In support of Wren (the abuse she endured while working on Fight Knight)

I am writing this post in support of Wren.

Wren is a wonderful human who endured physical abuse, psychological abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, and pretty much that entire spectrum that we’re way too used to hearing about when survivors share their stories.
She endured this while working on the game Fight Knight, putting out what I’m sure was amazing work that we will probably never see, or she will likely never be fully credited for.

I do not have much more to add to this since Wren’s own account, Flatwood’s account backing up Wren, and then Flatwood’s post that he helped put together for Wren as a rebuttal to her being slandered by this group of abusers… says it all.
What I intend to do with this post is highlight sections of the story which are relevant to how the rapist (Boen) and his friend group reacted to Wren’s story.
They publicly slandered her, and tried to use their collective platforms to paint her as “crazy”. After this, they attacked anyone showing support for her.
I believe their behavior illustrates what Wren brought forward in her initial account, so this post exists to capture some of their behavior.

I’m going to link to her own words now, and quote from that…

“Please note, there will be discussion of physical and sexual abuse, trauma, suicidal ideation, targeted harassment, and sexism/racism. I will try not to go into more detail than is necessary, but please take care from this point forward.”

Why I left the Fight Knight project.

Boen is the rapist in this story. He’s the lead behind Fight Knight, and the person that ran the kickstarter.

Wren’s account starts out with him talking her into joining the team (they were in a relationship at this point). She didn’t want to at first because of (supposedly) existing scars left from Boen’s previous relationship…

“There was existing sourness from Boen’s previous romantic partner having been on bad terms with everyone else. Boen’s ex was apparently difficult to work with, combative and jealous, and possessive of her work to the extent she often claimed ownership over work that had mostly been Boen’s. Boen was wary of bringing his new romantic partner into the team and reopening those scars.”

Linking here to Wren’s Tweet further elaborating on this

…but eventually Wren agreed to work on the writing for the game.
She was given the impression that the team knew she was going to join, but soon realized that this was not the case.

“Tivo seemed blindsided and furious as I began talking about the edits to the story I’d already approved with Boen. At first I was confused by the amount of animosity I felt I was receiving and tried to explain my reasoning behind some of the edits. But as the conversation grew more combative and negative, I stepped back from the dev server entirely.”

While working with him it became apparent that he would lie to the team, lie to her, and often twist the truth.
Team members would slander her, and he would fuel that.

“Boen’s habit of scapegoating me had come home to roost. I had by now also caught Boen in countless lies, ranging from trivial ones about claiming to have completed house chores when he hadn’t, to giving me wrong information which lead me to making errors in critical business and legal decisions. It was also not lost on me that, whenever I needed to confront Boen about a missed deadline or broken promise, he often scapegoated his friends as well, particularly Tivo, Karl, or other members of the Fight Knight team.”

He even talked her into moving to Canada to live with him. He promised her that her parents were OK with her moving in with them all. When she arrived, they were shocked. He lied to her in order to get her to move in with him.

Throughout this story, such behavior was normal.

It’s a long and painful account, carefully spelled out, with ample proof.
It ends with people in that circle, who convinced her that she could trust them, getting her to open up about her experiences… just so they could share what she said with her rapist (Boen).

When she eventually escaped him (moved out), he held onto her things and her cats. He was unwilling to return her belongings. His friend circle (the same that betrayed her trust) were encouraging him to throw her cats into a shelter.

“Boen sent me chat logs of a group chat that contained him, Tivo, the friend who had offered her home to me, and another friend I’d known since childhood. Apparently they had contacted Boen and copy pasted text and even audio recordings of my flashbacks to him. While claiming to help me, they had actually been “milking” me for information to share to Boen and were urging Boen to throw my cats in a shelter and my belongings in the garbage.”

I don’t want to quote the entire story here. You really should read her own words.
I highlight these portions because I believe the way Boen, and his friend circle, publicly behaved toward her (after she came forward) illustrates these sections.
I will share more of that after posting other accounts, giving support and proof to Wren’s story.
From: What I witnessed of Boen’s friend circle

“Harassment from Karl and Tony continued despite Wren removing herself from their Discord server entirely. Karl and Tony began mocking the Black Lives Matter movement and cheering at video footage of protestors being shot or beaten.”

“Eventually Karl contacted my brother with baseless speculation in order to drum up more hatred towards Wren. Tony contacted me at the same time, fishing for information about Wren as well. They honestly viewed us as potential allies, because of course, we were “one of the guys”, right?”

“Boen sent us a chat log of Tivo, Clair, and Mia mocking us, calling me a pathetic simp for the grave crime of trying to be supportive to Wren in her time of need. They couldn’t quite seem to agree on whether Wren was somehow manipulating me into viewing her favourably or whether I was manipulating her to my own devious ends and would alternate between these two equally ridiculous explanations while playing sycophants to Boen.”

Since Wren came forward, Boen and his friend circle refuted these claims.
They went on to publicly share out-of-context screenshots from when she was trying to make sense of what had happened to her.
These same text messages that they “milked” her for.

(How can you credibly refute rape allegations with a name like that?)

