Nick, this changes everything.
August 8, 2017 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Polygon.com games journalist Nick Robinson, best known for his work with the irrepressible Griffin McElroy on such acclaimed projects as Car Boys, Touch the Skyrim, and gamestorming podcast CoolGames Inc, has by proxy developed a "soft boy" image of friendly inclusivity and innocent, goofy charm. So it came as a shock this weekend when a Twitter spat over a glitch snowballed into the outing of Robinson as one of the industry's more notorious missing stairs, with multiple colleagues and even young fans accusing him of sexual harassment. Reaction was swift: longtime friends broke ties, Griffin expressed shocked anger and pushed back on calls for proof, and Polygon suspended Robinson pending inquiry. Vice Media's Waypoint podcast sums up the situation with a frank discussion (starting @32:54) of sexism in the gaming industry, power dynamics in a world of personality-driven social media fandom, the difference between legal and social transgression, and how to deal when a favorite artist betrays your trust.

Twitter summation: "The whole internet loves Nick Robinson, a lovely Car Boy! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you Nick Robinson is a sexual predator." (See also the Milkshake Duck phenomenon.)

One of Robinson's targets posts her story to the /r/CoolGamesInc community and gets a broadly supportive reaction. She had previously shared some of his uncomfortable overtures on Twitter, though these exchanges were apparently only the tip of the iceberg compared to other behavior that had been confirmed privately.

Somewhat ironically, Griffin and his sister Rachel's Bachelor(ette)-themed podcast Rose Buddies had an episode in June all about that show's recent sexual misconduct scandal where they discuss their feelings of shame and complicity just for hosting a podcast about it. It's tough to listen to but offers a telling glimpse of Griffin's unfiltered reaction to such news outside his own circle, perhaps shedding some light on why he didn't jump to Nick's defense, question the provenance of the accusations, or even go radio silent as friends/colleagues tend to do in similar situations.

A 2015 blog post contrasting the dark side of the "soft boy" image with the more popularly known "fuckboy" epithet

The Daily Dot's 2014 story on a similar scandal involving YouTuber Alex Day is quite relevant:
Just one day after Day posted publicly about the dangers of the power imbalance between YouTube creators and their fans, several women came forward to say that he’d treated them in a way that fit a pattern of manipulative behaviour towards his female friends and fans.

For those who felt that they knew Day through his social media presence, this type of accusation was difficult to believe. But as YouTuber Anthony D’Angelo pointed out in a video, watching someone’s videos and interacting with them as a fan is not the same as knowing them on a personal level. Their online persona is their professional brand, and 10 minutes of edited YouTube footage per week is not a window into the soul.
posted by Rhaomi (158 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yikes. Is this why people were talking about "soft boys" on Twitter lately?
posted by JHarris at 7:52 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Thanks for making such a comprehensive post about this.

This has been really upsetting for me to read about over the past few days, because I've been a huge fan of his work - I watched every episode of Car Boys as it came out, Cool Games Inc turned into one of my go-to re-listenable podcasts, etc. And the nature of podcasting and of Polygon's editorial style made all of the work feel very, I dunno, personal? Comfortable?

I really can't imagine how Griffin is feeling right now. Not only has one of his best friends and closest creative collaborators been outed for doing creepy shit - he's built his entire career and reputation as being The Most Socially Liberal White Nerd Dude On The Internet. And now one of his best friends has both 1) done something he finds completely abhorrent and 2) threatened his own reputation just by association.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:02 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


(Also: Rachel McElroy is Griffin's wife, not his sister.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:03 AM on August 8 [11 favorites]


I just learned about this this morning trying to figure out why there wasn't a CGI last week, and I'm pretty... I don't even know what word to use. I've been leaning pretty heavily on McElroy, Polygon, and Max Fun created content to avoid thinking about everything that's terrible lately, so this is hard.

Thank you for the post, I wasn't looking forward to trying to do my own research.
posted by Caduceus at 8:03 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


"It's tough to listen to but offers a telling glimpse of Griffin's unfiltered reaction to such news outside his own circle, perhaps shedding some light on why he didn't jump to Nick's defense."

-- I think it's rather because Griffin is a decent human being. This much I have to believe in right now. I need to make myself believe that there are still decent men out there, because time and time again a story like this one, about a male content creator on the Internet abusing his power, (finally) breaks, and each time I lose a little faith in men.

I feel betrayed (once again).

My thoughts are with the victims.
posted by bigendian at 8:06 AM on August 8 [17 favorites]


You know, there's a lot of terms I learn from threads like these - "missing stair"; "soft boy" - that really just strike me as refining the category of "asshole".

That being said, holy shit. I'm a bit of a late-comer to the world of all things McElroy, and it took me a while to figure out that Nick from Car Boys was not one of Griffin's brothers, as the two of them seemed so close and comfortable with each other. I never finished watching Car Boys. I guess I never will.
posted by nubs at 8:06 AM on August 8


I've been leaning pretty heavily on McElroy, Polygon, and Max Fun created content to avoid thinking about everything that's terrible lately, so this is hard.

Oh, this so much. Ever since the election I have had no stomach for depressing dramatic content at all, and McElroy/Polygon adjacent stuff has been absolutely exactly what I've needed. Funny and sincere and staunchly non-shitty without being preachy about it. Man this is all just really goddamn depressing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:08 AM on August 8 [14 favorites]


Also, ouch, that post title...
posted by bigendian at 8:08 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


What is perhaps most revealing about the situation (or this corner of games journalism) is that no one in the industry has publicly leapt to Nick's defense. His longtime collaborators on the podcast Podburglars both quit the show and condemned his actions, Polygon pretty quickly suspended him, Griffin and Justin both expressed anger and shock. The only outcries of support come from fans demanding evidence. This is a pretty remarkably well-handled scandal.
posted by graventy at 8:12 AM on August 8 [30 favorites]


It's just so disappointing. I hope that Nick has the good sense to back out of the public eye after this, because the thought of him embracing the kinds of audiences who will accept this stuff is awful.

The subreddit reactions have been, on the whole, better than I expected, but hoooly shit the number of people who seem to want to rules lawyer some kind of redemption or at least some way of making it ok to still enjoy his work... on some level that stuff is more frustrating than the outright trolls, for a fan of the work before this this is a messy situation that brings up a ton of difficult feelings, but too many seem to lose the perspective that the experience of the victims is infinitely more important than fans getting a social permission slip to not feel weird about the whole mess.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:15 AM on August 8


The thing that has been the most discouraging about this is watching men online demand receipts — despite Griffin explicitly telling them they shoudn't.

One person did — a young woman who had a "straight white boys texting" experience, where he suddenly got sexual with her. And immediately, as thought it were scripted, a thousand men said, oh no, that's not bad, that's just flirting badly, is that all this is, this is nothing!

Which is why you don't ask for receipts and why nobody is obligated to provide them. Because it allows dudes to dismiss complaints. Never mind that a large part of the complaints is that Nick is constantly doing this, constantly creeping into women's DMs and becoming sexual. Never mind that the complaint is that he regularly does this with game developers and also with younger fans. Never mind that these complains have been articulated by a large number of respected women in the industry.

No, one receipt that is not perfect proof and a chorus of men rise up to say there is no problem here.

But here's the thing: It's not just bad flirting. It's bad flirting that happens too often, in the wrong place, to people who shouldn't have to deal with it all the time, and, yes, worried guys, if you are doing that too, you aren't just a bad flirter, you're helping to create an environment that is alienating to women.

I know it is hard to accept. When that straight white boys texting thing went around, I was like, Oh shit, I've done that too. But I didn't then immediately dismiss it as awkward flirting and excuse myself. I decided never to do that again. I listened to the fucking criticism.

Guys, listen to the fucking criticism. People have valid concerns about Nick's behavior, and, if you have done this sort of thing too, this is your chance to learn from this and not do it anymore.
posted by maxsparber at 8:17 AM on August 8 [76 favorites]


What is perhaps most revealing about the situation (or this corner of games journalism) is that no one in the industry has publicly leapt to Nick's defense. His longtime collaborators on the podcast Podburglars both quit the show and condemned his actions, Polygon pretty quickly suspended him, Griffin and Justin both expressed anger and shock. The only outcries of support come from fans demanding evidence. This is a pretty remarkably well-handled scandal.

I know what you're saying, but can I just express my discomfort with the concluding thought of "well-handled scandal"? It really makes it feel like this is a PR exercise (which, yes, there is an element of that) more than people legitimately expressing their anger and upset over this. It's both (or at least I hope it's both) is what I'm trying to say.
posted by nubs at 8:19 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


This is a pretty remarkably well-handled scandal.

Because of the way Polygon has positioned itself in opposition to all the shittiest -isms in gaming and games journalism, they really couldn't have handled it any other way without torpedoing their brand. I'm sure they already had protocols in place for something like this... which just raises the question of why the fuck Nick didn't cut this shit out at some point! He had to know he wouldn't be backed up because even if his colleagues privately didn't care about this behavior (which I'm not saying they don't), they would still have to make an example of him just for their own economic interest.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:20 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


This really sucks but like. I just started being a McElroy fan this year but I couldn't get into any of Griffin's Polygon content because Nick just gave off a vibe that my gut didn't like.

Thanks for putting together this post!
posted by bleep at 8:21 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


raises the question of why the fuck Nick didn't cut this shit out at some point

Because he probably thinks it's okay?
posted by uncleozzy at 8:21 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


What is perhaps most revealing about the situation (or this corner of games journalism) is that no one in the industry has publicly leapt to Nick's defense. His longtime collaborators on the podcast Podburglars both quit the show and condemned his actions, Polygon pretty quickly suspended him, Griffin and Justin both expressed anger and shock. The only outcries of support come from fans demanding evidence. This is a pretty remarkably well-handled scandal.

That's the charitable interpretation, right? The less charitable one is that people knew about this already. Given the intensely subtweeted nature of how it came out and the rapidity of everyone stepping backwards and throwing up their hands, this feels like a final straw more than a shock. (And Austin Walker basically confirmed on his podcast that people knew this was a thing. Apparently he is hamstrung from reporting on it due to legal concerns from Vice.)
posted by selfnoise at 8:24 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


What I'm saying is, even if he does think it's ok, he works for a place that pretty explicitly doesn't.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:24 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I recommend the Reddit post What Nick did is more than bad flirting for shutting down the "bad flirting" argument in a comprehensive and clear way.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 8:25 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Because he probably thinks it's okay?

When you're a star they let you do it.
posted by Talez at 8:26 AM on August 8 [14 favorites]


Am I wrong here or does Griffin seem pretty blameless in all this? I'm having a hard time figuring out why he's being centered here—I mean obviously it sucks to learn that a friend and colleague is a sexual predator, and good on him for doing the decent thing and de-friending Robinson rather than reflexively defending him or choosing to remain silent, but why is all the attention on him? He did what I'd expect anyone to do if they found out that someone they were close to had done something truly awful: denounce them and their actions, and stand on the side of the victims.

