Earlier this afternoon, the crumbling hate circus we call Twitter rolled out some much-needed changes to its abuse report feedback system. This was, and is, welcome news. But contained in Twitter Safety’s example image was a subtle clue that undermines the whimsical Mario-verse.
It seems Waluigi, dear readers, is a bigot.
These safety changes give aggrieved users of Twitter updates on how abuse reports are being processed, including a more transparent glimpse into the site’s response and what specific policies may have been broken by a reported user.
In the case of “Example User 1"—identified only by an image of the lanky Nintendo villain—Waluigi has apparently been using Twitter to post abusive information on his profile and tweet out hateful imagery. For reference, Twitter defines “hateful imagery” as:
logos, symbols, or images whose purpose is to promote hostility and malice against others based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.
In the greater Nintendo canon, Waluigi is clearly defined as an antagonist and a poor sport. But (given the opportunity, and the unfortunate incursion of social media into the Mushroom Kingdom) would Luigi’s nemesis really stoop to tweet gas chamber pepes and swastikas?
Like any researcher pressed for time, I turned to Wikipedia for a history of Big Daddy Purp’s misdeeds, which amounted to the following (emphasis ours):
He acts as the main antagonist in Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, in which he wreaks havoc in the Mushroom Kingdom by pilfering special objects called the Music Keys to hypnotize the world with his dancing, hoping to conquer it and spread chaos.
As far as dastardly plans go, even this one seems sort of... fun? And certainly not a scheme with any racial or religious hostility behind it. Clearly, Twitter knows something we don’t. As of press time, a user who appears to have adopted the @exampleuser1 handle after Twitter’s announcement simply stated, “I’m still here.”
We’ve reached out to Nintendo as an expert character witness on Waluigi’s behalf and will, like Twitter, update you as our investigation unfolds.
Update 1/10/18 4:22pm ET: Thoroughly tossing their second-most memorable villain under the bus, Nintendo’s only reply to Gizmodo was “we have nothing to announce on this topic.” Twitter might have been right to take action against Waluigi after all.