Skip to main content

Player wasn't discriminated against by being muted in an online game, US court says

Being muted in game isn't a civil rights violation.

As reported by PennLive, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has affirmed the district court's decision that a Pennsylvania man was not discriminated against by being "muted" in an online game.

Amro Elansari filed his original complaint against developer Jagex in July 2019, claiming they "violated his rights to free speech and due process of law." The suit was dismissed by the district court, a decision that has now been upheld by the appeals court for the 3rd Circuit.

Elansari was "muted" in an unnamed online game in March of 2019, according to his "largely handwritten" complaint, says PennLive. Given his suit names Jagex and that Elansari "claimed he had 2,000 hours invested in the game when he was booted out," it seems to follow that he had his account muted in some version of RuneScape.

According to RuneScape's support website, muted accounts are unable to "chat normally in RuneScape or post on our forums" but can still play the game and read the forums. Elansari originally appealed his account restriction with Jagex and was denied. In their opinion published January 22nd, the appeals court writes that Elansari claims he was discriminated against.

Elansari insists that defendant Jagex should be liable for “unequal treatment” because Elansari’s account was “muted . . . compared to all other players who are not muted.”

The appeals court says that Elansari has not named a "state actor" for his Fourteenth Amendment claim. His complaint under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was also dismissed with no evidence of a "public accommodations discrimination."

Even generously construing Elansari’s complaint to raise a claim of public accommodations discrimination and assuming that Elansari can bring such a claim in this context, at no point either in the District Court or on appeal has Elansari alleged losing access to Jagex’s online game due to discrimination based on any of the grounds protected by Title II.

PennLive reports that this is hardly a first for Elansari, who has a litigious streak. "Court records show Elansari has filed 10 lawsuits in U.S. Eastern District Court in last year and a half. He lodged four of them, including the Jagex suit, in July 2019 alone," they say.

As spotted by PCGamesN, Elansari has a Twitch channel where he plays Old School RuneScape. His channel description claims he was "suspended from law school for legalizing weed."

Read this next