Brianna Wu

Indie developer.


False claim of being driven out of her home

In the Gamergate controversy, Brianna Wu had been one of many ordinary people voicing their opinions, which in her case are firmly against it.

On 10 October 2014, she claimed that she had been driven out of her home by threats from Gamergate supporters, specifically pointing to a series of tweets by @chatterwhiteman [1] [2], an account seemingly created just for that reason [3]

The fact that it’s an easily made troll, the lack of any visible connection with Gamergate, the fact that Wu had already made a sockpuppet account before by the name of @BROLOLZ [4] [5] and the posterior proof that her claims of being driven out of her home led to suspicions of @chatterwhiteman being a false flag or even made by Wu herself [6] [7], but that remains purely conjectural. Of note however is that from the start, Gamergate supporters on twitter have criticized @chatterwhiteman and reported him.

This was followed by an outpouring of support and massive coverage by both the gaming and mainstream presses. The result was an immensely raised profile for someone who had until then being a minor mobile game developer, and now made headlines in local, national and international media, from specialist sites about videogames to global news outlets. See below for a noninclusive list.

In 11 December 2014, a Kotaku in Action thread [8] and the results of digging by anonymous people [9] pointed to two important facts that demonstrate she seems to have never left her house to begin with.

Proof of lying about being driven away from home

1) Her own photos and videos always show the same house

Redditors noticed a pattern that the video interviews featuring Wu. The ones shot immediately after the weekend she claimed she left her house showed the same furniture and mansonry details as the ones shoot before or long after that weekend [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] In other words, in the days following her supposed expulsion, she was back on her home, even as news outlets claimed she was still away [19] [20]

2) She had long planned to be away in the weekend she was “driven out”

Wu had divulged her claim to have been forced out of her house on 10 October , just in time to attend the New York Comic Con as a guest in a panel titled The Mary Sue Presents – All on the Table [21] on the same weekend, at 12 October. Her presence there was further confirmed [22] [23] In her own Twitter, she stated that she had agree to attend back as far back as 16 September [24]

Wu’s retort

In her defense, Wu made a series of tweets claiming that the accusations of her lying about the incident were false [25] According to her, she went back to her house in order to shoot interviews because that’s where her computer still was, stating that the presence of journalists made her feel secure enough. Made explicitly is the claim that this was in accordance with what police had advised her.


However, these claims contradict what she stated eaelier to [26]

Wu did confirm that she briefly returned home to “make sure nothing had been vandalized and to pick up some computer equipment,” but added that she’s “not planning on being home for a while.”

More importantly, she made a false claimregarding the police’s advice. Standard police procedure in the USA is to advise victims of death threats to never return to their home soon after the threats were made unless in the presence of law enforcement. Thus, her claims of acting on police advice and thinking a “camera crew” would ensure safety are in direct contradiction.

Actual harassment

In these same series of tweets where she defends herself of the charge of lying about leaving her home, she mentions pictures of her house circulating. This referred especifically to the work of Youtube e-celeb PressFartToContinue, who, in the days following the discovery of Wu’s deceit, made a post on Medium showing various shots of her adress [27]

Although the information is all available to the public, PressFartToContinue’s Medium post was censored and he had several Twitter accounts deleted. The post proved to be ultimately pointless as well, as the information he had drawn contributed nothing to the matter of whether or not Wu lied about leaving her home.

List of news regarding the incident

A noninclusive list of articles reporting Wu’s claim of expulsion from home follows, roughly in order of publication according to Google News. It’s worth noting that they don’t include follow-up articles that use her claim in order to build diatribes against Gamergate or “nerd culture” or any other ancillary topics. To this day these accusations are still made despite the proof that she never left her home, and the sheer amount of articles that repeat her disproven claim of victimhood are far too numerous to list.

Among these various articles, various other factoids and fabrications surface, such as Wu having being hacked and doxxed (her address, posted by @chatterwitheman, is publicly available), Eron Gjoni having claimed his ex-girlfriend Zoe Quinn slept with gaming journalists in order to get good press (a claim he didn’t make, even in The Zoe Post) etc.

