US court decides that being muted in a game is not a violation of human rights, sorry

In this week’s edition of News That Shouldn’t Even Be News Because It’s Like Totally Obvious But Apparently Not So Much To Some People, a federal district court in Pennsylvania has dumped a discrimination claim by streamer (and serial litigator) Amro Elansari against Runescape developer Jagex, alleging that an in-game mute issued for “no reason” constituted a violation of his human rights.

A Runescape account mute prohibits a player from communicating with others, but doesn’t stop them actually playing the game. Although the incident that resulted in the mute has not been disclosed, Runescape’s terms of service include this as a consequence of “serious rule breaking”. So use your imagination.

According to Elansari’s original complaint, filed last July and citing his “2000 hours+ invested” in the game, the mute was “denied appeal” by Runescape mods – so, instead of stopping to think about what kind of bad choices got him into the situation (like, I dunno, being a Runescape player in 2019), he sued Jagex.

The thing about free speech in the US, though, is that it doesn’t apply to private (non-government) companies like video game developers. As such, the case is a bust.

“Elansari has made no allegations indicating that any named defendant is a state actor,” the court explains in its dismissal, and discrimination doesn’t count on the basis of being an entitled brat. Who, incidentally, has also previously filed a class action lawsuit against online dating app Tinder claiming that its users are fake, lol.

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