As I’m sure you’re aware of, if you follow me on Twitter, or read this blog, I have been spending well over a year Tweeting everyday at Kotaku asking them to please DO SOMETHING (ANYTHING, PLEASE, JUST SOMETHING, AT LEAST DELETE THE ARTICLE, HELP!!?!?) about the harm that they caused for myself and the other sources that were abused for an article that Kotaku wrote about my rapist.
It’s a long, drawn out story. I even opened a separate category on my blog because I wrote so much about this. If you’re not aware, you can read these things…
An open letter to game journalists: #metoo, fighting with surviving abusive reporting, and the fallout of not caring, by me
“Relax, babe. It’s just business.” – Game Journalism, by me
We Need To Talk About Game Journalism, by Grace In The Machine
Launder Launder Launder, Win Win Win, by Brendan Vance
And my sister has collected a lot of what people wrote about this here in a Twitter thread.
I don’t want to go over this again… You can go read all that.
This morning I got an email from someone that will be working at Kotaku (in a position of authority) saying that the article is going to be deleted.
That’s it, the article is now gone…
I’m kinda out of my body right now. My mom was laughing and crying. My dad cried (he never cries. I’ve only seen that happen like three times in my life)… There’s a tangible weight that has lifted off the entire family.
I’ll probably struggle to convey exactly how significant this is to me…
This will reduce a lot of threats (threat of physical harm, and rape threats), and dis-empowers a lot of future harm that will be sent the way of those that were sources for this awful piece of shit of an article.
It’s a statement that our safety matters. The fact that this thing was up, and how dangerous people knew that I wanted it down and how disrespectfully to us it was written, was really fueling a lot of bad stuff.
This will dis-empower a lot of that. I don’t care to get more into that than I have already tried in previous posts (like this one).
I understand and fully acknowledge that many have said that this isn’t enough, that people need to be held accountable. My sister told me that since I haven’t checked Twitter yet as of writing this (I’m still feeling really happy). I just want to say that I fully support these sentiments.
It’s just not something I have any more energy to advocate for… especially not as alone as I’ve been. That ball is in the park of journalists in this space.
If you’re a journalist reading this… It’s really on you to do better and advocate for better. You all should hold your peers accountable. When someone says “this hurt me” that’s not something to scoff at… but I’ve gone over that so often, I don’t have the energy for it anymore.
The thing with this stuff is, if you do something like come out about your assault, and it causes “a metoo movement in video games”, people will ask you stuff along the lines of “ok, now what are you going to do to solve rape?” (I’m sarcastically paraphrasing that sentiment). None of that should be up to the person hurt.
I spent over a year being drug out in countless discourse, Twitter threads by important people, being called a liar by all sorts of influential people, notable journalists also using their extremely large platform to discourage people from helping me (Like how Tweeting at Kotaku or G/O Media “doesn’t work, if you know you know!”)… I’m done. So many of them have said that this is not possible. It’s a losing battle. It will not work…
Here we are. That horribly abusive thing is gone.
A big and generous fuck you to everyone that ever said this wasn’t possible AND even went on to discourage people from helping.
I don’t want to waste my breath on these people. They don’t deserve any more energy.
I want to extend serious thanks to EVERYONE that tweeted at Kotaku, that wrote emails at Kotaku staff, that wrote emails to G/O Media, that tweeted and advocated in support of this… To Huggable Hipster and her platform, the people that joined me in Tweeting on a daily basis… all of you. One voice may not be enough, but many voices DOES do something.
Thank you to Uppercut for helping too. I don’t want to drag them into this because I’m not sure how comfortable they are about that, but thank you.
Thanks to ALL of you.
It’s not just about if “this will not work”, it’s about the solidarity. It’s about not letting someone do something like this alone. It’s about letting them know that a community has their back.
Too many of you lost touch with that. It was brutal watching all your threads, takes, discord conversations, discouraging people from helping with this.
It’s heartless to log onto Twitter and see these disgusting threads calling me “abusive to survivors actually” because “my activism” or “my crusade” is a bad look for everyone.
Even more heartbreaking was to see marginalized journalists using their platform to advocate for normalizing this abuse… People I used to look up to and respect, just casually kicking you to the curb.
All those people with roses in their Twitter bio’s, touting how woke they are, standing for social justice… and suddenly this is the one thing that nobody can get behind. The one thing that is far too nuanced, far too “not a black and white issue”, too complicated, to selfish of me to ask for, too much to hear about… How bad I am for survivors. How selfish I am. What is wrong with me, I used to be cool??… How easy it is for people with rose emojis in their bio to stand for concepts. How hard it is to actually stand by people.
Talk is cheap.
I’m done with this. That’s all I want to say about that.
Solidarity isn’t about if something will work or not. It’s about being there for the people hurt by abuse. It’s about helping and figuring out something that you CAN do that MIGHT work.