Supporting censorship

Following the effective ban of indie game Hotline Miami 2 in Australia [28], Wu joined the ranks of anti-gamer personalities who justify or excuse censorship of videogames she dislikes [29]



Lack of disclosure in coverage and award


Macintosh-focused gaming site iMore has promoted Revolution 60, a game made by Brianna Wu’s studio, Giant Spacekat, on several occasions without ever displaying any disclosure, despite the fact that Wu is friends with several members of the site’s staff, including the editor.

The articles published include a glowing review [30], a blatant ad in the form of an article (“Revolution 60 is delightful kickassary you need to download right now!”) [31], her participation in several podcasts [32] [33] [34], and naming Revolution 60 the iOS Action Game of the Year 2014 [35] Following her false claim of being driven out of her home, she was again the subject of a friendly article [36]

Wu is friends with Rene Ritchie [37] [38], Peter Cohen [39] [40] and Serenity Caldwell [41] [42], respectively the editor-in-chief, managing editor for Mac and managing editor for iOS at iMore [43]

In her gloating tweets about the award Revolution 60 received, her prior connection to iMore is glossed over [44] [45] [46]


Brianna Wu contributed an article to Macworld [47], and weeks later, her game was publicized as “the most ambitious iOS game you’ll play this year” [48] The author of the article, Serenity Caldwell [49] [50], does mention being in a podcast with Wu, but fails to mention their friendship and Wu’s contribution to Macworld.

Cancelled interview with Milo Yiannopoulos and attempting to crowdfund a trip

In the immediate days following her claim of being driven away from her house, she was in talks with journalist Milo Yiannopoulos in order to have an interview and hopefully bridge the gap caused by the controversy. As the arranged interview was cancelled to to Wu being unresponsive, Yiannopoulos aired his grievance and released made public some details of the planned interview [51] [52] [53]

According to Yiannopoulos, he gave signs of good faith by allowing her to discuss the questions to be asked beforehand and to pre-record the interview so it could be edited if she requested. Wu initially was receptive, but as the marked date approached, she did not respond, and the interview had to be cancelled. Yiannopoulos claims that initially he thought it wasn’t her fault, seeing as she was under duress (as this was long before anyone had doubts about the false nature of her claims of persectuion) and was busy with various media appointments. However, as he saw her multiple media appearances, he became convinced that she was deliberately fanning the flames of controversy and had no intention of debating.

Two items Yiannopoulos revealed of his correspondence with Wu are particularly telling.

The first one is, she claimed that she originally made the same request of an interview to Adam baldwin, a game voice actor and voval Gamergate supporter, but that he had declined. According to Yiannopoulos, that turned out to be false, as Baldwin had proposed to talk when she was at Los Angeles.

The second one detail of their correspondence is that Wu spoke privately of crowdfunding an event where people both against and pro Gamergate could meet. In other words, people would pay for Wu, Yiannopoulos and potentially other people to travel to a chosen place (Wu suggested San Francisco, a notably expensive city), stay lodged at an hotel and have dinner in order to discuss the controversy. When Yiannopoulos wrote back that he was uncomfortable with the idea of crowdfunding it ad would rather they pay for it themselves, she didn’t write further.

Admitting to and underplaying privilege

As with many other social justice advocates, privilege is a common target of her criticism [54] But having openly admitted to have come from an extremely privileged family [55][56] before the Gamergate controversy.

However, since then, Wu has become dismissive of her privilege, going as far as saying that receiving the hand out from her parents as “[her] initiative” [57] In a common theme among Gamergate’s detractors, she attributed the criticisms against her as misogyny rather than acknowledge any hypocrisy on her part on the matter of privilege [58]

Wu later tried to downplay it when talking to a GG supporter [59][60][61] Other Twitter users followed her comments by pointing out her hypocrisy [62][63]


On 15 October 2014, still caught in the furor of the publicity stunt of her false claim of expulsion from home, Brianna Wu tweeted frequently to admonish people and organizations as not being diverse enough. Intending to accuse the Swedish developer DICE, she tweeted such an accusation against @diceeurope [64], which actually belongs to a small British produce import company [65]

This gave origin to the Gamerfruit meme [66], which led to one of Gamergate’s charity campaigns. It collected US$2,095.00 for the benefit of Action Against hunger USA [67]


Interview with David Pakman

For more information regarding reactions to Wu’s interview with Pakman, please see David Pakman’s page.