So it's definitely great that he's behaving decently and I get that this is unfortunately kinda unusual—I know that there's a real tendency for men to circle the wagons and go into defensive mode around stuff like this, or even to strike out at the victims and their supporters in sometimes really nasty ways—but I'm having a hard time seeing why he's so central to the narrative. He's neither the perpetrator nor the victim here, as far as I can tell. As long as he continues to do the right thing his reputation should remain unsullied, though this is certainly a powerful reminder to men that yes, even people we consider friends may be predators.

Is it just that sexual predators are so common and so commonly defended in the games industry that Griffin's non-support of Robinson is more remarkable than the fact of Robinson's transgressions? Is "respected male figure in the games industry turns out to be a serial creeper" such a well-worn story at this point that the most remarkable thing about it is that the reaction among other males has not been one of reflexive, unified solidarity in support of the offender combined with a campaign to discredit and harass the victims?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:27 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


I don't know that Cool Games Inc should continue, but if it does, Simone was always cooler than Nick and she'd be an amazing fit.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:27 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


What I'm saying is, even if he does think it's ok, he works for a place that pretty explicitly doesn't.

My experience with people like that is that they don't believe that the workplace will actually put any effort in behind these policies and/or that their "star" status somehow insulates them. Which is often the case for at least some period of time; it's certainly sounding like this was a known thing about Nick for some people and that may have lead Nick to think that it was just fine, that he could keep doing it, because some people knew and nothing was happening to him.

Not defending it in any way, just sharing what I've seen in some other places with similar problems but smaller stakes in terms of it not being someone in the media.
posted by nubs at 8:29 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Am I wrong here or does Griffin seem pretty blameless in all this?

There haven't been any accusations against him and in the only public statement that I have seen he seemed blindsided and furious about it.
posted by maxsparber at 8:29 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I'm more of a fan of the McElroys than Nick Robinson, Car Boys aside, so this was super disappointing to me, but not incredibly upsetting. I actually found out about the whole thing from Griffin's twitter response of shock and anger, which in retrospect, I'm very grateful for, because it meant I didn't have to spend even a second wondering if Griffin was going to do the reactionary thing and defend his friend and/or attack the women coming forward.

There's something...depressing about that reaction? when I think about it? Like not only do we have to deal with the initial shock and disappointment and anger about someone whose work we liked turning out to be a sexual predator, but then there's the bracing ourselves for the blow of finding out who's going to support them, who's going to make the situation worse by demanding receipts or attacking the women who are sharing their stories. I'm so pathetically grateful that the McElroys at least haven't disappointed me on that score (yet, at least). Like a lot of others, McElroy and McElroy-adjacent content has really helped me get through our new national nightmare by being an oasis of fundamentally decent hilarity.

I feel so awful for all the women who've had to deal with Robinson's predatory behavior, all the while seeing Nick Robinson's reputation online and seeing him get praise for, well, not being exactly that sort of awful, in effect.
posted by yasaman at 8:30 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]


(And Austin Walker basically confirmed on his podcast that people knew this was a thing. Apparently he is hamstrung from reporting on it due to legal concerns from Vice.)

Austin said he was asked not to share publicly what he knew ("[Nick]'s done some creepy shit" - 47:00 in the podcast) by the people who were "involved in that" for "lots of complicated reasons" (which I take to mean it was the victims of Nick's creepy shit who asked him not to share it). It's Patrick Klepek's article containing more info which is being held back for legal reasons until the Vox Media investigation has completed.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:32 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Seeing this through the eyes of a recovering addict, I'd surmise that his behavior can be explained by it being strongly and immediately reinforcing, and the consequences somewhat abstract: the old "I can stop any time I want/I'll get clean tomorrow" routine.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:36 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


That's the charitable interpretation, right?

You are right; it is completely giving them the benefit of the doubt. And, that probably comes from being a fan of their content. But that's how missing stairs work a lot of the time, right? Female friends know and whisper, male friends are mostly oblivious or write off the one thing they witness as "bad flirting".

Judging by their work, I really don't feel like the McElroy's would knowingly collaborate with someone who is a sexual predator. But, again, rose-colored glasses and whatnot.
posted by graventy at 8:36 AM on August 8


I listened to the discussion on the waypoint podcast linked in the FPP on the way in to work today, and it is very thoughtful and humane. They tackle a few listener questions coming from different perspective - fan artists, etc. - and it is well worth a listen.

Also - if you are not up on the twitterspeak or inclined to pass on it because it might be too 'inside baseball', they do a pretty good job of explaining and/or minimizing that in favor of a good examination of the issues.

Although, as a 40 y/o woman already familiar with 'sliding into someone's DMs' and the whole 'softboy' phenomenon, I did question my life for a minute when they defined a few things "in case you are a 38 year old dad".
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 8:38 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Am I wrong here or does Griffin seem pretty blameless in all this? I'm having a hard time figuring out why he's being centered here

He's the founding editor of Polygon and he's done a lot of work with Nick over the years; there's a reason he's at the center.

As for whether or not he's blameless and didn't know, well, I guess time will tell. I want to think he didn't know, but that's because I enjoy his content and don't want my enjoyment of things like TAZ to get tainted; but it's also a real possibility.
posted by nubs at 8:41 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Why is everyone saying receipts? Didn't we just have a post about how lame appropriation of AAVE in social media is?

I really can't imagine how Griffin is feeling right now.

He's pretty far down on my list of people I'm concerned about, honestly. Though I guess he's someone in this whole thing who people are going to be the most familiar with, so it makes sense to ask. I 100% know it's not your intent and this isn't meant as a callout, but it seems weird to have a "I wonder how this whole thing affects this other dude?" right up top of the thread.
posted by ODiV at 8:43 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Is it just that sexual predators are so common and so commonly defended in the games industry that Griffin's non-support of Robinson is more remarkable than the fact of Robinson's transgressions?

Well, yeah, pretty much.
posted by corvine at 8:44 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Is it just that sexual predators are so common and so commonly defended in the games industry that Griffin's non-support of Robinson is more remarkable than the fact of Robinson's transgressions?

Yes. And not just in the games industry.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:45 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


For those like me who don't know wtf a "softboy" is and aren't inclined to listen to a thing on Soundcloud to find out, Urban Dictionary has a definition for you using boring old written words that you can read with your eyeballs:

Similar to a fuckboy but without the cocky attitude. The Softboy will butter a girl up by appealing to her emotions and showing a "sensitive" side long enough for her to sleep with him, whether or not he actually cares about her or not. Then, like the fuckboy, he can't/won't commit. Differs from the fuckboy because he goes for the heart and emotions rather than just the body.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:47 AM on August 8 [12 favorites]


Griffin might be taking the place of like a proxy victim because the actual victims are still being rightfully shielded.
posted by bleep at 8:48 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Huh. I was thinking about how the last time I had a similar disappointment from someone whose work I enjoyed this much was when Chris Sims' old shitty bullying of Val D’Orazio came to light a couple years back (came to light again, I guess, because it was out there before, but I think most fans of his, myself included, weren't aware of it). And anyways, turns out Sims did an article for Polygon like the day before this Nick stuff came out.

Sims seems like a very, very different person than he was back when he harassed D’Orazio, but of course, who knows if that's really true. Just very weird to see him writing for Polygon at the same time Nick's terrible behavior came to light.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:49 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Also, even just quoting that relatively straightforward definition makes me feel sort of icky and slimy.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:51 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Is it just that sexual predators are so common and so commonly defended in the games industry that Griffin's non-support of Robinson is more remarkable than the fact of Robinson's transgressions?

I think that's part of it, yeah. The McElroys are kind of on the forefront of being white guys of their generation who are modeling being a better brand of white guy, and there are a lot of us - a lot a lot a lot - out here breathing a sigh of relief.

Women, in particular, spend a lot of time dreading the Milkshake Duck moment for our dwindling faves. This wasn't it. Good job, Griffin.

Polygon's response, too, could easily have gone duckward. That is also meaningful.

Both of those are more interesting, ultimately, than the same-old fuckboy shit from another internet famous dude.

I do wonder if men notice this kind of behavior from their friends/associates, and if not is it just that the public face of it is easy to overlook if you can't see their DMs or if your social media is a massive firehose so that you're not seeing everything they do?

It's also kind of new, socially, that we acknowledge that leveraging either "fame" (whatever that means in any given context) or social currency to get certain kinds of personal attention is a consent problem. It totally went over my head when I was in my 20s and had people sliding into my IRC messages. I sort of understand why men can happily run laps up and down the staircase for years and never even notice that gap they're stepping over, because the lighting is pretty bad and they don't see it in aggregate. I'm really grateful to hear people talking about their surprise in ways that aren't "I'm blameless!" but "shit, I missed it, that's bad and this is bad."
posted by Lyn Never at 8:55 AM on August 8 [15 favorites]


I think there are a couple of softboy definitions. One is that it is the opposite of performative masculinity, a sort-of positive version of the "beta" men that MRS types are so worried they might be.

The other is a new way of describing the emo boy phenomenon of men who present themselves as being sad and sensitive and concerned about women and all that, but turn out to be mostly interested in pursuing women sexually and can be just as awful as any other man.

I think the disappointment is that Nick seemed to be the former and looks like he may be the latter.
posted by maxsparber at 8:55 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


(Tangential, but: it pleases me so much to finally have a term for the Milkshake Duck phenomenon. Thanks for including that, Rhaomi.)
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:00 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


If I had to guess at Robinson's motivations, I find myself thinking that Halloween Jack is probably on the right track up above. He probably gets a thrill from his creeping that he can't replace and can't resist, and uses whatever rationalizations he has to to make it OK for himself. I suspect that if you could somehow read his mind or get him to truly unpack his motivations in an honest, soul-baring way, you'd find a significant addictive component. That's in no way a defense, but I think that's what goes on with a lot of men who are serial predators. It's one of the things that makes this type of behavior so hard to combat, I think.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:07 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Rest in peace, space carboy.

This has been pretty heartbreaking, but for the most part the fandom on Reddit and Facebook has been remarkably clear and right-headed about this which is very encouraging. The mods in the Monster Factory/Car Boys/Etc FB group were great in handling this and explaining to people why receipts aren't needed or necessarily helpful. We believe women, full stop. There has been a little more gnashing as the receipts eventually posted have been mild if still unwelcome, but people still seem to be overwhelmingly on the right side. Cultivate a caring and sensitive fan base, and they will react in appropriate ways.

