Fruzsina Eordogh is a freelance reporter. She wrote an article for Forbes about John “TotalBiscuit” Bain. In the article, she wrote things that were not true and factually not correct. For example, in the very first sentence, she wrote TotalBiscuit died from cancer “about a month ago.” He died on May 24, 2018. Forbes published the article on July 10, 2018. That works out to be 47 days. On what planet are 47 days “about” a month? It’s closer to two months than one month, but since when do facts matter?
The article goes downhill from there.
Fruzsina Eordogh falsely claimed TotalBiscuit was connected to harassment
Eordogh spends a lot of the article connecting TotalBiscuit to the GamerGate movement, which would be fine, except she repeats the same old canard that GamerGate was an organized harassment campaign against women. From the article:
The reason Gamergate will always and forever be characterized as a sexist movement and not a genuine ethics in video game journalism crusade, despite long-standing shadiness in video game related media and Bain’s efforts, is precisely because the ethics issue flew under the radar for many years … until it involved a woman. Who happened to be a feminist… being accused of sexual misconduct by an angry ex, no less. It was the actions of the mob, engaging in a sexist agenda, that made headlines, not that a developer slept with someone — that’s not news. The hashtag #Gamergate was coined by a conservative actor reacting to the previously mentioned slut-shaming video — changing its meaning to something after the fact is impossible. If the ethics issue had been raised in any other way, Bain wouldn’t have been crowned the king of an infamous harassment campaign and committer of all the crimes associated with it.
The developer didn’t sleep with someone. She slept with five people, including a video games journalist from Kotaku, a video game news website owned by Gawker.
The birth of GamerGate
GamerGate was born after leaked transcripts from a private game journalist email list showed journalists discussed what they would collectively report on. The transcripts showed they agreed not to report on the supposed sexual misconduct of the developer. In fact, they agreed they would do what the could to help the developer.
You might think game journalists wouldn’t report on claims of sexual misconduct. You would be wrong. On September 6, 2012, Kotaku published an article accusing Stardock CEO Brad Wardell of sexual misconduct towards a former employee. The accusation of sexual misconduct was false. Brad Wardell later wrote the following on his blog:
Within days of the article hitting, forum posts, follow-up articles and abuse started flooding the net. I received numerous death threats including one so specific (it was clear they had driven up close to our house) that we called the police. The death threats included rape threats against my wife and disgusting vile threats against my children.
For the past two years since, not a week goes by where someone doesn’t send me a hate message or ensure that one of our products or services being covered somewhere doesn’t get tarnished with the disgusting allegations that were made. Any time I speak on a given topic, this comes up.
In 2013, the case was dismissed with prejudice and the plaintiff had to issue a public apology. By any reasonable standard, this should have been the end of it. And yet, years later, I still am expected to somehow prove a negative.
Why would video game journalists report on one case of supposed sexual misconduct, but not another? Because they colluded together and agreed not to, that’s why.
GamerGate was never about harassment
GamerGate was about harassment as much as the Civil War was about state’s rights. Repeat it enough and people will begin to believe it.
Why has no one connected to GamerGate ever been charged with a crime connected to harassment? Why has no one connected to GamerGate ever been sued in civil court for harassment? The burden of proof in civil court is far less than criminal court. Ask O.J. Simpson about that. If you insist on claiming GamerGate was an organized harassment campaign, you’ve got to admit it was weak and ineffective. If GamerGate was truly a harassment campaign against women, I would expect to see some arrests and criminal convictions. I would expect to see lawsuits filled in civil court.
None of that happened.
GamerGate was always about ethics in game journalism
I always thought GamerGate was kind of silly. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe game journalists were unethical, I just didn’t see how they were any more unethical than other journalists. Reporters report things they know are not true. They have inappropriate relationships with people they report on. Opinion pieces are disguised as news stories. Reporters lie and they commit plagiarism. Are they ever held accountable for these unethical acts? It depends on what you think being held accountable means. Reporters are rarely fired for their unethical acts. Most only receive suspensions.
Fruzsina Eordogh’s article in Forbes is very much an opinion piece pretending to be a news article. She reports her opinions as facts. She’s entitled to her own opinions, but not her own facts. If she wants to report that GamerGate was a sexist harassment campaign, she owes it to the reader to substantiate that claim with facts.
That’s not to say Fruzsina Eordogh’s article doesn’t serve a purpose. It’s a good example of unethical journalism. It serves as an example of what not to do. If you want to besmirch a dead man, it’s important to substantiate your allegations with verifiable facts. She didn’t do that.