Sam Biddle

Former editor for Gawker Media’s Valleywag blog and currently senior editor of their main blog Gawker.


Privilege and hypocrisy

Following a theme common to many central anti-gamers and social justice advocates, Biddle is a son of privilege who rages against the privilege of people other than himself. In particular, according to Paul Carr of Pando, Gawker’s owner Nick Denton has a specific agenda where “ordinary tech workers, not their bosses, are the legitimate targets of violent protest”. Within this narrative, Biddle is in charge of fostering it in Valleywag, where he attacks as “spoiled brats” of the “New Meritocracy” who owe all their success to their families, despite the exact same thing being true of himself:

Even Denton’s choice of Valleywag editor reeks of hypocrisy. Which is to say, if you’re going to wage a fake class war, then, Sam Faulkner Biddle is the perfect fake class warrior for the job. Long before he got his gig wailing about “spoiled brat” tech founders who owe their success to their fathers, Biddle gained entry to the prestigious Johns Hopkins university with no help whatsoever from his own father, the Pulitzer prize winning journalist — and Johns Hopkins lecturer — Wayne Biddle. In case the nepotism wasn’t obnoxious enough for his classmates, Biddle promptly joined the Delta Phi fraternity at which, Wikipedia tells us

“Controversy exists to a perceived exclusivity in the selection criteria. It is generally regarded that wealth is a factor as almost all members are from affluent backgrounds.”

One of Biddle’s former classmates put it in simpler terms: Delta Phi is a club you could only join if you have rich parents.


And so it came to pass that wealthy, privileged, Sam Biddle became Nick Denton’s pick to lead Gawker’s phony, hypocritical, long-distance class war against San Francisco’s wealthy, privileged tech workers. And why not? Per David Sirota’s recent exposé of Ed Schultz, Nick and Sam wouldn’t be the first journalists to deny their privileged background in order to make bank as born-again class warriors.

Paul Carr’s full article [1] lists many more such abuses which are central to Gawker Media’s strategy of clickbait sensationalism

“Bring back bullying”

In regards to Gamergate, Biddle has made inflammatory tweets promoting bullying [2] [3] He later apologized [4] but more comments later, as well as his penchant for clickbait and manufactured controversy, bring his honesty into question [5]

These bullying comments have caused Mercedes Benz to remove their advertising partnership with Gawker Media [6] However, the car manufacturer had no ad campaign on any Gawker site at that moment, so technically no ads were removed [7]

The bullying apologia was made in the middle of October, deemed National Bullying Prevention Month [8]

Soon afterwards, Biddle was promoted from Valleywag editor to senior editor of the central Gawker blog [9] He further mocked bullying victims because of it [10]

Gawker’s editor-in-chief, Max Read, excused Biddle’s comments as jokes despite recognizing the problem of bullying, ignoring the issue of gross unprofessionalism [11] [12]

Excusing animal abuse

Soon after the crass defense of bullying, Biddle again played the shock-jockey persona by bizarrely excusing animal abuse [13] [14]

On the heels of this latest debacle, people have noticed that these were just the latest in a long series where he casually joked or seemingly seriously talked about harming animals [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] (sourced from the wiki [24]

Attacks on Gamergate

Wizardchan mockery

In the many paeans published by mainstream media about Zoe Quinn, the drama involving her spat with the website Wizardchan is often brought up without any regard to the veracity of Quinn’s claims. Sam Biddle penned one such article, which includes mockery and bullying of Wizardchan’s users, many of which suffer from suicidal levels of depression [25]

This attack on depression victims, as if not reprehensible by itself, has an ironic undertone considering Quinn’s Depression Quest supposedly aims to de-stigmatize the mental illness [26]

Topics about suicide are so common in Wizardchan that at one time the boards included a link to a suicide prevention hotline. Biddle’s attack on mentally ill people is one of many that have been made by mainstream journalists in their uncritical defense of Zoe Quinn.


