An Alternate Response to Recent Controversy – Media, Abuse, and Women in Gaming

By Sarah Ryan – 23rd August 2014
An Alternate Response to Recent Controversy – Media, Abuse, and Women in Gaming

This is a difficult piece for me to write.

The recent controversy that has broken out over the past few days has stormed every corner of the gaming community, and moved so fast that everybody knew the name ‘Zoe Quinn’ before they even knew what she had been accused of. Gamer Headlines has been one of very, very, very few sites that have reported this story, that have not censored comments, and have allowed free discussion on the matter. The censorship and attempts to discourage discussion by major gaming media sites has fuelled notions of conspiracy, cover ups and some frankly ridiculous notions that aren’t even worth the time it would take for me to repeat them.

The problem is that, in this situation, it feels as though the anger a lot of gamers have felt over ignoring of the issue has completely over shadowed the reason that response and censorship was ever put in place, and rather, encouraged more animosity, more scandal and more screen time. But please, please trust me it’s not because of some video games industry ‘conspiracy’.


The central focus of the cast allegations involved the manipulation and bargaining of media integrity – a serious accusation that definitely should be talked about, definitely should be called out and definitely should be dealt with. The reason this wasn’t picked up by sites was not in an attempt to bury the information deliberately, it was completely and totally in attempt to avoid the humiliation and inevitable abuse of a real human being that came with publicising the origins of the accusation. The fact of the matter is, when this hit the fan, it was immediate, pure, unabashed slut shaming over a woman’s personal life. Which, let’s face is, isn’t anybody’s fucking business.

We could argue the viability of the evidence presented in favour if these allegations till we’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that when a person’s life and career is collateral damage, you gotta weigh up your options and you gotta make a choice.

The problem is that a total media blackout leaves a void just waiting to be filled with imagination. The fact of the matter is that Quinn is not, and should never have been the centre of this storm. It should have been the journalists; the integrity of those who would sell their opinion for the right price. The controversy, from the second it went live, was pulled in the wrong direction. I wont attempt to justify the deletion of tens of thousands of comments, but I will say that women in the gaming industry can be with whoever they want, for whatever reason they want, and not one of them is required to justify decisions they make in their personal life.

Journalists, however, are required to disclose, they are required to make, in some cases, personal relationships very clear. Forget about Quinn, because I really don’t believe she is the issue here.

Harassment and Misogyny

When I said this would be a difficult piece for me to write, it’s because I’ve been a part of the gaming community for nearly twenty years. I know our shit by now. I’m virtually bulletproof at this point, but I am a woman in this industry and I have dealt with the abuse, the harassment, the misogyny in every area. I could tell you my all about my rape threats, dick pics, about being physically confronted by dudes, having people demand I prove I ‘even play games’, but that’s the norm for women. The norm is that we deal with 10x that crap in an average week – you don’t have a like it, you don’t have to care, but you do have to accept that’s a fact we can all attest to.

Zoe Quinn’s story, like many other scandals in gaming, never had to be a feminist issue. As I’ve said, the scandal in this instance is that there are people working within the media industry that are selling their professional integrity to the highest bidder. I’ve seen a good deal of people confused about how misogyny has entered the arena here, with a lot of people claiming it’s “just because she’s a woman”. Which yeah, it is.

Because Nathan Grayson isn’t being attacked for selling his work. And it’s him entirely at fault. It becomes misogyny when you can look at a woman’s Twitter mentions and see nothing but slut shaming, rape threats and abuse – not comments regarding ‘journalistic integrity’, but regarding their personal life. The response that the central male and female involved has received is entirely disproportionate. Grayson compromised the integrity of not only his own work, but the entire ethics of Kotaku. He has left gaming journalism in the centre of a storm that calls into question the trustworthyness of the industry as a whole. Zoe Quinn did not do that, she endeavoured to have a personal life and although she certainly made her fair share of dickmoves, the one thing she cannot and should not be criticised for is her own sex life.


Generally our commenting community are great, I’d like to think I’ve established a fairly reasonable reputation for not chatting shit, but I’ve seen a lot of dragging the term feminism through the dirt in regards to this, and I’ll tell you now that isn’t going to work. Harassing women in the gaming industry becomes a feminist issue, when the same is not being applied to the men involved that are far more at fault. I haven’t seen anybody discussing Grayson’s personal life. I’ve barely seen his name so much as mentioned. This disproportionate treatment harbours a thick and heavy misogynistic climate, that gives people the freedom to use scandals such as this to belittle and abuse women for being women, with the guise of justified anger.

By the same token, nothing gives Quinn supporters the right to stand against abuse and harassment, whilst at the same time, abusing and harassing other prominent figures in the gaming industry. I feel as though that really shouldn’t need to be said, but the abuse of figures such as TotalBiscuit and JonTron has been ridiculous, as those that may have at once carried valid points, have dragged their own virtue through the dirt to verbally abuse people they have in turned, accused of abuse. It’s hypocritical, and it invalidates your own points.

To Summarise 

You have every right to be angry – no matter what side of the fence you’re on.

Quinn is not the problem. The media blackout is, the journalists are.

I am entirely prepared for those zealot lovers and haters that are deeply engrossed in this scandal. I am not invested in, tied to, or even a supporter of Zoe Quinn. I am, however, invested in the gaming community not hurting its own reputation in the name of a witch hunt. I am invested in women exactly like myself, not being asked who we fucked to get where we are, and I’m invested in outing and shaming the blatant misogynists that will now use her name to justify their hatred and belittling of women in this industry.

But most importantly, I am invested in these so-called “journalists” answering for their own actions. So long as the spotlight is deflected from them, they are getting away with deceiving their audience, for neglecting their responsibilities, for being all-round dickheads.

***Quick edit: A lot of people seem to misunderstand my point on abuse and harassment. Quinn is not without fault, and I am in no way stating she should not be criticised for many of her actions - Her personal life, nor the personal lives of anybody in the gaming industry, is owed to the general public, therefore the abuse regarding her sex life is entirely redundant, wrong, and yes - misogynistic.

Sarah Ryan

Gaming culture and industry critic. A little sharp tongued, and a little short on patience. Follow me on Twitter at @Auseil, or [email protected] to contact me directly.

  • Nephanor of Fraal

    Thank you! You hit the nail right on the head. This is exactly what needed to be said!

  • Chris

    This is a human problem; it’s bigger than video gaming.

  • Chris

    This is a human problem; it’s bigger than video gaming.

  • Bjørn Lu

    If game journalists were selling their opinions, there was a game developer who was buying them. It is of course not okay to accept bribes. It is similarly not okay to offer bribes.

    I don’t think the journalist lies there afterwards smoking a cigarette thinking “I am going to give this game a better review and more coverage than I normally would and the developer will have no idea”. I similarly don’t think the developer while smoking their cigarette is thinking “I am sure this will have nothing to do with the coverage of my game”. They are both conspiring to sway opinion about a game based on something other than merit alone.

    Both sides have no excuse, but that does include Quinn.

  • taylor

    O.k. my last post got deleted but I wanted to say this. I think as a journalist you should have more of a clue on to what the issue actually is. you say Quinn should not be prosecuted and only the journalist should. I agree the journalist should BUT what about Quinn lying to her fan base? her community? you realize numbers for a motorcycle shop and claimed it was her dads number? she lied about several things that has been proven as well as tried to shut things down she should not of shut down even before this. to have to answer for your actions when you are a public figure is wrong to you? So what gives her this bulletproof vest to answer for yourself? is it her gender? The second you lie to your community and your fan base you should stop being defended. To constantly defend and excuse someone based on there gender is literally pathetic and should never be the case for any gender.