I hope Nick can do some real soul searching and emerge as a true source of good, and like others have stated not fall back to the angry throngs already eager to claim him as one of their own. I've seen twitter avis as his face with HERO written on it for chrissakes.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:17 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Ah, thank you maxsparber. Those are two quite different things. I suppose I myself might qualify under the former definition, though I would feel weird about identifying myself using that term. I prefer just to think of myself as a man who tries to cultivate gentleness, learn from other perspectives, and deal with all people in a fair, kind, and sensitive way. I'm not sure I'd want to be labeled a "softboy," even without the risk of people thinking it means I'm a creeper. It just rubs me the wrong way somehow, even before I knew what it meant.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:20 AM on August 8


I do wonder if men notice this kind of behavior from their friends/associates

From what I've noticed in my personal life, the men who don't hide this behavior don't ever become friends, and the ones who hide this behavior really hide it. And I think there's a very reasonable wariness among victims who have experienced that person's behavior to tell any of the perpetrator's friends, because it certainly looks from the outside like there's no way you can't know so your continued friendship is condoning the behavior... and I'm sure that's the case often enough in those situations to make that a real risk. Because of course predators will go along with the impression that their friends actually do know and don't care to further isolate their victims.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:24 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I am experiencing incandescent rage at that twitter thread because everyone is out supporting McElroy in this horrible time, what he must be going through, we feel for you, here's a picture of a cute dog --

GRIFFIN MCELROY IS NOT A VICTIM. WTF IS THE MATTER WITH ALL OF YOU. He's sad because his friend fucking sexually harassed women, and everyone lines up to *make him feel better about how it affects him*, and sympathize with what HE must be going through. But they sure are asking for proof (of which there will never be enough to satisfy) about all these invisible mystery women with their invisible mystery unprovable accusations and it's just flirting anyway.

Fuck every fucking thing for fucking ever.
posted by tzikeh at 9:32 AM on August 8 [27 favorites]


Sims seems like a very, very different person than he was back when he harassed D’Orazio, but of course, who knows if that's really true.

I think this is an instructive contrast for a couple of reasons.

The main one is that what Sims did with D'Orazio was done in public. The bullying took place on his public blog, it was totally out in the open.

This flows into the second reason, which is that he hasn't done anything like that in public since. He might still be shit-talking people in private, but at the very least he hasn't repeated the original behaviour he was rightly called out for.

So, to an extent, I don't think it matters what kind of person Sims is in his heart of hearts, because at least he stopped doing the thing.

Now, how this connects with the Nick Robinson situation is that Nick's offences were pretty much all committed in private. As much as I'm a believer in allowing for people to be brought back in the fold after showing genuine contrition and stopping their bad behaviour, this is not something that can be done for Nick Robinson. We'll never know if he's actually stopped being a fucking creeper or if he's just gotten better at covering up his creeping.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:39 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I do wonder if men notice this kind of behavior from their friends/associates

I do think they try to hide this kind of thing, but it made me reflect on the fact that I think I have more trust in the McElroys not being secretly awful because they're not just friends, they're family. One of them screws over the others' careers by doing this kind of thing, and they haven't just lost a friend or a job or even a wife. Outside of family--and CLOSE family--there's too little accountability for this sort of thing. You might wreck a promising career by doing this, but I don't think the guys who do this ever worry that they will spend the rest of their lives friendless and alone if someone finds out--they'll just go and find different friends.

I hope Nick can do some real soul searching and emerge as a true source of good

I hope he does some real soul-searching, but I don't want him to emerge as a source of anything. There need to be consequences. Even if he really apologized and meant it, there are a million people out there who want jobs in games media, and a substantial number of them are genuinely smart and funny and decent human beings. Any one of them should have a chance at Robinson's place in the spotlight before he has a chance again. The penalty for this has to be more than just an apology, even if it's heartfelt, because there will never be a way to really know and because nobody who does this should be able to think that their career will survive it getting out. The earth has to be salted. You can maybe eventually earn people no longer hoping you die in an actual fire, but you can never have back what you lost by doing this.

Men in powerful and influential positions need to know that if you do this, you lose everything, and there is no redemption arc waiting to rescue you.
posted by Sequence at 9:42 AM on August 8 [23 favorites]


GRIFFIN MCELROY IS NOT A VICTIM. WTF IS THE MATTER WITH ALL OF YOU.

With all due respect to the other victims, Griffin McElroy is definitely a victim. He has spent a ton of time developing brands, communities, websites and podcasts with a definite bent of being actively good, not just "not bad." He let Nick Robinson ride his coattails and it turns out that Nick used Griffin's good name to hide his bad behavior.

This is definitely, at the least, a violation of trust, and will erode people's trust in Griffin and his judgment of character. It appears that few if any people seem to be implicating Griffin, but if the details were even slightly different, this could look very bad for Griffin.

I'd hardly say that Griffin is "the victim," or even a primary victim, but he's definitely victimized in some respect. Given that we're not about to ask women to put themselves out there, the story naturally kind of coalesces around him.
posted by explosion at 9:43 AM on August 8 [37 favorites]


I hope Nick can do some real soul searching and emerge as a true source of good

I hope he does some real soul-searching, but I don't want him to emerge as a source of anything. There need to be consequences.


For real. I hope that he turns his life around and becomes a force for good but in an "anonymous donations to organizations that fight against his old behavior that we never find out about because he's never in the spotlight again" kind of way.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:46 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


tzikeh, let me tell you, it was VERY confusing seeing Griffin's tweet and the twitter responses to it as the first sign of this whole thing. I spent a very baffled and worried minute thinking OH MY GOD, DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO GRIFFIN'S FAMILY?!? as I scrolled down that twitter thread looking for an explanation. Seeing that no, all McElroys are fine, Nick's just a predatory creeper was sort of a relief, but rendered the twitter thread super confusing. Why are we offering our condolences and sympathy to him? I mean, it's not wholly out of place: it sucks when you find something like this out about your friend, and it sucks on a professional level too with regard to Polygon and the work he's done with Nick. But it's sketchy to see that as one of the main responses, even if it's also understandable because the women involved are quite rightly maintaining their anonymity.
posted by yasaman at 9:47 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


I do think they try to hide this kind of thing, but it made me reflect on the fact that I think I have more trust in the McElroys not being secretly awful because they're not just friends, they're family. One of them screws over the others' careers by doing this kind of thing, and they haven't just lost a friend or a job or even a wife. Outside of family--and CLOSE family--there's too little accountability for this sort of thing.

I don't know if I'm completely following you here, but if you're suggesting that sexual harassment/abuse is less likely when there are close family ties at stake, then no.
posted by ODiV at 9:47 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Man, I wish I had trusted my instincts when I first started following Nick on twitter. I noticed that he seemed to have a *lot* of activity where he ingratiated himself to women on twitter, and that's just what I saw on his public feed.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:49 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I hope Nick can do some real soul searching and emerge as a true source of good

I hope he does some real soul-searching, but I don't want him to emerge as a source of anything. There need to be consequences.


Totally fair, I'm still grasping at the loss of a personality I've enjoyed a lot and while I stand 100% on the side of those he's harassed I can't help but hope for a redemption arc he has not shown he deserves. It's unfair of me to publicly pin hopes on that as it can definitely be seen as pre-emptive forgiveness that I am not willing to give, so consider it withdrawn.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:51 AM on August 8


if you're suggesting that sexual harassment/abuse is less likely when there are close family ties at stake, then no

There's a big difference between "less likely" and "impossible". I know it's not impossible. I'm saying that when these guys can just go back to their regular lives like nothing happened afterwards, especially when they can get their old jobs back in short order, then sexual harassment is considerably more likely. There will never be a point where someone says something happened about any man and I say "oh no he couldn't possibly have".
posted by Sequence at 10:16 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


This would make a close listen to the latest MBMBAM podcast interesting, in that the brothers field an advice question about an annoying behavior on Twitter (not anything actually bad; the asker's friend has an over-reliance on hashtags) which leads to Justin (who's one of the founding editors of Polygon and currently Editor at Large) and Griffin launching into occasionally exasperated rants about using social media.

With this news as context, it seems weird for them to deliberately choose a listener's question that cuts close to a current problem they're dealing with, but on the other hand maybe it was an attempt to vent by proxy.
posted by ardgedee at 10:24 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I do wonder if men notice this kind of behavior from their friends/associates

Speaking personally, I've never noticed it in my friend group but then I'm very careful about who I let into that sphere of my life, to the point of having relatively few friends.

I can think of one instance where I noticed this in an associate—a college lab professor who was being creepy by working in ostensibly-positive comments about female students' bodies and such into the advice he was giving them. I reported it to the department chair. Of course I also hear the occasional eyebrow-raising comment from someone who I am only briefly in contact with, which usually results in a mental note to limit contact with that person going forward. I do call people out when they say something egregious and indefensible. ("Locker room banter")

I can also think of one instance where a female member of a group I was in told me about another, male member of the group who had victimized her. I said nothing in this case because I was specifically asked not to by the victim and didn't see a way of going around her request without drawing her further in. I still feel weird about that, years later.

I feel like guys who want to hide this stuff have an easy time hiding it from other guys, though. The behavior usually happens in private and is not directed at us. Also, we are not usually part of the backchannel networks that women use to spread information about dangerous men. So I try to be aware that there's a lot goes on that I'm not noticing.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:25 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


I've been feeling dumb for mourning Cool Games Inc., since losing a podcast is such a small thing compared to sexual harassment. So I appreciated the Waypoint podcast saying that no, you the fan are not the victim, but it's OK to feel bad. And that fandom, especially for a series that relies on fan suggestions, is a relationship that can be betrayed.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 10:28 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Griffin is a victim, but he's definitely not a direct victim or a primary victim. A lot of us are fans so it is understandable we are concerned about him, but I think the point is that we shouldn't primarily be concerned about him, but instead about the women Nick has directly approached and interacted with.
posted by maxsparber at 10:30 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


I'm saying that when these guys can just go back to their regular lives like nothing happened afterwards, especially when they can get their old jobs back in short order, then sexual harassment is considerably more likely.

Yeah, I get what you're saying and maybe that's the case, but it seems like I've seen men continually do this sort of thing without any sort of regard for what's "at stake" personally and professionally. I just think it's a bad indicator of whether harassment is likely. Maybe I'm coming at it from the wrong angle though. Thanks for the response, I've kind of wandered afield of the discussion probably.
posted by ODiV at 10:33 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


This is frustrating and sad. I'd recently re-watched the Car Boys series and while the later episodes lack the mind-blowing surprises that the first half did, it still holds up as a long-form Let's Play video series that develops its own narrative arc with supporting characters, and I can't think of anything else that has tried something like it, at least a Let's Play of a game that has neither characters nor proxies for the player in it.

CoolGames Inc, Car Boys, Touch the Skyrim, and various other videos benefited specifically because of the interplay between Griffin and Nick's personalities, Griffin being aggressive, hyperactive and usually leading the subject, Nick occasionally playing a straight man who occasionally gets his shots in. They're roughly the same age and work from the same cultural references, but were different enough in their interests to sustain occasional tension that led to some pretty funny moments.

Car Boys and Touch the Skyrim are effectively completed series so the lack of Nick there will not be a loss (TtS looked like it was meant to be ongoing but since the most recent posted video is titled "Griffin and Nick ACTUALLY BREAK SKYRIM" they're probably at a good stopping point). However CoolGames Inc was a developing franchise with a podcast, weekly video, and additional features during E3; for a non-gamer like me it was a way of learning about current gaming at a very low investment of effort, in addition to being deliberately absurd and occasionally hilarious. Canceling it will terminate a lot of the generated content on Polygon and changing one or both of the hosts risks alienating the audience without being able to draw a new one.