Phony tweets

Tweets and internet posts made by random people, trolls or even sockpuppets are a common way for anti-gamers to reinforce the harassment narrative surrounding Gamergate. Sam Biddle has been one of many in the mainstream media who furthered the practice [27]

As a Redditor noticed, several of the cheap insults displayed by Biddle were opportunistically used by him in order to paint Gamergate as harassers [28]

I just analyzed every single person mentioned and confirmed that one is a member of GamerGate (@Lambert2191).
Three of them (@HIGH_TIER, @imDLXE, @Ghesttt) are DramaAlert fans.
Several had too many tweets to go back to the start of GamerGate (@RedHazz, @OMGLove). I scrolled through about ten pages of tweets and found zero usage of the tag. I asked them to confirm their position and they haven’t gotten back to me.
One (@JayMcKlay) used the GamerGate tag only once, where he said, “#GamerGate shouldn’t even be a thing.
Several had their accounts suspended for obvious reasons, so I could not confirm their position.
Shouldn’t the journalist be the one doing this kind of shit?
EDIT: Honorable mention, @VerifiedNewsURL. They used #GamerGate in their tweet, but they’re just stating what GamerGate is, not showing support or membership. They have 3 followers, 15 tweets (most of which were deleted, including this one). They follow 9 people, two of which are Lizard Squad and Finest Squad. This person appears to be a part of a different group entirely.

Crass sensationalism

As the ISIS is a populat topic at the moment, many media outlets are keen to use their crimes as fodder for sensationalism. Sam Biddle did it in his own way, by patronizing and glorifying the child soldiers press-ganged by ISIS in a blog post entitled “The ISIS babies are freaking adorable” [29]

The already shameless sensationalism took a ghastly turn the very following day, as ISIS released a video of one such child soldier executing supposed Russian spies [30]

Defending doxxing

Biddle nurtures an unexplained enmity towards Twitter joke account @NYTFridge, going as far as openly threatening to dox its owner and offering money for tips that may lead to it [31] [32]

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Jenn Frank

Journalist for The Guardian.


Response to IGF criticism

This is explained in more detail in IGF’s page on this site.

Indie studio Rotting Cartridge, an entrant on IGF 2012, fiercely criticized the judging process of the event [1], claiming many of the judges assigned to their game, Kale in Dinoland, barely even played it. This lack of proper judgment runs counter to the supposedly meritocratic order of the awards.

A judge at the 2012 IGF event, Jenn Frank took umbrage at Rotting Cartridge’s revelations and offered a rebuttal [2], altho she seemingly wasn’t one of the judges to whom Kale In Dinoland was assigned.

Altho she raises valid points (namely, the failure of some devs to provide documentation for their entries or simply of offering buggy builds), her post is littered with assumptions, flaws in logic, personal diatribes and petty insults. Many of the comments on the post condemn it.


Undisclosed conflict of interest

Most of the information in this section comes from a thread on Reddit. [3]

On 1 September 2014, Jenn Frank published an article on The Guardian [4] Although it doesn’t mention Gamergate, it revolves arround the narrative of harassment against women in videogames, chiefly Zoe Quinn, that has surrounded it since. The initial version of the article failed to disclose her ties to Zoe Quinn in the form of support to her Patreon. On the same day, the article was edited as a tiny disclosure was added at the very end of the article [5] On 5 September the edit was changed to clarify that the disclosure (which also included Frank having briefly met Anita Sarkeesian, also feature din the article) was included by Frank in the copy she sent to the newspaper, but the editor thought it wasn’t a significant connection, thus assuming the fault for omitting the disclosure that was being unfairly blamed on Jenn Frank [6]

However, there are four other factors that aren’t mentioned anywhere that indicate conflict of interest.

The first is the fact that Maya Felix Kramer, a friend and possible PR agent of Zoe Quinn, pays into Jenn Frank’s own Patreon [7] However, the possible PR tie between Kramer and Quinn is circumstantial. The page on Zoe Quinn expounds on their relationship.

