Zoe Quinn at XOXOFest.
Chelsea Van Valkenburg|
Saratoga, New York
|Residence||Los Angeles, CA|
|Occupation||Head of Crash Override Network|
"He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: general Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, for Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars."—William Blake
Zoe Tiberius Quinn, born Chelsea Van Valkenburg, and also known by the stage name Locke Valentine is the individual who would beget a scandal that ultimately led to the GamerGate Controversy, specifically when associates of hers attempted to bury the story of her personal indiscretions and undisclosed relationships with many people in the indie gaming circuit and video game press. Quinn's attempts to silence these facts would, ironically enough, lead to to many of the accusations of bribery, collusion, corruption, intimidation, and sensationalism not only being proven accurate, but of Quinn herself being provably guilty of the very behaviors she herself bemoaned and accused others of. Despite this, she created an "Anti-Harassment Taskforce," Crash Override Network, that has yet to accomplish anything except promoting itself and protecting its inner circle.
What pushed her from simply a figure of note to a person of interest recorded on this wiki was initially her connection to other members of the modern professional victim brigade that sprung up as GamerGate got rolling; she has direct and indirect ties to dozens of other people of interest, including Brianna Wu, Ryulong, David Gallant, Nora Reed, Peter Coffin, Chloe Sagal, and many more.
As time advanced and more and more evidence came out about her involvement in the scandal, however, it became increasingly clear that Quinn was both actively baiting her own harassment online, notably guilty of the same behaviors she's savaged others for, and as of the CON Leaks, provably involved with attempts to blacklist, silence, and harm people who had been critical of her online. During the Trello Leaks, it was shown that she was involved with keeping many "enemy dossiers" on her clique's enemies, and actively working to shut them down. This included attempts to protect Sarah Nyberg, a known pedophile who distributed pornographic images of her at-the-time 8-year-old cousin on 12chan.
Zoe Quinn is infamous for falsifying her own harassment, in a fashion not unlike fellow professional victim Brianna Wu. Also similar to Wu, Quinn had inordinate levels of influence within the games industry and the press therefore, and was covered extensively by them due to her professional connections with them. Quinn's affiliations were such that wielded enormous amounts of indirect power, able to get social networking sites to lock down individuals critical of her and an army of followers willing to lie, threaten, dox, and harass on her behalf. Unlike several superior individuals, Quinn's use of them was substantially more-graceful and well-organized, using her experience to turn her associates into a well-oiled machine with which to attack her critics.
As time would go on and she became increasingly discredited publicly, she would become more and more visibly unhinged, to the point of snagging several out-of-context screenshots from Paper Mario: Color Splash and posting them in a way to make it seem like Nintendo itself was making fun of her. Nintendo immediately denied it, resulting in Quinn continuing to maintain, even in the face of all evidence, that Nintendo had wronged her.
Even the most cursory examination of Quinn's history reveals a sordid past that Quinn has made clear attempts to distance herself from, including time as a stripper and nude model, multiple previous identities, and a host of interpersonal drama sprouting up in her wake that many would consider the calling cards of a con-artist. She also has a long and well-known history of trying to use personal information to gain power and influence. All evidence is that Zoe Quinn suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), if not Antisocial Personality Disorder, as she shows many of the symptoms and consistently has shown no remorse for her actions, even when caught lying or displaying blatant hypocrisy.
Zoe Quinn has always had something of a background presence in the indie circuit. Despite ostensibly only publicly releasing one game of note (Depression Quest), she has had a long career of association with other indie developers and journalists, dating back almost ten years. Photographs of Zoe Quinn can be seen of her at the wedding of Phil Fish, in events affiliated with IndieCade, and more. She has a long-time friendship with multiple people of influence in the games industry, and her willingness to use this is ultimately what led to the controversies that would pop up during GamerGate. She also had a long and glorious career of self-aggrandizement and antagonism that flies completely in the face of the public persona she likes to put forth (as an innocent victim of GamerGate).