I've grown to like Polygon, it's one of very few channels on YouTube I feel like i can reliably go to watch something, it's led me to spend more time on their website as well, which is still a little too inside-baseball about its topic but the fact I can read anything on the site and not have to deal with shitty personalities makes it meaningful to me. I hope they can ride this out and continue boosting for the high road.
posted by ardgedee at 10:49 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


It sounds like Nick knew what he was doing and that it was wrong, judging by everyone else's reaction - especially Griffin. He kept it from the people he knew would call him out on it, as many people who exhibit predatory behavior do. I am sure there are small things Griffin and other may look back on now that seemed somewhat innocent at the time (off-color jokes and whatnot) but that they see very differently now.

The McElroys have always struck me as people who by their own nature fall on the side of wanting to do what is right. They have been excellent at listening to their fans and publicly owning up to things when they say something in their podcasts that upset people, and they always vow to do better (and have thus far succeeded).

I feel terrible for Griffin as I understand the pain finding out someone you have a great relationship with is not what you thought they were. I feel even worse for the women who had to deal with what Nick did. I am glad Polygon as a company is taking this as seriously as they are.
posted by Catbunny at 10:56 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


There needs to be some kind of a monastery for terrible dudes who say they are willing to learn to not be terrible, where they can learn to be productive while totally dropping out of the public eye, for years at a time. With no more internet access than a toddler who gets to use Daddy's iPad sometimes. I don't care what Nick does next; I just never want to hear about him as a personality again, especially if he takes this as an excuse to go full Scott Adams/MRA. ("SJWs destroyed my career for flirting, LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY CHANNEL")

I was heartbroken about this too, and embarrassed about being heartbroken. What matters (insofar as anything matters about this) is that the right steps are being taken, and that the McElroys still seem to be the real deal. I could believe that they might have heard something crosswise about Nick and dismissed it, not with malice but with the natural blindness of those of who don't want to believe the worst about someone who seems so nice.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:58 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


The thing that has been the most discouraging about this is watching men online demand receipts — despite Griffin explicitly telling them they shoudn't.

Well, way more people than Griffin have told them they shouldn't. Though I guess the point is that many of these people demanding it are fans of his.

What's truly hilarrible about the garbage fire of receipt-demanding is that many, many, many people pointed out that any woman who provided public receipts was going to get Gamergated so there's absolutely no incentive to do so, but the receipt-demanders continued to insist they were necessary. Then when a woman or two came forward and actually did provide proof they were, in fact, Gamergated (supportive CGI subreddit aside).

It's possible other men in Polygon (including the McElroys) knew about this and simply did nothing. But I think it's equally likely they were totally unaware. Experience and observation has taught many of us to not trust men in these situations, especially if they're close to aggressor. It has been deeply relieving to see Robinson's colleagues come together in expressing shock and not supporting him. And saddening that this is something to feel relief about rather than a baseline expectation.

Finally, I can completely believe that Robinson thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with his behavior. Humans have an astonishing capacity for cognitive dissonance. It's well-documented that plenty of men don't identify rape as rape if they're the ones doing the raping. Not hard to imagine that extends to sexual assault and harassment, too. No doubt many of Robinson's defenders are coming from the perspective that they've done the sort of things he did and surely they weren't harassing anyone.
posted by schroedinger at 11:21 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


This has been making me sad all day. I think I finally figured out why, a little bit. I really respect the Polygon crew. Griffin reminds me of my own little brother, and my very own little brother took that as a huge compliment. If Griffin and that crew didn't see it, what's the hope in ever getting the actual good men (I hope) to see what this bullshit is like? If Griffin and that crew did see it...

Maybe a decade ago, a guy in my inner friend group assaulted me. I was clearly, vocally, persistently a "no," and we were both drunk. It took me until about two years ago to properly freak out about it, although I'd sounded the alarm on him to whatever women I knew were thinking about dating him. That's, I guess, the way it usually goes. I started telling the men in the group about it years later, and ... kind of crickets? That dude has moved away and we rarely see him, but he's heard from many sources that it was Not Okay With Me. Has yet to apologize.

Anyway, is there a way to get men to notice creepy behavior in their friends before it gets to the point where they've fucked with so many people? Men, can you please call each other out on this shit? Do we need to elect Female Ambassadors that can collect and compile complaints so that at least we're believable in aggregate? This shit is exhausting.

*Apologizes for the heteronormativity of this comment.
posted by lauranesson at 11:36 AM on August 8 [11 favorites]


Well, way more people than Griffin have told them they shouldn't. Though I guess the point is that many of these people demanding it are fans of his.

There's been a small but consistent presence of McElroy fans who are somehow also anti-SJW reactionary neckbeards and it's always been baffling to me. A lot of bandwagoning trolls coming out of the woodwork now, of course, but even before there was this presence, and it's like, how do notoriously thin-skinned, whiny MRA jerks derive any satisfaction out of a McElroy show or anything from Polygon? It's a space very clearly marked out as being in opposition to their whole awful worldview.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:38 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


One thing many people say when they come to an aggressors defense against victims is that they never saw that person act like that in their presence, so they can't possibly believe the victim is telling the truth. Obviously the first part is not the case here, but I can believe that they never saw this side of him.

People like Nick know they are doing something wrong on some level enough to hide that behavior from others.

That said, I am sure there were flags on some level that people close to Nick didn't catch at the time but that they are definitely seeing in hindsight.
posted by Catbunny at 11:47 AM on August 8


lauranesson, I really do think that some of the problem is just that men don't always know their friends are doing this stuff because nobody is telling them about it. Of course, another part of the problem is that women who do tell men about this stuff are frequently dismissed, disbelieved, and/or attacked for it. It's a thorny issue and one where I feel men need to do the work of making it safer and more productive for women to report misbehavior in their social groups before we can expect to see a major increase in reporting.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:48 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]



There needs to be some kind of a monastery for terrible dudes who say they are willing to learn to not be terrible, where they can learn to be productive while totally dropping out of the public eye, for years at a time.


The Brotherhood of the Untrod Stair?
posted by Slackermagee at 11:50 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Very disappointed to hear about this. I only recently within the last year started listening to Cool Games Inc.

This seems to be happening more and more frequently. In a semi-related situation: I was a fan of The Canon's movie and pop culture podcast with Amy Nicholson and Devin Faraci. A year or so ago, Devin Faraci tweeted something about respecting woman and within a day he was dealing with his own past history of sexual assault, sexism.

It seems to be so very telling when someone tries to tackle the issue of misogyny, sexism, abuse, etc. And then boom, within hours or days we found out that they are often themselves guilty of the same behaviour they're attempting to rail against. Ugh.
posted by Fizz at 11:55 AM on August 8


tzikeh and yasaman have addressed my thoughts on this so far, which are mostly that the reaction from Griffin sounded a little more distraught than his position in all this really warranted. It was disproportionate and performative, and probably intended to draw a bright line around unacceptable behavior but there are ways to do that without the whole 'this has ROCKED my WORLD and RUINED my WHATEVER'. Like, calm down. It's the exact behavior of a guy I met at an event years ago who texted me some form of 'you seem cool and fun, we should hang out :)' minutes after I left, and when I told him I wasn't comfortable with that since he was married (!) I got a loooooong response beginning with "Your reply shook me to my core." Of course he never meant, he would never, he never imagined anyone might think... Calm down!! What do you think you're doing being the upset one over this? And that applies here. From what I've seen, when the actual victims are laughing and joking, however awkwardly or bitterly, the whole rending of garments as a relative bystander is inappropriate.

So anyway, there's still a tiny part of me that says there's no way he didn't know. (It's next to the part of me that can't help but notice it can just as easily be read 'I'm shocked and saddened that I don't get to work with my good buddy Nick anymore.') They worked together so closely for so long. Obviously Nick thought this was normal or okay on some level. It never came up? One happily married, one single - 'Hey, what's your secret? I can't even get any nudes on Twitter!' 'You what?' No hints? No signs? Other people flat out knew names and details, apparently. Maybe there were signs, but whereas someone who's been on the receiving end of it all before might have been able to say I know where This is going, he couldn't, because he's never Been where it Goes.

I guess I'm being part of the problem by spending so many words on him. I just don't really know anything else right now, and that's the feed I keep refreshing hoping to hear more.
posted by jinjo at 11:56 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


It's a space very clearly marked out as being in opposition to their whole awful worldview.

I've wondered sometimes in listening to MBMBaM if some people who were really dense might be able to listen to it and think that it's kind of a parody of tolerance. I don't think they mean it that way, but sometimes they'll make a comment about not kinkshaming or something about something that's well outside the bounds of ordinary, or about letting people identify however they want to identify, and I think they really mean it, a certain person who cannot conceive of a world there, for example, you don't make fun of furries could think this is all a schtick where now we're making jokes about even the sheer ludicrous idea that people with different tastes are okay and entitled to have fun however they want. Who could imagine anything more ridiculous than that?

I mean, most of us can, clearly. But if you're that settled into your own biases, I think it might actually be possible to miss it.
posted by Sequence at 11:58 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Ennis Tennyone: I did question my life for a minute when they defined a few things "in case you are a 38 year old dad".

And here I was questioning my life that none of this made sense, but I consider myself relatively technically adept, so I wondered if I was just too far behind these trends. Then I realized I am (almost) a 38 year old dad. Shit.

That said, thank you Rhaomi for a great round-up post that allows folks who don't follow any of this to have it all make sense in a moment.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:02 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Could somebody give the olds here (myself included) a definition of receipt as used in this context? I tried to read some of the links but I didn't get very far--that twitter one was way beyond my social media/texting literacy. I'm sure it's explained in one of the podcasts, but I don't have the time to listen to them.
posted by sardonyx at 12:02 PM on August 8


I think it's anything that could be considered proof. It sounds like the "grown up" version of "pix or GTFO."
posted by filthy light thief at 12:04 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


tzikeh and yasaman have addressed my thoughts on this so far, which are mostly that the reaction from Griffin sounded a little more distraught than his position in all this really warranted. It was disproportionate and performative [...]

That is not necessarily what I got from tzikeh's or yasaman's comments at all, in that Griffin's response itself was somehow suspicious. What I got from what they were saying was that it's frustrating that the response to his tweet was generally 'oh how horrible for you, Griffin!' rather than thoughts for the victims of the actual harassment themselves. Please correct me if I'm wrong but yeah.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 12:04 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Hard evidence in the form of screen shots, etc. Receipts is from a dumb meme gif involving Whitney Houston (rip).
posted by selfnoise at 12:05 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Yeah, receipts just means proof.
posted by maxsparber at 12:07 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I think it's anything that could be considered proof. It sounds like the "grown up" version of "pix or GTFO."

Hard evidence in the form of screen shots, etc. Receipts is from a dumb meme gif involving Whitney Houston (rip).

Ok, yeah, right here is where the recent thread about white people appropriating AAVE becomes extremely relevant.

