So what just happened at UK Anime Network?

megalomaniac

Brigade Leader
I can perhaps give a little clarity into how it unfolded... As UKA's founder, owner, editor-in-chief, podcast host and podcast editor the content of the podcast was entirely the responsibility of Ross. The first anyone at UKA outside of the podcast team would have heard of it was either listening themselves after it was released (as I did) or learning about it via the subsiquent fallout. The podcast is something Ross initially stood behind when it's content was challenged, both internally and externally. As a result I and a few others left the site. I believe I was the first to quit so I'm not sure what happened internally after that, but I imagine Ross fell on his sword to save the site from the spiralling backlash, which really spiked once Andrew Partridge got involved.

There were, and hopefully still are, a lot of great people over at UKA and whatever you think of that podcast the views expressed within it are only representative of those directly involved.

On a not entirely unrelated note I can recommend each and every one of the writers who left if another site were looking to expand it's ranks... ;)
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
So Ross is still the owner (of course!) but Seb is now the face of UKA, while Ross is presumably going to try more personal (potentially-controversial?) content on a different platform. Well, if it works for them then it's good to see progress. The content on both fronts will speak for itself going forwards.

Perhaps if the podcast is revisited, then, that will happen on the new site to avoid the scandal tainting the original.

R
 

megalomaniac

Brigade Leader
As I've been following the events over there I've found myself increasingly saddened by the way things have unfolded. There was an opportunity to set things straight and distance UKA from the podcast, which I fear has been missed.
 

NormanicGrav

Yume no Shima Shinen Kōen
AUKN Staff
As I've been following the events over there I've found myself increasingly saddened by the way things have unfolded. There was an opportunity to set things straight and distance UKA from the podcast, which I fear has been missed.
And going by the responses on UKA's forum thread and on Twitter it looks like the situation got worse from my perspective.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
This post is my personal opinion and very much spoken without my admin hat on.

It's a shame that they're not going to address this. In a way, the silence comes across as an answer in its own right. From the outside there's a definite risk of the interpretation that the site owners do stand by their opinions and only pulled it because of the backlash it created rather than because they think a mistake was made, and since the stepping down was only from one role and the new site is still affiliated with the old one there hasn't been any real distance put between UKA and those views. I'm starting to think that there's only one way to interpret the situation as things stand but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

If that's their genuine stance, I don't think it's necessarily wrong to come out and say it and to let Ross stay in his role; being driven away isn't ever going to achieve anything to challenge those views. The site was successful because of his years and years of hard work. Only taking responsibility when an industry figure dared to speak out makes it feel as though a lot of things have been left unsaid. Other people will definitely have agreed with them even if I didn't so I doubt it would have actually sunk the site in the long term.

Having said that, I'm heartened that so many people in the wider UK community are looking past the current trends towards bashing certain groups when anime viewers have attracted so many negative stereotypes in recent years for gatekeeping and trolling. You don't get this supportive attitude in many corners of geek culture at all, and it encourages me that we have such a kind community. I'm pretty sure that anime fandom is going to be fine.

R
 

thedoctor2016

Baka Ranger
I think the lack of clear seperation of views (If it still owns it he hasn't left imo) And then maybe? promoting him by linking his twitter whatever is not separating. I do think its sadly tainted UKA and the longer they leave it the worse it will get, its been a week and I dont feel any action has really happened as I feel the resignations caused the re-structuring not the podcast
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I think there are a lot of different issues in play which is making an already complex situation even muddier and for the sake of my sanity I want to separate them out.

- Politicisation of anime in the west such as the perception that Funimation - and it's specifically Funimation - is using their power over scripts to brainwash viewers (ironically, when I Googled for examples the first result was actually an Anime Feminist article condemning the same things others on the opposite side of the political fence have, if for slightly different reasons). I feel as though this is not happening as often as people make out (with dubs in particular), especially in the case of some lines which are more unfortunate translation choices or dub lip flap synchronisation compromises than anything nefarious. There have been cases of questionable translation choices ever since the VHS days. Still, some of the dubious subtitling examples cited are worthy of critical debate even in spite of that, and given how we have had examples of cases where approving the English scripts can delay a release in the west for years (Evangelion!) there's a question of whether the changes are viewed in the same light in Japan. I think this is a fair topic of discussion, and indeed, it's one that can be discussed without any of the participants feeling pressured to take sides.

- Politicisation of anime in the east. Not actually mentioned IIRC but it seems odd to complain about the former when anime creators have been falling over themselves to parody Trump and other bizarre foreign politics for years now. Anime has always been political; we have the Momotarou release in the UK now and a ton of people here lap up Gundam, which is fully loaded with messages right from the source material. My own avatar is from a series with political implications right now. I accept that there is less disconnect when the original work is unaltered, though there have been numerous high profile cases of anime production companies and manga editors diverging from a creator's vision even within Japan. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes very much for the worse.