On 27 October 2014, Brianna Wu became the first person interviewed by journalist David Pakman in a series of talks with Gamergate-related personalities.

Wu considered Pakman, who had so far not made any pronunciations on Gamergate, of being biased against her. During the interview itself, at about the 20:52 mark, she accuses Pakman of running a hit piece on her [68]

Totalbiscuit commented on this on the Youtube, stating that she seemed to expect the interview to be a platform for her to uncritically expose her side and was surprised when Pakman contested her claims and put her on the spotlight:


Soon after the interview, Wu took to Twitter to further her criticism of Pakman, whom she claimed was putting her “on trial” for being a victim [69], fitting with the anti-GG narrative that casts Gamergate as a harassment campaign:


She ends her diatribe by announcing she will “answer all these tough question [sic]” soon in an interview with journalist Glenn Fleishman [70], with whom she was friends, and both donate to each other’s Patreons. See the appropriate section for more information.

Milo Yiannopoulos gets involved

Yiannopoulos took umbrage at supposed lies about him that Wu said in Pakman’s interview [71] [72] [73] This eventually led to more misunderstangs, explained on their respective pages.

Wu speaks out again

Following the drama after Pakman’s conversation with Zoe Quinn on 31 December, Wu again voiced criticism towards Pakman’s neutrality, accusing him of egocentrism and making this “about him”, which Pakman refuted [74]



Interview with Glenn Fleishmann and lack of disclosure

In the same day of her interview with Pakman, Wu accused of running a hit piece on her and announced she would “answer all these tough question [sic]” in an interview with Glenn Fleishman [75]

A few facts not mentioned in that Twitter conversation are that Fleishman is a friend of Wu’s since before Gamergate or the “Quinnspiracy” controversy that preceded it [76] [77] and donated to the Kickstarter of her game Revolution 60 [78], whereas Wu has collaborated twice to Fleishman’s publication, The Magazine [79] [80] and donated to two of his Kickstarters [81] Thus Fleishman’s bias in the interview is a foregone conclusion [82], as was his open stance against Gamergate as whole [83]


Kickstarter and Patreon misuse

to 30

The expected release date given was August 2014, but the PC and Mac ports remain unreleased, and there was no clarification on the status of their development, until December 2014, when Wu launched a Patreon campaign.

According to her Patreon page [85], one of the reasons of the Patreon is to help her shipping the PC port of Revolution 60 by “[hiring] someone to work at GSX to help deal with harassment, and assist GSX in shipping Revolution 60 PC, Cupcake Crisis and further the work of women in tech.” An important and undisclosed detail is that the new employee’s goal is to collect evidence of internet harassment, seeing as she is under no physical threat, as her lie about being expelled from her home on 10 October 2014 shows.

Attempting to crowdfunding a trip to discuss Gamergate

This is explained more in the appropriate section in this page.



Virulently dismissing a professional’s criticism

One of Brianna Wu’s main topics of conversation is how women are underrepresented in videogames. When confronted with facts that contradicted her alarmist notions by veteran developer David Galiel, she proceeded to get extremely defensive and dismissed the criticism as “mansplaining”, not knowing about his experience in the field [86], and told him to “shut your mouth” [87] Galiel has later made his point in a Storify, showing Wu further trying to silence criticism by evoking identity politics and ad hominem fallacies [88]

According to his company’s site [89], David Galiel worked pro bono “as Advisor to the Founder/Executive Director and the Board of Directors of the nonprofit Chicktech from 2012 to 2014″. Chicktech is a Portland-based organization that fosters the participation of women in technology careers.

Videogame can cause rape

Source [90]


Self-victimizing over videogame violence

Source [91] [92]


“[I am] now one of the best known devs in the world”

Source [93]


Spurious accusations and self-victimization


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Ernest W. Adams

Founder of the International Game Developer Association and veteran game developer.


IGDA’s stated mission

IGDA claims to “serv[e] all invididuals creating games” and states in itself: “Mission: To advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community” [1]


Ernest Adams, founder of IGDA [2] altho not holding an official position, often speaks on the subject of defense of game developers. His authoritative stance in the community adds gravity to the issues where he has placed against against IGDA’s own stated goal.

