Games Workshop released a statement on November 19th condemning hate groups, their ideology and insignias after a recent Warhammer 40,000 tournament in Spain allegedly ignored a team whose member wore clothing bearing Nazi symbols.
GT Talavera, which took place in early November, is one of the larger tournament events in the Spanish Warhammer scene and garnered a fair number of teams and single entrants for competition. As the community and several notable influencers in the hobby noted, a member of one team was photographed at the event with swastikas and other Nazi imagery on their shirt and jacket.
Allegedly, the individual entered under the name “Pintor Austriaco”, or Austrian painter. Several opponents refused to play against them and were forced to forfeit by the event’s organisers, yet the individual was not removed from the event. This perceived inaction from GT Talavera staff and organisers angered many in the community who claim neo-Nazis and alt-right elements have long existed in the hobby without consequence.
Rob Baer published an editorial to enthusiast news site Spikybits on November 17th, attempting to break down the tournament’s events. Baer later updated the piece with a response from the Warhammer 40k club who organized GT Talavera, “El cobrador del waaagh”. It unequivocally condemned “the Nazi mentality in all its aspects” but said that expelling the individual would have involved calling the police.
“At this point we want to emphasize that in Spain it is not a crime to display Nazi symbols as long as it is not accompanied by criminal conduct,” the club told Baer. “Instead if the organization expels to this person for his deplorable ideas (Nazism), it is the organization that is committing a crime of ideological discrimination and it could perfectly denounce us and would have the law on its side. At that moment we find ourselves tied hand and foot.”
The response goes on to claim that future tournaments will attempt to provide organisers the tools and resources needed to expel members of extremist hate groups from their wargaming events, a sentence that is as odd to write as it is likely to read. Baer goes on to cite rules regarding cosplay at official Games Workshop conventions and other events as places where hate speech and symbols on clothing are already explicitly outlined.
Games Workshop’s recent statement and the fallout reiterated that point, saying: “If you come to a Games Workshop event or store and behave to the contrary, including wearing the symbols of real-world hate groups, you will be asked to leave. We won’t let you participate. We don’t want your money. We don’t want you in the Warhammer community.”
It continues by calling on other event organisers - AdeptiCon, Blood & Glory and the Las Vegas Open were specifically named - to join the company in its stance. Games Workshop, which also handles 40k’s fantasy sibling Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, often refrains from commenting on community movements in such a direct manner. Many players have engaged in an ongoing boycott campaign responding to a number of factors - employee salaries; the limited-time, FOMO-inducing pre-order model for miniatures; and a general increase in prices. So far, Games Workshop has refrained from acknowledging these frustrations.
Dicebreaker reached out to Games Workshop to ask what resources and proactive steps it might take to curtail another GT Talavera but did not hear back in time for publication.