Destructoid

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Destructoid
Destructoid-logo.png

Parent Company Modern Method Network
Owner Yanier Gonzalez
Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Holmes, formerly Dale North
Ethics Policy Review Guide
Boycotted? Yes

Destructoid is a video game-focused blog that was founded in March 2006 by Yanier Gonzalez.[1] In addition to being part of the GameJournoPros group and participating in the Gamers are Dead effort, they have engaged in the firing and blacklisting of Allistair Pinsof and Holly Green on questionable grounds. On June 21, 2017, Destructoid agrees to be acquired by Enthusiastic Gaming.[2]

Role In GamerGate

Destructoid's first activity related to GamerGate was participating in the coordinated Gamers are Dead campaign.[3] When accused of breaches of journalistic ethics, site owner Yanier Gonzalez responded with "nowhere on my site does it say we are journalists."[4]

Most important is the uncovering of evidence that suggests the owner of the website, Yanier "Neiro" Gonzalez, fired Allistair Pinsof in a manner that may have been illegal. Leaked emails show evidence of collusion and possible blacklisting.[5] Later investigation revealed this was not the first time that someone had been fired under suspicious circumstances, as Holly Green, another former Destructoid employee, was fired under similar circumstances. In addition, her previous works and bylines were deleted by site staff.[6]

On 20 October 2014, two days after the first article concerning the illegal firings was published, the editor-in-chief of Destructoid, Dale North, announced that he was leaving the company due to disagreements with the management, saying:

Without going into details, I feel certain actions taken and statements made by Destructoid management have not accurately reflected my feelings or taken my input as Editor-in-chief into account. I’m no longer comfortable having my name attached to the continued engagement with former staff. I love Destructoid. It has been at the center of my life for just short of a decade. It was one hell of a ride, and I’ll miss it and its people dearly.
— Dale North[7]

Firing of Allistair Pinsof

Destructoid fired features editor Allistair Pinsof on May 17, 2013.

Pinsof was investigating a potential case of fraud involving an IndieGoGo campaign that sprung up back in early April, 2013 ...

On May 17th, 2013 Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez took to the GameJournoPros group e-mails to consult with other editors, managers and site owners to see how they would handle the situation.

William Usher alleges that Gonzales conspired to blacklist Pinsof from the gaming journalism industry in violation of Florida title 31, chapter 448, section 045.

Pinsof alleges that Gonzales threatened to delete his work from Destructoid or change his byline to "WORST EMPLOYEE EVER DO NOT HIRE!" if Pinsof ever talked about the circumstances of his firing.

Holly Green accusation

Destructoid writer Holly Green accused Destructoid of firing her, erasing her work, and ignoring her allegations of sexual misconduct. The owner of Destructoid and co-founder of Modern Method, Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez, commented that Green was "a handful"[8] and "[s]he became increasingly outspoken for certain triggers and would rail against staff."[8]

“When I decided to let her go (a calm very emotional 2 hour conversation) there was no “chance” to give because she hadn't made one specific mistake — she was just scary to work with for months. My team was on pins and needles as to not set her off. [sic]”[8]

Conflicts of interest

Borderlands DLC review

The following tweet was published by Borderlands developer Anthony Burch, on 3 September 2014:

"2 BL2 DLCs I wrote got pretty good reviews from Destructoid writers who I was friends with. This has never been mentioned by #gamergate once" [9]

Following an investigation into the matter, it was discovered that Borderland's Captain Scarlett DLC had received an 8 out of 10 rating in a Destructoid article, which was published by Joseph Leray on 16 October 2012.[10] Numerous tweets show Leray to be close to Burch.[11] Moreover, Burch was a writer for Destructoid between January 2008 and May 2010.[12] No disclosure was added in the article about this close personal relationship and former professional relationship.

Zoe Quinn

Jonathan Holmes wrote three favourable articles about Zoe Quinn, published on 10 November 2012[13], 16 February 2013[14] and 17 November 2013.[15] Numerous tweets show a personal relationship before and during this period of time. This includes Jonathan Holmes offering Zoe Quinn to make games, offering to assist with a Let's Play series, multiple comments on hanging out or a desire to hang out and a statement on worrying about being "zoe-biased".[16] Holmes failed to disclose this conflict of interest in all three articles.

Conflicts of interest related to the Sup, Holmes? Kickstarter

Sup, Holmes? is is an interview program created by Conrad Zimmerman and Jonathan Holmes,[17] who also stars as the show's host.[18] In order to make a third season of the show, Holmes and others launched a Kickstarter campaign on March 28, 2014,[19] the funding of which ended on April 11, 2014.[20] Holmes would later on write articles for Destructoid on several donors to the Kickstarter, withouth disclosing the financial support they provided him:

