So, okay, this happened:
A developer of Borderlands 2 has infuriated many gamers after describing a new, easier version of the shooter as "girlfriend mode".
John Hemingway, lead designer at Gearbox Software, made the comments to Eurogamer while on a studio tour.
The 'mode' in question takes the form of a fifth character class, where one early skill called "close enough" lets players with poor aim progress through the game. Designed to help new gamers, and those who "suck at first-person shooters", Hemingway said the "girlfriend mode" essentially makes it impossible to miss a target.
"I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree," Hemingway told Eurogamer. "This is, I love Borderlands and I want to share it with someone but they suck at first-person shooters."
What it is, is a perfectly reasonable feature to add... described by an idiot who makes sex-based assumptions and thinks they're no big deal.
And no surprise, the president of the company jumps onto the internet not to apologise for poor communication/sensitivity skills, but to defend his team and insist that "There is no universe where Hemmingway is a sexist - all the women at Gearbox would beat his and anyone else's ass."
Yeah, you know? That doesn't actually make someone not sexist. (For that matter, getting your ass kicked "by a girl" makes some people more resentful.)
I don't know either of these dudes, obviously. With no further context, it doesn't sound like the guy is a woman-hating kind of sexist. I certainly wouldn't assume that he has ever or would ever hurt anyone. That would be a ludicrous leap to make.
But does he make sexist assumptions? DUH. YES. RIGHT THERE.
Is this a rare thing? No. Heck, even I make those assumptions at times because we're so used to hearing these stereotypes over and over again that we tend to believe them even if we ought to know better. I'll assume that certain games and certain hangouts are "a guy thing" and that anyone present is probably male. But when pointed out that I'm being an idiot? I can say "Oops, sorry."