I will not be directly linking to Boen’s, or his friend group’s, statements here. It is slander and I do not wish to platform that. You can go read it from their own Twitter accounts (pinned Tweets):

Others from that friend group who participated in slandering Wren, as well as attacking her supporters (with transphobia, racism, and mocking other sexual assault survivors) have been:

When I threw my support behind Wren, the same friend group went on to publicly attack me.
I share now some of that here to illustrate the kind of people they are…

(He follows Roosh, a pickup artist most known for defending rape.)

One of the people that came out in support was named RapeManEXE. If you follow his account you find him using names of KKK members for his other profiles. For example, this is who David Duke is.

If you dig into any of these people you find this type of behavior.
I and my sister both dug into their history. It’s rife with alt-right rhetoric, transphobia, mocking sexual assault, associated with or being in racist Steam groups (like the Kool Kids Klub), homophobia, anti-vax memes, racist memes… I could go on. This is literally at the bottom of the “we need to do better” barrel.

(Again, see the @name)

Ironic that someone that patented the “trollface” and tried to get into it with Redit for its use is calling me a grifter for supporting a sexual assault survivor.
Update (10/18/2021): See also this and this. Which is interesting to me, how most of these people’s identities circles around rape and making light of it. Like I said here, “anti-survivor” activism is a thing. It gets pretty violent while also being excused as “just a joke”.

The last time the above account was used was during gamergate (in support of gamergate)…

There’s probably a good reason she blocked the lot of you…

Here’s a thread on Thumbtack’s racism:

Like I said… I believe this is important to highlight because it demonstrates the type of people calling Wren a liar… as well as the type of people who just so casually exist in gamedev like this.

Before she came forward, some of them were putting on “the ally facade“, retweeting popular support or rhetoric for things like metoo in games.
This is the type of stuff that is far too normal.
Behind all that allyship, all the posturing, far too often is a history of victims that the progressive sounding person left behind.

Wren says it best at the end of her post…

“My story isn’t about one abuser and one victim. My story is about an industry where we decorate our company logos with rainbows and talk a lot about solidarity, and then we finish our beers and stumble over to a different table.”

A friend of Wren’s has since helped Wren assemble a rebuttal (I linked to that at the beginning of this post), in which they show more than enough ample proof that Boen and his friend circle were lying about her.

What I witnessed of Boen’s treatment of Wren

“Shortly after this she learned that Tivo had been sending her chat logs to Boen all along and removed him from access to her server. He now sees fit to call her paranoid as he posts the very proof of his betrayal in public! It’s maddening to witness and imagine the hateful fool who can’t see what a farce their “good will” has amounted to.”

“There’s countless other lies in their statements, some of which baffle me with their baselessness. I don’t recall her ever claiming Boen poisoned her water or somehow affected the pandemic situation. She’s paid thousands of dollars out of pocket to some of the composers of Devil Engine Ignition’s arranged soundtrack, the booth and promotional materials for Tokyo Game Show 2019. They admit to Boen’s lies about their revenue share and somehow make her supportiveness of Tivo’s contributions to Fight Knight just another one of her supposed “manipulations”.”

“I suppose it’s made it easy for me to illustrate their hypocrisy when it comes to “cancel culture”. They were plenty happy to use Wren as their moral shield when they wanted to air their grievances with Dangen. And now they spit in the face of the idea of “allyship” by admitting that they saw fit to send her most vulnerable confessions directly to her accused abuser.”

Another of Wren’s friends backed this up…

I would like to highlight this excerpt:

It’s worth noting too that Wren has exhibited far more integrity than this circle of fools. She has not attacked anyone, name called, or even remotely close to the type of behavior Boen’s friends have exhibited.
Wren even put out a statement asking them to stop attacking me. They still persisted after that was posted.

When we talk about abuse at Blizzard Entertainment, Ubisoft… all the AAA… people often point to the Indie space as being some kind of alternative.
I think it’s important to highlight that the same type of predators exist in the indie space too.
Unfortunately outing these predators, and throwing support behind the survivors, isn’t as “glamorous” because they’re viewed as “small potatoes”.
I think that should beg the question; when will we actually support survivors?
It’s either “too loud”, “the abusers are too big, therefore too much to lose”, “too problematic”, “too perfect”, “too small…”
Every excuse in the book has been used. In this case too…

And in the less alt-right Twitter sphere, we have hollow claims like…

“Believe survivors”

“I support survivors”

It’s such a trendy thing to say. Such a wonderful thing to pronounce, and collect all that social media clout for.
When it comes down to it, people like Wren are largely alone.

I’ve lost count of the times that I was told I was being “too loud” when I was fighting with Kotaku just for the bare minimum.
So many of these are people that champion this rhetoric, in Wren’s case they even hide behind it.
When will we actually walk this talk?

Pleas support Wren.

For the record, since I know this stuff gets buried, following are links to most of my Tweets (and a couple from my sister) when I was arguing with the rapist’s friend circle.

Here are Wren’s tweets and retweets.

Update: Nov 15 2021
Part 2: In support of Wren (the abuse she continues to endure, Fight Knight, and publicly ridiculing her trauma)
I wrote an update about this extremely fucked up and painful situation here. It offers more proof. It goes over the Fight Knight team’s response to this, and their continued harassment of Wren or anyone supporting her. Please educate yourself before throwing in with these people.