Game and software developer with 20 years of experience, CEO and founder of Stardock.
Stardock lawsuits and Kotaku’s coverage
In August 2012, Brad Wardell’s company Stardock filed a lawsuit against a former employee over her supposed participation in damaging the production of the 2010 game Elemental https://archive.today/Jshoz. On its article about this, Kotaku’s Kate Cox brought up a past lawsuit from 2010 when the same employee accused Wardell of sexual harassment https://archive.today/JTUza. The article went on to draw conclusions about Stardock’s lawsuit having an ulterior, retaliatory nature.
When Kotaku published its one-sided article accusing Stardock’s Brad Wardell of sexual harassment, Ben Kuchera, then at Penny Arcade Report, “signal-boosted” Kotaku’s article https://web.archive.org/web/20130827020524/http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/brad-wardell-of-stardock-sued-for-sexual-harassment-with-some-pretty-damnin. As the URL shows, the original name of Kuchera’s link was called “Stardock CEO Brad Wardell sued for sexual harassment, with some pretty damning evidence”. The latter part was soon edited to “some heavy allegations” as it became clear that Kotaku’s article was heavily flawed, drawing all its accusations from one side of the litigation, namely that of Wardell accuser, and had never sought Wardell to hear his side of the story.
Both lawsuits were later dismissed with prejudice upon a settlement that involved the former employee issueing a public apology https://archive.today/STvyf, and Kotaku updated the original article to add this fact https://archive.today/jIiw8.
Wardell has since then claimed on his personal blog and Twitter that Kotaku’s article was badly researched and one-sided to the point where it caused distress to his family. During Gamergate, as part of a series of interviews with developers, The Escapist talked to Wardell Page 1, page 2, page 3, who provided further information on the results of the lawsuits and Kotaku’s article, among other topics concerning GG, claiming that his immediate family was harassed and to this day his and his company’s reputations are undeservedly tarnished because of Kotaku’s article.
He further delved into the matter on more in-depth posts on his blog https://archive.today/soMBN.
Apologies from the media
So far, there have been only two apologies directed at Wardell regarding his slandering by the media.
One was by James Fudge, member of the now-closed GameJournoPros list and editor of GamePolitics https://archive.today/ejbOU. It was among of the sites that echoed the initial one-sided allegations against Wardell in 2012 https://archive.today/9POHM.
The other apology came from Damion Schubert, developer and vocal anti-GG blogger https://archive.today/1NLM0. Although having never a member of the press himself, he apologized for not being critical of Kotaku’s claims, which he condemned.
On 2 December 2014, Wardell was accused by Zoe Quinn of offering a job to the artist of Shredded Moose, who drew a pornographic strip involving her, clearly implying that said job offer was because of said cartoon and a shared bias as both of them have pro-GG views https://archive.today/YHBhU https://archive.today/tNjVB. The fact that the supposed offer happened on 1 November, over a month before she complained on Twitter, later compounded claims of ill will, discussed at teh end of the article.
Wardell refuted both accusations, stating that he didn’t offer a job but merely stated to the artist in question that his company was accepting applications, and pointed out that he extended the same invitation to Quinn herself a year before. He further stated that he routinely tells people who express interest in games in Twitter that they can apply to Stardock.
Later in the day, Wardell said he wasn’t aware that the pornographic strip existed https://archive.today/AExhJ https://archive.today/Q7lfU https://archive.today/lDubh https://archive.today/DkXTY https://archive.today/srnrX, as the artist deleted it from his site soon after publishing it months ago, and the remaining strips aren’t graphical https://archive.today/aZrph.
As the argument escalated, Quinn referenced back to the sexual harassment case discussed in the sections above, and some of Quinn’s friends and journalists weighed in, including John Walker from Rock Paper Shotgun https://archive.today/jzcNs https://archive.today/QcMLa https://archive.today/OfWxp, Jim Sterling https://archive.today/SMu2S, Ian Miles Cheong https://archive.today/VR1v9, Brianna Wu https://archive.today/udYoZ, Chris Kluwe https://archive.today/hsBxW https://archive.today/G5VXi, Arthur Chu https://archive.today/V5ASk and Alex Lifschitz https://archive.today/EfYTR https://archive.today/twDIz.
As mentioned before, Wardell wasn’t even aware of the offending stip until after this blew up https://archive.today/AExhJ https://archive.today/Q7lfU https://archive.today/lDubh https://archive.today/DkXTY https://archive.today/srnrX https://archive.today/SKuZd https://archive.today/4JVQg https://archive.today/98T5H https://archive.today/1V5NM https://archive.today/1aool:
Wardell claims ill will from Quinn
Wardell claims that Quinn hasn’t displayed any good will, as demonstrated by a conversation from 2013, altho it took place before the suits Wardell was involved in were dismissed https://archive.today/y9dJZ. However, Quinn brought these claims up again in her 2 December accusations. Compounded by the fact that the supposed “job offer” had happened a month before on 1 November, and that Wardell wasn’t even aware f the offending strip until this blew up, it seems this was a wholly false accusation created to garner attention and smear Brad Wardell’s reputation further.
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