Threat of blacklisting by founder

On 24 October 2014 threatening supporters of Gamergate [3] He argued that he was not threatening anyone by itself but merely saying that other professionals in the industry would remember who supported Gamergate. However, his support of the narrative that paints GG as a harassment campaign implies that GG supporters are by definition harassers and thus all of them warrant discrimination. This led to charges of blacklisting [4]

He has since deleted the controversial tweet.


Justifying censorship of games

One of IGDA’s stated goals is to fight censorship against games, a point which Adams has reiterated [5] However, as the game Hatred was removed from Steam’s Greenlight service and several industry figures made thinly disguised defenses of its censoring, Adams made use of the old fallacy that only the government has the power to enact censorship [6]


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Daniel Vávra

Game developer, vocal supporter of Gamergate.


Criticism of Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Upon the announcement and beginning of the crowdfunding effort for the first game of Vávra’s Warhorse Studios, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, in early 2014, the developers found themselves amidst a minor controversy around the lack of non-white characters and possibly no female playable characters. [1] [2] People arguing for or against social justice issues focused on whether, as the original article pointed out:

it’s still plausible for Kingdom Come not to feature any characters of color, particularly since, as one of its developers pointed out to a potential Kickstarter backer, the game takes place over a mere 9 square kilometers of land. Effectively, “historical accuracy” can be used to support both sides of the argument.

The blog MedievalPOC, which had been dragged into the debate, responded to the previous quote [3]

That’s totally true.

Which is why I’m trying to emphasize the fact that these were conscious choices made by the game developers, not some kind of force beyond their control. Nothing was stopping them from including people of color aside from their own choices.

The problem comes into focus when the developers make these kind of claims:

Warhorse called its system, “the ultimate character customization tool ever invented,” and added that your gear will get bloody and dirty as you slog your way through battles, and that many parameters of an avatar’s body can be altered.

That’s a pretty hefty claim to make along with the total exclusion of women and people of color.

In an interview with Tech Raptor [4] in September 2014, as the Gamergate debacle was ongoing, Vávra said his opinions on the topic, among others:

[Tech Raptor:] Will the GamerGate issue have any real effect on your approach to your upcoming game, Kingdom Come: Deliverance? That could be changing a character, a story, or part of the world.

[Daniel Vávra:] No. We had a strong playable female character before all this started. We have gay characters in the game, and we have different minorities in the game, because all I want is to have a mature, strong story. A story that I wanted to tell for years, and I am not going to change it because of outside pressure.


Claim of blacklisting and stifling of speech

Vávra had in the past voiced concerns about him and his company being blacklisted from the vastly anti-Gamergate gaming press.


In the aforementioned interview with Tech Raptor, he especifically said about certain critics:

And they will never be happy. If you don’t have a gay character in your game, you are homophobic, if you do have gay character in your game, you are homophobic, because they don’t like the character. If women in your game look good, you are sexist, if they look bad, you are sexist, if you can fight with them, you are misogynistic, if you can’t fight with them, you are using them as objects, if you don’t have any women, because there is no correct way how to have them, you are misogynistic.

It’s a witch hunt and it’s affecting my artistic freedom.

However, there’s a lack of proof of how his freedom was actually stifled. Developer David Scott Jaffe, who has long been a vocal critic of the videogame press, mentioned how he himself had yet to see how bad criticism from journalists and bloggers was affecting developers’ freedom [5], with Vávra’s case being one of his examples altho not by name.

More substantially, Reddit user wideawekened has demonstrated that the claims of blacklisting of Kingdom Come: Deliverance to be provably false [6]


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Zoe Quinn

Indie game developer.