    • “you say Quinn should not be prosecuted and only the journalist should”
      I didn’t actually say this at all, no. Thanks for taking the time to not read my article!

      • taylor

        Quinn is not the problem. The media blackout is, the journalists are.

        • She isn’t.
          I also stated I’m not a supporter of Quinn, which would suggest to you that I do not support the things she has done. I deliberately chose not to directly discuss any particular action to prevent encroaching on personal lives any further. I didn’t out right discuss the things she did, this article is not a run down of events. This is not a news report. Re-read my article and you’ll realise that the point I am making is that Grayson is walking away clean, while she is being harassed for her personal relationships – when her personal relationships are not the problem. You have clearly only read the summary, and written a comment about what you assumed I was talking about. Transparent and ignorant, oops!

          • taylor

            I read the entire article twice, And what I read was that you think focus should be taken off Quinn and put onto everything else. you are showing blatant bias. and other people are obviously seeing it as well.and watch who you call names. I am far from ignorant as I guarantee my IQ and degree would trump yours. So before we bring name calling into it since you are supposed to be acting “professional” or replying in a professional manor. Maybe you should read what YOU write or learn how to get across what you want to say because your article is full of bias and I am obviously not the only one who sees it. let me guess tho it is our own prejudices? lol so someone defending her work by calling others names and etc. sound familiar?

          • Yes, I am saying the light should be taken off Quinn. Yes, I’m saying the light should be redirected to the major institutions that have demonstrated a clear violation of ethics. Yes, I am saying that one woman cannot do as much damage as a huge online publication with a mass of connections and viewers.
            No – that isn’t bias. That’s being reasonable.

          • taylor

            So a woman who has lied to get funding, who has lied to get events stopped, who has lied to her fan base and her community, and a woman who has been proven to lie and manipulate her audience. is not as bad as journalistic ethics? lol an institution violated ethics huh? Please tell us more about how both are not equally as damaging to there cause…I will wait.

          • Prior to this outburst, Quinn did not have a tiny fraction of the public reach Kotaku did. You’re projecting.

          • taylor

            she had 21 thousand twitter followers. I would say that was a pretty big platform wouldn’t you? You ever seen a stadium with 20 thousand people in it?

          • Compared to the 400 thousand followers Kotaku has on Twitter alone, not regarding their monumentally larger readership. You can use your crazy unique degree to do the maths on that, my treat.

          • taylor

            so reaching 400 thousand is reason to raise alarm but reaching 20 thousand is o.k.? and needs to be over looked? You realize it takes two people right? That no one is innocent in this situation.

          • Again, I have literally not once claimed she is innocent. We’re circling.

          • taylor

            Yeah we truly are and I am done arguing. You seem to think she should be left alone and I and others think she should be questioned and explain her actions and answer for them. People isn’t going after the guy there going after the entire journalism industry as well. so you must have missed that note in your inbox. anyways Good day and maybe next time you will show less bias by saying one problem is much larger then another when they all come from the same puzzle.

  • Malcolm Swoboda

    This seems to ignore all the crap Quinn may have done. Eh, okay, you have bias, and I’ll accept that.

    • It doesn’t ignore anything Quinn did. It casts a heavier light on the responsibilities of the gaming media, rather than one individual woman.

      • Malcolm Swoboda

        An interesting take. I don’t think I fully disagree.

        But in the specific case of Zoe Quinn and the events (and supposed events) surrounding her, I don’t think she should be sidelined at all, and consider her very important. But yes, the issues around the gaming media are much more important to me.

  • m0r1arty

    I realise you’re not ‘excusing’ anyone Sarah, it’s not really your place to publicly.

    If one were to put their face out into a community and make a lot of noise that person should expect attention.

    When that attention is sour due to blatant attacks on ‘men’ and alignment with bigoted Social Justice movements which calls them ‘”Rapists” if they don’t fully support their ideals and the communities they are doing this in are gaming/atheism focused then the only person to blame is the person doing it.

    The above works regardless of gender. Gaming journos picking their battles should respect their consumers (And their opinions) more. White Knighting, bigoted sexism and blanket censorship will not be tolerated.

    Journalism is about seeking the truth, regardless of how ugly it is.

    Now check out when articles were published and domain names purchased. Miss
    Quinn is far from being used as a marionette by herself and others, you going to be shedding light on the story or hiding behind gender on this matter?

    • I’m having trouble getting back to you, so please bare with me. I agree that censorship will not, and should be tolerated. In my article I discussed why this happened, but understanding does not equate agreement. I believe that I am shedding light – but on the overarching importance of this scandal, and not on each individual action that has occurred. I don’t hide behind gender, I don’t believe that Quinn ought to be treated with favour because of her gender. By the same token, I believe that Grayson should be treated with favour for his gender – when in reality he has been.

      • m0r1arty

        Don’t worry about the trouble getting back to me Sarah, I see that you are busy here and found the deleted comment rather ironically funny in light of the topic being discussed :)

        For anyone else reading, exactly the same points were made in the deleted reply, just with words shuffled around a little.

        Back on topic, if Miss Quinn and her ilk want to wade in on matters personal to people to the degree of stating opinion about the sexual activity of an entire gender – she opens the door to her own!

        Personally I don’t think gender nor sexual preference is important to the story (Humorous perhaps, but not important). What we have is mass censorship due to potential corruption and it not being addressed in a reasonable way.

        Thanks for replying again Sarah and I believe there is much more to this story than some sexual activity, best of luck on reporting it!

        EDIT: Spacing!

        • I have no idea why my comments are being censored! It is ironic, since I have just discussed the damage censorship is doing!

        • Jalane Farrington

          Actually, her difficulties are actually true. Some readers and our staff have experienced technical problems that do involve our comments getting deleted at times. While we try to work around these complications, we do our best.

          • m0r1arty

            I can confirm that some comments do get deleted here Jalane.

            I do not think it is the staff at GH which do so as Sarah was kind enough to reiterate her thoughts when she noticed her comment had gone. I hope my prior reply stating that the content was more or less exactly the same as her second attempt to reply removes any suspicion on this matter (From her at least).

            The fact that Sarah has written a forthright article on censorship and the importance of truth just adds some ironic humour to the mishap :)

            My suggestion would be make sure your Disqus plugin is up-to-date or contact them directly if it is.

            Happy Saturday!

          • Jalane Farrington

            Thank you for your kind recommendation. We’ll look more into this problem. I do see the irony in this particular situation now after you pointed it out. However, I just wanted to inform and confirm to other audiences as well that this technicality has unfortunately happened in previous topics. Again, thank you for your understanding about this complication on this mechanical issue, and have a good weekend as well!

  • I will agree in this instance, that line is somewhat misleading, it does appear as though I’m suggesting I harbour less criticism for her. I will edit it.

  • I’m not sure what you’re referring to here, although if you’re referring to a comment you think got lost or deleted, we didn’t do that on purpose! Some of our comments are getting lost right now, but we’re working on it!

    • I just found your last comment, no worries, it’s up now!

      • Prof. K.

        Thank you, to be honest I was fully expecting it to be deleted for soap-boxing rather than any ill-will from the staff, sorry if I came across otherwise.

  • I suspect you probably think every feminist that speaks is an over-emotional feminist!