My knowledge of "receipts" comes from Black Twitter, where it's not at all a "pix or GTFO" thing or a "dumb meme gif". Receipts are receipts. As in, "Chad thought he could get away with some fuckery, but fortunately I had the receipts".
posted by tobascodagama at 12:08 PM on August 8 [18 favorites]


Yeah, that's how I see it used too. People presenting screenshots of openly racist things people have said and later deleted, with the words "I kept the receipts."

I like the phrase, but its definitely specific to a particular section of the Internet and obscure if you're not part of that world.
posted by maxsparber at 12:13 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


it's like, how do notoriously thin-skinned, whiny MRA jerks derive any satisfaction out of a McElroy show or anything from Polygon? It's a space very clearly marked out as being in opposition to their whole awful worldview.

I don't think they realize it, because they are so firmly operating on the assumption that all white guys are on their team and they're so shocked every time they find out they might not be the majority. I have run into similar issues trying to deal with racist members of my family who thought I was agreeing with them when trying to 101 them, because they were absolutely certain I was going to agree with them. So, for example, people listened to Sawbones - which most assuredly was not obfuscating its POV even if it wasn't screaming about it - for a verrrrry long time before flipping the fuck out that Sydnee was anti-antivax or pro-health-insurance.

As far as the "slide into the DMs" behavior, I think many guys think it's fine because they convince themselves that they are playing a game in which the rules are understood by both sides. "I'm going to coax you into giving me spank material/ego boost, to which I am entitled, and it turns me on to obtain spank material/earn points by using and manipulating you, and you are playing along because you, uh, like to and you definitely don't think I have any legitimate interest in you and none of this harms you any." These are guys who don't quite live in a locker room, so they probably don't boast a lot outwardly to friends and in public about their masturbation and getting off on making women feel gross. That's not softboy culture. These are nice guys, they just suffer from a tragic disorder that makes it impossible to imagine boobs in their head or find them pre-packaged on the internet anywhere.

(I'm sure this is a bragging thing among certain groups of men, and I know the photos get shown sometimes as proof of how great they are, but I know these guys know that there are some men they can't tell/show these things to. My husband, I'm pretty sure, has never had anyone but strangers try to impress him with how many pictures of boobs they have on their phones.)

And like several of the women who have talked about this situation and similar ones have said, it's sometimes really easy to think they are operating on an understood set of rules where the guy thinks they're a human being and likes them as something more than a vending machine of masturbation material/dood points. You don't realize until it's too late that you literally just got tested to see if you were a good mark, you passed the test, you gave him what he wanted. There are people that you can have these kinds of exchanges with that is in good faith (mostly), which is why it's a form of violence when you're manipulated into doing it for the joy of the manipulation. And often, once these guys smell blood, it's the additional violence of being hounded to provide more because you did it once and now you owe him, and now he might punish you, and now he gets the extra delicious payoff of creating fear and anxiety, which he then can get off on.

I think a lot of men, unfortunately, would have to think a lot harder than they want to, to get all the way through that line of thinking to figure out it's bad. If your buddy isn't bragging about creating this violence, and it's not something you've had to meditate on at any length, and you think at best he just flirts sometimes, it probably is a real surprise to hear the women's side of the story.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:14 PM on August 8 [19 favorites]


Fizz: This seems to be happening more and more frequently.

No it isn't. We're just hearing about it ever-so-slightly more often than never hearing about it at all.
posted by tzikeh at 12:15 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


suddenly, and without warning,: That is not necessarily what I got from tzikeh's or yasaman's comments at all, in that Griffin's response itself was somehow suspicious. What I got from what they were saying was that it's frustrating that the response to his tweet was generally 'oh how horrible for you, Griffin!' rather than thoughts for the victims of the actual harassment themselves. Please correct me if I'm wrong but yeah.

Speaking only for myself, you are not wrong.
posted by tzikeh at 12:18 PM on August 8


That is not necessarily what I got from tzikeh's or yasaman's comments at all [...]

Well, the substance of my comment is not the substance of their comments, no. But I wanted to credit them with introducing the concept of Guy Who Knows Better as Tragic Figure For No Reason before I got started. If they didn't appreciate my using their comments as a jumping off point for mine, or if they believe I misrepresented them or missed the point, I apologize.

(EDIT: And there it is. Sorry, both of you.)
posted by jinjo at 12:19 PM on August 8


Yeah, no, I didn't mean to imply or say that Griffin's response itself was "too" distraught. His reaction is his reaction, and he's more than entitled to it, and to express it on his personal twitter. It's the responses to his tweet that took me more aback. In some respects, he's in a particularly shitty position because he has to publicly respond or be thought complicit, but his public response and social media status also inevitably lead to centering the situation on him no matter what he says or wants. Obviously the harassed women are in the worst position though.

As to whether/how Nick Robinson's colleagues should have noticed anything, a lot of the harassment and predatory behavior happened in DMs or other private channels, right? I wouldn't necessarily expect anyone to know about their friend's private interactions on social media, for better or worse. This is an area of social life that's still compartmentalized for a lot of people. You hear people say all the time that "oh, he's just trolling, he'd never do anything in real life" about some seriously vile online behavior, as if that's not "real" life too. If Robinson had enough self awareness to know he was being creepy, as I expect he must have, I fully believe that he never mentioned anything about what he was doing, and at worst his friends got a creepy vibe sometimes that they brushed off.
posted by yasaman at 12:21 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


So anyway, there's still a tiny part of me that says there's no way he didn't know... They worked together so closely for so long. ... It never came up? One happily married, one single - 'Hey, what's your secret? I can't even get any nudes on Twitter!' 'You what?' No hints? No signs?

Cut short and bolded for emphasis, but I bet he *would* have gotten more hints if he had been single rather than married.

It's my experience that once you're married, you're considered by your peers sufficiently "out of the game" that they might come to you for relationship advice, but never for pick-up/meeting/introduction advice. It's just assumed that after having been married for so long, you aren't interested in flirting, your skills are rusty, whatever.

Nick might just have assumed or sensed that Griffin wouldn't want to talk about his hookups, flirtations, harassment, etc. and so that was never a part of their conversations.
posted by explosion at 12:22 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


As far as I can tell, only some of the Polygon people actually live/work in the same place? Are they all out in San Fran where Nick is? They may only see him in person a few times a year, making it harder to pick up on vibes, especially if a few of those times are at high stress events like E3.

I want to believe that if any of the core folks at Polygon knew about this pattern of behavior they would be NOT OKAY with it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:25 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I don't know how to express this so I'm absolutely certain I'm going to do this badly, which means I should probably not but I'm forging ahead like an idiot anyway.

The repeated insistence of 'Griffin must have known' (not necessarily something I'm seeing repeated here, but it is happening) makes me incredibly uneasy.

I was sexually harassed and further by someone I had and at the time was still working closely with. Graduate school hours, shared office, discussions of our projects, debates, asking each other for advice, lab favors, edits, day in, day out. Someone I considered a really good friend, someone I had known for years without anything that seemed like a significant warning sign.

It was only after he harassed me that I learned what he had done to another girl, about a year before he finally did it to me.

Being abused was not fun. But knowing that I'd sat there and offered this guy my time, energy, and emotional support during a period of time in which he was abusing another woman? That wasn't much fucking fun either. There's a lot that comes with that beyond just shock and guilt.

I would never pretend I'm not emotionally invested in the McElroys and even some of the Polygon Crew to an extent being some of The Good Ones (TM), and I would never say there's no way other people surrounding Nick didn't know. But I know what it's like not to know, and I know how visceral it can be to find out, and I wouldn't blame Griffin at all for reacting the way he did. I really appreciated the discussion in the Waypoint Podcast regarding the 'people had to know' issue.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 12:25 PM on August 8 [23 favorites]


As far as I can tell, only some of the Polygon people actually live/work in the same place? Are they all out in San Fran where Nick is? They may only see him in person a few times a year, making it harder to pick up on vibes, especially if a few of those times are at high stress events like E3.

The New York Polygon people (Pat, Simone, Allegra, Russ, etc) work in an office together, I believe, but everybody else pretty much works from home. Nick is in SF, Griffin's in Austin, Justin's in West Virginia, etc.
posted by kmz at 12:30 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The Waypoint forum has smartly had a heavily moderated thread about this issue to keep forum members from going wild with speculation about who might have known what about whom and when.

We might do well to remember that everyone involved here are real people and speculating about what they may or may not have known and what they hypothetically should have done with information they may or may not have ever had is kind of shitty.

Nick Robinson is a sexual predator, we know this. There is A LOT TO TALK ABOUT here without speculating.
posted by Tevin at 12:30 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


No it isn't. We're just hearing about it ever-so-slightly more often than never hearing about it at all.

You're correct. I was imprecise with my language. These garbage humans are just being caught out more frequently because of how interconnected we are with technology.

Also, people are speaking out more openly about this kind of abuse. Thanks for that correction.
posted by Fizz at 12:33 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


'Hey, what's your secret? I can't even get any nudes on Twitter!' 'You what?' No hints? No signs?

Is this the sort of conversation men have outside of PUA forums? Honest question. I'm a woman and have always assumed gross dudes would frame their interactions to non-PUA friends as "I flirted totally normally with her and she led me on and then ghosted me because women are teasing hysteric bitches", not "here are screenshots of the conversations I had with this fan trying to get her to send nudes, could you analyze them and provide feedback".
posted by schroedinger at 12:49 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I got a loooooong response beginning with "Your reply shook me to my core." Of course he never meant, he would never, he never imagined anyone might think... Calm down!! What do you think you're doing being the upset one over this?

Quoted for truth. They somehow still find a way to make it all about them, and the public performance of grief and shock is often about re-establishing their bonafides as one of the "good ones." Which is still all about them. White people do it all the time, too.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:56 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Is this the sort of conversation men have outside of PUA forums?

In my experience, guys like that work up to those kinds of conversations. They start with things like "I was flirting with this girl, and then she ghosted." Then later, "I was flirting with this girl and then she ghosted, which is awful because she started the flirting." Later: "I can't believe how girls always lead us on, they're all awful, amirite?" They test each step as if edging onto ice, seeing if it'll bear their conversational weight, waiting for you to object. If you don't, they take another step.

This is a generalization, of course. If they're around a bunch of their like-minded friends and only you are relatively new, they're more likely to skip right to the "amirite?" stage.

I was socialized to be polite rather than kind, so it took me years to unlearn the habit of quietly pretending I was okay with this and then escaping instead of shutting it down.
posted by sgranade at 1:04 PM on August 8 [12 favorites]


At the web forum I frequent and occassionally moderate, we had a thread about this pop up in the hidden members-only section. It started out fine: folks were just coming to terms with what happened, discussing how to deal with a Milkshake Duck that turns up among things you've emotionally invested in, etc.