Something Awful Career
Long before GamerGate was a thing, Zoe Quinn was a member of Something Awful, and a frequenter of the Helldump board. The idea behind it, or so it's claimed by SA's userbase at the time, was that it was an internal callout forum that encouraged the userbase to call out "problem users." Veteran readers of this wiki might see immediate transparencies between this and the actions of other groups that have systemically taken over a group or site and then proceeded to use it to force their own ideological hegemony, and there is a reason for this: whilst the initial intent may have been to clean up Something Awful as a whole, the subforum quickly blossomed into angry mob justice and doing far more than simply "calling out" other users. What started as an effort to drive pedophiles off the site quickly turned into a de-facto attempt to destroy anyone who an "in-crowd" of users did not like, and what followed was what usually does when such a situation transpires.
In short order, the subforum was openly attacking users offline, engaging in widespread targeted harassment, and lead to death threats, attempts to sabotage livelihoods, and, ultimately, a casualty as the actions of Helldump's userbase directly caused the suicide of one of its victims. Rather than show any sympathy whatsoever for this action, Helldump as a whole celebrated, bragging about a "confirmed kill" and congratulating themselves for a job well done. Something Awful's leadership finally stepped in, and deleted the subforum entirely.
Quinn, as it turns out, was a gigantic fan of this subforum, and said board did nothing for her popularity on the site. Her long involvement with this sort of high-stakes personal politicking would serve her well later, as many of Quinn's connections that she would maintain at least until 2014 would originate from her involvement with said subforum. Indeed, some of her Associates are also former Something Awful posters - a number of which were her partners-in-crime on said board.
True to form, when GamerGate was in full swing, and evidence of Quinn being a fan of a board whose entire purpose was to dox and harass people started to become known, this ran contrary to the narrative that she was a blameless victim innocent of all wrongdoing. She tried to deny it, though the internet never forgets.
Stint In Porn
In 2007, under the name Locke Valentine, Zoe modeled for two softcore pornographic sites, Broken Dollz and Deviant Nation. She would go on to describe these appearances as "porn" and "sex work." She would, less than a week later and on the same site post an article explaining that she was planning to begin work as a stripper in upstate New York. Years later, she would go on to confirm that this was her on Twitter.
The days following her starting her stripping career saw a follow-up post wherein she complained about the job she had just taken, before dropping the bombshell that she had been fired for assaulting a customer, claiming she had been sexually assaulted and had inflicted bodily harm upon him, to the point where the customer was hospitalized.
One of Deviant Nation's photographers, Mallorie Nasrallah, would take a series of photo shoots of Zoe Quinn for the website in October of 2007. When Nasrallah learned of GamerGate and the ongoing campaign to silence discussion of Zoe Quinn and her indiscretions, Nasrallah made public, in a Facebook post, her own experiences with Zoe Quinn, which essentially elaborated that Quinn was not only one of the worst clients she had ever worked with, but was also psychologically unstable and willing to go to extremes to push an agenda:
"Alright, story time. I've been basically silent on this issue, I am not sure my contributions are relevant, and I have feared being ostracized and ridiculed. I can accept the latter, but I really hate to waste people's time.
In 2007 I lived in New Hampshire, and was working as a photographer with a number of soft core "alt" erotica / porn sites. I traveled frequently to work with models affiliated with the websites I was affiliated with. A model working under the name Locke Valentine - this is the woman currently known as Zoe Quinn - modeled for two websites I was affiliated with - she as a model, I as a photographer. One of those websites is still in business, the other - unfortunately the one we communicated via - is no more.
Locke/Zoe was living in Albany, NY at the time. We expressed a desire to collaborate, and set a date for three photoshoots.
In fall of 2007 (according to my EXIF data 10/25/2007) I packed up my equipment and drove the 220 miles to Albany, for a weekend of work with Zoe.
By time I arrived in Albany, Zoe had cancelled one of the three shoots we had planned. She lived in a tiny apartment with her boyfriend / spouse / lover (I did not ask personal questions) and her roommate. I had been assured I could over night with them, and that they had room to accommodate a guest, and room to shoot in. They had neither. We ended up doing an impromptu shoot in the extremely crowded apartment, in the middle of the night, to try to save the shoot. I was not proud of it, but I knew with a bit of editing, it had potential.