While I do have everyone’s attention, I’m going to talk about a book that you people with your roses in your bios, with your big talk about socialism and communism, social justice, and all these big juicy talking points that fuel the platform that props you up as a personal brand… should probably read. It’s a good fuck you.
The book is called “The Bailiff Yerney” by Ivan Cankar. I knew it as “Yerney’s Justice”.
To American’s it is socialist propaganda. To us it is a literature classic.
Yerney’s Justice is about a farm hand named Yerney. “Farm hand” is loosely translated here, and reducing a very complicated history of indentured servitude, something along the lines of slavery, dis-empowerment of people viewed as “lower race”… in former Yugoslavia. People working on the farms of rich upper cast owners (Austrians usually), having no rights over the land that they worked on, and often viewed as almost slaves.
That’s a summary of the character, and the type of history it’s about.
The book follows his story of working as the overseer of a land that he toiled over, bled over, broke his back over, and sweat over (all the socialist talking points).
When the master of the property died, Yerney would not assume his place as a servant… For example from the first chapter:
“There is something wrong in the house where the servant sits in the chimney-corner and wipes his top boots on the master’s back…”
He decided that he was to have a proper seat at the table, having been someone that worked so hard for the land that they owned, so he went out to “seek justice”.
He travels from church, government, small courts, and then to Vienna to see the Emperor, asking all these places for justice. Patiently telling his story over and over and over again… incrementally from smaller, to larger and larger institutes.
Each time they laugh in his face and remind him that he is but a lowly farm hand and should know his place. He meets various characters, other people also broken by the system, laughing at what he is suggesting.
What he was asking for was taboo, and against “God’s law”.
Each time he believes that he has a right to what he is asking for, so he continues seeking justice from these institutions.
In the end the officials drag him out of the court and throw him in jail.
The story ends when he returns back to the village where nobody remembers him.
“We have never seen you before,” he cried, “nobody so much as remembers you, and now in your old age you come to be a burden to us all”
Yerney asks for some hay to sleep on so he can be on his way. In the evening, when the other farm hands return, they see that he set the entire place on fire. The villagers seize him and throw him into the flames. He burns with what he wanted justice for…
It’s a good book. You should read it. It’s the classic type of literature that acknowledged that the church and ruling class always betray the people.
I enjoy the irony of being in a space where people will proclaim that they are socialist, but that rose in the bio is nothing more but another tool to make you popular. It’s as capitalist as anything else.
My grandfather hid in the bushes while he watched his village executed. The priest betrayed them and blessed the enemy’s guns before they shot people to death.
After that war, my grandparents were part of the movement to “rebuild” the country, proudly socialist.
After socialism became a dictatorship, they had to fight that too.
Then there was more war and ethnic cleansing.
These ideals, the literature like this, it was something to prepare generations for how to stand up to authority. To understand the power of camaraderie (or solidarity, here). It means something.
Here it does not. Here, America, the game industry, it is a hollow icon you decorate your brand with. You use it to make yourself look good, and laugh at anyone struggling with the injustices.
I relate to this story because I had all but burned everything down.
My mom spent a month investigating Kotaku. Finding out everything she could about the owners of the company (G/O Media). If Kotaku was not going to answer the countless emails and Tweets, then the people above them might.
She found out who the editor at large is, Jim Rich. She researched his past work, awards he won, and thought he might be someone who will care. She also found out about the other person who took his previous position.
She did more “investigative journalism” than the self-proclaimed investigative journalists in this space.
We understood that the Kotaku team is aware of the issue but will not do anything to help.
A big issue in all of this is that there is no publicly available email address to contact when you’ve been abused by a publication. There’s nowhere to formally request that this really harmful thing gets addressed.
We had no way of contacting these people.
My mom researched G/O Media and found out the format they use for email accounts. She emailed a bunch of variations until they stopped bouncing back.
So we all emailed them.
I also started @’ing them in my daily Tweets. Others did too.
I think, whether or not you want to call that “public pressure”, or the right people finally being informed… all that worked. Journalists here said that it was pointless to contact them. Some of their more toxic following kept harassing me about that…
In the end, this is what happened.
Over a year of asking Kotaku to care everyday. As soon as we contacted corporate, something got done.
We were ready to research the owners of G/O Media and contact them too.
My mom never found out what Spanfeller’s email address is (she tried).
This was my own version of Yerney’s Justice. Today’s story is about people laughing at you over social media, important journalists sicking their following on you and using their platform to discourage people from helping, their followers and friends harassing you and telling you to stop, that your “activism” is harmful, that you’re creating a gamergate…
Yet I did not have to burn down the game industry to get my justice.
I agree with the sentiments expressed that this is not enough, but given the circumstances this is a huge victory. They all said it was impossible.
I really don’t ever want anything to do with people like this ever again.
I’ve had enough. My family is celebrating now.
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