GamerGate: Conspiracy, collusion, and games journalism’s secret mailing list

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By Erwin Murillo – 18th September 2014
GamerGate: Conspiracy, collusion, and games journalism’s secret mailing list
Disclaimer:
The following uses Breitbart.com editor, Milo Yiannopoulos’, article, “Exposed: The Secret Mailing List of the Games Journalism Elite.” as a primary source, and utilizes photos/screenshots from said article.
Furthermore, this is in no way in support or opposition of any of the parties involved. This article is intended to simply lay out the facts as they have surfaced. It is wholly up to the reader to interpret the information as they see fit.

Apparently, a group of well-known game journalists hailing from a variety of prominent gaming websites are part of a secret mailing list, in which the aforementioned journalists collaborate on stories in regards their method of approach, what to pursue, and which ones should be thrown by the wayside.

Gaming news sites such as Kotaku, Ars Technica, and Polygon use the secret mailing list, known as the private Google Group, “GameJournoPros” or “Game Journalism Professionals,” in order to mold and manipulate game industry attitudes towards pertinent events., not unlike the Zoe Quinn/Kotaku scandal (which was reported on at GamerHeadlines.com here), and the 15+ articles saying that “gamers are dead.”

Breitbart somehow got ahold of a number of emails from the GameJournoPros mailing list that revealed the type of collusion occurring within the digital walls of the elite game journalism club.

A particular email showed a senior gaming editor for Ars Technica, Kyle Orland, brainstorming on how to use the “Quinntaku” scandal as a means of promoting Zoe Quinn’s work and the potential scapegoating of the gaming community.

You can see the email in question below (courtesy of Breitbart.com):


GamerGate: Collusion and Games Journalism

GamerGate Breitbart Email

In case you cannot read the email, Orland states the following (highlighted):

“I don’t want to in essence reward the jerks doing this by giving their ‘issue’ any attention at all (I’m not even going to give the bullshit ‘journalism ethics’ excuse for these attacks the time of day.)”

He continued to say later in the email:

“I would LOVE to use my platform to reproach this kind of behavior…but that would go against Quinn’s valid and understandable desire not to have this personal matter publicized by the media…Maybe we should just stick to Twitter to boost the signal on this one, rather than our ‘front pages.'”

Near the end, Orland says the following:

“Maybe we should get a public letter of support going around decrying these kinds of personal attacks, signed by as many sympathetic journalists/developers as we can. Maybe we should just use this as an excuse to give more attention to her work…I know I’ve been meaning to review Depression Quest since its Steam release.”

The above quote may be in reference to Andreas Zecher’s open letter signed by various game journalists and developers, which was written about here. However, that is mere speculation, and would be inappropriate to discuss further without more concrete information.


Additionally, Ben Kuchera, editor at Polygon, can be seen on GameJournoPros lending his support for Zoe Quinn, and chastising fellow writers who are not.

You can see that email below:

GamerGate Breitbart 2

In response to an antin-Quinn thread on EscapistMagazine.com , Kuchera says:

“Someone signed up for an Escapist account just to post that thread, and try to spread alleged details of someone’s sexual past in order to shame them. I’m not sure what your definition of harassment is, but that fits mine.”

Additionally, in other emails, Breitbart states that Kuchera keeps pressuring members in game journalism to take down content on their websites that is disparaging towards Zoe Quinn, as well as requesting that they censor/moderate comments and forum posts that call out the integrity of games journalism as a whole.


In another post on the mailing list, Jason Schreier, senior writer at Kotaku defends the journalist, Nathan Grayson, who admitted to having sexual relations with Zoe Quinn after recently mentioning her in his writing.

In regards to Grayson supposedly reviewing Quinn’s game, Depression Quest, Schreier says in the email:

“Nathan Grayson has never reviewed or written about Depression Quest for Kotaku.”