- Gatekeeping in fandom. I vehemently oppose this and always have, every time the issue has come up over the decades since people started circulating VHS fansubs over here. The Dragonball era, the Pokemon era, the Attack on Titan era, the Kim Kardashian era(?); every time there's a tiny chance of anime getting popular, there's some charismatic demagogue ready to stand up and cry out that it's the end of the fandom as we know it. It's not. We'll be fine. So long as we all support one another, the influx of new, 'normal' people as fans can only be a good thing. They're the reason we still get dubs, and physical releases, and legal streaming, and weird experimental US-Japan productions. Bring on the casual fans.

- Singling out and making insinuations about another site's funding. This was in poor taste and deserves an apology whether or not the other site requested one. I don't think there's anything more complex involved there; singling out one site with a frequently-bashed political leaning at the same time as raising the topic of politics harming anime was really not a great way to set things up, and fed into the gatekeeping atmosphere.

- Feminism. Even mentioning the word seems to cause problems in a lot of nerdy hobbies, to the point where it's seen as a soft target for ridicule and attacks, especially in environments where there's an ingrained belief that bashing feminists is the status quo (hence my moderation of an earlier post in this topic). From what I can see, a large part of this problem is a misunderstanding of what feminism actually means; for one thing, the assumption that 'privileged white boys' cannot themselves be feminists is unfortunate. I hope we can all learn from what has happened on this front.

Nothing is stopping anime fans from using UKA, AUKN, AF and any other sites they want to visit at the same time if that's what they want to do; none of them are mutually exclusive. We have numerous heated political discussions over here from time to time and some people express very diverse viewpoints, but for the most part we all get along. I don't see why our personal views have to come between us as fans so long as we can remain respectful when debating the issues which get raised.

R
 
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Anime1977

School Idol
I think there are a lot of different issues in play which is making an already complex situation even muddier and for the sake of my sanity I want to separate them out.

- Politicisation of anime in the west such as the perception that Funimation - and it's specifically Funimation - is using their power over scripts to brainwash viewers (ironically, when I Googled for examples the first result was actually an Anime Feminist article condemning the same things others on the opposite side of the political fence have, if for slightly different reasons). I feel as though this is not happening as often as people make out (with dubs in particular), especially in the case of some lines which are more unfortunate translation choices or dub lip flap synchronisation compromises than anything nefarious. There have been cases of questionable translation choices ever since the VHS days. Still, some of the dubious subtitling examples cited are worthy of critical debate even in spite of that, and given how we have had examples of cases where approving the English scripts can delay a release in the west for years (Evangelion!) there's a question of whether the changes are viewed in the same light in Japan. I think this is a fair topic of discussion, and indeed, it's one that can be discussed without any of the participants feeling pressured to take sides.

- Politicisation of anime in the east. Not actually mentioned IIRC but it seems odd to complain about the former when anime creators have been falling over themselves to parody Trump and other bizarre foreign politics for years now. Anime has always been political; we have the Momotarou release in the UK now and a ton of people here lap up Gundam, which is fully loaded with messages right from the source material. My own avatar is from a series with political implications right now. I accept that there is less disconnect when the original work is unaltered, though there have been numerous high profile cases of anime production companies and manga editors diverging from a creator's vision even within Japan. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes very much for the worse.

- Gatekeeping in fandom. I vehemently oppose this and always have, every time the issue has come up over the decades since people started circulating VHS fansubs over here. The Dragonball era, the Pokemon era, the Attack on Titan era, the Kim Kardashian era(?); every time there's a tiny chance of anime getting popular, there's some charismatic demagogue ready to stand up and cry out that it's the end of the fandom as we know it. It's not. We'll be fine. So long as we all support one another, the influx of new, 'normal' people as fans can only be a good thing. They're the reason we still get dubs, and physical releases, and legal streaming, and weird experimental US-Japan productions. Bring on the casual fans.

- Singling out and making insinuations about another site's funding. This was in poor taste and deserves an apology whether or not the other site requested one. I don't think there's anything more complex involved there; singling out one site with a frequently-bashed political leaning at the same time as raising the topic of politics harming anime was really not a great way to set things up, and fed into the gatekeeping atmosphere.