    • cobber

      Close, but irrelevant. I was just hoping this site would keep me up to date with what’s going on with games and the industry without trying to inculcate me with the writers’ values. If you want to promulgate feminism here, fine — I’ll go away. I just thought it might be worth leaving my feedback in case there are significant numbers of readers who agree with me.

      • Jalane Farrington

        Samuel Sales, another author, also writes articles about this subject with more details into the case. Right now, he has written about it twice. This one is his latest topic about that case: Although it’s unfortunate that you might or might not like this article, Sarah is just providing her point of view about this issue. Our staff have different views, which means we cover a variety of topics. Therefore, please do check and read our other topics.

        • cobber

          I appreciate your professional, snark-free reply, Jalane. I’ve already read the other two articles you mention and think they’re fine. I’ll stay subscribed to this site in my RSS reader for time being, but there’d be no point in that if you were to continually publish the kinds of articles that caused me stop reading Kotaku.

          It seems to me that I might not be the only long-time Kotaku reader who’s looking for an alternative and that I might represent a market segment you’d like to capture.

          • Jalane Farrington

            I cannot promise that you won’t see more articles that might contain feminist point of view in the future, but I can say that we always have different writers who provide news in a different fashion. As always, I do hope our readers (new or old) share their opinions.

          • hotdrop

            That was very well handled, its a shame other “news” sties have to resort to censoring opinions that disagree instead of just responding civil to them.

        • taylor

          Is a new site not supposed to deliver the facts and not the opinions of the writer? is this a gossip site or a news site?

          • Jalane Farrington

            Honestly, we have a variety of writers who will or will not provide biased opinions in their news. It really depends on their writing style. I like to think that our online users might appreciate this variety sense to provide unique experience upon each visit. Most of my entries don’t contain as much emotional words or opinions, but readers might not enjoy that dryness. As such, this website caters toward delivering news that still reflect upon our writers. Some writers produce great opinion articles, while others are strong at writing reviews or breaking news. I hope this response provides some answers to your questions.

          • Jalane Farrington

            Honestly, we have a variety of writers who will or will not provide biased opinions in their news. It really depends on their writing style. I like to think that our online users might appreciate this variety sense to provide unique experience upon each visit. Most of my entries don’t contain as much emotional words or opinions, but readers might not enjoy that dryness. As such, this website caters toward delivering news that still reflect upon our writers. Some writers produce great opinion articles, while others are strong at writing reviews or breaking news. I hope this response provides some answers to your questions.

      • The title of the article is evidently an opinion post, “An Alternate View”. You are within your rights to not want to read other people’s opinions, so don’t! You are in control of the articles you choose to view. I don’t have remote control of your cursor.

  • I would argue that Patricia Hernandez’ part in the Temkin case actually overshadowed Temkin’s role in the entire situation. I also wouldn’t agree that his case was quite as overblown as Quinn’s has become.

  • ambasta


    While I understand the PoV that you’re putting forth, there are two things I’d like to disagree with you wrt the topic.

    First of all, there is a massive backlash in the gamer community against Kotaku and SWJ reporters writing for game editorials. A visit to most reddit threads will paint both sides of the picture, with folks picking up both on the reporting journals as well as Zoe.

    Secondly, a public persona such as Zoe has been massively supported for the ethical and feminist view she represents, or at least claims to. As it is said, with great power comes great responsibility. Hence, when someone who is trusting her with said issues finds her compromising against the same, there is bound to be backlash. Its the same reason why Clinton was chastised or why any other public leader faces huge criticism, sometimes to the point of their destruction when their integrity is compromised. Hence, the personal backlash b/w the two.

    That one would expect the two not to mingle is a utopian thought. There are of course misogynists that would love such a scandal, but I do think that people are unable to clearly distinguish b/w the two issues raised w/ it and merging them together hence making it seem like an attack on feminism, which it is not.

    • ambasta


      s/able to/unable to

  • Wrathful

    I don’t care about Zoe and her scandal but what really makes me hate her is the fact that she took of advantage of the depressed people and dared to release the game on that topic. It’s more relevant for me as I suffer from real depression. That’s just terrible and vile and goes for all these so called “Social Justice” groups who defends her with terrible reasoning, ad hominem and name calling.

  • A lot of our comments are being swallowed right now, so don’t panic if your post gets lost. We haven’t deleted it! The problem is being dealt with, but for now we just have to be a little patient.

  • Laurence Tureaud

    The fact of the matter is that Quinn is not, and should never have been the centre of this storm. It should have been the journalists; the integrity of those who would sell their opinion for the right price.

    Zoe Quinn led a witch hunt against a forum for male virgins in order to garner sympathy and get her game pushed through greenlight. You know it was rejected the first time she tried? She claimed they were calling her and her family’s phone making sexual comments, and when people called her out for providing zero evidence the social justice community called them victim blaming bigots. She is a bad person and people need to know she’s a bad person.

  • Nettacki

    Thanks for posting this. It’s solely needed in this screwed up landscape, and it’s something I can appreciate from critics.

  • Lee Lloyd

    “women in the gaming industry can be with whoever they want, for whatever reason they want, and not one of them is required to justify decisions they make in their personal life.”

    I’m sorry, but are you saying, just so I am clear, that there should not be any ethical stigma to a woman sleeping with her boss? Are you saying that a woman is not ethically required to justify her decision to sleep with a judge of a competition in which she is a contestant?

    Because let’s forget journalistic ethics. Let’s forget Grayson for a minute. She slept with her boss, and she slept with a judge at a contest she was participating in. Of course those men should be held responsible for their part in it as well, but it sure sounds like you are saying the men are solely responsible, and a woman is never required to justify who she sleeps with, for any reason.

  • Kyle Sullivan

    I would like to personally thank you for writing this.
    I disagree with some of your points, which I will get to in a minute, but I am happy that you had the integrity to write this with a cool head, and trying to at least look at both sides of the situation.
    Well done, Im sure whether or not people agree with you, you have earned their respect.

    Firstly, Zoe Quinn has to answer for some things. Im pretty pissed off that its ok for the media to run 24 hour news shows for weeks on Tiger Woods sex life, but suddenly its wrong to be silent and sweep shit under the rug when its a woman, but its wrong in both cases so I must stick by those principles.
    But she has manipulated the public and the press to an extent where there needs to be accountability.
    Lying about the harassment from wizardchan to garner public sympathy, using her relationship to further her own prospects with a judge, and worst of all, Doxxing a group of people (who happen to be transgender so its fucking rich for her to cry “oppression”), running their campaign into the ground, then using her connections to smear their good name, when they were trying to actually do something for women in the industry, instead of just bitching and writing articles, all while getting paid nothing to boot.
    I know you say she has some accountability, but your view that the other parties should be criticized MORE is wrong. Leaving out that she slept with these people from the argument against her is fine, but she has committed other wrongs that exceed those of the other parties involved and she must be held accountable.

    “Nothing gives Quinn supporters the right to stand against abuse
    and harassment, whilst at the same time, abusing and harassing other
    prominent figures in the gaming industry.”
    When you said that I nodded in approval, but when you mentioned figures like Totalbiscuit, I felt it was a missed opportunity to mention another figure.
    Max Tempkin (I may have misspelled that) was slandered by kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun for an allegation by an ex girlfriend that he raped her… Without proof… Yet these same people are crying “YOU HAVE NO PROOF, IM NOT LISTENING LALALALALA” with the ZQ situation. I believe other sites were sensible enough not to report this, and then John Fucking Walker had the gall to say “why is no one talking about this?”… Just read his twitter posts, that will give you the idea that this man has double standards to the max.
    I would also like to point out that someone (I believe his name was a Mr Wozniak) was sexually harassed by ZQ at a wedding, and then was bullied into staying silent by Phil Fish… just something I would like to point out.
    You made a point that everyone is agreeing with, but I wish more journalists would use these examples, it brings a better perspective.