While we tried to plan a shoot for the next day Zoe, and Co. chatted with me. She claimed to have stabbed a man - attempted rapist - in the face, who had grabbed her. She relayed to me no less than three other accounts of alleged violent assault. I will not share the details here, I feel that would be fundamentally indecent. I was alarmed at this, and I admit, by the time she made the claim that she stabbed a man in the face with a knife* and ran away, I was skeptical as well. Two claims involved alleged workplace incidents, and were her prime explanation for why she could not hold a job. I was mildly disconcerted, because true or false, these stories have good cause to make one uneasy. She also claimed to have reported nothing to police, or management at her work.
That was not all we discussed, we talked about modeling, the websites, and erotica/porn in general. It was what we both did for a living, and candid conversation on the subject was not unusual.
The next day I had to drive everyone to the location of our shoot, which was her roommate's place of employment. An arcade. This is the location where the photo shown here was taken. I was irritated that after driving 220 miles, and having to carry all my equipment to a shoot, I was also deliberately given the false impression that Zoe, and Co. would have their own transport. I was also irritated that Zoe could provide neither her own wardrobe for the shoot - it is normal for the model to use her personal items in these sorts of shoots - nor her own food while on site. Keep in mind, we both are paid by a site, once the photos are sold, everything I spent came out of my own pocket. Otherwise the shoot was unremarkable, it went far better than the one the night before, and we all had a basically good time.
We tried for some more photos that afternoon in a forested area Zoe directed me to, but we had neither enough light, or privacy to shoot anything substantial or of value.
I returned home, spent countless hours editing hundreds of photos. It was a terrible experience, but so be it.
When I was ready to send the photos off to Deviant Nation - the site we worked for - I wrote to her to let her know. It was only a few days, a week at most, since I had left Albany, but I ALWAYS get a model's final approval before I send photos off. As far as I know I am the only photographer working in that specific industry who had that strict policy.
Zoe informed me that her roommate, who had been involved in the shoots, either by being in the apartment, or smuggling us in to her place of work turned out to be a, " mentally unbalanced cunt," (her words not mine) among other things, and that it was unacceptable to use ANY of the photos we had taken that weekend. I was pretty upset about this, and sent her several messages asking if perhaps I could talk to the roommate, have her sign a waiver, or something, despite the fact that neither Zoe, nor I, had any legal obligation to ask the roommate's permission for ANYTHING. Zoe insisted that she was a crazy, evil bitch, and refused to provide me with any sort of contact information.
Finally, weeks later, a handful of other models I had worked with on the site messaged me to inform me that Zoe had written them and told them that I forced her to look at, "mutilated vagina," pictures, which she said, had horrified her, and she had basically sent me away then and there. The models she told this to knew me, and thankfully came to me with these nonsense claims. We had in fact discussed cosmetic surgery, while talking about modeling, and she had looked up Before/After Breast Implant images. The conversation moved on to Labiaplasty, and we looked at a few of those images as well. So, there is an inch of truth, in the really awful lie she told about me. There was never any force involved, and she was the one controlling the computer the whole time. This took place in her home, on her computer, with her boyfriend and roommate both in the room.
I decided it wasn't worth the fight. I was eventually contacted by the roommate, who told me a very different story to the one Zoe had, and I let the issue drop.
I was never paid for the images, because I respected her wishes and never published them. I still have the images in archive on my computer, because I archive everything. I was never reimbursed for the gas, wardrobe, or food I purchased on the trip. To someone starting their career, that was quite a dig to my wallet.
7 years later, Zoe is still BY FAR the worst client I have ever had.
