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Neopets (Finally) Responds to Anti-Gay NFT Controversy

UPDATE, 6:45 PM NST: TNT has removed their original message and replaced it with a slightly edited version. See both below.




Today, The Neopets Team has responded to a controversy that erupted 6 days ago within the Neopets Metaverse project's Discord server.

For those out of the loop, on September 28th, an anti-gay slur (that we will not repost here) was left unremoved on the Neopets NFT project's Discord server. When confronted by various Neopets community members, the moderator at the center of this controversy, NinjaPengu, failed to remove the slur for several hours, claimed that they needed a "phd in AI" to anticipate adding such slurs to their automated mod tools, and said those who were complaining about the lack of moderation was spreading "FUD" (stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt—used frequently in the NFT community to discredit the opinions of others).

You can view screenshots of the aftermath on our Twitter feed, @jellyneo.

We at Jellyneo have confirmed that moderator NinjaPengu was only removed today, October 4th around 11:30 AM NST, and was even being called a manager of the project as late as this morning at 8:35 AM NST.



UPDATE, 6:45 PM NST: It looks like the original post from TNT on the Neoboards was removed and replaced with an updated version. Notably, the updated version strikes out a sentence saying their NFT partners are having "communication issues." Below is the updated version:

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. The Neopets Team stands with and supports the LGBTQIA+ community; as such, we've taken note of your concerns internally and we sincerely apologize for any frustration this situation may have caused. We will be sure to pass your thoughts along to the appropriate / responsible parties and want to let you know that the moderator at the center of the controversy has been removed from their position. We also wish to clarify that the "Neopets Metaverse Discord" is managed by a third party.

Additionally, we appreciate the time taken to share your concerns with us regarding NFTs.

We'd like to reiterate that our involvement in the NFT project alongside our partner advisors (Moonvault and Cherrypicks) is happening independent of the support we provide to the Neopets site and will not interfere with our development plans for the site. Please know we remain dedicated to improving the Neopets site and will have more site conversions, updates, and new features for you in the near future.

Thanks everyone,
Petra, Gutterfoot, Scrappy & The Neopets Team



Below is the original response that TNT posted on the Neoboards (link now broken):

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We are aware of the communication issues with our NFT partner companies and are working to address them as soon as possible. The Neopets Team stands with and supports the LGBTQIA+ community; as such, we've taken note of your concerns internally and we sincerely apologize for any frustration this situation may have caused. We will be sure to pass your thoughts along to the appropriate/responsible parties and want to let you know that the moderator at the center of the controversy has been removed from their position. We also wish to clarify that the "Neopets Metaverse Discord" is not owned nor managed by the Neopets Team or JumpStart Games.

Additionally, we appreciate the time taken to share your concerns with us regarding NFTs.

We'd like to reiterate that the NFT's in question are being created by a partner company, and not by the Neopets team directly, allowing our development plans to remain uninterrupted. Please know we remain dedicated to improving the Neopets site and will have more site conversions, updates, and new features for you in the near future.

Thanks everyone,
Petra, Gutterfoot, Scrappy & The Neopets Team



Also important to note is this line, confirming that TNT is not directly involved with the Neopets Metaverse:

We also wish to clarify that the "Neopets Metaverse Discord" is not owned nor managed by the Neopets Team or JumpStart Games.

Which was updated at 6:43 PM NST (Oct 4th) to say:

We also wish to clarify that the "Neopets Metaverse Discord" is managed by a third party.

Up until now, the Neopets Metaverse team has been falsely claiming that the project and its Discord server is directly owned, run by, and part of The Neopets Team directly. It is unclear if the Metaverse team was intentionally spreading misinformation, or if they are unclear on who "The Neopets Team" is.

In addition, community manager Petra was in the /r/Neopets Discord server today and is quoted as saying TNT is limited in terms of what they can say and do:

I actually want to thank you all for the ping. We have been limited on what we are allowed to say, but we've been reading everything and sharing your thoughts with the appropriate people.

The Neopets Metaverse hasn't even gotten off the ground yet in selling NFTs, yet this is the third controversy that has erupted from the much maligned project. As a reminder, the first was @neopets calling this project an unaffiliated scam on Twitter due to no one from TNT being made aware of the project; and the second was the Neopets Metaverse team posting links to R-rated content alongside the Neopets name on Twitter, apparently not being briefed that Neopets is a family-friendly environment.

