's story is that someone saw it and complained about it. (Wow, who are these people that not only have time to game, they also have time to stop gaming and write a complaint to Microsoft over another's Gamertag? Those folks need to find a few more hobbies.) Microsoft had previously banned the Gamertag "TheGAYERGamer" because, Kotaku reports, Microsoft's Stephen Toulouse said "... it would be hard for me to defend to a parent of a young child who saw it that the name did not contain content of a sexual nature."

Should point out that while this story on Kotaku seems legit -- as it quotes Microsoft's policy and a Microsoft spokesperson -- it is an oddity. When it comes to homophobia, Seattle isn't Wyoming. But even so, do people -- even children -- really need Microsoft to protect them from a surname like Gaywood? Let's face it, the only ones who could see the so-called sexual reference in that word are not all that innocent.

Go to the Microsoft Subnet home page for more news, blogs, podcasts.More Microsoft Subnet blog posts:

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