What does this story have to do with GamerGate? When I realized Locke was Zoe, I was disgusted to see she was still playing the same games. Stealing, cheating, lying and claiming to be victimized by anyone and everyone. Maybe she did stab some guy in the face, and maybe in the first week at every new job she had, some guy tried to extort sex from her. Maybe that doesn't establish an MO on her part. But I know, I did nothing wrong to that woman, and I did not deserve to be lied about. I did not deserve to have my time and my money wasted, and even now, I wonder if opening my mouth about this means she will think of some new horse shit to spread about me to try to ruin my career. And that does seem to be her modus operandi.If this were a courtroom, I would call myself some sort of character witness, and I'll let you all make of this what you will. Share it if you feel like it, I couldn't keep my mouth shut and watch her try to stomp out all the fires she has started by shitting on any more people's careers."— Mallorie Nasrallah
The revelations didn't end there, either. Nasrallah would go on to post (redacted) versions of the email exchange Quinn had with her in which Quinn claimed to have murdered someone who had tried to rape her. Much later, Eron Gjoni, Quinn's infamous ex, would confirm a lot of Mallorie's claims against Quinn on his Tumblr. Nasrallah would later go on to confirm the emails were from Quinn on her facebook less than a day later. She would also post an email exchange Quinn had with her that further established Quinn as unstable, in which Quinn would further try to justify trying to sabotage Nasrallah's career with other models on Deviant Nation.
This entire incident perfectly captures the essence of Zoe Quinn: manipulative, aggressive, and willing to harass, belittle, and hurt the careers of others simply because they had the gall to defy her. To this day, Zoe Quinn claims the images from her Deviant Nation days (including images Quinn, as Locke Valentine, uploaded herself) constitute "revenge porn," something she later expanded to include literally any image of her that was remotely sexualized, including comics parodying her.
Sabotage of the Polaris Game Jam
Zoe Quinn is implicated as being one of the biggest reasons that a reality TV-styled Game Jam hosted by Polaris and Maker Studios, a multi-channel network organization, was hosting. While non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and the threat of legal action has prevented most of those who were involved with the project from commenting publicly about its failure, Zoe Quinn is one of the few to have spoken up about it, laying all the blame for the event's failure at the feet of Jontron, a well-known game and movie reviewer on Youtube.
The failure wound up costing Disney - the corporate parent of Maker Studios - over $400,000. Earlier articles by Eurogamer covering the failed Game Jam suggested that Quinn leaving along with her associates was due to the Game Jam hosts focusing too much on the production of the show and providing a hostile work environment for all involved.
Sources who were involved with the Game Jam, and spoke to the Kiwi Farms under condition of anonymity, pitched allegations that suggest a very different source of the failure. According to these sources, Quinn and her friends were directly involved with sabotaging the production. The sources allege that Quinn and her clique objected to the sponsor of the event (Mountain Dew), a desire to clean up their language for network TV, and refusing to not wear stuff covered with copyrighted images. They also refused to actually work with the others involved in the project.
The source explained that Quinn and her friends routinely made increasingly-unreasonable demands and then would fly off the handle if their demands were not met. In one incident, for a Let's Play during the show, Zoe Quinn demanded that they do a Let's Play of a game Quinn herself made that features the player having a staring contest with a picture of Jeff Goldblum. This game actually existed on Zoe Quinn's website, lending credence to the claim.
As performing a Let's Play of a game like this would be, to say the least, nigh-impossible to make entertaining, Jontron objected and called Zoe Quinn out on her terrible behavior, much to the approval of the other Youtubers involved and staff. At this point Quinn and company refused to cooperate, actively going out of their way to annoy and piss off the event's sponsors, and ultimately leading the game jam to fall apart. This was backed up by none other than John Bain, who actually tried to defend Zoe Quinn early into the game jam's problems, only to learn what she was really doing and call her on it.