Stay tuned to Jellyneo, we'll be keeping you up to date on the controversial Metaverse project as more unfolds.

There are 55 comments below. Add yours!


I like, but also hate, how it's not up for debate *if* more controversy will happen, but *when*. This isn't ending until Metaverse ends.
by herdy on October 4, 2021 1:44 PM NST JN Staff


"We'd like to reiterate that the NFT's in question are being created by a partner company, and not by the Neopets team directly, allowing our development plans to remain uninterrupted."

This quote reeks of missing the point still. They're still associating with this scam regardless of who's directly touching it, in fact them not being directly involved may be even worse considering all the communication issues with the Metaverse staff so far.
This whole thing is going to go down in flames.
by jumblejams on October 4, 2021 1:55 PM NST


I didn't like the NFT idea to start, and now the fact that this contractor is going rogue? Oh HAIL no! STOP IT NOW!
by novelista on October 4, 2021 2:27 PM NST


And so, the Cirque du Solana continues. I'm left wondering what their next act will be.
by macosten on October 4, 2021 2:28 PM NST JN Staff


Well the staff at Metaverse certainly looks incompetent. But I also think you’re overreacting, it’s quite possible that team has nobody on it that knows how to program Discord’s automatic filters. I don’t get the whole NFT thing, it looks like it’s just a way to sucker idiots.
by cat on October 4, 2021 2:30 PM NST


This feels like a long never ending April Fool's prank. Or I wish it would be so. Just far beyond from ridiculous.
by tomatereloco on October 4, 2021 2:35 PM NST


The fact the metaverse discord set up a bot to block cuss words but not slurs isn't a matter of incompetence its a blatant disregard for the neopets players that got involved with this. After being called out for slurs they banned the word gay in an attempt to silence criticism
by roxas_13 on October 4, 2021 2:48 PM NST


@cat

You don't need to program anything - the chat filters are free and easy to use. They even exercised their knowledge in how to use it by filtering the word "gay" in retaliation to people being upset with the slur.
by tyuio_k50 on October 4, 2021 2:57 PM NST


Yeah that does suggest they could have changed the filters and just didn’t want to because of homophobia.
by cat on October 4, 2021 2:57 PM NST


@cat: The staff were competent enough to block the word "gay" using the automatic filtering, but not competent enough to block gay slurs. 🤷‍♂️
by dave on October 4, 2021 2:58 PM NST JN Staff


None of this addresses the fact that NFTs are a scam, nor the fact they're partnering with a company with direct ties to the CCP (who are currently committing genocide and maintaining concentration camps). I'm just a tiny bit more concerned with that than Discord.
by yllaille on October 4, 2021 3:05 PM NST


The fact that the the Neopets Brand has anything to do with this dung is abhorrent to me.
by topaz644 on October 4, 2021 3:20 PM NST


TNT really does seem to be doing their best to scream "We don't have anything to do with it!" without directly saying so. Really think JumpStart didn't even consult them before they did this.
by trompaholic on October 4, 2021 3:32 PM NST


Yeah they definitely have nothing to do with this, they started out saying the NFT was a scam for Fyora’s sake. But their parent company wants whatever money it’s going to generate so we’re stuck with it.
by cat on October 4, 2021 3:51 PM NST


Petra if the CEO of Jumpstart is behind this blink twice to let us know
by asheton on October 4, 2021 4:40 PM NST


OK, I was already against this before I realized they did this homophobic garbage on Discord (never was an app better named, the groups on there are always a hot mess), or the NSFW content, but now there are ties to the CPP that I wasn't aware of?

This just keeps getting better and better. Definitely won't be spending any more money on Neo. I don't trust JS. Their judgment appears to be terrible, and this NFT company is shady, shady, shady. What's the old saying, "Lay down with a dog and you're bound to get fleas?"


by mavegibson on October 4, 2021 4:57 PM NST


Ah, and following the thread that Jawsch started about the Discord server, the admins there are allowing transphobic and homophobic harassment on the server, despite multiple reports. This is the kind of scum JS has gotten into bed with.


by mavegibson on October 4, 2021 5:03 PM NST


This whole thing is just sad. I really hope that whoever is responsible for the nfts is smart enough to pull the plug and a proper apology wouldnt hurt either.
by tpandai on October 4, 2021 5:13 PM NST


All I can say is: Yikes.
by surferboard_girl on October 4, 2021 5:16 PM NST


I love that the community manager is posting the stuff we ACTUALLY want to know ("We're passing your feedback along to the appropriate people" in places that AREN'T officially Neopets.com, and places that CANNOT be mentioned on Neopets.com.

