|Image courtesy of shutterstock.com|
Prominent youtube "personality" joined the pile-on, with Youtuber JonTron linking approvingly to a pornographic slander comic, and then later approvingly linking to a fan comparing the outcry against his actions to black people being lynched.
Other games industry writers from Stephen Totilio and Patrick Klepek to Leigh Alexander and Jenn Frank took to her defense. One of her most prominent game developer defenders of Zoe Quinn was Phil Fish (who had recently returned publicly to twitter to comment on the human rights abuses in Ferguson). This week, both his twitter account and business website Polytron were hacked, and personal details were released-- everything from back accounts to home address history, along with a data dump of 1.5 GB of developer only assets and financial records for FEZ and his business. After he regained control of his accounts, he announced he was selling off the FEZ IP, the Polytron assets and leaving video game development for good.
Liz Ryerson has a cutting analysis of these angry, scared self-appointed gatekeepers:
Zoe has become the scapegoat for every bit of internalized misogyny and misdirected rage these people felt. she appears to them an amorphous assemblage of everything that is viewed as wrong with women - manipulativeness, sluttiness, being an 'attention-whore'. the idea of trusting the word of a frighteningly narcissistic ex who's out to ruin her reputation is fine with them, because it meshes with their worldview...
...often it's a conservative, reactionary anger that comes out of disillusionment and fear, and gets constantly externalized onto marginalized people, especially women and queer people. they struggle to understand and adjust to a rapidly shifting cultural landscape, in and out of games, that's moving away from traditionally catering to them and their empathy-deficient values into something more culturally sensitive and aware. and so they find simple explanations for these complex phenomena that fit within their bigoted worldview - boogeymans of evil, manipulative and misleading women like Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarskeesian. they view themselves as anti-authority and anti-power, even as their actions are tremendously conservative and tremendously serving of the interests of power.
The outrage over alleged private infidelity that never even resulted in an actual review lays bare the lie that this is about hand-wringing over worries of "journalistic ethics" and shows instead that those joining in on the pile-on really just see women as a threat to the world of video games and other geeky hobbies, and are ready to rage and holler and attempt to intimidate any woman they decide is somehow a threat at the flimsiest provocation. If you really cared about favorable review currying for games, you'd maybe throw some of this vitriol at the industry practice of only releasing game information to friendly outlets, perhaps.
It shouldn't be up to women to fight these battles alone. As I mentioned in my post about what men need to do about the harassment of women online, we need to make it absolutely clear that this behavior is unacceptable and that anyone that feels otherwise is unwelcome.
So let me make this crystal clear: If you support the harassment of Zoe Quinn or her supporters, if you think you are doing the right thing by shaming her about her private relationships or sexual history, if you think that anyone harassed in the way she has been "had it coming" or that by doing any sort of gate-keeping to women in your hobby you are fighting the good fight-- I don't EVER want your support.
Don't visit my blog. Don't support my patreon. Don't donate to me. Don't read my work or play my games. Don't listen to my podcast. You are not welcome here on The Code, and I don't want you as a fan.
I call on major gaming sites to issue clear condemnations of this behavior in general and defense of Zoe Quinn in particular. When fans or site visitors heap abuse on women that criticize actions or inaction of those in the industry, it because these harassers and misogynists view this as okay thing to do. And if your site policy doesn't explicitly forbid these attitudes and actions from your audience, the toxic elements of your audience view this sort of pile on as implicitly okay. Look at the harassment of Courtney Stanton and Maddy Meyers by webcomic fans, the harassment of Samanta Allen by Giant Bomb fans, the pile-ons from 4chan and reddit and totalbiscuit and jontron fans and elsewhere of Zoe Quinn.
It is unacceptable and unforgivable. You are not noble truth seekers. You're just flinging shit.