The controversy that preceded Gamergate, brung about by the personal revelations by her ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni on 16 August 2014 in the form of a WordPress-hosted blog called The Zoe Post [1] The fact that the “Five Guys” Gjoni refers to are all involved in the videogame industry or it’s ancillary press gave rise in internet communitites to many accusations of cronyism and corruption, most of them spurious. This is a great factor in the accusations of harassment and misogyny leveled at this episode and the subsequent Gamergate debacle

Two of these men didn’t have their names revealed by Gjoni because he claimed they didn’t know Quinn was in a relationship at the time they got involved with her. Since then, rumor has pinned these men as indie developers Kyle Pulver and Brandon McCartin. However, there’s no evidence towards this, and Pulver claimed innocence in his personal Twitter [2], but the rumors surrounding the two has persisted, in large part thanks to Youtube videos who used as sources information cribbed largely from anonymous imageboard 4chan [3]

Of the three named men among the “Five Guys”, one was Joshua Boggs, an nidie game developer, soon before he hired her, according to Gjoni’s tell-all.

The last two men however had jobs with possible conflicts of interest with Quinn, which are discussed in their own pages: Nathan Grayson and Robin Arnott.

Gjoni went on to be portrayed by Quinn’s acquantances and sympathetic media as a “jilted ex-boyfriend”, despite the evidence he provided, in the form of many chatlogs, pointing towards him being on the receiving end of an abusive relationship.

Before The Zoe Post was published

Gjoni has stated that before publishing The Zoe Post as a blog, he tried to post them the forums at both Penny Arcade and Something Awful [4] He chose those sites as they had a positive view of Quinn, thus minimizing chances of harassment towards her while hopefully allowing him to say. However, as he explains it:

[Penny Arcade’s] SocialEntropy++ subforum deleted the thread within 5 minutes of posting. Something Awful sent it to the comedy gas chamber within 20 minutes of posting, until a mod read it there and realized how much it was not funny and deleted like hell.

Someone on Something Awful alerted Zoe on twitter within an hour of the deletion. At which point I knew shit was about to hit the fan, and set up the wordpress so that I could control the primary source of information in case people started twisting things it was saying.

Later it surfaced that it was his friend Rachel M, who had been closely following the nascent debacle, who suggested he posted it to a site of his own. See the section below about Rachel M.

Quinn’s Facebook response

Soon after Gjoni’s “The Zoe Post” went online, Quinn posted the following message on her Facebook, according to LPer Broteam Pill [5]

Among uncorroborated claims about Gjoni (schizoidal, death threats, spreading The Zoe Post via 4chan etc.), fabrications (the “nude photos provided by a different shitty ex” were actually pornographic pictures she was paid for. See the subsection below about Mallorie Nasrallah), exaggerations (men accused of rose things having the benefit of skepticism, despite the cases of Brad Wardell) and a few correct claims (she was indeed harassed by anonymous parties as Gjoni’s revelations spread through the internet), she repeats several pleas for no one to look into Gjoni’s accusations and asking for “radio silence” (which found echo among journalist friends, as seen in the GameJournoPros list).

Other pre-Quinnspiracy accusations

Sexual harassment

The day after Gjoni’s revelation, indie developer Wolfgang Wozniak came forward on Twitter accusing Quinn of having sexually harassed him at a mutual friends’ wedding earlier the same year. Wozniak was subsequently heavily criticized by Zoe Quinn’s friends. Quinn’s critics pointed out that this seems to constitute a clear instance of victim blaming, something which the circle of internet activists defending Quinn claims to be against.

Wozniak has since deleted the accusations and throughly apologized to Quinn.


Sabotage of The Fine Young Capitalists


As the arguments progressed, there surfaced a new claim of malfeasance surrounding Quinn. Reddit user Matthew Rappard a.k.a. SillySladar, spokesman for the feminist-guided game development event called The Fine Young Capitalists, wrote on the day following Gjoni’s revelation that Quinn intentionally sabotaged TFYC’s because it was a rival to her own project called Rebel Game Jam, stonewalled their efforts to clear matters and doxxed him [6] The original post has since been edited to point to a Soundcloud recording of the accusations [7] He has since clarified that it was Quinn’s friend and possible PR agent Maya Alexander Kramer [8] who did the actual doxxing, tho that post has since then been deleted [9] A previous post of his from 23 July 2014 mentioned Quinn sabotage without naming culprits [10]

