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]https://archive.today/8EOjm [2]https://archive.today/YIFGd. 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]https://archive.today/xLtYE:

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]https://archive.today/lpe1x 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.

vavra

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]https://archive.today/n69xc, 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]https://archive.today/64g0w.


References

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Patricia Hernandez

Videogame journalist for Kotaku, Gawker Media’s videogame site.

 

Clickbait

Hernandez is known in videogame communities mostly for sensationalist articles, badly-argued opinion pieces, inane comments on other sites’ content and relatively little to do with actual videogames. Altho this trend towards clickbait is common throughout the internet, Hernandez came to symbolize its presence in the videogames press due to the sheer amount of such articles she publishes.

A not-at-all comprehensive list of such articles:


 

Lack of disclosure

Patricia Hernandez has written several articles giving good publicity to games made by personal acquaintances without any disclosure. The following image explains the case and brings up Stephen Totilo’s attitude towards the accusations [1]https://archive.today/HNUdR, and all claims are sourced in the sections below.

hernandez

Source: 8chan

Anna Anthropy

Indie developer Anna Anthropy (a.k.a. Auntie Pixelante [2]https://archive.today/Xfc1t) is a close friend of Hernandez [3]https://archive.today/bJKQE, to the point once being housemates [4]https://archive.today/XUb6n [5]https://archive.today/gRauY.

Several articles were penned by Hernandez for Kotaku praising Anthropy’s works [6]https://archive.today/Sxfo9 [7]https://archive.today/7reDd [8]https://archive.today/kfTPT [9]https://archive.today/5lUBP, some including direct links to buy them. None of these pieces had any disclaimer about this personal tie during their time of publication, but after the start of Gamergate they have since been updated to include a small disclosure mid-way into the text [10]https://archive.today/ii7zm [11]https://archive.today/Vu27J [12]https://archive.today/gXJuj [13]https://archive.today/yA0GC. Two more such articles don’t have any archived version of the text without disclosure [14]https://archive.today/FpU5l [15]https://archive.today/eCccI.

Christine Love

Christine Love is an indie developer [16]https://archive.today/BoIj3 who was once romantically involved with Hernandez [17]https://archive.today/oOli9.

Hernandez wrote two articles promoting Love’s videogame without disclosing this [18]https://archive.today/bnnWC [19]https://archive.today/8qPKg. After the start of Gamergate, both articles were updated to include small disclaimers that mentioned their friendship [20]https://archive.today/29AFh [21]https://archive.today/luhZM.

Zoe Quinn

Hernandez penned an article on Kotaku featuring Quinn’s body mody-mod [22]https://archive.today/ccUBI, without disclosing their friendship. The piece has since been updated to include such a disclaimer [23]https://archive.today/g8IEp.


 

References

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Zoe Quinn

Indie game developer.

 

“Quinnspiracy”

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]https://archive.today/36BBc. 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]https://archive.today/coQ5f, 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]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5-51PfwI3M.

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]https://archive.today/aVEOG. 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]https://archive.today/k6cAP.

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]https://archive.today/2yj71. The original post has since been edited to point to a Soundcloud recording of the accusations [7]https://archive.today/xaNTQ. He has since clarified that it was Quinn’s friend and possible PR agent Maya Alexander Kramer [8]https://archive.today/UxSje#selection-1226.17-1375.15 who did the actual doxxing, tho that post has since then been deleted [9]https://archive.today/DxJU2. A previous post of his from 23 July 2014 mentioned Quinn sabotage without naming culprits [10]https://archive.today/TovjX.

Quinn has since misrepresented her role in sabotaging TFYC, and has claimed to have no professional relation with Maya Alexander Kramer [11]https://archive.today/RSCJx 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]https://archive.today/7cH7a

BwzsS-IIYAAv5fX.png large

These allegations against Quinn drove considerable donations to TFYC‘s crowdfunding campaign [13]https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-fine-young-capitalists–2, with the main collective source of donations by far being 4chan’s videogame board, /v/ [14]https://archive.today/CvtgO, 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]https://archive.today/jXqRC. When asked about it on TFYC‘s blog, Matthew Rappard effectively claimed she was bluffing [16]https://archive.today/sUStI. On 15 October she posted the e-mails to Imgur [17]https://archive.today/fF4uj, and the supposed admission of not being doxxed pictured below.

JXGvDYv

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]https://archive.today/nHBs9. 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]https://archive.today/BZGIo.

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]https://archive.today/vfdU9.

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]https://archive.today/FRHnR [22]https://archive.today/VOlCC [23]https://archive.today/L7Fr1 [24]https://archive.today/TiPbj [25]https://archive.today/5Cq3U [26]https://archive.today/wf41Y [27]https://archive.today/MPPVg [28]https://archive.today/CDoRi, and Depression Quest was accepted into Steam in the very next batch of greenlit titles [29]http://steamcommunity.com//sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=205494242.