This is an absolute shambles. What are they doing? Who's running this? Why does it feel like an Umbrella Corporation situation?

Additionally, what a WEAK statement. "We're totes allies, just trust us, we gave you Pride merch!" is not the same as "We're stopping NFTs, especially in light of the homophobic dingbats that are making them, and not to mention the community outrage at large."
by purrmeister on October 4, 2021 5:22 PM NST


The JS Netdragon marriage sent alarm bells off for me from the get go.

A company that needed money and a company (country) that pretends money is not important. What a bed they lie in.
by topaz644 on October 4, 2021 5:44 PM NST


The Metaverse grave deepens and deepens, soon the light will just be gone.
by problematicperiplum on October 4, 2021 6:25 PM NST


The post on the neoboards that this post referrs to no longer exists?
by leo_star20 on October 4, 2021 9:09 PM NST


Even though I always have a pessimistic view and never stayed silent about my dislike for TNT— this is actually an incredibly sad moment for Neo. This moronic branch of consumerism could be the end of it, and it seems to be largely out of TNT’s hands, whether they had the capability of stopping it or not.
by stories2btold on October 4, 2021 9:48 PM NST


I'm glad to see they've updated their post to deliver a real apology, props to TNT for that. also heard Gutterfoot got in touch with someone the cryptobros were harassing, which is also a hopeful note. even if NFTs themselves are inevitable at this point, I'm relieved to finally see some damage control.
by fihyn on October 4, 2021 10:24 PM NST


Everyone, everyone, calm down please. This is not the place to be make claims about who gets discriminated against worse than others. Discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality and religion is dumb, stupid and bad no matter which form it takes.

So. Let's not do that again. We've had discussions like this before and they always end ugly. Let's focus back on the NFTs the NCU and TNT no longer being the blast (pun intended) they once were.
by apophis324 on October 4, 2021 11:07 PM NST


thanks for keeping these messages up...that is a terrible apology...hey TNT here is an idea, just abandon the whole NFT/Metaverse thing all together and release the pet slots and the UC makers...then I will shut up while you take my money
by jcdiva7 on October 4, 2021 11:48 PM NST


It is unfortunate that decision was made higher management in JS and Neopets team is one taking heat for it and they basiclly cannot do more than say over and over again this is by 3rd party. They cannot go point fingers at JS, that's why they needed to edit their comment.

They cannot even know did the person evem change or did they just create another Discord account and came back with that.
by ducky on October 5, 2021 12:01 AM NST JN Staff


So is this the 3rd scandal in 2 weeks?
by dr_tomoe on October 5, 2021 12:15 AM NST


Third scandal in HOW many weeks?

Things would be so simple if business worked on baseball rules. Three strikes while at plate, and you're out!
by dark169 on October 5, 2021 3:36 AM NST


Oh man, toxic behavior on a discord server? Next you'll tell me the sun rises in the morning. NFTs seem to attract some of the worst people and is speedrun strats for setting a new WR in ruining your reputation. GG EZ.
by rodgerflint on October 5, 2021 4:38 AM NST


What is happening to this website...

Also, never been a fan of these offsite chat rooms like Discord, even the one moderated by TNT. Stuff like this happens and no one is held accountable.
by bennyw on October 5, 2021 5:41 AM NST


I like that there's so much garbage going on here that we're only calling this the third scandal, when there's ALSO them lifting assets from DTI.
(Not that I blame anyone for forgetting because this mess is just THAT out of control. We can't keep up with the actual number of controversies.)
by demi_ on October 5, 2021 6:57 AM NST


@bennyw

There is no Discord moderated by TNT. There is this Metaverse Discord that is moderated by this Metaverse staff and then there is Discord of Reddit Neoets sub (r/Neopets Discord) aka Neocord, which is fully fan moderated - TNT just have found their way in there and few are active there (I assume). Which is good in a way, because they can get direct communication with players. But it's not TNT moderated. Don't know how many staff members are there since I haven't been there for nearly two years
by ducky on October 5, 2021 6:59 AM NST JN Staff


