Nexus Mods, likely the most popular mod site on the planet and a place you’re definitely familiar with if you’ve ever had cause to tinker with a Bethesda game, has banned a user for attempting to mod a same-sex pairing out of Baldur’s Gate 3. Beware there are some very mild spoilers ahead for some act 2 characters.
Named Ser Aylin, the mod in question (via Eurogamer) affects the relationship between Ketheric’s daughter Isobel and the aasimar Dame Aylin. As you can probably guess from the name, it turned the latter into Ser Aylin, a “slightly more polite and male version” that also used AI to alter the character’s voice in a more masculine direction.
The mod’s description (which no longer exists on Nexus Mods, but has been archived on the Wayback Machine) reads politely enough, as though it was innocently uploaded by some naif who wasn’t quite aware of the implications that turning Aylin into a man carried. But users on the Baldur’s Gate 3 subreddit soon realised something fishy was going on.
In a post on the BG3 subreddit that currently has around 18,000 upvotes, a user named SignificanceNo2411 implored people not to use the Ser Aylin mod, calling it out as one part of a broader mod pack that attempts to comprehensively remove all traces of queerness from BG3 as a whole. Having looked at that mod pack myself, I can confirm that several of the images uploaded alongside the Ser Aylin mod are precisely the same as those in the pack. It certainly does seem like someone just took part of that deeply tedious pack and uploaded it for the purposes of a deeply tedious troll.
That seems to have been the conclusion Nexus Mods’ moderators came to as well. On December 4, barely a day after the mod’s addition to the Nexus, its creator was banned from Nexus Mods entirely. In a post on the Nexus Mods forums, the mods explained their decision with a statement that “We are for inclusivity, we are for diversity. If we think someone is uploading a mod on our site with the intent to deliberately be against inclusivity and/or diversity then we will take action against it. The same goes for people attempting to troll other users with mods deliberately to cause a rise.”
Pre-empting criticisms that refusing to host bigoted mods is a violation of free speech, the mods went on to explain that “Us removing a mod only means it cannot be found at Nexus Mods, nothing more, nothing less. As a private business, we have a right to choose what content we do and do not want to host on our platform,” before asking that users “respect this right the same way you want respect for your rights.”
A very similar situation to this happened in August last year, when the Nexus admins banned mods that replaced Spider-Man’s Pride flags with a statement that “if we think someone is uploading a mod on our site with the intent to deliberately be against inclusivity and/or diversity then we will take action against it.”