    Also, I’m sure that many journalists don’t want to, probably because they think its vitriol shit, but they should really watch Internetaristocrats two videos about this subject. Even if you want to dismiss him, he makes very valid points, so after watching, do some research around the web with those arguments in mind and make up your mind for yourself.

    You make a good point as well about how Nathan Grayson and other parties involved are getting a disproportionate amount of hate compared to Zoe, its something for us to consider, but I stand by my point that she has committed greater wrongs then they have.

    Once again, I thank you for not staying silent on the issue. It has been frustrating beyond imagining that all the devs and journos have been crying “sexism” or “misogyny”, without actually defending themselves against our valid arguments of corruption and double standards.

    Whether you agree with us or not, as long as you remain objective, do the actual goddamn research, make valid defences against our valid arguments, and most of all, not try to silence us, you will be met with a lot more respect and support.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Your response has been really uplifting for me, so thank you. It’s great to have a genuine back and forth with our community about our opinions, differing though they may be, on controversial matters without it becoming petty or hostile. It’s really important to me that everybody is given a reasonable platform to discuss their point of view, and I read every comment. We all do here.

      I agree with some of what you’ve said here, I feel as though I’ve skipped over a lot of what I could have discussed – some deliberately, although some I wish I could have included. The comparison to Tempkin a lot of people have raised is really interesting, there’s a lot of ground that could be covered on that. The situation is definitely similar in a lot of ways. I remember reading Patricia Hernandez’ piece on the story, and before I even made it to the comments I was furious with how that situation had been dealt with. Like I said in my article, when a person’s career and livelihood is at steak, you don’t throw around coverage so casually. In terms of rape allegations, it’s incredibly, incredibly difficult to provide solid evidence, so I believe it falls on those in the public eye to treat those situations with the utmost delicacy and care.

      I still feel very strongly that the majority of the blame lies with the journalists; I believe as reporters in the public eye, we DO have an inherent obligation to those that view our work. I don’t believe an indie developer does. Wrong and inexcusable as many of her actions have been, I don’t believe that a creator of original work is indebted to their audience, as it is their self created platform for personal creativity. I believe a greater betrayal has occurred from the neglect of working journalists, because a huge part of their job is honesty, transparency and integrity.

      • Fatherless

        Please consider that part of the anger being directed towards ZQ is her manipulation of men’s natural desire to protect women. It’s an abuse of power that isn’t openly discussed and people don’t have the words to describe it, and a lot of the anger is expressed through hateful and what many would call misogynistic attacks.

        Few will say, “I want to protect women, but people like ZQ violate that trust, and this violation has happened too many times in my personal life for me to be comfortable any more going to bat to protect women, and ZQ’s actions are a painful reminder of the growing gulf of cynicism between men and women.”

        Many more will say “What a total *%^&$&,” because they’ve simply given up on society.

        • I’m not sure I can relate to that in any way. Perhaps there is this unspoken undertone of a relentless need to protect women in male culture, but if so, I’ve never heard it, seen it, experienced it, or received it, and I would argue I’ve spent my fair share of time around men.

          That aside, I don’t believe men have a fixed role in society, your response is very heavily relying on the ingrained need to fulfil the patriarchal expectation of men. Even if you were to whole heartedly ascribe and endeavour to embody that mindset, your own personal feelings of rejection/violation/betrayal doesn’t automatically justify abusing somebody you believe falls outside of your own expectations.

    • taylor

      Nice post man!

  • ZenZurround

    Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, et. al, are not feminists. They are opportunists playing gender politics.

    • Fatherless

      There’s no difference.

      • There is a massive difference. I am a feminist, I don’t however, opportunistically use the term to free myself of criticism. As you can see, I’m here, responding to my criticism forthright.

        • Requiemsvoid

          uh.. you do know that the original feminists were opportunist playing gender politics, right?

          If you don’t believe me, then look back to the very beginning (1848) at Seneca Falls, when their “Declaration of sentiments” blamed men exclusively.

          ~ He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
          ~ He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
          ~ He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men–both natives and foreigners.
          ~ He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
          ~ He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.

          Starting to see a trend?
          **They didn’t say “the system” or “the law”.. they said “HE” again and again. (Is it any wonder that each wave of feminism has gotten more and more toxic towards men and the enjoyment of our hobbies? ~ Videogames, Comic Books, ect.)

          If you’d like to see more on this, google “Karen Straughan Detroit conference 2014”.

          • ZenZurround

            The language is certainly more direct, but it is true that there were very real and immediate problems back then.
            We live in a continuum and nothing is as ideal as we would like it to be. Today, that direct language may be softened, but you cannot deny that there is a difference between a call to action for rights to vote, own property, and generally have control over one’s own life in comparison to what is happening with this silliness.

          • Requiemsvoid

            Seems my comment to you was swallowed by the comment system, so I’ll try again without actual links.


            Granted, but I’m not comparing the instances.. I’m pointing to the fact that from the very beginning, feminism has been blaming men.

            Actually, for anyone interested (not wanting to gather all the dated articles themselves) here’s a link to the vid that discusses most/all of this topic:

            Youtube link: /watch?v=eZgr6939MPU

            **Those same women, weren’t afraid to castrate their own husbands to push the feminist agenda.

            If you would like to see more on “Utopian Ideologies” like feminism and it’s ultimate conclusion, you might also like this video:

            Youtube link: /watch?v=M-wLYN_LsRs

            tl; dr
            If you claim to be a Feminist, then you might actually wanna look at what your ideology promotes and it’s history of hatred/double standards/ect.

          • ZenZurround

            I do not disagree with the roots of feminism. The beginnings of feminism
            are also stained by racism. You can read, ‘White Woman’s Rights: The Racial
            Origins of Feminism in the United States’.

            But my point is that no one person or cause is pure. You will always find
            unsavory characters involved or off-color things that were stated. It is easier
            to draw the lines to separate the extremes; however, when you bring yourself
            further from the edges of the spectrum, that particular cause is not
            invalidated by the actions or statements of a few. I certainly would not argue
            that’s true.

            Martin Luther King was accused of being a womanizer. He had numerous extra
            marital affairs. Would you nullify one of his greatest achievements, ‘I Have A
            Dream’ speech because of that?

            Ghandi – he was racist. He hated black people and felt that they ‘lived and
            behaved like animals.’ He further stated during apartheid in South Africa,
            “We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they do.’

            Would you choose to nullify the good works Ghandi had done with
            civil disobedience to win freedom for Indians from the British?

            The world is a complicated place and one dimensional views of complex subjects
            do not help.

          • Requiemsvoid

            One dimensional view?… o.O

            I’ve been referring to the origins of a moment and how it’s evolved via “CONTEXT”.. not just simply trying to say that “everything good they’ve done is negated because they’ve also done bad things”.

            In other words, Feminism has been accusing men (turning us into a boogeyman) to further their agenda since the beginning and even more so now’a days with Modern Feminism claiming “white CIS male privilege via the Patriarchy” while using shaming tactics on anyone that disagrees (you just hate women!?!?!?!).

            To address your example of Martin Luther King in the same light: It would be as if his womanizing was the motivational point that allowed his beliefs to flourish within society.

            We both know that’s NOT the case. His womanizing (bad thing) had nothing to do with his “dream” (good thing) and was not used to push his agenda.