Mike Wehner, writer for Yahoo, USA Today, Daily Dot, among others, and James Fudge, GamePolitics.com’s managing editor, are both on the GameJournoPros private group mailing list and lend credence to the group’s overarching influence in mainstream media by saying:

“And yet all video game outlets, from GiantBomb to Kotaku to Destructoid to the Escapist to Reddit all the way to 4chan’s /v/ do their continual best efforts to simply not bring this up, both in official outlets and, in the cases of GB and /v/, by deleting threads about it, or in the case of Reddit downvoting it and making the links not work.”

If you would like to see additional screen captures of the emails, visit Milo Yiannopoulos’ article mentioned (and linked) in the disclaimer.


The email correspondence between the members of the GameJournoPros mailing list seems to attest to many gamer’s leering suspicions of the corrupt state of modern games journalism., due to the manipulation of coverage in regards to relevant gaming stories, as well as the manipulation of a variety of gaming websites, forums, Reddit, et cetera, in order to support gaming figures that they are sympathetic towards.

If you’re interested reading other articles relevant to GamerGate written by me and my fellow GamerHeadlines staff, check out the links below:

‘GamerGate’ and Why We Aren’t Moving Forward From the Worst Week in Gaming

GamerGate: The progress we’ve made so far

GamerGate Update: Xbox One dev, anonymous game industry figures in support

GamerGate and Game Journalism: Full Disclosure – An Author’s Opinion


Author’s Take:

I really don’t have a response for all of this. In the midst of GamerGate and NotYourShield, it’s quite difficult to type out how I feel in regards to this situation on a computer screen.

As I’ve said before, GamerGate is about transparency and ethics reform, and if any of the information laid out above is even remotely true, that’s exactly what the games industry and games journalism needs. I support honesty, integrity, and transparency (and by association, GamerGate) in any line of work, but when it’s a field that is meant to cater to an audience that you rely on (such as the relationship between game companies, journalists, websites, et cetera and gamers), it’s undoubtedly paramount. It’s a priority.

There should be no deals under the table (or in this case, within a private mailing group) that seek to manipulate general attitudes towards relevant game industry stories/figures. It should always be about the games, all about the gamers, all the time.

That’s really all I have to say about this situation. I’ll update this article as relevant information surfaces, but for now, I’m just going to sit back, and think of the days when gaming was actually about gaming. You may think I’m missing the point, that I’m dismissing the imminent veritable firestorm that is sure to occur if all this turns out to be true. But really, I’m not. It’s important without a doubt. But I’m tired. Not tired of GamerGate, not tired of gaming, I’m just tired of all the extraneous bullshit that has seeped into the soul of what I love.

There I go again, being melodramatic and heavy-handed. But screw it, just remember to stick to your guns.



Erwin Murillo

Erwin Murillo is a graduate of Union University. He has a Bachelor's of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Exercise Science and Wellness/Sports Medicine, and is currently enrolled at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Occupational Therapy Program. As buff as he is nerdy, you can find him either throwing around iron in the gym, or working on his latest video game article...sometimes both. Follow him on Twitter @DesertFoxJr or email him at [email protected].

  • FL

    and they call their group “Game Journalism Professionals” – LOOOOOOL

    • Maybe every day is opposite day for them…

    • Eliah Ryan

      except whenever they are called out and it becomes the “Game Blogger Professionals”

      • I wonder how the people mentioned in the article week respond to this whether it is true or not.

  • Totheendofsin

    You know, I started out not buying the ‘conspiracy’ stuff going around, instead believing it was youth and a lack of understanding why people want transparency and ethics in journalism that brought this on… now… I’m not so sure… I wonder if I can find some good deals on tinfoil

    • Yeah, I understand where you’re coming from. It’s pretty crazy for sure, true or not. Buy me a pack of foil while you’re at it, if you don’t mind, haha.

    • TheWastelander

      I was skeptical, but when all those “gamers are dead” articles came out at the same time I knew there had to be something to it.

      I’m not really that surprised by anything these people do anymore. They live inside a bubble and surround themselves solely with people who believe the same things they do. They’ve got a serious problem with groupthink but it’s not surprising when you look at their credentials.