Unfortunately, one guy did decide that this was his hill to die on, and he basically declared that any discussion of this sort was a kind of unwarranted judgment and witch hunt since we weren't yet privy to the details of the Vox Media investigation, and when pressed on the matter he basically admitted he didn't see anything wrong with the power dynamic of someone with fame soliciting a fan for favors. Since he himself is apparently some kind of social media/youtube personality, his immovability on this point seemed pretty gross, and we wound up banning him.

I find myself wondering how many more agreed with him but kept their mouths shut.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 1:09 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Is this the sort of conversation men have outside of PUA forums?

tbh the idea of talking with friends about your sex life has been so tarnished by the kinds of guys who do talk like that that I haven't heard it in a conversation that wasn't about, like, Serious Relationship Problems Stuff in a looong time. Like anything remotely even kinda like bragging about sex stuff just comes across as cringingly creepy because of the kinds of guys who do it that it just doesn't come up. But then again dudes somehow go to strip clubs with each other without physically exploding from douche chills so it's fair to say I don't have a handle on the normal state of Guy Talk. And idk, maybe never really talking about sex stuff with friends allows creeps room to hide, so maybe it would be helpful if guys talked about it more amongst each other but in more healthy ways.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:09 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


nthing the idea that while I'm sure colleagues of Nick's are stunned and affected, the many women Robinson harassed and intimidated are the ones who should be getting the condolences.

I am here for anyone feeling wary of men in nerd/games industries right now-- yes, even Internet Favorite McElroy, because one of his closest professional collaborators was revealed to be a serial harasser of women. From outward appearances it seems like Griffin didn't know and he’s made a good point on Twitter about believing the people who come forward and not badgering for proof about Robinson

BUT

ALSO

it seems like at least once a month there's a scandal as some guy in a nerd/internet industry uses his power as a content creator or celeb or whatever to try and exploit his power dynamic over fans, especially women, so I think some bitterness or at the very least, some weariness from women online is understandable.
posted by ShawnStruck at 1:25 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


As yet another person who has been consuming McElroy content (mostly TAZ) as a way of coping with JFC This Terrible World of 2017*, I also had that selfish reaction of "please don't let this touch my happy things." And I hate that what should be the normal response -- Griffin & Justin's and Polygon's -- is sufficiently rare that it looks amazing.

:sigh:

* To the point of "the boys can make it through Wonderland, I can survive this" being my mantra for most of the spring.
posted by epersonae at 2:12 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


I'm shocked at the responses denouncing Nick; glad for it, but absolutely shocked and angry that I am shocked because it shouldn't be shocking! The response to women pointing out sexism for so long has been a collective shrug combined with destroying that woman's life for as long as possible that the idea a large corporation could actually expel a known predator is amazing. Maybe in fifty years the woman/women who come forward or are doxxed might even not have their lives ruined for as long as possible.

For the record - I have no doubt Nick can land on his feet. The cycle from "known predator" to "but he's changed so much and you don't want to be intolerant, do you?" seems to be at about five years.

It's a space very clearly marked out as being in opposition to their whole awful worldview.

Polygon is still white male centered and white male dominated. From what I've seen with popular media, white men in particular are really good at taking things centered on white men which critique white men and excising the critique in favor of the dominance (see also: Fight Club, American Psycho, Breaking Bad, etc...). The white men who made those things then express their shock and sadness that the often tragic endings to their exploration of tortured men somehow were devalued in favor of focusing on how cool those tortured men must be while they're destroying everyone around them. Centering the white man is it's own message to the audience, but white men are motivated to pretend this message doesn't exist.

Could somebody give the olds here (myself included) a definition of receipt as used in this context?

"Receipt" as used here comes from an LGBTQIA People of Color community; I don't know if there's a geographical origin, but it's used pretty liberally on Black Twitter and is currently doing the Cultural Appropriation Shuffle into white culture via white LGBTQIA culture and memes. The context is of a less powerful person holding a more powerful person to account and achieving justice, a la the origin where Whitney Houston exercised social leverage/power against Diane Sawyer when the latter asked a question based on a rumor about the former's spending on drugs. Houston pushed back against the framing and context, challenging the basis of Sawyer question without giving Sawyer a response which could be used against Houston.

The use here is much closer to "proof" than that, and explicitly leveraged against the less powerful, so the process of decontextualizing and re-using African American Vernacular English into mainstream white culture appears to still be going strong.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:18 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Polygon is still white male centered and white male dominated.

This is a very good point. It's easy to look at Polygon and forget that you're looking at a better version of the same old thing (a much better version, even!) but still not really something new. An incremental improvement that's still carrying much of what came before.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:42 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I hope I stop running into this guy at conventions now. This was sad to read.
posted by RichAndCreamy at 2:46 PM on August 8


Polygon is still white male centered and white male dominated.

I mean it's not perfect but this is what The Polygon Show looks like. Let's not erase them.
posted by arcolz at 2:58 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


"Receipt" as used here comes from an LGBTQIA People of Color community; I don't know if there's a geographical origin, but it's used pretty liberally on Black Twitter and is currently doing the Cultural Appropriation Shuffle into white culture via white LGBTQIA culture and memes.

I have to admit I didn't know this one had an AAE origin and I was just talking about how that cycle of appropriation moves faster than ever on the Internet. I've been seeing it in the very specific context of "screenshots/other evidence proving alleged bad behavior" for... must be at least a couple years now.

Nick might just have assumed or sensed that Griffin wouldn't want to talk about his hookups, flirtations, harassment, etc. and so that was never a part of their conversations.

Or he'd talk about hookups in a way that puts him in a relatively positive light, not the part about carpet-bombing every woman with solicitations or cadging pics etc. In my experience as a guy talking to guys there are guys out there who will give you an Always Sunny "because of the implication" type explanation of their methods and expect you to be on the same page, but probably more often they want you to think their sex life reflects that they are naturally cool and attractive, not creepy, manipulative or desperate.
posted by atoxyl at 3:16 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


This news upset me so much over the weekend that I had nightmares, which is pretty stupid considering my only connection to any of this was consuming some content that Nick Robinson was involved with.

Still, it got to me. Cool Games Inc was my favorite podcast after MBMBaM, and even the theme music put a smile on my face.

No problem fun ) :
posted by minsies at 3:34 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


I mean it's not perfect but this is what The Polygon Show looks like. Let's not erase them.

Yes, the Polygon Show podcast is all female and not coded that way; I think that's awesome and pointing out that Polygon is white male centered and dominated does not erase them - a single example of an all female group which is not explicitly coded female does not counter the rest of the organization having a 1:2 female:male (or worse) ratio.

To break down the numbers, on their front facing videos I can count on one hand the number of times a video has more than one woman and there are entire series which are entirely male or have a single woman who comes in now and then. On their front page right now there are 16 names on 42 articles. There are 10 typically male names, 4 typically female names, and one undetermined who didn't have a picture in their profile. 27 articles by those I've coded male; 15 by those I've coded female, 1 undetermined (one article has two authors on the front page, a female/male pair). On the Editor/Director/Producer level the numbers are 7:18, slightly worse than twice as many men as women.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:12 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


OK, so (Twitter being Twitter) trying to dig through those vague threads only leads to more threads of people talking vaguely about something that some unspecified person said in some other unspecified thread. Can some kind soul please point me to something succinct about what Robinson is supposed to have actually done, hopefully offering some sort of evidence? I know asking for evidence has become kind of taboo in these situations, but right now all I'm seeing is the vaguest, most frustrating stuff.

I recently became a big fan of MBMBAM, Carboys and Touch the Skyrim, and the idea that Robinson could be a predatory creep is distressing. But WTF is he supposed to have actually done?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:24 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Both links in the second paragraph under the fold have comments from at least one of the people Robinson harassed.
posted by sagc at 7:27 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I'd skimmed that thread, and she talks in vague terms about some damning Twitter thread that I don't see linked. (She also tries to imply he was a cradle robber for pursuing an 18-year-old when he was 26, which I can't buy. 18 is 18, and 26 isn't 40.) Literally all I've seen as any sort of evidence is this, and frankly they both seem pretty flirty there. (Although I don't know what JFJD(etc.) stands for, so maybe it's some web speak making it clear she's not into this?)

Doing a little digging just now, I found this. She says he did "nothing illegal, nothing dangerous, just weird." The way people are reacting, it sounds like he's up to something terrible. But WHAT? Hopefully Kotaku or somebody will write an article in a day or so, summarizing what's actually going on.

Finally, I think people are missing the self-deprecation of the "soft boy" stuff. I had the feeling they were calling themselves little wimps, not that they were touting their prowess as sensitive lovers or something.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:27 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Ursula Hitler--

Robinson repeatedly made unsolicited sexual insinuations, suggestions, and potentially demands (I could see this being argued by some given the phrasing of some of his messages, some of which were vague enough that people who were dead-set on it could give him the benefit of the doubt--but I think sending "send nudes" to a woman without any leadup or suggestion that the idea was welcome, especially in a super-coy way, absolutely qualifies).

It is beyond implied that he was a well-known harasser--the term used directly by his victims, making it very explicit that his behavior was unwanted--who repeatedly targeted women in gaming or, apparently, fans of his who interacted with him via twitter.

It has been heavily implied or outright stated in at least one case that he pressured women he harrassed to keep quiet about it. I don't think this is fully evident in the linked articles but I can't be sure anymore, I've read quite a few things, it may have been in the NeoGAF thread.

Additionally, at least one person's account was that he "creeped on" her underage friend while knowing that said friend was underage. Although not technically illegal or anything (another pretty shitty definition of things that people use to excuse this behavior too often), one of the women who came forward was 18 at the time he started targeting her while he was, I believe, 26? Again, while not illegal or anything, there's an obvious power dynamic here beyond the age, including the fact that she was a fan of his.

All of this includes directly soliciting sexual favors from at least one woman. There is evidence of this in the form of screen caps which I believe are available in the links. So this is at least, off the top of my head, 4 women who he harassed who have come forward with more details. There are more with locked twitter accounts to avoid further harassment by shitty dudes. There are even more who have made more veiled suggestions that they have been involved at some point as well.

It should not be a question of 'enough evidence' or really, I think, in 'concrete evidence' in the form of screenshots or other records.

It should be enough evidence, really, that multiple, multiple women pretty much immediately came forward to say, yes, I knew about this. Despite the obvious potential of personal harm to them by shitheads like GamerGaters. This was pressure built up over time. Many of the women who spoke up were either victims themselves or, if one needs some kind of higher 'credibility' or whatever, pretty prominent or well-known women working professionally within the gaming/game journalism community. When I say multiple women I mean like, at least 10, and I'm not even on twitter to have looked through the tags or anything.

And if you want to get into it further, knowing all of this now really shes some light onto Feminist Frequency's and other women's response to his gross tweet about Krystal back in February (? I think?). In hindsight it is absolutely clear that some of the people vague-tweeting at him knew what was going on. Again, this has been simmering for a while.

