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Talkingship – Video Games, Movies, Music & Laughs | September 18, 2014

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No, Zoe Quinn’s Sexual Affairs Aren’t a “Private Matter”

No, Zoe Quinn’s Sexual Affairs Aren’t a “Private Matter”

| On 19, Aug 2014

The gaming media this week has been rocked by a lengthy blog post from Eron Gjoni, the ex-boyfriend of games developer Zoe Quinn. You can read the full thing here, but in summary: it appears that Quinn cheated on Gjoni with several other men. Normally, this thing can be dismissed as a private matter. But a closer investigation reveals that this is something that is most definitely in the public interest. Here’s why.

The crux of the situation is this: according to Gjoni (and the many chat logs he published), Quinn cheated on him with other members of the games industry. Most importantly, those involved included Joshua Boggs, Quinn’s boss; and Nathan Grayson, a reporter for Kotaku who has previously covered Quinn. This raises all sorts of ethical issues and quandaries – did Boggs treat Quinn more favourably (or even hire her) because of their relationship? Has Grayson’s, or indeed Kotaku’s, coverage of Quinn’s games been influenced by Grayson’s private affairs with Quinn? Now, I am not saying that either of these things are true – there is every chance that Boggs and Grayson are professional, upstanding individuals, and can detach their private and public affairs. Indeed, Kotaku’s EIC Stephen Totilo says that “at the time of that article [Boggs] had not begun a relationship with the developer”. But the possibility that decisions could have been swayed by sexual relationships remains.

But these ethical reasons aren’t the only problem. Of greater interest is that all involved have been revealed to be (allegedly) at the very least dishonest (Boggs was married at the time of his relationship with Quinn, and Grayson was supposedly aware of Quinn’s relationship with Gjoni), and at worst manipulative. If Gjoni’s logs are to be believed, Quinn pathologically lied and continuously misled him. Although I would hesitate from making a moral judgement on having an affair, the knowledge that Quinn and co. are (allegedly) not trustworthy individuals has profoundly affected my opinion of them. Can we trust anything they say in future? Is there anything underpinning Quinn’s social justice campaigns, considering that she appears to have callously ignored her own principles of sexual consent?

Knowing that these people are (allegedly) not as honest as we may have first thought is an important and useful thing to know, and in the context of the industry it is crucial. In politics, the revelation of an affair is considered to be a big deal, as it calls into question the integrity of the individual. The same is true here, if not more so. In fact, if it was discovered that a senator or congressman was having an affair with a journalist, the politician would basically be forced to resign. That gives you an idea of just how serious this matter could be. For games journalism (and the games industry) to mature and be taken seriously, we can’t dismiss events like these as “private matters”. The people in games are just as important as the games they make and cover, and we must try to gain as good an understanding as possible of who these people are. Knowledge like this provides a necessary insight.

Of course, the abuse that Quinn has received in the aftermath of this is utterly unacceptable and unhelpful. Gamers, too, need to mature and address events like this in a calm manner, rather than attacking people. But when Quinn and her proponents (such as Fez developer Phil Fish) try to stem the abuse by sweeping the whole issue under the carpet or slandering Gjoni, they are trying to bury a matter that is too important to bury. The public have a right to know the inner workings of this industry. Often, exes dig up dirt in an effort to vent their anger. And admittedly, it seems that this is why Gjoni published his blog. But it just so happens that on this occasion, a vengeful ex-boyfriend brought something both interesting and significant to light.

Update: as some Twitter followers have pointed out, the affairs haven’t technically been proven to have taken place – although Grayson has confirmed his part, Quinn has not yet commented on them. Thus the article has been updated to clarify that the scenario is still an alleged one, not a confirmed one.

  • Leibfarce

    I’m sorry, but that is an objective fact.

  • foo

    Nathan Grayson the Journalist gives Depression Quest top billing here:

    There’s plenty more if you want to go look, gaslighting, awards given by another sex partner judging a competition they were in, setting up a forum that’s effectively a support group for the severely depressed — complete with anti-suicide hotline — for abuse as a marketing ploy. It just keeps going

    This final bit is just rumor at this point, but given everything else I’m inclined to believe it; someone on that forum killed themselves over the bullying their community faced

    Ain’t a gamer, ain’t white just so shocked that somebody would exploit actually severely depressed people to market a game about depression

    Oh, and check your privilege, you sound way too comfortable about all this

  • Kevin Kess

    Well said. You managed to sum up this entire situation, perfectly.

  • T-Boggin.