- Feminism. Even mentioning the word seems to cause problems in a lot of nerdy hobbies, to the point where it's seen as a soft target for ridicule and attacks, especially in environments where there's an ingrained belief that bashing feminists is the status quo (hence my moderation of an earlier post in this topic). From what I can see, a large part of this problem is a misunderstanding of what feminism actually means; for one thing, the assumption that 'privileged white boys' cannot themselves be feminists is unfortunate. I hope we can all learn from what has happened on this front.

Nothing is stopping anime fans from using UKA, AUKN, AF and any other sites they want to visit at the same time if that's what they want to do; none of them are mutually exclusive. We have numerous heated political discussions over here from time to time and some people express very diverse viewpoints, but for the most part we all get along. I don't see why our personal views have to come between us as fans so long as we can remain respectful when debating the issues which get raised.

R
Feminism has been high jacked by some people with more extreme views and using it as platform to censor things they find offensive for an example I don't like gangster rap but I don't want it censored or banned just because I find it offensive and feminism is meant too be about equality and women haveing the right do what they want with their own body's.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
For the sake of balance, Amelia of AF has been posting her thoughts on what has been said. One thing I didn’t realise was that what I took to be an admission of responsibility on Ross’s part in that post was actually a jab that her Patreon had benefited from the attack; I’d wrongly thought he’d supported it himself by way of apology. I now feel I have a reasonably serviceable grasp on all of the viewpoints at long last. My personal conclusions have been drawn accordingly.

Feminism has been high jacked by some people with more extreme views and using it as platform to censor things they find offensive for an example I don't like gangster rap but I don't want it censored or banned just because I find it offensive and feminism is meant too be about equality and women haveing the right do what they want with their own body's.
I disagree that this is true any more than saying that the stereotypical ultra-racist anime-girl-avatar-using trolls on Twitter have hijacked anime. Anime is still there. Some people who support it have unfortunate opinions, but that fact doesn’t invalidate the entire hobby.

Nobody here is trying to censor or ban anime and nobody is claiming offence unduly. Let’s not abandon equality just because some people have allegedly done bad things.

R
 

Arbalest

黒い剣士
Moderator
I'm not really sure what more i can add to what @Rui and a lot of others have already chipped in for this topic to be honest, but i feel it has been rather badly handled in some cases. The podcast being put to rest is one thing, but at it's heart, the main concern is that there isn't a formal article of apology from UKA as an entity, for an apology. Yes the main issue was caused in the podcast itself with one person, however it was done under UKA itself, so an apology from there rather than Ross' personal twitter would be far better suited to "nip this in the bud", as it where.

I don't expect this to suddenly clear everything up, hide what has happened or stop the conversation that potentially needs to be had surrounding the nature of the podcast and/or the position of politics in anime, but it will do enough to let UKA properly move on, and try to let everything calm down. I understand why it's maybe been passed over, they want to avoid speaking about it too much lest they say something more that won't sort it, but a sincere apology as an Article would be the best way to close this part up.

I'm not really sure how to put my views on the matter to words, i'm not into the "gating" fad that occurs a lot of late, gamergate was a disgusting time in gaming to view anything and didn't do anything to benefit any side of fandom, be it the hardcore gamers or those with a passing interest, it won't do any good to label as such again here. Fans are fans, no more, no less. More people into the medium is nice to see, no matter the introduction they have or how "late" they are into it.
 
Feminism has been high jacked by some people with more extreme views and using it as platform to censor things they find offensive for an example I don't like gangster rap but I don't want it censored or banned just because I find it offensive and feminism is meant too be about equality and women haveing the right do what they want with their own body's.
I don't think it's about the censorship stuff, that is more in line with social justice values, not the values of the current movement of feminism, which is more like diversity hires. People have always hated the "pc police" for gatekeeping things based on censorship, and now they seem to have more social justice values. There are feminist values in the mainstream, they won't interview people who are against such hard practices as diversity quotas, they mainly interview and present people and subjects that support those kind of things, and I perhaps the masses are getting tired of it. If feminist bashing really is that popular of a trend, then that's why, people don't want it shoved in their faces anymore.

what I can see, a large part of this problem is a misunderstanding of what feminism actually means; for one thing, the assumption that 'privileged white boys' cannot themselves be feminists
Do you honestly think that's the problem? I've just put down what I think a good reason is, but it's never been about "priveliged white boys" joining the club, it's about watching all the infighting going on, demonizing white men making some people who've dine nothing wrong feel like everyone is blaming them for the world's problems and well the loudest voices there are often punching down, some of the most militant are "privileged" they can make it through uni without massive debt, their families are loaded etc
That may be a bit insular but sometimes it's just a middle class person touting "feminism" when they're actually engaging in age old class warfare.

