Father upset about video game taunting adopted children

Published: May. 17, 2011 at 7:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2011 at 7:07 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Controversy has erupted after a local father contacted WBTV and told us he was offended by a popular video game that appeared to make fun of adopted children.

The character in Portal 2, is taunted for being adopted: "Alright, fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty, fatty no parents."

Neal Stapel was playing the game with his 10 year old daughter, when he heard the comments. While he acknowledges it won't be a big deal to most, it is to their family.

"If you're not an adoptive parent it's probably not that big a deal to you," he said. "It's a fantastic game. It's a great game. It's just that one little blurb in there ."

Stapel and his wife adopted their daughter from China and say they've never  hidden the fact their child is adopted, they says they wanted to wait until she was ready to talk about.

"It throws the question, the most ultimate question that child is ever gonna have for you and it just throws it right in your living room," said Stapel.

But we got dozens of emails and comments after the story aired, mostly from the gaming community.

Many were outraged and said Stapel shouldn't have taken the joke so seriously.

"This is one line of hundreds in the game that are meant to be taken as funny, not serious," wrote one gamer. "It's a video game for goodness sake."

Others like Shaughn Cameron, criticized us for even doing the story. In email, he wrote,"what, exactly was anyone attempting to accomplish with such a ridiculous story. What exactly do you expect to change?"

We even heard back from folks in the adopted community like Brian Schneider who said, "as an adopted individual and someone that has played both Portal and Portal 2, I find nothing wrong with this game at all."

Regardless, other viewers said if the father's truly upset maybe he needs to talk to his child. Like this post from a guest on wbtv.com: "Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to talk to her about it - I mean, she is 10 years old, she can understand at this age."

While Stapel agreed, he didn't want the conversation to come about from a video game.

"But that one question is the one that did not need to come from a video game," he said. "It needed to come from her or from us."

WBTV contacted Sony, who we thought distributed the game. As it turns out they only make Portal 2 available on their console.  They told us to contact Valve, the company that  created the game.

We emailed the company's human resource department and left several voicemails but have yet to hear back from them.

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