The second one is that Frank, by her own admission, Frank booked and paid approximately US$1,000.00 for the hotel room where Zoe Quinn and her then-boyfriend Eron Gjoni during Game Developer’s Conference 2014 [8] [9] [10], which is corroborated by Gjoni in his blog [11] GDC 2014 took place in San Francisco during 17 to 21 March, with Frank paying for a week’s worth of the hotel room and Gjoni paying for further two nights.

The third factor is that in the same series of tweets where she admits to paying US$1,000.00 for Quinn’s and Gjoni’s hotel room, she lashes out at Gjoni. Besides the common and misapplied epithet of “jilted ex” [12], she calls him “this idiot horrible asshole” [13] and flings even more colorful profanities [14], while wishing that he would pay her back [15] [16] [17] Beyond the vituperation, these tweets perfectly indicate her bias in the issue she covered even without considering the financial matter of the hotel room payments.

The fourth one is simply how close she is to Zoe Quinn at all, regardless of hotel fees. Being close to the would-be subject of your journalistic articles is a conflict of interest in itself. Tho Frank saw fit to disclose having briefly met Anita Sarkeesian, she far closer relationship to Zoe Quinn went unremarked upon.

These tweets predate the publication of the article on The Guardian, but to this day, it makes no mention of this financial tie, let alone her personal friendship and bias towards Quinn’s side of the story.

“Quitting” for 17 days

On 3 September 2014, Frank made a public display of quitting freelance writing, because her editor having not published her initial disclosure caused her to come under unwarranted scrutiny [18] No mentions are made of the hotel fee, her relationship with Quinn or her bias towards Quinn’s side of the story.


On 20 September she was back to penning articles for The Guardian [19]

Explaining her side

On September 11 2014, Frank made a post on her blog expounds on her short-lived decision to quit freelance writing. Between personal details irrelevant to the topic at hand, she reiterates that it was the newspaper’s choice to not initially include her disclosure, and clarifies that her payments to Zoe Quinn’s Patreon amount to three monthly payments to $5, thus an insignificant amount (“I am being taken to task for $15, far less than any journalist’s bar tab”) [20]

Again, no mentions are made of the hotel fee, friendship with Quinn or bias towards her.


N64 controllers too complex for girls

Source [21]

By 1996, most of my female classmates had stopped playing video games. I think some of this had to do with societal pressures but the rest of it had to do with the Nintendo 64. Even now its controller is nonsense; in 1996 it was outright galling. Where had all these buttons come from? Why was it shaped like that? Why was there an analogue stick stuck in the middle of it?

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David Pakman

Host of the syndicated political talk show that ebars his name, broadcast for radio, television and online.


Involvement with Gamergate

Pakman joined the discussion when he started doing interviews with several key figures from Gamergate starting late October 2014:

Others were invited on the show but their interviews didn’t come to pass for various reasons:

  • Stephen Totilo, who on 31 October was invitated via Twitter and politely declined [1]
  • Zoe Quinn, who on 31 October was invited via Twitter, accused him of “public pressure” and enabling a “hate group”, among other claims from her and her peers, especially Alex Lifschitz. Please see the sections below for more details
  • Oliver Campbell, scheduled to be interviewed on 3 November, cancelled it [2]

Public reception of Gamergate interviews

Pakman’s very first piece on Gamergate, Brianna Wu’s interview, immediately drew criticism from the anti-GG side.

Brianna Wu’s criticism

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 [3]

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 [4], 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. 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 [5] [6] and donated to the Kickstarter of her game Revolution 60 [7], whereas Wu has collaborated twice to Fleishman’s publication, The Magazine [8] [9] and donated to two of his Kickstarters [10] Thus Fleishman’s bias in the interview is a foregone conclusion [11], as was his open stance against Gamergate as whole [12]

Milo Yiannopoulos gets involved

Yiannopoulos took umbrage at supposed lies about him that Wu said in Pakman’s interview [13] [14] [15] This eventually led to more misunderstangs, explained on their respective pages.