            Feminism on the other hand.. well, we’ll just let their actions over the past 100+ years speak for themselves.

            Again I reference the idea that if you call yourself a Feminist, you might wanna actually look up what they’ve done and how they promote their ideals.

            **Being a “Feminist” isn’t a good thing.

          • ZenZurround

            Yes. One dimensional view. To wrap up 100 years of feminism and distill it as a frothing monster.

          • Requiemsvoid

            A “one dimensional view” would be to say that nothing good ever came from Feminism. Which of course, I didn’t say nor imply. I said that their methodology is the problem and that most/all people that call themselves feminists don’t know the history and cannot see the double-standards/hypocrisy of their own movement.

            If you wish to maintain your standpoint, then I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on terminology.

          • TheDude

            Well, since the world was ruled by “HE’s” and the system was made by them, I really don’t see the problem. Everything in your qoute is true. Women had no rights and have, in fact, been stepped on for being women over millennia and you try to turn it into a feminist conspiracy. Did you even read what you wrote?

  • Sen

    Exactly, and most people are pissed at the journalists. But the Zoe defenders, and the journalists themselves keep on trying to spin this into a harassment against her. They keep on trying to deflect the spotlight to Zoe, and that makes people miss the core of the issue.

  • Louie Chipperson Kantarian

    finally balenced reporting on the issue, thank you

  • JohnnyAppleseed

    “The fact of the matter is that Quinn is not, and should never have been the centre of this storm.”

    For sleeping around, of course not. For using it and social justice arguments to benefit her career she absolutely does deserve to be at the center of this. It moves from being a private personal matter to being a public professional one. We can create a line between the two, but she is on both sides of that line.

  • Miglet32

    It’s hard to look at it any other way. These circles look more like close groups of friends and supporters than they do official journalistic relationships.

  • someone

    Sarah, I don’t disagree with you that the censorship and the media blackout is the problem here.

    What I think you fail to see is that Quinn herself was spearheading the censorship from the beginning. Several sites (Reddit most importantly) have confirmed that they started the censorship at her request, not due to Kotaku or any other media outlet. Furthermore she has taken an aggressive stance on social media, taking this opportunity to try to get people to donate money to her (including having her journalists friends donate and advertise for her), and it is believed that she orchestrated a fake hacking attempt on her account in order to draw support and empathy.

    Meanwhile, all of those who are accused with sleeping with her have mostly kept out of the spotlight. It’s no wonder that they are drawing less attention than she is.

  • Jarod Frye

    I completley agree with most of what you are saying….But you Missed a few things.

    Zoe isn’t the only one being attacked.

    Phil Fish, Adam Sessler, Nathan of Kotaku (To the point that the HEAD of Kotaku had to make a response.)

    It’s not just her being flamed about this, but everyone involved.

  • Eddie McCandless

    This has become a very powerful and heavily argument-invoking topic in such a short space of time that the damage you speak of Sarah, has most likely already reached a scarring point for all of these people involved.
    Now I am not condoning the actions of the horrible cowards who attacked Miss Quinn personally. Nor do I agree that what her ex-boyfriend did in uploading things about her on youtube. A personal life is personal, this is true. However, defending Miss Quinn is unacceptable in anyway. She has brought all of these things on herself by behaving the way she has. A person must be responsible for their actions, anyone defending this woman gives her an escape from that.

    The Video Game Industry itself, we all know has been in some serious trouble for a while now anyway. But that is an argument all in itself. I don’t wish to ruffle any feathers here, first post and all that. I just can’t sit back and have my world, something I have grown up relying on for stability and support crumble around me while I stay silent.

    • Eddie McCandless

      Edited Addition : I also wanted to say, you are the first website I have turned the adblocker off. Actual reporting is hard to come by.

  • sciencemile

    You’re right, people are getting angry about the censorship of this more than the actual event. There’s also the other events that have come to light that it’s been revealed to have been covered up in the recent past too (most notably being “The Fine Young Capitalists” game jam offering to make a game based on women’s submitted ideas; the winner gets their game made and 8% of the profit. The rest of the profit goes to various charities decided by the people/groups giving money to support the GameJam. This one is brought up particularly because it was Zoe Quinn who is said to be responsible for dissuading the Games Press from doing any coverage on it.)

    Even if Zoe went away right now, people would still be angry. She’s just an unintentional whistle-blower at this point when it comes to the actually important issues.

  • Kr1spness

    Please do a piece on Vivian. Easily the coolest thing to come from all this. the internet has birthed a videogame character, one I hope is featured in many works considering all the fan art.

    • I’m still trying to get my head around the TFYC situation in it’s entirety, but once I’ve gotten a chance to fully understand the situation and form a developed opinion, you bet.

  • I realise that it was vague, and I’m glad you brought it up and gave me the opportunity to look at how I could have improved that part of my work!

    You’re completely and definitely right in saying that it’s not only men that are enacting abuse in this situation, it definitely is women as well. I think it’s really important to make the distinction between behaviours that enforced and encouraged by the patriarchy, and the ‘all men’ trope. When I discuss these gender issues, I am not in any way on my high horse looking down on men. The patriarchy is something that exists within our culture, that serves an ideology that is incredibly detrimental to men AND women. Men suffer greatly from systems and beliefs enforced on them, and THAT is a gender issue. The fact that men are often burdened with sexual pressure, men that suffer sexual abuse are often told they should have ‘enjoyed it’, or from violent abuse are told that makes them weak, and so many other deeply engrained issues is completely a part of this problem. From the exact same line of thinking, women ARE abusing other women. I’ve intentionally avoided using direct pronouns, because some of the worst abuse I’ve received has been from other women, and I KNOW that is so common. As much as looking down on women is often implanted into men subconsciously, it’s also implanted into other women.

    We are not the innocent gender. Both men, women and all non-binary genders suffer in some way from these beliefs. If it makes me a SJW to talk out about them, yeah I am one, 100%. I will write about the damage patriarchal systems cause every single human being in equality, regardless of that. But I would not ever make this men vs women, because it’s not.

    • Patrick Toworfe

      Good, nice to know that you understand the feminist rhetoric should not be gender specific. I don’t necessarily agree with feminism regarding all social issues but you at least seem to have the right ideas. And that’s cool with me

  • Dave

    Her personal life is an issue though. When you put yourself out there to make stands against things and be as vocal about them all as she has been you cannot have the skeletons she has.

    When you go out of your way to fight against objectifying women and have a history of 500 some odd pornographic photos of yourself I fail to see where you have legs to stand on.

    Me personally, if I want to trust in someone and follow their ideals, and believe what they say…they HAVE to have credibility. Knowing her as a person, aka her personal life, COMPLETELY holds weight in that.

    I don’t need to know her personal life to believe in her as a game developer. The two are irrelevant. But when it comes to social issues, especially from someone as stand out about all of it as she is, you better believe her personal life is important. To say otherwise is ignorant.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      “I don’t need to know her personal life to believe in her as a game developer. The two are irrelevant.”

      Yep, one only has to look at the “game” she published to see she’s not a real game developer.

  • Adam Thomas

    “I’ve been a part of the gaming community for nearly twenty years” – You look like you’re no older than 19. You weren’t playing games out of the womb and just playing a game doesn’t make you a part of the gaming community. Participating in the community does. Be honest here.

    That said, the fact that you think because “a woman has the right to do what she wants with her body” this apparently includes cheating on people who trust her is pretty sickening. You’re wrong when you say the only story is about gaming corruption. There’s another story on top of that one, and it has everything to do with the tale of Zoe and Eron’s relationship.