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]https://archive.today/kiwF6:

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]https://archive.today/9sCbq 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]https://archive.today/TlcLV, 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]https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2426.0-2426.1. The personal data present in her dox turned out to be completely unrelated to her, and inconsistencies with her claims were spotted [34]https://archive.today/aZXgq.


Censorship

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.

Gamesnosh

On 19 August 2014, gaming website Gamesnosh was contacted by their webhost requesting for an article about Zoe Quinn to be removed [35]https://archive.today/kXsla [36]https://archive.today/MYH4p. 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]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5CXOafuTXM. Later, mundameMatt confimed that the DMCA takedown request came from Zoe Quinn herself [38]https://archive.today/UqAwg.

The spurious use of DMCA claims to censor a video on Youtube struck game reviewer TotalBiscuit as unethical [39]https://archive.today/MphRL.

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]https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2764.0-2764.1. 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.

85d

Reddit

Still on 19 August, the aforementioned argument by TotalBiscuit [41]https://archive.today/MphRL, 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]https://archive.today/ENcGC. This further exacerbated concerns of censorship surrounding “Quinnspiracy”, especially seeing as one of the subreddit’s moderators, el_chupacupcake, spoke to Quinn about it.

Source: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/quinnspiracy

In the ensuing mass of deleted posts, reports of bans and “shadowbans” trickled in [43]https://archive.today/Ai3NI [44]https://archive.today/TgWOK, 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]https://web.archive.org/web/20140907134153/http://imgur.com/a/GD4EM [46]https://archive.today/mpOTH [47]https://archive.today/ZUtwq [48]https://archive.today/cI8I6 [49]http://pastebin.com/MyrkRPE6. 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]https://archive.today/j6IFo [51]http://pastebin.com/MyrkRPE6. On 7 September, he also gave an informal interview [52]https://soundcloud.com/user613982511/recording-xm-2014.


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]https://archive.today/X55ky. Tho the donation page has since been removed, an archive remains [54]https://archive.today/9kaj1. The court hearing happened on 30 September 2014 concerning an abuse prevention order filed by Quinn against Gjoni.

nMkvN3F

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]https://archive.today/Qzuuc, 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]https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A, 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]https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleIV/Chapter258E instead.

On 16 October 2014, Buzzfeed published an interview with Gjoni, where among various parts of Gamergate, discussed the court proceedings [58]https://archive.today/PdVk5. He soon posted the full transcript of the interview to his blog [59]https://archive.today/Q0VjC.

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.

Zoe_quinn_complaint

Eron Gjoni has clarified on Twitter [60]https://archive.today/AJZ7X 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]https://archive.today/PXoJq.

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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1. https://archive.today/36BBc
2. https://archive.today/coQ5f
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5-51PfwI3M
4. https://archive.today/aVEOG
5. https://archive.today/k6cAP
6. https://archive.today/2yj71
7. https://archive.today/xaNTQ
8. https://archive.today/UxSje#selection-1226.17-1375.15
9. https://archive.today/DxJU2
10. https://archive.today/TovjX
11. https://archive.today/RSCJx
12. https://archive.today/7cH7a
13. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-fine-young-capitalists–2
14. https://archive.today/CvtgO
15. https://archive.today/jXqRC
16. https://archive.today/sUStI
17. https://archive.today/fF4uj
18. https://archive.today/nHBs9
19. https://archive.today/BZGIo
20. https://archive.today/vfdU9
21. https://archive.today/FRHnR
22. https://archive.today/VOlCC
23. https://archive.today/L7Fr1
24. https://archive.today/TiPbj
25. https://archive.today/5Cq3U
26. https://archive.today/wf41Y
27. https://archive.today/MPPVg
28. https://archive.today/CDoRi
29. http://steamcommunity.com//sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=205494242
30. https://archive.today/kiwF6
31. https://archive.today/9sCbq
32. https://archive.today/TlcLV
33. https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2426.0-2426.1
34. https://archive.today/aZXgq
35. https://archive.today/kXsla
36. https://archive.today/MYH4p
37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5CXOafuTXM
38. https://archive.today/UqAwg
39, 41. https://archive.today/MphRL
40. https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2764.0-2764.1
42. https://archive.today/ENcGC
43. https://archive.today/Ai3NI
44. https://archive.today/TgWOK
45. https://web.archive.org/web/20140907134153/http://imgur.com/a/GD4EM
46. https://archive.today/mpOTH
47. https://archive.today/ZUtwq
48. https://archive.today/cI8I6
49, 51. http://pastebin.com/MyrkRPE6
50. https://archive.today/j6IFo
52. https://soundcloud.com/user613982511/recording-xm-2014
53. https://archive.today/X55ky
54. https://archive.today/9kaj1
55. https://archive.today/Qzuuc
56. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A
57. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleIV/Chapter258E
58. https://archive.today/PdVk5
59. https://archive.today/Q0VjC
60. https://archive.today/AJZ7X
61. https://archive.today/PXoJq
Posted in | Comments Off on Zoe Quinn

Nathan Grayson

Gaming journalist. Formerly for Rock Paper Shotgun, currently working for Kotaku.