Ben Kuchera’s preventive refusal

On 31 October, after receiving Totilo’s recusal for an interview, David Pakman lamented that they were having trouble finding anti-GG people to be on the show [16] After a random commenter suggested he ask Ben Kuchera, the latter preventively recused himself with a peculiar message that compared Gamergate to creationists [17] This reinforced the anti-GG narrative that GG, as a harassment campaign, has no merit whatsoever and doesn’t even deserve to be debated.


Zoe Quinn’s invitation

Still on 31 October, as Pakman sought for more anti-GG voices to be interviewed, he tweeted at Zoe Quinn asking if she would like to be interviewed. She immediately responded by accusing him of applying “public pressure” against people [18] especially with GG’s “interference” involved [19], and of legitimizing a “hate group” via a golden mean fallacy [20], before refusing the offer and requesting further conversations to be in private [21]

The implication of her accusations, in keeping with the standard anti-GG narrative, is that Gamergate has no valid points and isn’t even worthy of being discussed. As Pakman defended himself from these accusations, she further berated him for not asking in private [22] [23] He apologized, claiming her replies were appearing out of order because of the software he was using, Hootsuite.

Still later on 31 October, Alex Lifschitz went on a rant because of Pakman’s requests for an interview. It’s pretty much impossible to highlight the most egregious tweets because it was effectively a day-long tantrum [24]

Regardless, on 1 November Quinn mentioned responded to David Pakman to talk about a possible interview deal in private [25] [26] As of yet, she wasn’t interviewed by Pakman.

Source: 8chan

Source: 8chan

The same day, Pakman mentioned on Twitter how he had received many accusations of “leading a hate mob against women” simply for stating his neutrality regarding GG during the previous day’s fracas with Zoe Quinn [27]


Wu piles on again

Following the multiple attacks on Pakman that followed the fracas with Zoe Quinn on 31 October, Wu again weighed in against Pakman, accusing him of egocentrism and making this “about him”, which Pakman refuted [28]


Arthur Chu’s criticism

The interview with Arthur Chu happened on November 4.

The second and so far last anti-GG figure to be interviewed by Pakman, Arthur Chu already had demonstrated animosity towards Pakman due to perceived victim harassment when offering her an interview [29] [30]

Chu started openly criticizing Pakman soon after the interview was done [31], to Pakman’s apparent surprise as he claims they agreed more often than not on the topics discussed. Later Chu claimed that his contention was that “the shows were set up as ‘Gotcha!’ zingers and whaddya know we did a half-hour on zinging me” [32], which Pakman denied [33], without any proof presented by Chu.

Throughtout these Twitter conversations, Chu tries to smear Pakman’s reputation by claiming he is an unethical journalist who owes his career to a 2010 interview with Glenn Miller [34] [35], a white supremacist who came to national attention on 13 April 2014 after a shooting rampage in a Jewish retirement community [36] Pakman and other Twitter users point out that the interview happened literally years before Miller’s crimes, which makes Chu’s accusations of sensationalism patently false, and moreover the interview tapes were handed as evidence to the FBI. However Chu still insisted that Miller’s 2010 interview and 2014 rampage where the springboard of Pakman’s career, while claiming his feud with Pakman wasn’t due to Gamergate but due to Pakman being only interested in “dirt” on his interviewees.

Days later, Arthur Chu put his contention in more simple, honest terms.


Yet a few days later, Chu wrote an article for The Daily Beast against Gamergate. Beside the usual narrative of misogyny and self-denefnse from personal accusations, he took the time to write Pakman “seems to enjoy doing sensationalistic clickbait interviews for the attention and the fireworks, without considering whether they make any positive impact” [37] Pakman responded in a tweet that Chu had shown no objections to their research process at the time of the interview but now rants about how it’s “evil” [38]

Further defamation and David Pakman’s defense

Besides rebuttals on Twitter seen in the section above, David Pakman has saw fit to follow the series of interviews with a few video “editorials” of sorts.