@apophis324 Thank you. Agreed.
by rishloo on October 5, 2021 7:35 AM NST


ducky - I know what servers I am talking about. You can split hairs about it. TNT has a presence in that other Discord which therefore gives it authority, despite not being able to talk about it on Neopets.com itself. It's weird, I don't like it, that's all.
by bennyw on October 5, 2021 7:43 AM NST


Thanks JN for keeping me informed, because I'm not getting near Neopets.com while this is going on.
by thecrazyoo on October 5, 2021 7:44 AM NST


I get it's not TNT's fault, but I also can't support anything even adjacently involved with NFTs, so thanks for the *coughcough* years of Neo, but I gotta keep it quits I guess 🤷🏻‍♀️
by jen_aside on October 5, 2021 9:38 AM NST


@bennyw: To be clear though, Neopets does not run or moderate any offsite Discord servers.

There's a *very* important difference between a Discord being moderated by official TNT staff members, and being moderated by fans that a handful of TNT staffers are regular members of. TNT has no moderator or admin abilities in that space.

I don't think it's splitting hairs to be clear about who runs and moderates the /r/Neopets Discord.
by dave on October 5, 2021 9:54 AM NST JN Staff


Just saying….. everything here seems to lead to Hong Kong.

Okay, I admit that sounds like a conspiracy theory. But, then again.
by recklesse on October 5, 2021 11:09 AM NST


This just keeps getting messier and messier.
by jadedone23 on October 5, 2021 1:58 PM NST


oh wow, this is certainly a dungshow - i'm not even mad anymore, i just find this whole thing absolutely hilarious.

...aside from the blatant homophobia, that is
by bolimdechuva on October 5, 2021 3:33 PM NST


Sheesh!

What a mess, I'd say just drop the whole thing and be done with it!
by contessa on October 5, 2021 8:14 PM NST


I have a feeling that NFT won't last much longer, given their bad behavior. Hopefully it goes down the drain where it belongs.
Recklesse, I wouldn't be surprised.
I just wish Neo was owned by Neo! I feel sad for what Neo's going through but I'm certain we'll get through this and Neo will survive! We've been through tough times before on Neo we can do it again.
by cay on October 5, 2021 10:39 PM NST


This whole debacle is disgraceful... Drop the whole thing before more people get hurt!
by kirkeyressa on October 5, 2021 11:38 PM NST


I'm guessing a handful of executives are banking on it being their retirement fund. That's why they won't drop it.
by recklesse on October 6, 2021 4:16 AM NST


I'm really not following what an NFT is or how it is something I'd want to buy xD

This sounds like a MESS. But good to see Neopia is still alive and drama filled.
by xoxofate on October 6, 2021 7:54 AM NST


“…I'm certain we'll get through this and Neo will survive! We've been through tough times before on Neo we can do it again.”

Yay! 👏😁
by 1jediboy on October 6, 2021 12:05 PM NST


I would like to say I'm bewildered at how a company can be so incompetent but Neopets has never bothered to listen to it's customer base, well not for many years. If only they have listened to customers this site would be thriving still.

Now all I see is the top people trying to make a quick buck off this site. Anyone fooled into anything differently is exactly why they are getting away with this. I'm glad JN and other sites are standing up to this nonsense.
by tycooncorb on October 6, 2021 4:18 PM NST


Lol at the basic green uni they released on twitter and think it could make them money. Tells you how desperate they are!
by cay on October 6, 2021 7:35 PM NST


It sure tells the story of this entire, pathetic project and the minds that approved it.

What an absolute disaster. What a sad, slow demise for this site.
by infernodragon02 on October 6, 2021 9:37 PM NST


Fyora fudging faerie, just when you thought it couldn't get worse. I just....
by nobody on October 7, 2021 5:09 PM NST


I would delete my premium but I don't wanna lose my premium.

if anyone wants to hold one of my pets I will delete my premium for the nft rant thing. just dont steal my pet of feed it or anything. just leave it alone and ill pick it up when this is all over
by kwllolpop on October 8, 2021 2:59 PM NST


sorry typo. I mean I don't wanna lose my 7th neopet lol.
by kwllolpop on October 8, 2021 3:01 PM NST


i got somene to hold it for me and I already canceled my premium
by kwllolpop on October 9, 2021 1:14 PM NST


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