 

Lack of disclosure regarding Depression Quest

One of the five men implicated in Eron Gjoni’s initial deouncement of Zoe Quinn [1]https://archive.today/36BBc. Tho it’s often said in his defense that he didn’t write a positive review for Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest, there’s still two instances undisclosed conflict interest at play.

The first instance involves Grayson’s coverage of the ill-fated GAME_JAM event [2]https://archive.today/ykZbo posted on 31 March 2014, in which Quinn is a central figure. The article was written a few days before they started a romantic relationship, by the recognition of Stephen Totilo, Kotaku’s editor-in-chief [3]https://archive.today/C4W4J, who dismisses this short time gap as evidence that their involvement at the time the article was written was purely professional.

The second instance was an article at Rock Paper Shotgun posted on 8 January 2014 [4]https://archive.today/iS4Ru mentioning 50 games approved in a batch by Steam’s Greenlight initiative. Tho Depression Quest was only one title of many, it was highlit and its screenshot headlined the article.

The day after the aforementioned article, Grayson tweeted he could “burn down the game industry” in defense of Quinn [5]https://archive.today/Ci5Y7, again showing their personal relationship extends before Totilo’s claim.

Both instances are brought into a new light by a post at blog The Ralph Report [6]https://archive.today/p9pur. In the credits of Depression Quest, Grayson’s name is listed among several others receiving a special thanks. As The Ralph Report notes, this either means that Grayson made a financial donation to the game’s Kickstarter or that he was close to Quinn at the time the game was still being developed. Regardless of whether the nature of their relation was personal or financial, it wasn’t disclosed at all in either of the two articles.

Further, as William Usher notes [7]https://archive.today/EiMwW#selection-653.2-661.57, Grayson and Quinn have been familiar on Twitter since at least June 2012, and on January 2014 even kidded about burning down the game indsutry if Quinn left it [8]http://archive.is/MDt0u.


Justifying censorship of games

On 15 December 2014, following Valve’s removal from Steam Greenlight of the controversial game Hatred, Grayson penned an article on the subject for Kotaku [9]https://archive.today/4M752. As is common in gaming journalism, especially under pretenses of being simply blogging sites as opposed to serious publications, the article makes use of heavy-handed proselytizing under the guise of reporting.

Despite pointing out the flaw in Valve’s rationale when removing Hatred from its Greenlight service since there’s several other, similarly offensive games already being sold on Steam, Grayson also engages is thinly veiled apologia for censorship. Using a variation of the canard that it’s not proper censorship since it’s being made by a private organization and the game would still be available elsewhere, he goes on to judge the game and effectively deem its removal as no great loss.

It concludes with tepid admonishings against both Greenlight’s unclear guidelines and against the Hatred’s developers themselves for stirring a controversy, regardless of being censored.

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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]https://archive.today/94tUW

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]https://archive.today/Fs2Ah#selection-4867.0-4881.15 [3]https://archive.today/uwTxp. The notion regarding patriotism call back to Gawker’s previous stance on calling tax dodging unpatriotic [4]https://archive.today/xMn1M.


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]https://archive.today/mVDqf.


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]https://archive.today/DUxQB. Since then, judges have ruled that a class action lawsuit is applicable [7]https://archive.today/ZuEuR, and that the plaintiffs can send notices about it to currently employed unapid interns [8]https://archive.today/N9RaR.


Kotaku

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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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]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 [2]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 [3]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 [4]https://archive.today/STvyf, and Kotaku updated the original article to add this fact [5]https://archive.today/jIiw8.

harassment

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]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 [8]https://archive.today/ejbOU. It was among of the sites that echoed the initial one-sided allegations against Wardell in 2012 [9]https://archive.today/9POHM.

The other apology came from Damion Schubert, developer and vocal anti-GG blogger [10]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.


 

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]https://archive.today/YHBhU [12]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 [13]https://archive.today/AExhJ [14]https://archive.today/Q7lfU [15]https://archive.today/lDubh [16]https://archive.today/DkXTY [17]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 [18]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 [19]https://archive.today/jzcNs [20]https://archive.today/QcMLa [21]https://archive.today/OfWxp, Jim Sterling [22]https://archive.today/SMu2S, Ian Miles Cheong [23]https://archive.today/VR1v9, Brianna Wu [24]https://archive.today/udYoZ, Chris Kluwe [25]https://archive.today/hsBxW [26]https://archive.today/G5VXi, Arthur Chu [27]https://archive.today/V5ASk and Alex Lifschitz [28]https://archive.today/EfYTR [29]https://archive.today/twDIz.

As mentioned before, Wardell wasn’t even aware of the offending stip until after this blew up [30]https://archive.today/AExhJ [31]https://archive.today/Q7lfU [32]https://archive.today/lDubh [33]https://archive.today/DkXTY [34]https://archive.today/srnrX [35]https://archive.today/SKuZd [36]https://archive.today/4JVQg [37]https://archive.today/98T5H [38]https://archive.today/1V5NM [39]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 [40]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.


References

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