These allegations are extremely serious, but are, ultimately, allegations, even if the post by John Bain suggests some veracity to them. Unfortunately for Zoe Quinn, the Crash Override log leaks establish that not only were the above accusations accurate, but, if anything, they were understated. First, Quinn proceeds to complain about the stipulations from the sponsor:
“The most humiliating moment in that game jam reality show we walked out on was that the guy who made nidhogg was one of the judges for the embarassing challenges they made us do […] so i got to meet one of my heros while being forced to fingerpaint with jon tron’s idiot ass in the background asking the british member of my team to say words that sounded funny with his accent” […] “also I contractually could not make fun of mountain dew for several months” [sic]—Zoe Quinn, as DrInternetPHD, Crash Override Network Chat Leaks
After Chris Kluwe, a long-time supporter of Quinn's clique chimes in during the logs to explain that he would often ignore the requisites of a sponsorship deal, Quinn then responded thusly:
“[…] dude that was totally my plan going in […] so I did it cause I was the only woman they asked and because I’m a competitive shithead I wanted the only girl to win and they clearly had no idea what they were doing or what jam games were so I was like “ok how can I game this system” “comedy. everyone gets comedy.” “so I brought on davey wreden from the stanley parable and tom from surgeon simulator for my 2 people I could choose for my team with the arrangement that if it was a shitshow we openly mock it and troll the entire thing.” [sic]—Zoe Quinn, as DrInternetPHD, Crash Override Network Chat Leaks
Contrary to what Zoe Quinn claims, where she walked off the project due to continual product placement, the chat logs back up the allegations from the earlier anonymous sources, and establish that Quinn was, indeed, the one responsible for helping to piss off the sponsor, leading to the project's ultimate cancellation:
“we kept sneaking cans into shots and deadeyeing the cameras and I kept switching glasses between shots and we were slowly holding mt dew cans and bringing them up closer to our faces constantly till they screamed at us to stop.”
“Davey [Wreden] jumped in with both feet and was constantly chugging till he got sick like actually sick. I snuck into everyone’s trailers and hid cans everywhere like in the toilets and under their pillows (this was before everyone else arrived cause I got there first).“yeah but it went too far into “total shit” territory” [sic]—Zoe Quinn, as DrInternetPHD, Crash Override Network Chat Leaks
On top of these verifications from the CON leaks, Zoe Quinn is on record repeatedly voicing her hatred for Jontron, and claiming he "yelled at her for like five minutes straight." the CON logs also establish that Quinn's clique was seeking to get him banned from Youtube under false pretenses.
It's important to note as that multiple people involved in this Game Jam that went on to parrot Quinn's version of events and establish this as an act of rebellion by the indie scene against a corporate sponsor, there is a precedent for this, and we know that the individuals discussed in the leaks by Quinn - which included Tom Jackson and Davey Wreden - are long-time associates of hers, as is Robin Arnott, who also attended the jam. All of these individuals have been shown working in multiple projects together, including Gameloading: Rise of the Indies. Arnott, Wreden, and Jackson are also all individuals who were implicated by the IGF/Indiefund scandals and/or were involved with the collusion with games journalists that GamerGate purportedly formed to combat.
Sabotage of The Fine Young Capitalists
Zoe Quinn and her associates have repeatedly attempt to shut down charity projects in an attempt to direct additional money towards her own projects. There are at least three such charity events that Quinn has provably been involved with attempts to shut down, including the Polaris Game Jam. None of the projects, however, have had as much press coverage or earned as much scorn from Zoe Quinn's critics, however, as a group calling itself The Fine Young Capitalists, or TFYC.
TFYC had a simple mission statement for their event: Host a Game Jam where women would pitch ideas. The best such idea would get made by a team of programmers into a full game, with 8% of the royalties going to the winner and the majority of proceeds going to a charity to support victims of cancer. Zoe Quinn claimed that the project was "oppressive" because it wasn't paying the potential winner, despite the fact that the prospective winner was doing no actual work and still got royalties out of it. Zoe Quinn proceeded to use her connections to try to shut down the charity event entirely, subjecting The Fine Young Capitalists to repeated distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, doxing the charity's founders and supporters, and attempting to get people to donate to Quinn's game jam instead. To worsen matters, Zoe Quinn and her associates tried to label TFYC as "transphobic," arguing that the rules they had set up - done to prevent men from trying to enter the contest - and used this to further foster attacks against TFYC. The combination of the DDOS and ongoing attacks against the charity itself and its supporting companies caused financiers to pull out, and for a time it looked like the charity event was going to fail.