Tl;Dr version: pc culture and social justice are starting to resemble each other, the current feminist movement has infighting and is just sometimes class warfare and both seem to sometimes engage in demonizing white men for privilege they don't have.

I have been thinking of ideals, and I think reading Carl shmitts the political will give me a better idea on it, I'll have to hunt down a copy, I have heard the basic idea but I think the current political climate resembles that idea, albeit perhaps a half formed version
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I wasn't trying to deconstruct the entire issue of the perception of feminism as it is demonised in the media versus the reality in my single paragraph, just the content in the response from Ross, which I believe to be misinformed. It suggested that a feminist website owner would want to defend herself alone because of her political position and 'privileged white boys' (a direct quote) were going against her wishes by defending her site, which made no sense when absolutely nothing is stopping them from identifying as feminists themselves and being personally upset by the situation.

I see he has now removed that entire section from the post. So perhaps he has realised it was incorrect too, or perhaps he removed it to stop complaints. I hope it's the former. Misinformation can cause a lot of pain if it's used to inform knee-jerk reactions.

R
 
I wasn't trying to deconstruct the entire issue of the perception of feminism as it is demonised in the media versus the reality in my single paragraph, just the content in the response from Ross, which I believe to be misinformed. It suggested that a feminist website owner would want to defend herself alone because of her political position and 'privileged white boys' (a direct quote) were going against her wishes by defending her site, which made no sense when absolutely nothing is stopping them from identifying as feminists themselves and being personally upset by the situation.

I see he has now removed that entire section from the post. So perhaps he has realised it was incorrect too, or perhaps he removed it to stop complaints. I hope it's the former. Misinformation can cause a lot of pain if it's used to inform knee-jerk reactions.

R
Ah, I didn't read her side and it's been a while since I heard the podcast again. How would you know they are white and privileged though? Some things come through to assume someone's a man or woman but status and colour is harder to find just reading posts. I don't understand how someone can say someone can't "join the club" when they label themselves something and are doing something they believe makes them part of that label, but well its just another log on that fire aint it?

Edit: just read her thread. While she did say her gains on the day vs after that podcast. I would say these things take time to happen, so something he said did have an affect, but Ross can't take credit for it, he didn't tell anyone to support amelia's site, they did it themselves. The politics of the two in question aside, to people a movement means more than someone's opinion, and I think maybe that's just one having shared values while the other does not
 
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Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
How would you know they are white and privileged though? Some things come through to assume someone's a man or woman but status and colour is harder to find just reading posts. I don't understand how someone can say someone can't "join the club" when they label themselves something and are doing something they believe makes them part of that label, but well its just another log on that fire aint it?
I presume Ross was referring to his friends who had voiced support for Amelia, and presumably he knows their gender and ethnicity due to having met them before. They were his words, not mine, hence the inverted commas (I have absolutely no idea what any of the other people involved look like in real life). I hadn't realised that Ross had stripped that part out of his post, though; it's harder to follow the discussion without the context.

Edit: just read her thread. While she did say her gains on the day vs after that podcast. I would say these things take time to happen, so something he said did have an affect, but Ross can't take credit for it, he didn't tell anyone to support amelia's site, they did it themselves.
I don't think it's likely that the podcast increased her support given its overwhelmingly negative perspective. The taking of credit - which I wrongly presumed to be even more meaningful than intended - was a strange angle to come from under the circumstances.

It's sad to see anime fans torn apart by disrespect when we should all be kicking back and enjoying the new season's offerings :(

R
 
I dunno... From the article and the responses on the website and the fallout that has continued over the last week, I'm seeing the response as a "I'm sorry, but" which is the weakest kind of passive aggressive apology. We didn't do anything wrong, but we're apologising because it's expected of us. They're trying to walk a middle line between owning their mistakes and owning their opinions, and I suspect won't satisfy anyone.
 

AmericanOtaku

Hikikomori
UK Anime.net resident here (Forum poster really). I consider myself a feminist but I do think that modern feminism is starting to be a bit too radical. Its causing such problems in geek fanhood because of how militant its become and quite frankly people react badly when you try to take away what they like. This is why mess like GG and the comic book debacle happened. I still think there are important feminist issues that need discussion and that the other side can be trollish and insenstive at times and need to reign it in a bit but I do believe it could be done without drama. I mean come on, the guy shares his opinion then the website has to take down the podcast and people resign.

For those interested, these are the pieces the podcast discussed:
Article 1 - Normalization of Anime
Article 2 - Fanbase War
Article 3 - Social Pressure
Article 4 - Corporations Getting Involved
Article 5 - Censorship

While I do think a bit o fearmongering is at work (I don't think intentionally), I do believe that the author is not being misogynist and brings some valid points.
 
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