Normally, a fedora-wearing neckbeard making bigoted comments on Twitter wouldn’t be newsworthy. However, this neckbeard happens to be a billionaire and the creator of the second best-selling game of all time: Minecraft. Enter Markus “Notch” Persson.
Notch, a programmer from Sweden, first revealed Minecraft publicly in 2009 on small forums. Over the next few years, the game gained significant mainstream popularity, becoming a cultural phenomenon akin to Pokémon’s peak in the ’90s. Notch founded the company Mojang with the money earned from Minecraft, which handled the development of the game. In 2014, Notch sold Mojang and the Minecraft IP to Microsoft for a staggering $2.5 billion.
Since the Microsoft deal, Notch is no longer involved in Minecraft’s development. He is nonetheless closely associated with Minecraft, as Microsoft no doubt fears.
Having a few billion dollars and apparently nothing to do, Notch spends most of his time on Twitter posting hateful messages and supporting far-right conspiracy theories. A few gems of his include:
Criticizing the concept of racial privilege:
(protip: believing in race based privilege needing to be checked fits the literal definition of racism)
— notch (@notch) November 30, 2017
Mocking LGBT pride parades and inciting violence in a now-deleted tweet that read (without asterisks):
“If you’re against the concept of a #HeterosexualPrideDay, you’re a complete f***ing c**t and deserve to be shot”
Propagating the insane Pizzagate conspiracy theory:
(pizzagate is real)
— notch (@notch) August 25, 2017
Promoting the 4chan-originated deep state QAnon conspiracy:
Q is legit. Don’t trust the media.
— notch (@notch) March 2, 2019
Despite Notch not having any current involvement in the development or promotion of Minecraft, Microsoft has recently stepped up in trying to distance themselves from the developer. As of a March 2019 update, Notch’s name no longer appears in any of Minecraft’s splash screens (though his name still appears in the credits).
Now, as Minecraft approaches its 10th anniversary, Microsoft is planning to celebrate the milestone with a press event at Mojang’s Stockholm headquarters. The event will feature developers and community members who were essential to Minecraft’s history, though Notch himself did not receive an invitation. Microsoft released a statement on the matter:
“His comments and opinions do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang and are not representative of Minecraft.”
Minecraft shows no signs of slowing down, but don’t expect to see Notch let anywhere near it anytime soon.