    Imagine Joshua Boggs just standing over Zoe Quinn just repeatedly T-Boggin her face.

  • Ridic

    Were talking about the difference between consensual sex among adults and rape here. One is news worthy, the other is none of our fucking business.

  • Ridic

    Her bf was so codependent he wouldn’t let her break up with him and kept contacting her despite her attempts to move forward. I think there is much more to this story than these cherry picked screencaps.

  • Ridic

    Most PEOPLE get away with this behavior because most people don’t have any kind of notoriety to be publicly dragged through the mud over a difficult breakup.

  • Ridic

    How much cognitive dissonance do you neck beards have to claim that anything short of someone jumping out of the bushes and raping you is rape until some obscure personal definition of one woman allows you to drag her name through the mud as a rapist? How many people have you not given the full story to when you slept with them? Are you a rapist by the standards you’re holding her to?

  • Ridic

    Except it’s not. If she did cheat, she cheated WITH people, one of which who was married and in a position of power over her…. Yet her name is the focus and his name is the afterthought. Why isn’t he the one getting threats? Why aren’t you focusing your vitriol on him in equal if not more intensity seeing as how he broke VOWS and could be considered to have abused his authority. But tell me again about how this is not based in misogyny. I totally buy it.

  • Ridic

    “Sleeps with other peoples husbands”

    But this isn’t an attack based in misogyny? He was the MARRIED one, and yet you place all the blame and scrutiny on her. Telling.

  • CWolf

    Gaming journalism “isn’t brushing it off like it’s nothing”, they are actively insulting and counter-accusing the gaming community of being “assholes”, “misogynists”, etc…

  • Pingback: Cronyism, lies and censorship: What Zoe Quinn and feminism bring to gaming (part 1)

  • d3v14n7

    Because she’s essentially “sleeping her way to the top” while she had a boyfriend AFTER she made a huge post about how infidelity is raping your significant other… THAT’s why people “care”, she’s a f**king hypocrite.

  • Shametheshamers

    Troll or not, if every time df posts something like this you’re spouting stupid bullshit, it reinforces the idea that gamers are trashy POS’s who can’t come up with anything more original than misogynistic blather. Once MIGHT be ironic criticism. Twice might. Every single time df posts something and you respond like this? Not a joke. Just effing creepy.

  • Mel

    EVEN IF this is true, even if she is a horrible excuse for a human being… does that justify people threatening to rape and kill her to the extent that she has had to leave her home? Seriously. A person can be a total asshole; that doesn’t excuse people THREATENING TO RAPE AND KILL THEM. I don’t care how many people they’ve slept with or under what circumstances, that is never ok.

  • Desi

    You’re kidding, right? You think it’s ok to threaten to rape and kill people and publish their personal information online?

  • Desi

    Forgive me, but in these instances isn’t the guilty party typically the one in the position of power to GIVE someone publicity and not the publicity SEEKER? Because I could have sex with someone hoping they will give me publicity or good reviews, but if they don’t do it I’m just stupid, and if they DO do it they accepted a sexual bribe. Why is she the face of cronyism in the gaming industry if others were the ones who conferred the publicity on her, presumably in exchange for her awesome magical sex power?

  • Desi

    Not to mention the fact that none of your criticisms of her have anything to do with her actual job, which is making games, and it’s all about her sexual proclivities and how you filter them through your morality. Someone posting porn of themselves doesn’t make them an inherently immoral person, for example. People need to stop being outraged about how her sexuality offends their personal views on sexual morality. And also, people need to STOP THREATENING TO RAPE AND KILL HER.

  • Scorch

    I don’t understand. For all the claims about corruption in gaming journalism, that linked article by Kotaku hardly mentions Zoe Quinn at all (Not that it’s an especially good article). Why would Quin prostitute herself for that? It doesn’t make the least bit of sense.

  • Mikel Crawford

    df’s a troll, don’t feed him.

  • zakd

    Or maybe, you dumb fuck, we care about people’s moral character and we don’t want shameless lying hypocrites in the gaming industry.

  • Jessica Dwyer

    I suggest rethinking your overgeneralization and get off your feminist high horse. This woman cheated with five guys, one of them was married and another was in the industry. Her “game” is a mediocre text-adventure that nobody else could have gotten onto Greenlight – hundreds voted it down – but because she got press coverage and she’s a minority in the industry she gets a pass.

