In our last report, we showed that the relationship between controversial developer Zoe Quinn and Kotaku journalist Nathan Grayson, went perhaps a bit deeper than they had publicly claimed. In fact, immediately after the report’s publication, Ms.Quinn let slip in a tweet that Grayson was a tester on Depression Quest.
Grayson, for his part, then denied testing the game – somehow in the very same breath in which he admitted to testing it.
In his interview with The Escapist, Brad Wardell states that whenever he’d:
“send copies of a game to a journalist to get critical feedback on before it ships, they have always (as in 100% of the time) recused themselves.”
Grayson, on the other hand, says things like:
“There wasn’t enough to write about, but I offered a couple lines of feedback. They basically amounted to, ‘This is a neat idea, but when I went through this these sorts of things happened.’ I battled depression for a pretty significant chunk of my life, so I felt like that input was warranted.”
It seems the times have changed, Brad. And Nathan Grayson’s brand of journalism is leaving you behind.
Let’s dissect Grayson’s words here. Setting aside how many other people helped, did Grayson test and give feedback on the game? Did Quinn thank Grayson for his help and feedback on the game? Did Grayson use the platform he’d been granted to promote the game he was thanked for his help with?
Is this okay?
A journalist helped support a developer, gave that developer input on her game, gave that developer exposure on at least two separate occasions – one instance of which included the game he gave feedback on – and then slept with that developer. Because journalistic standards in this industry have gotten so lax, we’re told he didn’t do anything worth being fired over.
The Kotaku/Quinn/Grayson party line here is that there wasn’t any sex-for-coverage, so it’s all kosher. GamerGate was clearly, clearly, in the wrong. Well, I guess it would cool, if we wanted to be oblivious to the greater context of their involvement, and pretend that sex-for-coverage is the only possible bias. But let’s stop pretending to be fools for a minute, and look past that tired red herring. Eron Gjoni said something once on KingofPol’s show that stuck with me. It’s not about sex-for-coverage…it’s about coverage-for-sex
In a Twitlonger post after our story last week, Grayson claimed:
“People are getting bent out of shape about this because it looks like evidence that Zoe and I were close way back in 2012/2013. We were not. I’d interviewed her in 2012, and some time after that she sent me a build of Depression Quest to show me what she was working on.”
Do we have any evidence to suggest that Nathan may have been a bit less than truthful in this tweet? Evidence that maybe he had the hots for Zoe for some substantial length of time prior to covering her?
Actually, we do. And it’s from someone who used to be close to both Quinn, and Grayson.
The following tweets begin almost a month before the movement now known as GamerGate even started, from an account that was created in 2011. The first few tweets are provided merely for context (Sorry in advance, Zoe). These have been seen before on some boards. Hell, I remember seeing some of the earlier ones myself. These are legitimate.
Now we move into GamerGate territory…
Yes, you read that right. Apparently, the relationship between Quinn and Grayson goes back quite a ways, one sided as it may or may not have been. I’m hoping that I will be able to bring you more background and commentary from the person behind those tweets in the near future. They are understandably reluctant to come out publicly.
In the meantime, mull over the situation.
There exists at least one journalist who’s allegedly been trying to get with a developer for years, but never recused himself from giving her exposure. There also exists at least one journalist who just days after a video showing how close he and a developer were getting, did not recuse himself from covering her game jam, and who a few days later, finally got his well earned thankyou present for the exposure he gave her. There also exists at least one journalist who gave exposure to a game he HIMSELF contributed to.
And these are ALL THE SAME JOURNALIST.
GamerGate wasn’t wrong. Take a close look at this situation and ask if this is the kind of journalism we want? Look at it, and ask if this the kind of journalist we want? Look at Grayson, look at Kotaku — and demand answers.