  • Syrenne McNulty - On March 28, 2014, Syrenne McNulty announced on twitter (through the twitter account of Four Corners Games, a studio of which McNulty is the only member[21]) that she backed SP's Kickstarter with a sum of 120 dollars.[22] No disclosure of this fact was provided when Holmes wrote about McNulty's game I've Got to Run! on July 12, 2014.[23]
  • Fangamer - Fangamer is a company which produces gaming related merchandise and hosts gaming related events.[24] Fangamer were given mentions during the beginning and the end of 113th episode of SP, in which it was said that the episode was partially brought by Fangamer.[25] The Kickstarter page of SP promised that such mentions in episodes of the hsow will be given to donors who have backed the project by 120 dollars or more,[20] allowing us to deduce that Fangamer has backed SP with such a sum. No disclosure of this fact was provided in an article Holmes wrote about Fangamer on August 23, 2014.[26] It should be also noted that Heidi Mandelin, who works for Fangamer as a social media manager, photographer, and podcast co-host,[27] has announced on twitter on March 28, 2014 that she backed SP's Kickstarter with a sum of 120 dollars,[28] though it is not clear whether or not this is the same donation for which Fangamer recieved a mention in SP.
  • Matt Gilgenbach - In the 117th episode of SPO, the game Neverending Nightmares recieves mentions in the beginning and ending of the episode, in which it is said that the episode was partially brought by by the game.[29] As explained above, such mentions inidcate that 120 dollars or more were donated on behalf of the game to SP's Kickstarter. No disclosure of this fact was provided by Holmes when he wrote an article on Neverending Nightmares and its creator, Matt Gilgenbach, on 14 September, 2014.[30]
  • Dan Silvers - In September 27th, 2014, Holmes wrote an article on Dan Silvers and his game, Children of Liberty. Inside the article a video was embedded in which Holmes interviews Silvers.[31] Neither the article nor the video included disclosure regarding the fact that Silvers backed SP's Kickstarter on March 28th, 2014.[32] The exact sum of money Silvers donated to the Kickstarter is unknown.

Possible Improvement

In September, Darren Nakamura announced a new disclosure policy that became "effective immediately" regarding reporting on former Destructoid employees who now work for game companies.[33]

Recently, both Max Scoville, who left for IGN to replace their video team, and Hamza Aziz, the Destructoid CEO, left the company.[34]

GameJournoPros Members

  • Alex Rubens - Former Contributer
  • Dale North - Former Editor-in-Chief
  • Yanier Gonzalez - Site Owner
  • Samit Sarkar - Formerly at Destructoid, currently at Polygon
  • Sam Prell - Formerly at Destructoid, G4 and Joystiq

Triva

Destructoid has two Steam curators.

Main curator group: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/409-Destructoid/

Mr. Destructoid: http://store.staging.steampowered.com/curator/6869584-Mr-Destructoid/?l=english&appid=250110

Mr. Destructoid (Group): https://steamcommunity.com/groups/mrdestructoid

See Also

GameJournoPros

References

  1. Destructoid turns one
  2. Enthusiastic Gaming Acquires Destructoid - [1]
  3. Why does the term 'gamer' feel important? Archive
  4. #GamerGate: "Nowhere On My Site Does It Say We Are Journalists" Says Destructoid Owner
  5. #GamerGate: Destructoid, Corruption And Ruined Careers
  6. #GamerGate: Destructoid’s Battle With Abuse, Lies And Scandals – Part 2
  7. I'm leaving Destructoid
  8. a b c One Angry Gamer: #GamerGate: Destructoid’s Battle With Abuse, Lies And Scandals – Part 1
  9. https://archive.is/EBR7h
  10. https://archive.today/fEWH4
  11. http://pastebin.com/MQZQHcdX
  12. https://archive.is/EBzEg
  13. https://archive.today/rApzt
  14. https://archive.today/Ti8rY
  15. https://archive.today/1usmT
  16. http://pastebin.com/cp4bgej5
  17. [2]
  18. What is Sup, Holmes
  19. It should be noted that the page for the Sup, Holmes? Kickstarter was created by a user account under the name of Conrad Zimmerman. With that being said, Holmes makes it clear that he was also behind the launching the Kickstarter in a Destructoid article from March 2014, in which he writes "We launched a Kickstarter for the [Sup, Holmes?] yesterday, and due to overwhelming support, we were fully funded in less than 12 hours. Holy smokes.".
  20. a b Sup, Holmes? Kickstarter's page
  21. Interview with Syrenne McNulty of I've Got to Run!
  22. https://archive.is/9HV4w
  23. I've Got to Run! weekend sale supports The Trevor Project
  24. Fangamer - About/contact
  25. Loren Bednar (ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS) - Sup, Holmes? Ep 113
  26. Love is in the air for Seattle's Fangamer <3 Attract Mode
  27. https://archive.is/AS1Bj
  28. https://archive.is/JSRfJ
  29. Nina Freeman (How Do You Do It?) - Sup, Holmes? Ep 117
  30. How to turn depression and anxiety into a videogame
  31. Boston FIG had over 2,000 attendees this year
  32. https://archive.is/92qBY
  33. "#GamerGate: Destructoid Updates Disclosure Policies Due To Controversy, Thank You". D., Billy. September 6, 2014. One Angry Gamer. blogjob. Archived from the original on December 6, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.
  34. Hamza Aziz leaves Destructoid