Worse, Quinn's connections to the video game press had essentially made TFYC unable to use conventional channels to get the word out about what was going on. Several other outlets who were willing to hear TFYC out likewise got punished for doing so, such as Techraptor, which was banned from several subreddits for being willing to cover the story, Games Nosh and N4G likewise faced retaliatory action for refusing to remain silent on the subject of Zoe Quinn and her campaign of terror against TFYC. Quinn would go on to brag about this sabotage, and later revealed that she had mostly done so because it competed with her own game jam project.
All of this, however, could not account for the actions of a wily group of users on 4chan, who, seeing the plight of TFYC, saw an opportunity. Thinking quickly, the group went across 4chan's various image boards, soliciting donations in an attempt to crowdfund enough cash to bail out TFYC. The mission was a success, ultimately donating over $60,000 to charity and, by all accounts, saving The Fine Young Capitalists' project from failure. Because they donated so much, they were allowed to create a character that would appear in the game that won TFYC's game jam.
The result was Vivian James, the quintessential mascot of GamerGate.
Reddit would similarly perform a fundraising session to help bring in additional cash, and were also quite successful, getting their own mascot character, Gilda Mars, into the game that TFYC would produce. Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku would go on to complain about TFYC getting financed by "misogynists" (read: people critical of Quinn and her associates), and another associate of Quinn's, now widely mocked, went on to refer to their backing as a "Cathedral of Misogyny." Quinn and her associates were so enraged by TFYC's success that they are on record as going on long-winded tiirades about the need to "destroy" TFYC in the CON Chat Log Leaks.
Not only had TFYC been successful, and not only had it raised considerably more money than it had otherwise any hope of doing, but it did so despite all attempts to shut down the event. Now beyond Quinn's ability to do any harm to TFYC's event, more information surfaced displaying just how deeply involved Quinn's clique had been with attempts to shut down TFYC. In an interview to follow, it was revealed that the only reason Quinn didn't face any real blastback for the attacks was because she threw one of her associates under the bus and declared them the ones to blame for it.
The interview establishes Zoe Quinn attempted to bribe TFYC into being quiet about the attacks, and that she refused to agree to simply leave TFYC alone. In the CON Log Leaks, it was later established that not only was Quinn's clique deeply bitter about the loss but was actively seeking a way to retaliate against TFYC for successfully circumnavigating the clique's attacks.
The game from TFYC's game jam, Afterlife Empire, was released on Steam on August 21st, 2015. It's gone on to have generally positive reviews and is generally considered a fun casual budget title.
Crash Override Network and Leaks
Zoe Quinn founded Crash Override Network in late 2014, soon after the GamerGate Controversy had properly begun. Despite the group being founded as an alleged "Anti-Harassment Taskforce" and indeed, a Twitter partner, the group has accomplished nothing of relevance or note beyond extolling the virtues of its own members. The website CON features is threadbare and, indeed, has minimal actual content. There have been no confirmed cases of Crash Override Network actually providing support to anyone, with the only individuals who claimed to have used them later turning on the network and explaining that CON had no actual interest in helping them.
In August of 2016, absurdist Canadian video game reviewer Sean Weaver, also known as Bro Team Pill, began to unveil a series of chat log leaks dating back to December of 2014, when GamerGate was in full swing. The chat logs, taken from a Skype chat that Crash Override Network was having, reveal that the clique was openly involved with virtually every form of harassment, exploitation, doxing, and threatening that Quinn and her associates bemoaned. Attacks against GamerGate supporters for providing friendly coverage, a desire to shut down The Fine Young Capitalists, a Feminist charity group, after Zoe's attempt to sabotage them led to GamerGate sponsoring them to recoup the lost revenue, attempts to control GamerGate's wikipedia page via Ryulong, attempts to shut down discussion of Zoe Quinn and her friends' actions on other websites, establishing that Feminist Frequency was working with CON essentially from the start - the leaks have it all, and have ultimately vindicated some of the most insane conspiracy theories put forth by more-questionable GamerGate supporters.
The most notable such reveals include that Zoe Quinn was openly false-flagging herself to make her harassment seem worse, had several critics of her clique banned from Twitter after her associates "escalated" reports against them in an attempt to protect an associate of hers that was a known pedophile, repeatedly doxing people the clique found distasteful, and being involved with Dan Olson's infamous failed attempt to plant child pornography on 8chan.