Quinn has since misrepresented her role in sabotaging TFYC, and has claimed to have no professional relation with Maya Alexander Kramer [11] despite evidence to the contrary. There has also surfaced a rumor that Maya Alexander Kramer, like Robin Arnott, was involved with Indiecade 2013’s highlight of Depression Quest. However, she isn’t listed in any capacity for the 2013 event, only for the 2014 edition. [12]

BwzsS-IIYAAv5fX.png large

These allegations against Quinn drove considerable donations to TFYC‘s crowdfunding campaign [13]–2, with the main collective source of donations by far being 4chan’s videogame board, /v/ [14], which is often accused by Gamergate detractors of misogyny. SlillySladar argued at length about the topic on the project’s blog, while pointing out that the gaming press had been less than forthcoming with their requests for coverage.

On 25 August, Quinn made a series of tweets where she denied all of Matthew Rappard’s accusations and claimed he privately admitted to not being doxxed by her and that she had documents to back up all of it, and included an offer for journalists to contact her to verify her claims [15] When asked about it on TFYC‘s blog, Matthew Rappard effectively claimed she was bluffing [16] On 15 October she posted the e-mails to Imgur [17], and the supposed admission of not being doxxed pictured below.


Mismanagement of Rebel Game Jam

Related to the TFYC debacle.

Zoe Quinn had been in the process of organizing her own gameing event called Rebel Game Jam since at least April 2014 [18] It has been criticized for its lack of transparency, since there’s no public details about it such as planned location and date, and whose donation form leads to Quinn’s personal Paypal as opposed to a company’s or organization’s [19]

Wizardchan abuse

As Gjoni’s accusations against Quinn were made public, members of 4chan remembered a previous controversy involving her.

In December 2013, soon after submitting Depression Quest to Steam Greenlight for a second time, Zoe Quinn alleged she was harassed by members of Wizardchan, an anonymous imageboard dedicated to adult male virgins. According to her, poster from that site were offended that a woman would make a game about a condition she could not suffer from [20]

Members of Wizardchan contested the claims as cherry-picking two random anonymous posts and blowing them out of proportion since anyone can post these anonymously, as well as jumping to conclusions about a harassing phone call she claimed to receive. However, it’s impossible to know for sure so it becomes a matter of whose word you can trust.

The press provided massive support for Quinn [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28], and Depression Quest was accepted into Steam in the very next batch of greenlit titles [29]

Due to the nature of Wizardchan’s software, it is impossible for non-admin users to know where the abusive posts made against her came from, as they could be made by anyone. However, Fredrik Brennan, former owner of the site, claims that the abusive posts were made by out-of-site trolls and Zoe Quinn herself in an interview with Know Your Meme [30]

I was friends with the subsequent admin of Wizardchan, Glaive, who was in charge during the Zoë drama. The way it was described in the media is not the way that it happened at all. Many Wizardchan users are very depressed and have trouble even ordering pizza over the telephone, muchless calling someone they don’t know and making threats. The threatening posts made on Wizardchan were made by Zoë herself for attention and by trolls from other websites, as was confirmed by IP checks. Some media outlets recanted their story, but by then the damage was already done.

He does not corroborate, however, how he can be sure what Zoe Quinn’s personal IP was.

Another past acquantaince speaks out

Early October, photographer Mallorie Nasrallah posted on her Facebook page a past diatribe with Quinn [31] after having heard of the ongoing Gamergate debate. Although this episode isn’t related to videogames, it reinforces the notion that Quinn has an abusive personality despite being defended by so many within the gaming journalism business and indie dev industry.

A close friend of Eron Gjoni speaks out

Rachel M, a friend of Gjoni who closely followed the ensuing drama of the latter days of his relationship with Quinn, provided her account of their relationship [32], describing Quinn as fitting the profile of a manipulative personality.


Faking her own doxxing

On 19 August 2014, Quinn claimed to have been hackd and doxxed by 4chan’s /v/ board. However, evidence provided by Quinn pointed to her own claim being false [33] The personal data present in her dox turned out to be completely unrelated to her, and inconsistencies with her claims were spotted [34]


Soon after the publication of The Zoe Post, several gaming sites enforced bans on talking about “Quinnspiracy” at large. Some of that censorship came at the request of Zoe Quinn herself.