People like Nick Robinson work in those vague, supposed 'grey areas' where they operate with just enough uncertainty that much of our current society will give him the benefit of the doubt, often suggesting he was just 'joking' (which, funnily, is usually a 'joke' right up until the target turns even remotely receptive or even just not 100% firm in saying 'fuck off with that'--a pretty standard method of setting oneself up for denying culpability later) or managing to justify foisting this unwelcome, uncomfortable, objectifying and sometimes dehumanizing behavior toward women by saying oh he's just a really bad flirt. As if that were for some reason women's burden to bear. Over and over and over again.


[Edit-- Nevermind. While I was writing this you posted again and made it pretty clear that you don't seem to consider pretty much any of this 'evidence' enough to be much of a concern sooooo I kind of wish i hadn't bothered trying to spell anything out for you.]
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 10:33 PM on August 8 [18 favorites]


Hopefully Kotaku or somebody will write an article in a day or so, summarizing what's actually going on.

I sincerely doubt you're gonna see anything like this until Vox is done with it all. Sorry. You'll just have to make due making judgments with what we have right now. If it's not good enough for you, well.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 10:36 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Ursula, victims don't owe anyone details on their trauma. This isn't a court of law, and they don't have anything to prove to you.

THe person in the linked thread is one of several that have come forward and also talked with Polygon privately where enough was warranted that he be suspended. Griffin himself agreed that people shouldn't be asking for receipts and as Austin Walker pointed out "the way that happens so often is _why_ victims of harassment are so often so scared of coming forward with public accusations".

RObinson used his power from a creator to a fan and from an older person to a younger person. It wasn't just this one time, he's done so over and over, and it's gross and it's wrong.
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:44 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


you don't seem to consider pretty much any of this 'evidence' enough to be much of a concern sooooo I kind of wish i hadn't bothered trying to spell anything out for you

I'm not trying to dismiss people's claims or taking Robinson's side here. I don't know enough to take anybody's side. My point was that I didn't know what was going on, and the stuff I've seen so far seems to mostly be people referring to other posts that I can't find anywhere.

Ursula, victims don't owe anyone details on their trauma. This isn't a court of law, and they don't have anything to prove to you.

I'm not ghoulishly demanding that victims cough up all the lurid details. I'm not demanding screenshots of everything. But everything I've encountered, so far, has been terribly vague and second hand. I said it seemed like there had to be more to this than what I'd seen. I don't mean to over-simplify your argument, but as I'm hearing it, it kind of seems like you're saying I should be ready to declare somebody a creep just because some people say they are, based on no evidence. I won't do that. (And to be crystal clear, I am not saying these accusers have no evidence. I don't know what evidence they may have. That's been my whole point.)

Right now I have a strong hunch Robinson did some sleazy things, quite possibly things I'd find unforgivable. But it's only a hunch, based on confusing social media posts. As I said I hope somebody does some actual journalism here, so we can get a clearer idea of what actually happened.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:20 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


But everything I've encountered, so far, has been terribly vague and second hand. I said it seemed like there had to be more to this than what I'd seen.
I understand the reaction but surely waiting for something unforgivable risks enabling the behaviour which leads to something unforgivable or condoning creepy-ass men?

Or to put it harshly, who cares if it's not unforgivable?
Multiple victims say they were harmed by this.
That's good enough.

Why bother wasting energy on the tiny chance he's redeemable at the cost of minimising the pain of his victims?
Why die on the hill of condoning creepy shit?
posted by fullerine at 12:44 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


but as I'm hearing it, it kind of seems like you're saying I should be ready to declare somebody a creep just because some people say they are, based on no evidence.

I literally.... provided you....... with evidence........................

like if you want me to cite my sources or whatever I can do that but frankly I'm fucking tired at the moment and the NeoGAF thread should have literally everything you're looking for. fair warning, it's like 74 pages long.

but yeah. I don't quite get your stubborn refusal to accept screenshots as evidence? to be honest I don't get your refusal to accept first hand accounts--particularly when victims could face serious consequences for posting screenshots publicly, or in cases where 'solid evidence' as you seem to want may not even exist--as evidence either but it seems based on what you're saying that the bar is too high for that to count or something? correct me if I'm wrong

In one instance for example which I didn't think it would be necessary to go into because I feel like the other stuff is gross enough to consider him a creep he tried to arrange a blowjob with a woman

again. you can find that information. I've provided you with a summary. I don't know what more you want.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 1:01 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]


neogaf thread. that's as far as I'm going for you.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 1:08 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I'm not condoning anything.

I literally had only been able to glean vague ideas of what the allegations were and who was making them. As I said, I kind of got bogged down in all these links and I was hoping somebody could point me somewhere that wasn't just endless tweets about other tweets that I couldn't see.

SAWW, the only screenshots I'd found were the two I linked to. That's it. I appreciate your attempt to summarize the situation. That did give me more info than I had. I had looked at the Neogaf thread, and it was exactly the sort of thing I was frustrated with. Maybe they get more informative as it goes on, but frankly I didn't want to wade through endless posts to get there.

I just listened to the Waypoint podcast, which was maybe the most informative thing I've encountered about this so far. I intend to keep following the story.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:29 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


In terms of industry colleagues, think that Ali_West provides some perspective on the lack of free-to-all gory details in a series of tweets here, of which I'll extract just a bit:
You'd think someone would be smart enough not to prey on women who share the same professional space as them but it offers a lot of safety /

No one wants to be the person who ruined [website]'s relationship with [website.] A dev isnt going to risk their company's favor w [website] /

You're not going to get details or screen shots from someone who's going to risk their entire career to prove themselves to a stranger
Presumably Vox/Polygon has more information on their end at this point as they are investigating, but the whole thing kicked off with someone saying "Maybe Nick would have time to help the Overcooked devs out if he wasn't in every woman in games' DMs all the time." So, yeah, based on this, I can definitely see the problem. You are a woman in games development (which already means you automatically have a target on your back from a pretty significant population of men who don't want women involved in gaming just as a baseline), and who wants to be the one to go public with accusations against a popular star working for a popular company? Where's the upside? First you have to deal with the initial sexual harassment, then you're going to risk your career and good relationships with a lot of people and organizations and invite a torrent of abuse and doxxing? So the info is shared missing-stair style.

Until, apparently, something eventually breaks. But even now, there are very many good reasons for the women involved to ask not to be publicly identified.
posted by taz at 1:37 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]


More screencaps (via the GAF thread):

Trying to derail a convo about video game merch into a cringey SEND NUDES meme with a Twitter fan

Habitually reading innuendo into other people's messages

Remember that these examples are just what's been shared publicly. From what I understand, there was a lot of back-channel gossip prior to this, and after the dam broke on Twitter a lot of sketchier stuff was confirmed in private to the Polygon people, which prompted the suspension.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:43 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


I'm not condoning anything.

Just FWIW, I never said you were. I get where you're coming from, honestly, to a degree. You're obviously free to your opinion. I don't know if we'll get much more down the road (and frankly I'm not sure what use it would be to get much more) but personally this is more than enough for me, and I think a key thing to remember is this: what possible motivation would tens (or more) of women have for labeling Robinson a creep for no reason at all, and at risk to their own online comfort and even safety, some at risk for their reputation in the industry.

Weaker and far less important, probably, but not focused on women so who knows it might have more weight for some people: what possible reason would longtime friends of Robinson's have for throwing him under the bus if they were presented with absolutely nothing believable.

Like... I just. I wouldn't even know what else to say. But it's time for me to sleep.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 2:04 AM on August 9


SAWW, Fullerine was the one who asked, "Why die on the hill of condoning creepy shit?" I wasn't trying to die on any hills!

On the Wayfair podcast they said something about a lot of millennial-speak going around in this debate, and maybe that's part of the problem for me. Maybe people in these links are saying important things, using slang I don't even know to look for. (I tried Googling some of the acronyms, and didn't get any results.) I don't get this gif. If you do that thing with your phone, does the image somehow change so it says SEND NUDES? God, this is all making me feel like a thousand years old.

I sure hope the Game Grumps are really as sweet as they seem. (Well, now that freaking JonTron is out of there! That guy is a walking ewww.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:22 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


It’s not a gif, it’s an optical illusion, and if you look at it from an oblique angle, it literally does say SEND NUDES.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:51 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


I got that it was an optical illusion, but I've been working with a lot of gifs the last couple of days and had a brain fart. I was looking at the image from all sorts of all angles, but it wasn't until I actually tilted my laptop onto its side that I saw it. So, yeah, it says SEND NUDES.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:06 AM on August 9


I'm so glad that once again, in a thread about sexual harassment, we've arrived at a phase where we're exchanging links and screen shots and counting the numbers of angels dancing on the heads of pins purely to satisfy the idle curiosity of one person who can't let it go.

You say you're still unable to discern what exactly the behavior was and you don't want to "label" the guy a creeper because of it? I unable to discern to discern why anyone in the world is supposed to care, except you keep coming back to issue more disclaimers and caveats that somehow still leave it clear that your bar still hasn't been cleared.

Online culture, and specifically the portion of it that centers around video games, is sufficiently toxic that many of us have concluded that "asking for receipts" is part of the problem, and I'm having a hard time understanding how what Ursula Hitler is doing doesn't amount to doing just that. May I suggest we stop worrying about delivering them here?
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:31 AM on August 9 [21 favorites]


I think there is a difference between asking "What happened?" and saying "Show me the proof." The former can very easily and quickly morph into the latter, and I know a lot of people intentionally use the former as a sort of conversational ruse to get to the latter, but I think it's fair to say that you are having trouble following/finding/understanding the gist of an ongoing conversation that is happening in multiple locations, in multiple formats, and potentially in private Twitter accounts.

That said, I think it is really important to understand that it is very hard and potentially dangerous (career-wise and safety-wise) for the victims to even come forward and say what happened. I thought Austin Walker made a great point when he said that it is hugely courageous to just be the person that rolls their eyes and says "Ugh, that guy."

I hope that Vox is able to present some specific and sufficiently anonymized information at the end of their investigation, but it is true that the information may never reach a level of proof that one would see in a court of law (nor does it need to for Vox -- and for the community -- to make a decision about what consequences Nick should face) and even if it does have some proof, it may not be appropriate to release it to the general public.

An honest question: What do I do if I am in Austin Walker's shoes (as of last week). As in, he apparently knew ~some stuff~ but maybe didn't have proof, or maybe had been specifically asked not to do anything, or who knows what, but I know I would feel terrible if I knew ~some stuff~ about a person and then it came out that they had been doing this for a while, to many people, and maybe if I had done or said something I could have prevented that? I don't know, maybe I am being a bit too "white knight" about it or whatever, but I've been thinking about it a lot through all this.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:29 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Well, that's too bad. I had the feeling I'd actually had a useful exchange with some people about an extremely contentious subject, on Metafilter no less.

I feel like you're trying to argue with me about things I didn't say and don't believe. I wasn't demanding screenshots of everything, I was asking if somebody could direct me to a relatively succinct account of the case instead of me having to wade through endless, confusing Twitter posts. I never got that, but I did definitely learn more than I knew before.

I'm off to bed.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:29 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


She also tries to imply he was a cradle robber for pursuing an 18-year-old when he was 26, which I can't buy.