Pakman’s position on Gamergate itself

In the first non-interview video about Gamergate [39] published on November 10, Pakman clarifies his position on GG itself. Claiming to be accused of bias for both sides and that he accepts neither label, he explains he clearly sees harassment and trolling coming from both sides, states that issues of sexism misogyny clearly exists but has not be presented with evidence that such issues are worse in the gaming industry than elsewhere, and that it’s clear that there’s no doubt about collusion in gaming journalism even tho obviously the field is obviously not a serious matter in the grand scheme of things. In the next video, he clarified that tho neutral in the issue, he sympathized more with the anti-GG side.

CBC misidentification

In the second “editorial” video about GG [40], Pakman shares past instances where he was misidentified in the press (once as a former neo-Nazi, once as a dead gay suicidal teenager), and now it has happened again, thanks to CBC’s piece on Gamergate [41] from 13 November.

During the segment, as the voiceover says that Gamergate began as a hashtag for the discussion of ethics in gaming journalism but has degenerated into a harassment campaign, the camera shows tweets and videos of several different people on the pro-GG side. Due to this lack of clarity, it can be implied that these specific people were labeled as either common gamers discussing ethics or harassers, and among the visible people is Greg Pakman. Worse still, the footage of Pakman that they used was precisely his previous video, where he states his neutrality. So the CBC article not only spuriously implies several people might be harassers, but it demonstrates they didn’t do any research at all in showing David Pakman as pro-GG at all.

The third “editorial” video is about CBC’s clarification e-mail to Pakman regarding the use of his image on the segment [42] It states that they didn’t imply he was a harasser, as his footage appears right as the voiceover mentions “initially a hashtag for the dicussion of ethics…”. However, it also states that his footage was chosen because he was an “early adopter” of GG discussion, which Pakman himself denies, claiming himself a latecomer to the debate. Thus the charge that CBC’s segment was badly researched remained.

ggautoblocker misidentification

During the fiasco of IGDA’s endorsement of the ggautoblocker program, it turned out that David Pakman’s personal twitter, @dpakman, was listed as one of the 10,000+ “harassers” within Gamergate [43], despite the fact that his maain account, @davidpakmanshow, had been whitelisted long before [44]

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Gawker Media

Online media network focused on blogging, founded and owned by Nick Denton. Kotaku is its blog dedicated to video games.


Tax avoidance

Gawker Media was originally incorporated in Hungary, through which a large part of its international revenues were directed. In 2010 Gawker was “moved” to the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven. The New Yorker went as far as state “Gawker is organized like an international money-laundering operation.” [1]

In a Gawker post attacking American CEOs for tax evasion, Gawker Media’s James Del, executive director of their internal ad department, posted a comment where he both confesses his company uses such schemes too and tries to spin it in a positive light [2] [3] The notion regarding patriotism call back to Gawker’s previous stance on calling tax dodging unpatriotic [4]

Sam Biddle

Sam Biddle, former editor for Gawker Media’s Valleywag blog and currently senior editor of the main blog Gawker, has several controversies to his name. Please see his page on this site for more information.

Partner list

Following the loss of Mercedes Benz as a partner, Gawker Media has removed the list of partnes from their site [5]

Labor disputes

Gawker Media has been involved since June 2013 on a legal dispute with former interns, who claim they were classified as such solely for their employers to avoid paying them wages, which is a violation of federal law [6] Since then, judges have ruled that a class action lawsuit is applicable [7], and that the plaintiffs can send notices about it to currently employed unapid interns [8]


Please see Kotaku’s page in this site.

Yellow journalism

One of the most frequent accusations aimed at Gawker Media’s sites is the lack of quality of its supposed journalists, including reliance on clicbait, unethical behavior, sensationalism and in some cases illegal practices. Below is a list of egregious examples:

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