On 19 August 2014, gaming website Gamesnosh was contacted by their webhost requesting for an article about Zoe Quinn to be removed [35] [36] It was taken off air, but is currently back live.

MundaneMatt’s Youtube

On the same day, a video by MundaneMatt discussing the same subject was taken down from Youtube on DMCA grounds. It has since been re-uploaded [37] Later, mundameMatt confimed that the DMCA takedown request came from Zoe Quinn herself [38]

The spurious use of DMCA claims to censor a video on Youtube struck game reviewer TotalBiscuit as unethical [39]

Depression Quest forum on Steam store

Know Your Meme contributor Aquapendulum presented a screenshot showing him being banned from the discussion section of Depression Quest’s Steam store after making a post publicizing The Fine Young Capitalists after it surfaced that Zoe Quinn had sabotaged them [40] It makes sense that he would be banned for the post in question which indeed has nothing to do with Depression Quest at all, but what’s unusual is the ban reason, which simply states “abuse”, in another example of the narrative of harassment that is levelled at Quinn’s critics.



Still on 19 August, the aforementioned argument by TotalBiscuit [41], presented in a Twitlonger page, was posted to one of Reddit’s two main videogame subreddits, /r/gaming, and the topic was the target of massive post deletion by its mods [42] This further exacerbated concerns of censorship surrounding “Quinnspiracy”, especially seeing as one of the subreddit’s moderators, el_chupacupcake, spoke to Quinn about it.


In the ensuing mass of deleted posts, reports of bans and “shadowbans” trickled in [43] [44], including automated bans for users who visited 4chan at the same time as they posted on Reddit under a blanket accusation of brigading. These bans came not only from /r/gaming, but also from /r/games, which is the biggest subreddit for proper discussion of videogames, and other minor subreddits.

On roughly 23 or 24 August, the claims of systemic censorship on any topic related to “Quinnspiracy” were confirmed by an accidental leak of private chats of a /r/games moderator, XavierMendel, due to a his badly configured Puush account which made it public. It included several screenshots where he, under the the nickname of ‘Some Guy’, explained Zoe Quinn’s intervention and how the two main gaming subreddits came to enact blanket bans on the subject, and despite not stating his Reddit username he was soon identified and was demodded and banned from /r/games as well as private and publics IRC rooms related to the subreddit. [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] The leaked screenshots also include a link to a private message which Zoe Quinn had sent to the mod team of several gaming subreddits requesting a complete ban on the topic of “Quinnspiracy”.

Some important details according to these claims:

  • the mods of /r/gaming (among them, the aforementioned el_chupacupcake) catered to her request and enacted a ban
  • the mods of /r/games initially didn’t cater to her and allowed discussion so long as it didn’t involve dox, but were coerced into enacting a ban by Reddit admins (“I can share that they were being intentionally vague in what they were telling us. Never any ultimatums or orders. Just stuff like yeah we could allow this, and we may or may not consider it as you allowing doxxing to go on. The whole “nice account shame if something happened to it” routine”)
  • this also entailed ignoring requests by Eron Gjoni to simply be heard (when asked if he could share what Gjoni had said to the mod teams, XavierMendel stated: “We had to decline before he sent us anything. Sorry.”)
  • Reddit admins have full access to users’ private messages

Soon after being de-modded, XavierMendel shared his side of the story [50] [51] On 7 September, he also gave an informal interview [52]

From “Quinnspiracy” to Gamergate

On 28 August 2014, almost two weeks after the publication of The Zoe Post, a series of articles appeared in various gaming sites and blogs with the thematic of “gamers are dead”. These were made of invective against not just those who criticized or mocked the “Quinnspiracy” and those involved, but against gamers as a whole, thus turning the “Quinnspiracy” into Gamergate.

Please see the page on Leigh Alexander, the author of the first and more vicious article, for more information.

Litigation against Eron Gjoni

At an unprecise date, Zoe Quinn engaged in litigation against Eron Gjoni, who on 23 September 2014 requested for donations for legal services [53] Tho the donation page has since been removed, an archive remains [54] The court hearing happened on 30 September 2014 concerning an abuse prevention order filed by Quinn against Gjoni.