    It’s the story of how toxic this new liberal puritanism that’s been labeled as either “Social Justice” or “Feminism” has become, to the point that people in this “movement” will completely ignore an obviously how abusive a woman – because it’s very obvious from her own statements and Eron’s blog that she was gaslighting and manipulating his view of reality so she wouldn’t get caught – is, simply because she’s a woman. It’s the story of how callous, dismissive, and downright insulting these people can be when legitimate complaints are brought up, and how cowardly and bullying they are when their misdeeds are exposed – look at how Wolf Wosniack was immediately turned on and bullied into silence when he pointed out how Quinn sexually harrassed him at a wedding. It’s the story of how this “movement” has pushed itself so far into places that do not care about it, that, rather than doing literally any good for anyone, all it’s done is create massive pushback – equally toxic MRA’s are growing thanks to this overly agressive puritanical nonsense.

    But that’s not a story that people want to hear. That their good intentions are only fueling hatred and regression, because they really aren’t good intentions but rather a simple-minded method of making them feel better about themselves. So no one’s going to comment on it.

    • Be honest here?
      You’re right that being a part of the gaming community is more than just ‘playing games’. I’ve been playing alongside, talking with and living among members of the gaming community my entire life. I’ve been playing games for as long as I’ve been reading books. I’m not 19, and I don’t owe anybody that doubts my integrity, passion or knowledge based on how old they presume I look any more justification than that.

      • Anonymous

        In other words, I’m not gonna dignify someone’s arguments with a proper response because they guessed my age wrong.

  • Biran53

    Thank you. This is the level headed thinking we so desperately need.

    This whole debacle is full of examples for why “think before you speak” should be the internet’s golden rule.

    • Anonymous

      This article is one of them.

  • Biran53

    Ok. In addition (as many seem to want Quinn’s head on a stick):

    What exactly do we get out of publicly shaming a woman’s private love affair?

    Was it the wrong thing to do? Of course. But this article’s point is that our frustrations should not be directed at these personal issues, but at what this situation means for game journalism. That’s what we should be discussing. Not enacting the Scarlet Letter.

    • Thanatos2k

      We don’t get indie developers sleeping with journalists, their bosses, and other devs to advance their career. I mean, is that a bad goal?

      Sleep with whoever you want, but realize that there are consequences to some relationships that effect your professional credibility, especially if you hide them.

    • Ajt

      Would you have known about her game without the strangely enthusiastic support of the gaming press? Would you have ever found out about Depression Quest if she had not been using alternate forms of marketing? What actually good games were we not told about because the supposed game journalists and game jam judges were pimping her stuff? (And if you see Sarahs new article, the same question can be asked of Patricia Hernandez.)

    • pobilo

      Well honestly I think most people would like to live in a world with less cheating, less affairs, less corruption, and less manipulation. I don’t really have a problem with the public shaming as the events that have transpired are shameful.

      • Biran53

        I just feel like we can be the better people here. Instead of overreacting and looking for blood, we can prove the internet wrong and be level headed about this.
        Maybe I’m just asking for too much.

        • I suspect we think alike, Biran!

        • Gregg Braddoch

          “I just feel like we can be the better people here. Instead of overreacting and looking for blood, we can prove the internet wrong and be level headed about this.”

          While I agree with the sentiment, that is a fallacy. When someone falsely accuses a HOCUS POCUS movie fan forum for harassment and garners sympathy when they leveled no criticism at all towards that person, and nearly gets away with it, then has many major websites in the industry (and probably TV news as well, but I gave up on that BS awhile ago) shouting ‘Misogyny’ it matters not if you say nothing, or say something – The entire community is already being vilified in public, for something that Zoe Quinn did in her personal life.

          TLDR: The gaming community will be faulted regardless of how it handles the situation. This is how Quinn and writers at Kotaku handle things. This is how Amanda Marcotte, who has nothing to do with gaming whatsoever handles things.

          A dude, could say “Well that sucks, Eron, sorry your girlfriend cheated” and it would be reported as a ‘misogynist attack’

  • Thanatos2k

    “the fact of the matter is that when a person’s life and career is
    collateral damage, you gotta weigh up your options and you gotta make a

    Give me a break. That has NEVER stopped them before. David Jaffe, Max Temkin, and so on and so forth. And Quinn’s career SHOULD be damaged by this. No matter what they want to happen, no matter how many times they refuse to run the story – she’s done. Her reaction to this and the stuff she’s tried to subsequently hide has torpedoed all respect by most people. Had she been open and honest, apologized, explained her position, explained why none of her indiscretions were for professional gain, then SOME people would have forgiven her. But she’s burned all bridges now, except by a fanatical few who STILL don’t believe she did anything wrong and it’s all lies.

    No, it’s not our business, but now that we’ve heard it, can you ignore it? She’s not a good person.

    “Zoe Quinn’s story, like many other scandals in gaming, never had to be a feminist issue”

    But it is, because of what I just listed above. The notion that THIS time they had to protect her, protection they never afforded men they’ve bashed in the past. Do they think we’ve forgotten? That we don’t notice?

    The very large section of the gaming community that is sick and tired of this kind of agenda driven bashing of their own community saw Zoe Quinn being built up by game journalists as a role model of how women developers should act, and once she was revealed to be a sham, they tried to hide the truth. You cannot ignore this section of the story. It’s not as important as the other parts, but it’s still there.

    Do you know why people aren’t going after Grayson as violently? Because he’s smart – smarter than Quinn – HE HASN’T SAID ANYTHING. He’s wisely keeping silent. Quinn on the other hand is screaming to anyone in ear shot about all the horrible things that are happening to her, sometimes lying through her teeth by faking hacks against herself (thus prompting real hacks and more abuse). If she’d have just released a statement and shut up this wouldn’t be as big as it is. But no, Phil The Douche Fish has to leap into the fray swearing at everyone in sight to defend her. Game journalists far and wide have to deride the game community to defend her. And then she says more, and more, and more. “I’m being hacked right now guys!!” whether it’s true or not while snapping pictures in bars of her with game journalists. Does she REALLY not understand how bad it looks? Is she that clueless?

    If Nathan Grayson was hacked, we wouldn’t know, because he’s not talking. He’s not playing the victim. Nor is any of Zoe’s other paramours. Smart move. Zoe is fanning the flames seemingly on purpose, preventing people from calming down.

    “women in the gaming industry can be with whoever they want, for whatever reason they want”

    No, they cannot. This story shows exactly why they cannot. You cannot be with people if it’s causing professional conflicts of interest. You cannot hide your relationship in those cases. You cannot have relationships with your boss, for numerous professional reasons.

    Whatever reason they want? If the reason is for PROFESSIONAL GAIN then it is wrong. Full stop. For men too.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. I disagreed with the obvious feminist slant of the article, as Sarah tried to pass the buck away from Zoe and onto everyone else involved, acting as if she is not important. As if the fact that she cheated and postured her way into good favor with an industry she’s taking advantage of, regardless of how much she lied about her moral standards and the people those lies hurt. People like Eron Gjoni.

      Sarah, do you seriously think that its the fault of those men, those journalists, that Zoe cheated on her boyfriend for publicity? That is absurd, as well as sexist. They are all at fault, and now they’ve been caught. Let the people have at them and make the example. The damage has been done, and the only people you have to blame are the ones that had it coming.

      • Biran53

        I don’t believe she was trying to insinuate that Zoe is blameless. She never once defends Zoe or her actions. The point is that we are ignoring the more pressing issue of game journalism being corrupt in certain circles.