      They and others like them have made it socially risky to express differing viewpoints because if you disagree with them they will go after you and try to ruin your life. Their ideology is their religion and they take it very seriously.

      As an idiot who got his degree in Political Science, I’m familiar with the kind of tactics they use to try to put a lid on dissent. I largely kept my political opinions to myself and took international relations classes to avoid these sorts, but when I had to take domestic politics classes I parroted whatever the instructors believed to get good grades. Those who didn’t got crappier grades and socially ostracized to an extent.

  • I’m just going to sit back, and think of the days when gaming was actually about gaming.

    Ah, I remember those days. I miss them.

    • As do I, my friend. Someday, we shall have that again.

  • tetrisdork

    I kinda want to see if The Fine Young Capitalists are in their conversations. It would definitely shed some light as to why they got blackballed by them during their IndieGoGo campaign.

    • Not sure, waiting for some more developments for sure.

  • Badmojo7

    If they worked together to actively kill a game or prevent news of its release or deliberately trash a game by giving it a low score, I would think companies/devs/publishers could sue them for intentionally causing financial loss. Not to mention causing slander and false allegations which could cause irreparable harm to a persons character and job opportunities. If I was a someone who was affected by the above, you bet I would have my lawyer on the phone now and show them all this stuff.

    • That’s a possibility. Not sure if the rabbit hole goes down that far, but time will tell.

  • Ryumoau

    This is some crazy stuff. Congrats to Breitbart for finding this info though. These people need to be exposed and the gaming media needs to be reformed.

    • Yeah, props to Milo for sure. This stuff is insane.

  • verytirednerd

    It’s one thing to think this is what was going on, but it’s another to confirm it with proof.
    I can’t even properly convey the betrayal and anger I feel ever since Milo put the emails up. These game journalists… I want them fired. Their sites erased. I want them to only be able to get minimum wage jobs in retail or fast food.

    They wanted to shape our hobby and take it away from us. Forgetting they were once one of us at some point.

    I just, can’t.
    And there’s no one to get them reprimanded by! They are their own bosses! They’ll get away with this scott free!
    It isn’t right.

    These people don’t care about games anymore. All they care about is their social engineering agenda. They want to control and dominate.
    They need to be excised.

  • cen

    thanks for running this

  • Rob S.

    And yet you still have ignorant fools on the Internet, hanging on every last word that these writers speak. They’re not even journalists; hell, I wouldn’t even call them “bloggers” since I believe it to be an insult to those who blog and blog well. Articles like these show just how far their rabbit hole goes and I’m curious to see when it’ll get deeper. Not “if” but “when,” because we know there is more to be told.

    Thank you so much for writing this, Erwin! You, and the rest of Gamer Headlines, are doing a stellar job!

  • Rob S.

    And yet you still have ignorant fools on the Internet, hanging on every last word that these writers speak. They’re not even journalists; hell, I wouldn’t even call them “bloggers” since I believe it to be an insult to those who blog and blog well. Articles like these show just how far their rabbit hole goes and I’m curious to see when it’ll get deeper. Not “if” but “when,” because we know there is more to be told.

    Thank you so much for writing this, Erwin! You, and the rest of Gamer Headlines, are doing a stellar job!

    • Haha, very true. Now we wait for the rest of the information to emerge.

      And no problem. I, and the rest of the GH staff, greatly apreciate it :)

  • I saw and read it. It seems a bit artificial. I need to digest it a bit more.

    • LotBlind

      Artificial? How? It seems EXTREMELY reasonable that such a group would exist for precisely the kinds of reasons Kyle outlines.

  • bluemagus

    It’s 2014 and you’re a Game Journalist with Integrity???

    Holy fuck…may I shake your hand???

  • Realkman666

    There is a scene in Rainbow Six where a bunch of dumb activists are holding rich people hostage, demanding that they give them access to a secret list of traders and the “real” stock market where they could make money quickly. This is just as bonkers, and funny.

    Where is Ding Chavez when you need him?