Sexual Harassment Allegations
In March of 2014, Zoe Quinn attended the wedding of Phil Fish. Though the implications of this would not become clear until much later, when GamerGate was in full-swing, this would be chronologically the first event in which Zoe Quinn's influence and tendencies would be on full display. On August 17th, 2014, Wolfgang Wozniak, the head of the development company Wolfgame accused Zoe Quinn of sexually harassing him at said wedding.
The response to such an accusation was surreal - Phil Fish immediately disavowed any knowledge of Wozniak's presence and claimed he was an unwelcome guest - despite photographic evidence that he was at said party as part of Fish's circle of friends. Said circle of friends immediately turned on Wozniak, immediately liking the post (including Robin Arnott, and indeed, Zoe Quinn herself. Alex Lifschitz immediately went on the offensive, immediately accusing Wozniak of collusion with Eron Gjoni and the burgeoning scandal that was the Zoe Post. Virtually the entire clique turned on Wozniak overnight, giving onlookers the first taste of what was to come in the scandal to follow.
The harassment received was such that Wozniak deleted all tweets critical of Quinn and indeed, discussing this ugly exchange, but not before several recorded the event in screenshot format. It was also recorded in Soonafter, the various tweets that called him out for daring to bring it up Ironically, Wozniak had inadvertently lent truth to the claims made by Eron Gjoni (that Quinn had been romantically involved with a huge number of people in her circle of friends that she was cozying up to for attention and influence). This incident would be the first taste of Quinn working with her affiliates to silence criticism of her, the very thing that would lead to GamerGate.
The Zoe Post
On August 16th, 2014, Zoe Quinn's ex-boyfriend, Eron Gjoni, posted an article that was simply dubbed "The Zoe Post."
The Wordpress blog, which stretches on for dozens of pages, establishes, with evidence and in no uncertain terms, that Zoe Quinn had cheated on him multiple times, was emotionally abusive and manipulative, lied to him constantly, made unreasonable demands of him, attempted to get him declared insane, repeatedly threatened to break up with him, and actively sabotaged his relationships with his friends and family, if not being openly physically abusive towards him. The post went on to accuse Quinn of carrying on a sexual relationship with multiple members of Zoe Quinn's circle of friends and associates, including Robin Arnott, Nathan Grayson, and Joshua Boggs, the latter of whom was her boss. The revelations establish Quinn as a conniving and very proficient backstabber, with Gjoni correctly calling out many of Quinn's more manipulative behaviors. For example, rather than worry about the impact for Joshua Boggs' wife if this information went public, Quinn cared only for what the personal fallout for herself from such a revelation would be. Quinn would later post a response on her Tumblr, and would see considerable support from her associates, who were likewise exposed by this revelation.
Zoe Quinn's responses to the Zoe Post are fascinating in their own right. While she continually declares events that Gjoni brought up as "personal issues," her own response to them is anything but personal, and instead Quinn holds herself up as a self-appointed example of all women, and essentially attempts to get Gjoni's allegations dismissed as nothing more than rote misogyny. Indeed, in her own post, she talks about how hard being a woman in the games industry is at least four separate times during the Tumblr post alone. This would become the centerpiece of Quinn's defense, and indeed, would be the rallying cry of her defenders, as well - rather than take responsibility for her actions, Quinn simply shifts the focus onto her critics, immediately turning it from something she has to acknowledge was her own doing, and turning it into a situation where anyone who disagrees with her is a misogynist, all of which is typified by this one quote:
"I have been judged because, if you are a woman, you are expected to constantly “prove” yourself, and even mere accusations can somehow undo all the good you’ve done and justify any measure of depraved brutality against you. Meanwhile, I see major support thrown the way of my male colleagues when they are accused of any sort of wrongdoing."—Zoe Quinn in a Tumblr Post, August 19th, 2014
The incidents exposed by the Zoe Post, of course, were not simple allegations - they included legitimate evidence, as the message logs on the Zoe Post show Quinn herself admitting that she has conducted several affairs. Canny readers will also note the complete lack of any evidence cited by Quinn herself, declaring something to be true without evidence in the face of someone criticizing her providing overwhelming evidence. This argument of hers further falls apart when one considers things like the at-the-time recent Brad Wardell Scandal, wherein the gaming press covered a discredited hoax for months on end because a male Quinn's friends didn't like too much had been accused of sexual harassment.