        • We aren’t ignoring it though, if you look at these places listed the fight is going on there to, and it’s not just about her. Kotaku is in full on censor mode about this because people keep bringing it up in comments, it’s why I left kotaku.

          • I know not everybody is ignoring it, but I also know that a lot of people are being incredibly liberal with their abuse. I don’t, and won’t pretend to condone that. Besides the fact I think it’s wrong, it makes it SO easy for major sites to completely overlook all real, damaging effects of their conduct by harping on the abuse.
            If everybody stops send her nasty little tweets, what else do they have to fight back with? Nothing.

          • Gregg Braddoch

            lol, I left Kotaku because all the games they say are good suck. Now we just know why.

      • Nope! I don’t blame anybody for any decisions Quinn made, but herself. My point is that I really don’t believe that should be what we are upset about. Do you really care so much about the personal lives of strangers? Or do you care more about the blatant deceit and disregard of standards within your own community?

        The ‘obvious feminist slant’ probably stems from the fact I’m a feminist, come to think of it.

        • nonscpo

          Nice article written, and I completly agree the biggest issue here is the censorship in the media and the lack of accountablity from these so called Journalist from the major websites.

        • Oxjvi

          Sarah I disagreed with many of your points, but I think your point of view is refreshing. Nathan Grayson and the others involved are just as guilty when it comes to journalistic integrity.

          I think the reason Quinn is the epicentre is because of additional factors such as her sabotage of a feminist game jam charity, her obnoxious lashing out at any sort of criticism and the fact that her supporters have formed some sort of cult of personality.

          I don’t wish Quinn any harm, and I think most would agree. I think she should apologise, lay low, then have some sort of rehabilitation while the rest of the scandal is investigated.

  • Thanatos2k

    But they’re not being harassed exclusively because they’re women. Any post by a male journalist defending her gets responses like “So you slept with her to?”

    Bad people are making rude jokes, but not exclusively harassing women because they’re women.

  • NuclearKangaroo

    sowwy :(

    mustve misinterpreted your article

  • Biran53

    I agree that the issues are intertwined, but this should be more about the corruption of game journalism than trying to root feminism as the source of all evil (not that I am specifically implicating you. Please I don’t mean to sound combative).

    • Gregg Braddoch

      “I agree that the issues are intertwined, but this should be more about the corruption of game journalism than trying to root feminism as the source of all evil (not that I am specifically implicating you. Please I don’t mean to sound combative).”

      I’m pretty sure nobody is mad about feminism being the “root of all evil” – Suffice it to say that any feminist publication I’ve seen to date on this issue is dismissing what we call “corruption” as “misogyny.” I’m pretty sure this is why feminism got brought into the mix. They wanted in, and wanted to piss off nerds so they could write more clickbait.

  • “Everyone else is at fault except the woman!”

    NO. It takes two to tango, in this case, 6…

    She is just as guilty as the men she slept with to get her way to the top, she’s not some innocent victim who didn’t have a clue what she was doing

  • I would have to disagree, there wasn’t a media blackout. There was media shaming of anyone talking about it. There were several articles insulting anyone who might have been upset by it.

    Absolving Zoe is a bad thing to do, especially since all of this she has done nothing but manipulate people she knows in places of authority to silence things further. If we have a right to get outraged at the media outlets, then we should have a right to be upset at her as well, since she is doing that exact same thing. Don’t believe me, there is a mountain of evidence of her talking to 4chan mods, reddit mods, and even a conversation about her trying to get a site taken down from internet archives. Then the false DMCA’s she filed.

    On top of that, her supporters (and even some evidence points to her) hacked The Fine Young Capitalists latest indiegogo, shutting it down. Luckily they were able to get it back up online relatively quickly.

    There is no reason to ignore the person abusing the system.

    They have talked about Grayson because he shut himself away and didn’t feed the trolls like Phil, and Zoe did. She has done nothing but antagonize people since this started. Phil as well. And even then, there has been talk about Grayson, the videos that started this mentioned him quite a bit.

  • Or the countless articles about rape accusation over at Kotaku for example.

  • This is why we shouldn’t take Zoe’s word on anything at this point. All she does is lie and manipulate.

  • Ah right okay, so it looks as though she believes the payment of women involved in the project is damaging. I still have a long way to go in fully researching this, so I’m not going to openly discuss how I feel about it thus far, but this is really helpful, thanks. If you guys have any more info to point me towards, I’m all eyes and ears and brains.

    • TerribleName is another bit of insight into the FYC fiasco from an (anonymous) feminist blogger. The tl;dr is that she blindly trusted Zoe’s opinion because she identified as feminist and condemned anyone associated with 4chan because they’re labeled as monsters. Then she had a realization that she was playing identity politics and not using her own reasoning and felt pretty bad about it.

      Another angle might be the complete lack of coverage of a pretty large feminist gaming project from kotaku et al. especially because the whole thing, the DDoS, the hacking of their page, 4chan’s rather surprising reaction and the birth of Vivian James (immediately condemned for not being minority enough) are an interesting news story in and of itself without Quinn’s fleeting fame. 4chan opted to donate to the Colon Cancer Alliance in order to ‘chemo butthurt’. That screams for a clickbait headline.

      Any publicity you could give the project would be awesome, because they still have a long ways to go and I don’t think 4chan alone can fund it. Getting some coverage would be a huge boon for the project.

    • TerribleName

      Double post, but for anyone who hasn’t done any research on this, I’ll lay out what I believe happened. The Fine Young Capitalists launched a project aimed at getting women into the production roles of games development. To that end they started a contest where any woman could submit an idea and they would work with her to create concept art and write a pitch for her game idea, all free of charge. From there they would host a contest and a fundraising campaign to send the most popular pitch to a professional game development company to be turned into an actual game. The woman who came up with the initial concept would receive 8% of the profits from the game as a royalty, which apparently is industry standard for a producer. The rest of the profits would go to FYC to cover future projects and to charity.

      After FYC helped the women involved develop the pitch, complete with free concept art, the women was entitled to do whatever she wanted with it, participation in the development contest was voluntary. The women were not expected to provide any development labor beyond the initial concept and refining the pitch, but further input was welcome. Basically FYC were hosting an opportunity for creative women with no game development skills to make a game they otherwise would not have been able to get made. It wasn’t a call for slave labor coders and artists to ‘donate’ time to a project that FYC would pocket the cash from.

      Zoe Quinn disagreed though. She felt giving only 8% of the profits (from a game that otherwise wouldn’t exist) was exploitative and that the concept creator should have a much higher stake. She also took exception to FYCs transgender policy. FYC required all contestants to be female or to have transitioned prior to the beginning of the contest. Quinn felt using the word transitioned was wrong and it meant FYC had sexist policies. I can’t find it now, but FYC had an incredibly detailed and inclusive elaboration on the their trans policy that amounted to ‘if you thought of yourself as female prior to the contest start, you count’. I dont know if that was a response to the Quinn attack or there from the beginning though.

      Anyways, Quinn egged people on to attack FYC and ‘accidently’ DDoSd their site. In the wake 4chan, of all people, decided to support FYC as an enormous fuck you to Quinn and her followers. They donated enough money collectively to qualify for a character of their own design being added to the game. In another fuck you to expectations 4chan’s /v/ board designed a perfectly average, unsexualized girl as their character (and now mascot): Vivian James.