On 2 October 2014, Benjamin Hitov, a friend of Eron Gjoni, claimed to have been to the hearing and posted a thread on Reddit [55], saying that the hearing was severely flawed, with the judge being dismissive of the arguments from Gjoni’s side, the granting of an order of physical restraint based on false claims, and the issue of freedom speech curtailed by a court. Also noteworthy is that it was made clear the Quinn’s request was filed under the Massachusetts General Laws chapter 209A [56], which concerns the prevention of physical abuse, despite the basis of her claims were almost all related to harassment on the internet, which would fall under chapter 258E [57] instead.

On 16 October 2014, Buzzfeed published an interview with Gjoni, where among various parts of Gamergate, discussed the court proceedings [58] He soon posted the full transcript of the interview to his blog [59]

On 23 October, a scanned copy of Quinn’s affidavit surfaced. As claimed in the Reddit thread in 2 October, almost all of Quinn’s claims actually concern internet harassment instead of physical, and the claims that do mention physical harm had been debunked in that thread. This brings back the distinction between chapters 209A and 258E and why Quinn’s side chose the former.


Eron Gjoni has clarified on Twitter [60] important legal details concerning the two laws. Namely, it concerns past instances of abuse of restraining orders as gag orders. Past abuses of such orders filed under 258E have been successfully challenged in the past; however, orders filed under 209A lack such a precedent. In other words, it was easier to restrict Gjoni’s freedom of speech by filing under chapter 209A instead of the 258E.

Third-party analysis of Zoe Quinn’s affidavit

On 23 December 2014, a Reddit poster provided an in-depth look at the affidavit provided by Zoe Quinn [61]

Starting with the suspicious use of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 209A instead of 258E as discussed above, they go on to pick apart Quinn’s claims one by one while providing plentiful sources.

The conclusions reached is that the affidavit is so full of misleading claims or outright fabrications that Quinn might be liable for perjury, and that “Quinn’s primary, if not sole, motive in filing the complaint appears to be a very short-term strategy of imposing a gag order on Gjoni for at least several months to a year”.

Smear campaign against Brad Wardell

On 2 December 2014, Quinn went to Twitter to level accusations against Stardock CEO and developer Brad Wardell, namely that he had offered a job to an artist because he drawn a pornographic strip featuring Quinn and they shared pro-GG opinions. As the accusations turned out to be spurious (Wardell hadn’t offered a job, only told the artist that Stardock was hiring and thus he could send his resumé, and he wasn’t evevn aware of the offending strip in the first place), she brought up court charges faced by Wardell in the past years (the charges against him had been dismissed with prejudice) and tweeted to her friends about it in a seemingly clear attempt to smear him.

This is explained in great detail in the appropriate section of Brad Wardell’s page on this site.

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Robin Arnott

Indie game developer.


Indiecade and Depression Quest

One of the five men implicated in Eron Gjoni’s initial deouncement of Zoe Quinn [1] As the chairman of the Night Games event of Indiecade [2], Arnott was involved with the selection of Depression Quest as one of the showcased games in the event at 5 October 2013 [3] However, this happened several months before his personal involvement with Quinn as per Gjoni’s admission. This, added to the fact that there were 23 other games selected, makes accusations of cronyism between Arnott and Quinn circumstantial at best.


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Brad Wardell

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 [1] 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 [2] 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 [3] 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 [4], and Kotaku updated the original article to add this fact [5]


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 [6]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 [7]


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 [8] It was among of the sites that echoed the initial one-sided allegations against Wardell in 2012 [9]

The other apology came from Damion Schubert, developer and vocal anti-GG blogger [10] Although having never a member of the press himself, he apologized for not being critical of Kotaku’s claims, which he condemned.


Smear campaign

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 [11] [12] 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 [13] [14] [15] [16] [17], as the artist deleted it from his site soon after publishing it months ago, and the remaining strips aren’t graphical [18]


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 [19] [20] [21], Jim Sterling [22], Ian Miles Cheong [23], Brianna Wu [24], Chris Kluwe [25] [26], Arthur Chu [27] and Alex Lifschitz [28] [29]

As mentioned before, Wardell wasn’t even aware of the offending stip until after this blew up [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39]

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 [40] 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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