  • Circuit Ben

    The gaming industry has turned into a gossip-column, you should all be ashamed of yourselves. Of course people’s personal lives are personal, hence the name. If someone has commited a crime, then it is a matter for the police, not a bunch of manchildren who want to feel like vigilantes, but have torn their biceps from over-masturbation and so can’t hold a torch. You are making games look bad and you should feel bad. You are just as bad as those people who say video games cause violence, all the evidence is pointing to video games causing misogynistic asshats.

  • Anne Wellington

    Evidence that said affair didn’t happen? With the Kotaku journalist, at least. The fact that the abuse continues despite the fact that she didn’t get a review for her “service” says that for gamergate, the issue is more than ‘ethics’. I feel it has a darker reasoning behind it, like a corrupt priest/cult leader claiming child marriage to be the will of God.

    Gamergate is dressing up their true intentions with self described morality, I’m sure of it.

  • Dagda Mor

    Indie devs trying to influence journalists is a non-issue. Look toward AAA publishers if you want something to get mad about. Have we just forgotten about IGN and Gamespot?

  • tlgCallum

    These aren’t the standards of the commentors. The standard referred to by FuryOfFirestorm is Quinn’s OWN standard for what constitutes rape.

  • JM

    “The people in games are just as important as the games they make and cover, and we must try to gain as good an understanding as possible of who these people are. ”

    Bull shit!

    You have no idea about the private lives of any other gaming industry personality. No idea, and the truth is you don’t care. Each and everyone of them could be having affairs with a different person every night of the week, but it doesn’t effect your enjoyment of their games one iota. And you don’t even worry about not knowing, and are happy to keep on playing not knowing any aspect of a person’s private life.
    Or to put it frankly, Miyamoto could be banging everyone woman in sight, you’d still be fucking playing Mario!
    Now, if there was a question of conflict of interest-fine. But this isn’t what your article is about, and it isn’t what Eron Gjoni’s claims were about (He even stated the allegations he was making were unrelated to any conflict of interest)-your claims are “We have to know if she’s unfaithful to her partners….because it matters to her games for some reason” while ignoring that the personal lives of every other game designer is something you do not care about.

    Hypocrisy that I think, in light of recent developments, everyone is beginning to regret. I hope to see an apology soon.

  • JM

    I would like to respond to your comment, but the problem is I don’t know how trustworthy you are. Could you please provide the contact details of:

    1- Every person you have every slept with or had a relationship with
    2- Every person you may have ever slept with or had a relationship with
    I will then contact them each, individually, ask if you are a trustworthy character, then I can respond to your comment. After all, if a gamer designer’s personal life is relevant to her work, then surely your personal life is relevant to your comments.

  • Felix Ray

    Nothing says “moral character” like public character assassination.

    Nothing says “journalistic integrity”, like a whole lot of speculation based on a vengeful ex-boyfriend’s blogpost..

    ” Now, I am not saying that either of these things are

    No, you’re just wondering aloud about them under under the headline “LIES, DECEIT, AND MANIPULATION” , because, you know, “JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY”. I need to go puke now.

  • Felix Ray

    Here’s the Kotaku article, and it does neither “take the accusation at face value”, nor “call him guilty”, but it does criticize his response in ways that I don’t agree with.

  • Clayton Weaver

    The thing that I keep thinking of is, for all we know she could have been dating a guy and cheating on him with Eron and then going back to him. You have to remember Eron’s blog is from his perspective and every story has two sides. In his view, she was cheating on him, but she could have very well been cheating with him. This could be nothing more than a scorned ex making everything public to ruin her and the others he blames. After all, he names several guys, but gives no proof other than her naming them, but if she is a compulsive liar like he claims, then you can’t believe her at her word that she slept with any of them. Proof has been given that she likes being ‘evil’ to people, so it is possible she fabricated the affairs to torture him. He even says she claimed remorse, but didn’t know if she was sincere, which if she lied to him about the affairs then she would have nothing to be sorry for other than being mean to him and pulling him along.

    I’d also like to point out, being in a relationship doesn’t mean sex takes place.

    He claims she had unprotected sex with quite a few guys, but hasn’t got pregnant once? I’d say that is some lucky numbers then.

    Every story has two sides and without knowing the full truth you should take everything with a grain of salt even with his ‘evidence’ he shows.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130


    Everyone knows that feminists want to destroy video games.

  • Random Commenter

    Did you guys hear that Shigeru Miyamoto fucked Hideo Kojima’s wife? NEVER BUY A MARIO OR METAL GEAR GAME EVER AGAIN! IMPORTANT JOURNALISTIC FACTS!