      In respone to 4chan’s funding *someone* decided to hack the indiegogo account and deface it, leading to the fundraiser being shut down. FYC got it back online a few days later, and I think at this point 4chan has collectively dumped $20k into the project. The charity they picked was the Colon Cancer Alliance, because they wanted to ‘chemo butthurt’, which is great because the other options were all man centric (prostate cancer, battered men’s shelters, a comedy Jewish internet defense force option from the politically incorrect board /pol/) and would have fanned the flames. Check out Knowyourmeme (a totally trustworthy source) for more information on Vivian James and the Fine Young Capitalists.

      Now FYC can’t get coverage from a lot of the major games journalists because of their tangential association with Quinn and 4chan. The current narrative is that Quinn did nothing wrong (and 4chan are misogynists), so anything that runs counter, like the time Quinn bashed a women’s charity that 4chan later donated to, is virtually unpublishable. As a result a good project is languishing. FYC have a media contact email that you could use to contact them [email protected]

  • pobilo

    After reading more I’m not sure how the primary fault would be with anyone but Zoe. We have evidence she purposefully sabotaged a project to help female developers and then exploited a group of heavily depressed and possibly suicidal people. The corruption and the Nathan stuff is really bad, but as bad as it is the wizardchan stuff could have actually killed someone.

    • Nathan Merrill

      The Joshua Boggs thing is really disturbing as well; sleeping with someone immediately prior to hiring them to work for you is always incredibly questionable, and the fact that apparently neither Zoe Quinn nor Joshua Boggs recognized this makes me wonder how either of them are even capable of understanding that trading sexual favors for positive hiring outcomes – or even the mere APPEARANCE of such – is incredibly damaging to women and also reflects on the idea that these people expect women to sleep with them in order to hire them.

      It doesn’t even matter if they just banged because they can’t keep their pants on – the fact is that it gives the very strong appearance of impropriety.

  • Stormrider

    Very well written.

    Yes she has done questionable things but the focus on her seems disproportionate. And I seriously doubt that if she was male that her sleeping around would be as much of an issue.

    I am angry with what happened and I am angry about the state of gaming journalism in general but hounding her will achieve nothing but make the gaming community look like jerks.

    As for people complaining this article has a “feminist” streak well frankly it needs to be said. I am not a feminist myself but I know sexism when I see it and I see it far too often. There is a strong misogynistic streak in gaming (Not all guys or even a majority but a very vocal and very nasty minority) and it frankly needs to be tackled.

  • Nettacki

    “And please… Zoe Quinn’s career was over when she published Depression
    Quest, which doesn’t even provide a legit depiction of actual

    Debatable. I’ve talked to people who suffered and/or are suffering with depression that played this game, and they’ve said otherwise: it was a legit, realistic depiction of depression whose only real problem was the lack of choice in the actual identity of your character. Some of the thoughts being expressed in the game were, as one person put it, “word-for-word what I have thought and said in those situations,” to the point that they started to “tear up” because what they read after making a choice “seemed as if I had written it myself.” At the same time, there were some elements in the game that that person and a few others never really went through, but that was more due to inexperience or good fortune than of any real inaccuracy.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      “Debatable. I’ve talked to people who suffered and/or are suffering with depression that played this game, and they’ve said otherwise: it was a legit, realistic depiction of depression whose only real problem was the lack of choice in the actual identity of your character.”

      This is BS. Depression is not the same in everyone. Different people have different responses. Ask any psychologist.

      Either way, developing a website interactive fiction that depicts a choose your own adventure simulation of depression is not developing a video game.

      Her ‘career’ as a video game developer never started.

      • Nettacki

        I know it’s not the same for everyone, but at the same time the fact that people do come out and feel that quite a few of the things expressed in the not-a-game hit home does suggest that it’s doing its job fairly well.

        • Gregg Braddoch

          Perhaps, however the things that are in it are easily found on pubmed. So if the intent of the game was a fictional version of the pubmed page on depression, then of course it is doing its job well. Doesn’t make it a good game though, and it most certainly doesn’t make the creator a career game developer, nor does it excuse the manner in which the game was marketed.

  • That One Guy

    A well written and nuanced article. Must have been tough to write since it could be seen as “victim-blaming” by some. The parts that struck me the most was where you discussed misogyny, especially your own personal experiences. Misogyny is a real problem in gaming culture that needs to be addressed. But that’s not what this whole kerfuffle was really about. It was about unethical journalism.

    To me it felt more like you had two groups of very ideological people pushing their agenda’s into this “conspiracy”. While I agree with a lot of the general premises of Anita Sarkeesian I’m no fan of hers. She has been caught using examples of misogyny in video games that simply weren’t true. I’m also no fan of people like the youtuber who coined the phrase “five guys conspiracy”. “InternetAristocrat”, who is a supporter of the far right UKIP, is a loon who should not be taken seriously.

    Thanks a lot Sarah in cutting through a highly volatile and emotionally charged “conspiracy” and giving your readers some perspective about what the scandal was about, and in my opinion truth. And not just about the “conspiracy” but about misogyny in gaming culture as well.

    • Thank you! I really hope this does not read as victim blaming, because that’s really not what I’m about, or a way of thinking I would want to be aligned with.

      Quinn’s personal life is none of my concern, I don’t believe she ‘brought this on herself’ as a lot of people seem to think. Her personal life was exposed by a bitter ex. That being said her behaviour beyond this situation has been less than tasteful.

  • Tommy Sjöberg

    I think your article is very well written and on point. I havent read all of the comment here or on other forums/sites since that would take me forever. One thing i wonder is? If she infact have had realtionships with some persons in the industry that “could give her” benefits or perks or stuff like that isnt then that something that needs to be taken into account? Ofc the real pricks is the journalists that take advantage of this but dont you think that a developer with integrity should perhaps not “get into a relationship” that they MUST have know could be seen as having given a push up the ladder so to speak?
    Anyways thanks for a very well written article, ill make sure to bookmark your page here for future gaming news!


  • Tim Lau

    Sarah great article, but the problem is as you’ve mentioned before the breakdown of trust, so I imagine that the silence didn’t seem like what you so clearly pointed out was an attempt to not abuse a person but was seen as a deliberate conspiracy of silence on the issue. I mean it’s what I personally thought after noticing a distinct lack of reporting on the issue and thought “oh god, they’re closing ranks again to protect one of their own.” I didn’t consider your possibility at all because THAT is how low my opinion of the games journalism is now.

  • Cheeb

    I do agree that there was likely some genuine misogyny in that whole mess. But I have to say, I think the main reason Zoe got the brunt of the attack is because she was the one who cheated (relationship wise, not professionally). A lot of people just don’t accept that cheating on someone is just “their personal life”, especially not when it’s to the extent that it’s purported to have been.
    There have been serious discussions in the UK in recent years to start making psychological abuse in relationships a genuine crime. This would be almost impossible to police (part of the reason it hasn’t got very far), but I don’t entirely disagree on the principle. I have been through similar situations myself and I do honestly think that while “it’s none of our business” certainly applies in the vast majority of cases, in some it really doesn’t. Sometimes crimes in relationships really are the business of the public because they’re so hideous and damaging to the victim (and importantly, there really is an identifiable victim). I have no idea whether the event in question would fall in that category and I would never suggest that anything should be handled on twitter, it’s just a barrel of potential hate. But I think in some cases, saying “it’s just their personal life” becomes socially irresponsible. I know it’s a tangent and I agree the behaviour here was hideous. But it really rubs me the wrong way when I hear that “it’s their personal life” because I know how much injustice gets hidden in that sentence.