Annie Duke has penned an open letter slamming PokerStars for their defense of Daniel Negreanu’s use of the word cunt in reference to Ms. Duke. (Ironically, Danny used the phrase in support of the right of other women to play in the WSOP Ladies Event without being put off by guys in drag.) PokerStars chose to defend their pro Danny on First Amendment grounds, but Annie thinks the use of the word cunt is indefensible.
We here at CalvinAyre.com like Annie. She’s a fine poker player and a great humanitarian. We also like Danny. The poker universe would be a poorer place without the pair of them in it. So let’s forget the personalities for a second and focus on the offending word, shall we?
There’s no doubt that uttering the word cunt can be akin to tossing a live hand grenade onto the dinner table. But could the potentially visceral reaction to the use of the word also be considered sexist? Think of it this way — would guys get all that bent out of shape if a woman called them a dick? Possibly, but we doubt many of these guys would view the term as intentionally sexist, even though, like the c-word, dick can be a reference to a sexual organ. Would it have been considered less offensive if Danny had referred to Annie as an asshole? Possibly, but somehow, despite the universal ‘everybody’s got one’ deal, asshole has taken on a purely masculine persona. Even more puzzlingly, in the UK, cunt is just as often an insult hurled at men, by men. Confused yet?
Annie does make a good point, however, in that if you type the word cunt into a PokerStars chat box, their software automatically changes the word into ****. In other words, PokerStars is defending Danny’s absolute right to use a word that they themselves regard as verboten when it might get them into legal trouble. (Considering what else goes on right under their noses, this vigilance comes as something of a surprise.) Viewed this way, PokerStars’ stance is more than a bit hypocritical, which makes them, in our view, a bunch of dumb cunts. Read Annie’s letter here.