Quinn's tumblr post would begin a particularly odious trend of victim-blaming towards her ex-boyfriend that continued throughout an enormous amount of articles covering the entire Zoe Quinn scandal, and indeed, the overpowering majority of them one can read online. In spite of the fact that Eron Gjoni himself acknowledges that The Zoe Post is written "almost entirely in shitty metaphors and bitter snark", Quinn and others dismiss him as just "an angry/vindictive/jilted ex-boyfriend", depending on the article you read, and a Daily Dot article reducing his issues down to "nasty, post-breakup gripes." All evidence against Quinn was simply dismissed out-of-hand by those covering it, even the obvious ones like Quinn herself admitting to sleeping around on the Gjoni, which Quinn herself classified as rape.
Quinn immediately went on the offensive against Gjoni in her trying to unilaterally get the entire case against her dismissed as "harassment." Had Quinn simply owned up to her mistakes and apologized during it - even if not directly aimed at Gjoni himself - that may well have been sufficient to assuage concerns. Instead, Quinn went into a rant about how difficult her career was as a Woman in gaming following the reveal of details of a relationship where she was openly emotionally abusive towards her boyfriend.
By doing this, Quinn essentially ensured that people would dig deeper into the scandal, and in short order, it was unearthed that not only were many of Gjoni's accusations accurate, but that her being economically supported by several of the individuals Gjoni accused her of sleeping with, including Robin Arnott and Nathan Grayson directly were financially supporting her. These revelations would ultimately lead to the scandal widening, and the media attempt to suppress discussion of the burgeoning scandal would ultimately lead to GamerGate itself.
ReferencesCrash Override Network, despite being a
- Youtube - To Catch a Predator: @srhbutts
- To Catch a Predator: Pedophile Internet Defense Force
- Know Your Meme - Shufflegate
- Facebook - Discussion of Quinn at a Photo Shoot
- Crime and Federalism - Covering Quinn's Love of Helldump
- Crime and Federalism - Quinn Lied in Front of Congress
- Locke Valentine on Deviant Nation - New Job
- http://archive.is/f7z4A Zoe Quinn's Twitter - Formerly a Stripper]
- Locke Valentine on Deviant Nation - Drunk as Hell
- Locke Valentine on Deviant Nation - Stripper No More
- Mallorie Nasrallah's Facebook - Zoe Quinn
- Mallorie Nasrallah - Quinn Email Release
- Eron Gjoni's Tumblr - Everything She Was Saying Is True
- Mallorie Nasrallah's Facebook - Should be my Final Post
- Zoe Quinn's Twitter - Revenge Porn is What I Say It Is
- Youtube - Jontron's Channel
- Eurogamer - Game Jam Cancelled Because Indie Developers Wouldn't Put Up With Shit
- Zoe Quinn's Website - Jeff Goldblum Staring Contest
- KotakuInAction - John Bain Explains Quinn Email Threat Allegations
- Gamasutra - Why I Walked Off a Game Jam
- JamFaze Gameloading: Rise of the Indies Review
- Harmful Opinions - Gameloading: Rise of the Indies Review
- Gamesnosh - Fez Investors Outed as Judges for 2011 IGF award
- DeepFreeze.it - Unfair Advantage
- Lolcow Wiki Archive - coverage of attempts to shut down complaints about Quinn on social media
- Lolcow Wiki Archive - Techraptor banned for covering Quinn
- AGP Nation Archive - TFYC Interview
- Afterlife Empire on Steam
- Tweetsave Logs - StephenAtWar, a former Crash Override Network Client
- JaimArchive - CON Leak Logs
- Screenshot of Wolf Wozniak's tweet
- Screenshot of Alex Lifschitz's Tweets
- Zoe Quinn's Tumblr - I Will Not Negotiate With Terrorists