The Escapist

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The Escapist
TheEscapist.jpg

Website Escapistmagazine.com
Parent Company Defy Media
Owner Alexander Macris
Editor-in-Chief Joshua Vanderwall, Greg Tito (former)
Ethics Policy View on site
Ethics Auditor Review

Boycotted? No

The Escapist is an online magazine which covers video games as well as movies, comics, and TV.

Despite the fact that it has revised it's staff post GamerGate, it should be noted that the fourms are notorious for ban happy mods.

Pre-Gamergate

Coverage of Zoe Quinn's Alleged Harassment in 2013

On December 13, 2013 The Escapist covered Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn's alleged to have received harassment from an anonymous imageboard called Wizardchan after her game was submitted on Steam Greenlight. She claimed this community was sexually harassing her via phone calls and had to change her phone number. None of these claims were fact checked.[1]

Quinnspiracy Forum Thread

On August 17, a thread was made on Escapist forum to talk about the Quinnspiracy controversy, and was later merged with another related thread. The merged thread had reached 817 pages when its activity was last recorded on October 16. The thread was subject to heavy moderation to the point that some people mentioning quotes from Eron Gjoni's blogpost were banned permanently.[2]

Greg Tito's Admission of Bias Regarding Harassment Claims

On that same thread, Greg Tito posted some answers about the article The Escapist wrote about Zoe Quinn on 2013. He was confronted by users that pointed out the lack of research and fact checking in the article. It was also pointed out how much he was trying to shame people who were pointing out double standards concerning coverage over Zoe Quinn's alleged harassment but not the conflict of interest between her and Nathan Grayson.

On those posts he admitted to publishing the 2013 article about Quinn's harassment without doing proper fact checking because, according to him, victims don't have a burden of proof so he didn't need to ask for the other side of the story. His justification for the coverage of Quinn's alleged harassment but not the coverage of her controversial conflict of interest was because he wanted to focus on "helping" instead of "hurting" people. He denied the legitimacy of Thezoepost despite the evidence proving its veracity and claimed that if Stephen Totilo said that Nathan Grayson is innocent, then he must be.

Role In GamerGate

Pressure from GameJournoPros to Censor Forum Discussion

On August 19, 2014, in a discussion on the GameJournoPros mailing list regarding the Zoe Quinn Scandal, then- editor-in-chief Greg Tito expressed a reluctance to censor discussion on The Escapist forums, stating that he was "struggling to find justification in shutting down discussion" as there were "voices all over the spectrum in there". Several gaming journalists, including Polygon's Ben Kuchera, expressed disappointment toward's Tito's decision to allow moderated discussion on the forums and pressured him to take down forum threads on the subject.[11] However, Tito stood by his decision and GamerGate discussion was and continues to be allowed on the forums.

The Escapist's forums were censored early on in the GamerGate scandal. [Needs source]
Macris later intervened to allow discussion. [Needs source]

GameoverGate and #burgersandfries Interview

On September 6, 2014, Alexander Macris(co-founder of The Escapist) visited the #Burgersandfries (a public Irc channel)for their side of the story regarding Zoe Quinns accusations towards them.[12]

On September 7, 2014, The Escapist released the interview with the irc, in it was explained that most of the screenshots leaked by Zoe Quinn were taken out of context and how she drew strange connections out to them. Then they gave the complete logs of the channel to Macris which can be found in the article.[13]

  • A comparison between the Irc Chat screenshots showed by Zoe Quinn and the real quotes in context can be seen here.[14] And the full log of #burgersandfries from August 18 to September 6 can be found here.[15]

Ethics Policy Reform

The Escapist was the first website to agree to adopt a substantial ethics policy at the behest of the GamerGate revolt.

On September 8, Defy Media's owner Alexander Macris published a lengthy article, "The State of Gaming", detailing many of the concerns raised in this scandal,[16] followed by a revised ethics policy.[17] In addition he offered an apology for incorrect reporting involving Zoe Quinn and Wizardchan, stating that the article did not cite credible proof.[18]

Game Dev. Interviews about #GamerGate

On October 10, 2014, The escapist revelead they had been collecting interviews of game developers about what they think of the GamerGate controversy.[19] The developers interviewed were:

Developer Summary
Slade Villena Villena speaks about the IRC logs (the same that were explained to be out context in the interview to #burgersandfries), being 'shadowbanned' from Gamasutra, the impact of blacklisting, cliques in the industry "bashing and sabotaging devs and journos with different opinions", and how Gamergate is "an information war against the clique that wants to cover up corruption".[20]
James Desborough James talk about the blacklisting of developers from Tabletop games communities and the Tabletop Games industry for not agreeing with them on political topics. The hyper sensitibiliy that triggers the blacklisting and false claims to character assasinate disent and places and companies in the tabletop games industry where this is practice is accepted.[21]
Brad Wardell Brad talks about the double standard in game journalist where the tone and research of a story vary depending on the gender of the person they're covering. How harmful this is and how this affected his works years ago. He also speaks about how SJWs have wrongly smeared people in the industry, the lack of proper reporting, how gamers have lost trust of Gaming media because of this and they're seeking better mediums to get their information.[22]
Daniel Vavra -Pending-[23]
Damion Schubert -Pending-[24]
Xbro -Pending-[25]
OakHeart -Pending-[26]
Dave Rickey -Pending-[27]
Crowned Demon Studios -Pending-[28]
James covenant -Pending- [29]
Tadhg Kelly -Pending-[30]
Kyle McConaughey -Pending-[31]
"Scion" -Pending-[32]
Greg Costikyan -Pending-[33]
"Roo" -Pending-[34]
"Glaive" -Pending-[35]
"Royale" -Pending-[36]

Removal of Roguestar's and Grimachu's Interviews

On October 10, 2014, Zoe Quinn, Alex Lifschitz and Jim Sterling pressured Greg Tito to remove the interviews done to Slade Villena[37] and James Desborough[38] under the claims of harassment of developers and The Escapist's staff.

