I have no particular love for Zoe Quinn. Truth is a hard thing to come by on the internet, but I have heard all kinds of allegations of some truly unprofessional and dishonest public behavior, discourse about which is inevitably swallowed in an empty battle between “this is only being said because she’s subject to unreasonable scrutiny as a female game developer” and “people are only coming to her defense because she’s a female game developer claiming oppression.”
Honestly, I think both sides are grounded in a fair amount of truth there. I think she has engaged in some immature and unprofessional behavior, which was escalated more and more quickly to a fever pitch as her every action became grounds for an ideological battlefield, without which she would have probably remained on the indie c-list as a moderately talented, relatively unknown young dev.
But as a woman who is equal parts excited and terrified to enter the political minefield of the gaming industry, knowing that I will have to fight a two-front battle between being ignored & underestimated on one side, and being accused of being unfairly pedastaled on the other…
As a person who is well and truly tired of seeing kinda-cool, kinda-assholey people be tried and convicted by the internet lynch mob of being Literally Satan because of some insensitive or unprofessional or, occasionally, super gross action or comment, as if every good thing they’ve ever done is now suddenly and magically untrue, as if a person’s character is determined by rounding down to the worst thing they’ve ever done…
And as a person who has lied and cheated, who has become caught up in my own bullshit and self-sabatoge and brought others down with me, who has made irresponsible choices to gain temporary or spiteful satisfaction, who has both superficially and seriously hurt people I have cared about, who has failed plenty of times to live up to my own values, and who is grateful that most of that hurt has been healable, and that it happens less and less often the better I get at being the person I aspire to be…
I am completely and utterly disgusted with Eron Gjoni’s “public service announcement,” which reeks of the bitter and self-righteous judgement endemic to ugly breakups, but which is normally (and rightfully) reserved for private ranting and raving to the close friends in one’s support system. There is not, and never will be, a situation in which it is appropriate to air the sheer volume and detail of that dirty laundry, for so fucking many reasons.
Even if it was necessary to make and prove these allegations against her, it was absolutely uncalled for to publicize damn near the ENTIRE breakup conversation, as screengrabbed from private Facebook messages. Anyone who has taken part in a breakup conversation, particularly an ugly one, particularly one where you were at fault for the fatal blow to the relationship, ought to remember how uncharitable a lens that is to view anyone through.
Even if it was important to show evidence of her admissions of infidelity, I see no fucking reason why it must include the guilt-driven dramatic self-condemnation that comes along with knowing you fucked up your relationship and have no one to blame but yourself. It proves nothing, and serves no end but to hurt and humiliate her.
I have a more intimate and detailed knowledge of the relationship and breakup between these two complete strangers than I do of any of my friends, and that’s completely fucking ridiculous. What happens in a relationship is the sole business of the people included in that relationship, and while I get sharing the gory details with a support system of friends to work through it and heal, there’s no reason to make them available to literally anyone with Internet access.
Bestowing a nickname on a woman based on the number of men she has slept with, no fucking matter the circumstances, is gross and slimy and hurts fucking everyone. I get it, you’re bitter, and bitter exes say gross and mean things, but keep that shit to your private life. Calling her “Five Guys Burgers & Fries” has done absofuckinglutely nothing except provide the internet hate machine a new and “clever” way to call her a slut, the time-tested way to assassinate the character of a woman in the public eye without ever having to fucking mention anything about her character.
There are plenty of uncharitable things that can be said about her without having to enumerate her sexual history. Call her a liar, call her a manipulator, call her selfish and immature, call her untalented, call her exploitative, call her self-serving at the expense of other women in the industry, but for the love of all things in the fucking universe, please stop calling her a whore. It does just as fucking much damage to her as it does to every other woman who is trying to have a career and be viewed as a complete human being, knowing that all it will take is one unflattering fact about her sexual history to derail all further public discourse about her.
Eron’s blog is a cesspool of bitter and spiteful high-horsing. His outrage at her reluctance to provide him with gorier details about her sex life, lest he “go public”, rings incredibly fucking hollow - “SHE IS FUCKING OSTRACIZING ME BECAUSE MAKING IT UP TO ME IS NOT WORTH THE RISK. Jesus F Christ what a selfish jerk,” you write in ACT FUCKING SIX of your public repository of all the incriminating logs you have against her, proving that she was ABSOLUTELY CORRECT in fearing that you would go public.
The majority of the media coverage resulting from this bitter-fest compounds my disgust. Half of what I read is a paper-thin defense of gossiping about her sex life on the grounds that it is an issue of the “integrity of games journalism.” Because one of the people she cheated with was a games journalist, one who never reviewed her work and whose coverage of her actions was incidental to all but the most conspiracy-seeking eye. And I find it incredibly hard to believe that a sexual encounter engenders such dramatic bias, when it’s pretty obvious on social media that they are friends, but that doesn’t undermine journalistic integrity in any way.
Another was her boss, which is admittedly inappropriate, but GUESS WHAT FUCKING HAPPENS SOMETIMES and does not indicate either endemic sexual nepotism in the industry, or an exclusive history of her relying on sex to further her career. She didn’t “sleep her way to the top” through one or even five encounters. If all allegations against her are to be believed, she lied and manipulated her way to fame, which in my opinion is MUCH FUCKING WORSE. Relying on false evidence of gendered harassment exploits and undermines the credibility of actual experiences of harassment - that hurts everyone. Sleeping with your boss is irresponsible, but inherently more situational. There are far more reports of women feeling pressured and harassed by sexual attention from their superiors than there are of women using sex for professional favors. But I suppose its far more tittilating to talk about that, and sex scandals get clicks.
And the opposing coverage isn’t fucking helping. Everything argument in her defense is piled precariously on Social Justice Warrior-style deflection. Yes, this deposition is receiving a truly disturbing amount and kind of attention. And please, stop comparing this to the public outcry of male figures engaging in sexual harassment - it is absolutely not the same thing. I’m not saying that this would be swept under the rug if the genders were reversed, but there currently exist no comparable incidents. There have been plenty of private messages released where the man on trial was predatory and aggressive and inappropriate, but I can’t think of any where he was pretty much completely just crying and apologizing (disingenuously or not).
This isn’t happening because she’s a woman. It’s happening because she did some really irresponsible and inappropriate and hurtful things, and someone she previously ostensibly trusted released evidence en masse to the public. Some of it is attributable at least in part to her gender, and the systemic sexism that pervades the industry: the unreasonable focus on her sexual morals, the primed-and-ready desire to prove that these high-and-mighty feminists are actually evil incarnate, etc. But it wouldn’t be possible, or at least as easy, if she had been a perfect fucing saint who never made any mistakes.
She has made mistakes. Some impactful and significant and damaging to the industry, some private and nobody’s business. And until we collectively get it through our fucking heads that there’s a difference, then please, spare me your fucking righteous indignation about journalistic integrity.
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