Games company defends homophobic Scrabble

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A concerned Irish dad contacted computer software manufacturers after discovering a homophobic term in Junior Scrabble 2007, a game on Nintendo DS.

Zachary McAdam, from Holywood, Co Down, was playing the game with his seven-year-old daughter, when he was offered the word ‘lesbo’ as the solution to a five-letter anagram reports the Belfast Telegraph.

“The term ‘lesbo’ is a slang name intentionally meant to cause offence,” Mr McAdam said.

“I looked it up on the website just to make sure I wasn’t over- reacting and it described the word as a noun, slang, disparaging and offensive.”

Ubisoft, the French company that made the game, said the programme was based on words listed in the Chambers Official Scrabble Dictionary.

“There are over 277,000 approved words in the dictionary,” they told the Telegraph.

“The dictionary includes words used in the English language, but that may be considered unusual or offensive.”

Although the games features a junior mode which removes these words from play, Ubisoft said the term ‘lesbo’ was not deemed to offensive because it was not listed as such by the dictionary.

PA MagLochlainn, a spokeperson for the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, told the paper: “I would never use the word. The correct term is lesbian.

“I am not in the least bit surprised it is included because the young men who design these games are not taught by schools that these words can be used as a form of homophobic bullying.”