On October 17, Greg Tito removed both interviews to avoid backlash after being pressured with unverifiable and questionable evidence.


"Editor's Note #4: The Escapist removed the interviews of Slade Villena and James Desborough due to complaints (accompanied by what appears to be actual evidence) that Messrs. Villena and Desborough have harassed members of the online community, including certain of our contributors. While we cannot speak to the legitimacy of such of complaints, due to our strong policy prohibiting harassment and abuse we thought it best to simply remove the interviews."
— The Escapist[39]


Desborough later stated he didn't get any explanation for the removal of his interview until he saw the update accussing him of harassment (This points to Greg not bothering to contact James at all to get both sides of the story).[40] The tweets previously shown also prove that Slade tried to contact Greg to tell his side of the story but he didn't get any response.

Female Game Devs Thoughts about #GamerGate

pending: https://archive.today/aNWtK

Going Turncoat

On January 21, 2015, Ethan Ralph of the ralphretort announced prematurely that Bob "moviebob" Chipman had been terminated from the escapist, which proved to be false[41]. On February 13, 2015 movie bob himself revealed he had been let go from the Escapist[42]. GG supporters unsurprisingly counted this a victory, while moviebob proclaimed via his twitter, it had nothing to do with GG, and loosly alluded to budget concerns and sweeping employment termination at Defy Media. This does not explain why the Escapist hired two openly Pro-GG personalities as moviebob was leaving.

Liana Kerzna will be contributing content in cosplay starting summer 2015(Citation needed). Brandon Morse will be a freelance writer, not a staff writer, he revealed in a conversation held on Sargon of Akkad's youtube page[43].

The response is what you'd expect from Anti-GG. Brandon Morse aside from being Pro-GG, is also openly right-wing, and accused of being transphobic by Dominic Preson of frontiersmedia[44]. This has been used to claim Escapist is now a right-wing site, and is the "Fox News" of the gaming media.


GameJournoPros Members

These are the gaming journalists that are working (or previously worked) for The Escapist and are part of the GamesJournoPro's Google mailing list.

Trivia

The Escapist has a Steam curator: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/71171-The-Escapist/

And Group:

https://steamcommunity.com/groups/Escapist

See Also

GameJournoPros

References

  1. Escapistmagazine.com - Depression Quest Dev Faces Harassment after Steam Submission
  2. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Zoe Quinn and the surrounding controversy thread
  3. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Greg Tito ignores the other side of the story because focusing on the harassment aspect is more important.
  4. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Greg Tito's denying that media is making a narrative of victimizing women
  5. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Greg tito calls 9/11 truthers to users posting evidence of media censoring.
  6. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Greg Tito claims that Thezoepost isn't believe despite all the evidence supporting it.
  7. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Greg Tito sees disent as 'harassment' and uses an argument from authority
  8. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Greg admits reporting without proper fact checking to drive an agenda 01
  9. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums:Greg admits reporting without proper fact checking to drive an agenda 02
  10. Escapistmagazine.com - Forums(before merged thread):Greg says he stands for journalistic ethics while saying there's no burden of proof on 'victims'
  11. Breitbart.com - GameJournoPros Zoe Quinn Email Thread Dump
  12. Rizon #burgersandfries - Archon interview
  13. Tito, Greg (September 7, 2014). Exclusive: 4Chan and Quinn Respond to Gamergate Chat Logs. Escapistmagazine.com. Archived from the original on November 26, 2014. Accessed January 19, 2015.
  14. Imgur.com - Irc Chat Matches
  15. #Burgersandfries full logs(Aug 18 to Sep06)
  16. Escapistmagazine.com - Publisher's Note: The State of Gaming, Part I: The Culture
  17. The Official Ethics Policy of The Escapist
  18. Escapistmagazine.com - Publisher's Note: The State of Gaming, Part II: The Journalism
  19. Escapistmagazine.com - What Game Developers Think of #GamerGate
  20. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Slade Villena GamerGate Interview
  21. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - James Desborough GamerGate Interview
  22. Escapistmagazine.com - Brad Wardell GamerGate Interview
  23. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Daniel Vávra GamerGate Interview
  24. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - 'Damion Schubert' GamerGate Interview
  25. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Xbro GamerGate Interview
  26. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - OakHeart GamerGate Interview
  27. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Dave Rickey GamerGate Interview
  28. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Crowned Demon Studios GamerGate Interview
  29. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - James Covenant GamerGate Interview
  30. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Tadhg Kelly GamerGate Interview
  31. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Kyle McConaughey GamerGate Interview
  32. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - "Scion" GamerGate Interview
  33. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - Greg Costikyan GamerGate Interview
  34. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - "Roo" GamerGate Interview
  35. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - "Glaive" GamerGate Interview
  36. Escapistmagazine.com - The Escapist - "Royale" GamerGate Interview
  37. Twitter.com - Jim Sterling claiming Roguestar sent people to dogpile him
  38. Twitlonger.com - @EffNOVideoGames: Discussion with Alexander Macris (@archon) of @TheEscapistMag
  39. Escapistmagazine.com - What Male Game Developers Think of #GamerGate
  40. Postmortenstudios - #Gamergate – Escapist/Desborough Interview Disclosure
  41. http://theralphretort.com/published-report-fat-liar-movie-bob-shitcanned-from-the-escapist-012115/
  42. http://moviebob.blogspot.com/2015/02/all-good-things.html
  43. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upjZlfQfRxc
  44. http://www.frontiersmedia.com/frontiers-blog/2015/02/26/gaming-site-the-escapist-hires-transphobic-writer/