The Kotaku / Zoe Quinn scandal: The Aftermath and Thoughts
Three days ago, I covered a developing story in regards to accusations of a current writer of Kotaku by the name of Nathan Grayson having sexual relations with indie developer named Zoe Quinn to both mutually benefit their careers. Why? Because nobody else would. Social media outlets were removing any mention the story out of fear that personal details of the developer would spread, and other gaming news sites refused to publish the story either to avoid drawing any attention to their own involvement of the story, or out of fear of the so called ‘social justice’ lynch mobs that have quickly taken control of the conversation. As a result of what happens when you cover a popular topic that nobody else wants, myself and GamerHeadlines itself became the eye of the storm, for better or for worse.
Now, let me preface this by saying that as you’ve likely noticed, GamerHeadlines is no Kotaku or Polygon. We carry many similar stories and serve the same audience, but we are gamers first and foremost, writing about the stories that matter to us out of our own time. Nobody here earns anything near a full time income from writing for this site, and we’re willing to give a voice to any gamer that wants a shot at being heard. This is videogame news by regular gamers from all walks of life, and our reward is a chance at getting closer to the industry that we all love. Because of our independence, we have a have a deep respect for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the idea that such a potentially important story was being blacked out irked us.
I should stress, heavily, that all I did as a reporter, was report on the news that accusations were made, and that a number of famous names in the industry were directly or indirectly involved. Though I personally take a particularly dim view on the ‘social justice’ crusade that’s followed this story, I pick no sides in this debate.
And a very dim view I take. Since publishing the article and ‘going viral’, myself and my colleagues have been subject to threats, illegal attempts to obtain personal information, and illegal attempts to hack the editor account of the site. Nobody should have to receive a phone call from the police because somebody disagreed with an article you wrote on the internet, ever. Still in spite of this, we shall keep the article up and updated for as long as the situation remains relevant to the industry.
To borrow the words of Ms. Zoe Quinn, We do not negotiate with terrorists.
Not to dwell on negative feedback however, a special mention must be made for the vast majority of people who have sent the staff of this website nothing but praise, and skyrocketed the site into a spotlight big enough to rival mainstream sites. It has been a truly exciting and humbling experience to reach such a wide and positive audience, and all I can say is that we love you guys too.
Now it actually turns out that this story has been developing in some ways, and now the sea of anger has calmed down we can pick some pieces out of the rubble. Here is what we know now that we didn’t before:
Most importantly, it seems that the evidence that Zoe Quinn and Nathan Grayson had sexual relations in order to boost the promotion of her game is starting to crumble. Though Nathan Grayson DID write articles mentioning Depression Quest, it was when he was still employed by Rock Paper Shotgun and before the affair allegedly took place. Despite this, the fellow female indie dev mentioned in the leaked facebook logs has come forward after her original posts were wiped from Tumblr, and has said with a large degree of certainty that the relationship involved a breach of ethical standards. There is no hard evidence to back this up however.
Like GamerHeadlines, YouTube personality TotalBiscuit has also reported that he has become a victim of harassment from defenders of Zoe Quinn and other indie developers for his Twitter post on the subject, available here. Another YouTube star, JonTron, has also come under harassment after reblogging a crude comic involving himself, Zoe Quinn, and the so-called “Five Guys” involved in the controversy.
A protest against corruption in the videogames industry is currently being organised outside the venue of PAX next week. Will this go anywhere? Who knows. The protest is being organised by an anonymous industry insider with a STEM background, who makes a point of describing themselves as a woman. More on that if and when it develops.
Like the accusations of exchanging sex for press, Zoe Quinn’s claims that 4chan hacked her personal Tumblr account to obtain nude photos has been debunked, after attempts to spread the images made it apparent that they are crude Photoshops. This is still a very terrible (and illegal) thing to do to a person, though it calls into question how truthful those accused have been during this whole ordeal. And no, no links here for obvious reasons. You’ll have to take my word for this one.
And that just about wraps things up. I’m thinking of leaving you all with another video, but this article is long in the tooth and I don’t want to leave you with another half hour rant. I need something short, snappy, and captures the tone of what’s been written.
Yes, that’ll do nicely.