I guess we cancel each other out because boy howdy do I buy that.

26 is old enough to be out of college and having made a nontrivial start on your career. It's old enough to have your law degree or MD. Old enough to have been to lots of weddings in your cohort and started to go to baby showers. Old enough to have enlisted, seen some shit, left active service, gone through college, and started a career.

18 is... in high school, or just out.

Gross. Super duper gross. Mega creeper gross.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:43 AM on August 9 [17 favorites]


I sure hope the Game Grumps are really as sweet as they seem.

I haven't watched them in a while, but as sweet as they can be and as much as they can be on the right side of things (and I think a lot of that is down to Suzie's influence, she was the first to call out gamergaters in an episode), godddd Arin needs to stop with that fucking stereotypical Japanese accent he busts out sometimes. It's racist and unfunny and it taints everything else. And maybe he has stopped, like I said I haven't watched in a while, but it's a big part of why I haven't.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:51 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


This is unfortunate but also maybe the least surprising creeper outing to me in a while. When I got into McElroy stuff via CarBoys I came across the video on Polygon's YouTube channel of Nick and Griffin drunk in a hot tub after some gaming convention (E3?) with the woman there as Polygon's makeup artist, and Nick steering the conversation in an uncomfortable direction once she showed up. There's an episode of CoolGames Inc. where Griffin makes oblique references to Polygon HR sending Nick a nastygram "again" after Nick steers the conversation in a horny direction out of nowhere. I finally lost interest in CGI after a couple of episodes where Nick's weird vibe made me stop listening mid-episode.

I came upon this post and I felt zero shock, just a sort of, "oh yeah, that makes sense I guess".
posted by indubitable at 6:12 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Repeating a half dozen times that you don't get something, while all the while people are providing the information that's available, is functionally indistinguishable from sealioning. I'm not trying to argue with you about belief. I'm suggesting that as third parties with no skin in this particular iteration of the game we become part of the problem when we start bringing microscopes to bear in our search for understanding. And that's true whether you're doing it because you're actually not confident in your ability to parse twitter threads, or if someone else does it to discredit the victims.

I'm old as fuck, myself, and I feel like I'm deciphering a language I don't speak when I attempt to follow heated discussions on twitter, or tumblr, or instagram. If it's going to take me a half dozen repetitions of the same basic question to get comfortable with my own understanding of events, though, I'll just live with not being comfortable, and remembering that it's better to believe women when they report this kind of thing. Because I don't want to be part of the problem.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:15 AM on August 9 [15 favorites]


At first I didn't quite get it either. The information provided seemed pretty benign when looking at first glance. But with his interaction with soulspear, you see the power dynamic that he is abusing. That just must be the tip of the iceberg because so many other people have come out and said "Yeah this is a thing". What helped me contextualize it was the Waypoint podcast above. Austin even seemed to feel some remorse for coming on Cool Games Inc when he had the knowledge that Nick might not be the boy he claims to be. And everyone echoes the idea that Nick was a Missing Stair in the industry.

Like most of you, I enjoyed Carboys and CGI. They are fun shows and good concepts I hope to see carried with other folks at Polygon. But also, nick always gave off a weird vibe. Expecially in videos, and what always bothered me was his constant preening with his hair.
posted by GreatValhalla at 6:26 AM on August 9


I get the feeling that the suspiciously named Ursula Hitler wanted the Cliff's Notes to something where the Cliff's Notes don't exist and got frustrated and in that frustrated said things that implied that they figured they should be in the best position possible to judge someone. I mean, that's the most charitable explanation I can come up with.

I guess it is important to remind people that a piece of information is not helpful without context. Where did it come from? What is the likelihood that this is true? Many small bits of evidence may not be very meaningful on their own, but the odds of them all happening at the same time should be acknowledged.
posted by Merus at 7:05 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I wasn't demanding screenshots of everything, I was asking if somebody could direct me to a relatively succinct account of the case instead of me having to wade through endless, confusing Twitter posts.

This isn't meant as a joke, but the MeFi post we're in now?
So it came as a shock this weekend when a Twitter spat over a glitch snowballed into the outing of Robinson as one of the industry's more notorious missing stairs, with multiple colleagues and even young fans accusing him of sexual harassment.
That's pretty much the summary. If you want details, the specifics, then you're mostly out of luck. There are bits and pieces and you might have to, as you say, wade through Twitter or GAF for something that might not be very satisfying to you. Especially if you have trouble parsing the language, like me.

We probably won't ever have a full picture. And ultimately it's not our business. Maybe that's an argument for not having these kinds of threads, I dunno, but it seems like some good conversations can come out of them too.
posted by ODiV at 7:48 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I wasn't demanding screenshots of everything, I was asking if somebody could direct me to a relatively succinct account of the case instead of me having to wade through endless, confusing Twitter posts. I never got that, but I did definitely learn more than I knew before.

Like honestly Ursula Hitler I've been trying really hard to give you the benefit of the doubt but this is so disingenuous (or willfully just... disagreeable?) I just can't anymore. I very, quite literally, gave you a relatively succinct account of the case. I did exactly what you claim you're asking for. I gave you a point by point. I don't know what would have made you happy here and I suspect nothing would.

You keep claiming you aren't 'ghoulishly' asking for proof and yet, when presented with summary accounts that don't have screenshots for every little thing that is said, that is apparently not enough for you. Because you keep discounting those summaries as insufficient responses to your question.

Review what has been said in this thread and genuinely ask yourself why this is the case. Please.


To someone upthread who said it was kind of shitty to be talking about 'proof' and providing links and etc: yeah, sorry. I get that. I was very tired on multiple levels and it just. Made me pretty angry. I feel like it's been a rough and very frustrating week on MeFi for threads about dudes being shitty to women. Backing away now.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 8:18 AM on August 9 [14 favorites]


I got into McElroy stuff via CarBoys I came across the video on Polygon's YouTube channel of Nick and Griffin drunk in a hot tub after some gaming convention (E3?) with the woman there as Polygon's makeup artist, and Nick steering the conversation in an uncomfortable direction once she showed up.

i can't speak to the conversation they had because i don't remember it but that was actually Tara Long, who is in charge of Polygon's video team and is (was) nick's boss.
posted by JimBennett at 1:19 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


some stuff:
  1. Vox, Polygon, Polygon employees, friends of the victims, the victims themselves, etc have absolutely no obligation to any of us to give us proof of what Nick's done.
  2. Vox is not required to provide an explanation to us of why Nick was suspended, nor turn over to the public the evidence that made them make that decision or why they're launching an investigation.
  3. The victims have absolutely no incentive to provide proof to the public. It has the potential to jeopardize their careers and they know it's just going to open them to Gamergate-style attacks. They know this not just from observing it happening to other women in other sexual harassment scandals, but because it is already happening to their fellow victims who have come forward.
  4. Whatever you think about what proof has been provided, you have no idea what has been shared in private. In fact, prominent members of the game journalism/development community have stated in various mediums that things have been shared among smaller circles that we randos have not been party to.
  5. It follows from the previous point that we are not in a position to evaluate the responses of Vox/Polygon people/& Co because there is a 99.9% chance their decisions are influenced by information we do not have. We cannot make the assumption that their decision was only based on the evidence we've seen.
  6. None of the people directly involved are telling you to hate Nick. None of them are ordering you to stop consuming his content. None of them are dictating how you should feel about him--they are simply making it known how they feel about him.
  7. If you think you deserve to know the reasons for their changed feelings towards him, you might ask yourself why you feel this way. If you find out two random people don't like one another do you start probing into their history to find out why and then demand hard proof of the stated misdeeds and take it upon yourself to provide each party with your personal analysis of said misdeeds and whether their feelings are legitimate? God, I should hope not.
  8. For many people, the actions that have been taken and statements made thus far by Vox and Nick's close friends and colleagues are strong indicators of his guilt. Two of the people who immediately denounced Nick and pulled out of collaborations with him were his best friends. Perhaps all of Nick's associates and friends are weaselly weasels who are willing to tank tremendously popular content in order to capitulate to the slightest shade on Twitter. Or perhaps their strong reaction is an indication that they've seen something so damning that they felt it necessary to sever ties this abruptly and publicly.
  9. Say you feel that until you personally see all the screencaps, hear all the stories of all his accusers, and evaluate the details for yourself, you're going to maintain Nick has done nothing wrong. Or at the very least everyone is overreacting. That's fine. You are entitled to your opinion.
  10. At the same time, understand that other people are entitled to their feeling that Nick is a skeezeball. "Other people" includes Nick's coworkers, his friends, and his employer.
  11. To tie together the two above points: You're allowed to think Nick is still a good guy, or say you still haven't decided. But you cannot act like your opinion based on the evidence you know should take precedence over the opinions of Nick's colleagues and friends based on the evidence they know.
I am seeing a lot of reactions on the Internet where people appear to feel entitled to every piece of information known by Nick's colleagues, and see the refusal to provide it as some sort of evidence that this doesn't exist. I am also seeing a lot of reactions where randos who want this proof insist that randos who are skeeved out by Nick based on what is publicly available have no right to think he's a creep. I have a lot of feelings about this, but I will leave it at just saying this: you are allowed to find someone creepy and distasteful for behavior that would not get them arrested. Legal statues don't direct our personal relationships, and thank God for that.
posted by schroedinger at 3:14 PM on August 9 [27 favorites]


Has anyone seen any updates about this, or any new news?
posted by rossination at 9:10 AM on August 10


Still radio silence -- their YouTube channel hasn't posted anything for a week now. No clue how much of that you can blame on their preplanned staff retreat, though.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:11 PM on August 10




The statement is problematic in some of the defensive excuses, and really the sentiments are impossible for me to believe since he acted like an ally before all this too, but at this point I'm just glad that he's out of there without a huge flameout.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:49 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


This statement is yet another manipulation and deflection. This is exactly what he does. It's all bullshit. Blaming this on his fame? He's been doing this forever and he will continue to do so as long as his teflon stands up well enough. Missing stair? Absolutely - people have known about these transgressions for a long time. He's been told to stop many times. You think this will be any different? He's saying what he needs to say to slime by but if you believe any of it for a second, it's on you.
posted by RobertFrost at 4:55 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


That seems like an honest and genuine apology, but I’m not sure he grasps the full extent of what the problem is. It’s not just the power imbalance thing, it’s that what he seems to think is “embarrassing flirting” is flat out unacceptable, famous or not. At least now it is out in the open so that women outside of his circle can be made aware of his behavior.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:11 PM on August 10


Here's another summary of what's happened so far, including some reactions to Nick's statement by people who know him personally.
posted by Lurch at 5:22 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Yeah the response of basically "it was okay to be a creep when I wasn't famous" is, uhh... hmm, yeah, maybe do a little more thinking about it with your newly free schedule, Nick.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:32 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


That must be the most convoluted summary I've ever seen. It feels a bit like trying to read something from a universe where they don't have linear time.
posted by dng at 5:32 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


The statement bothers me the more I think about it. Ugh.

I'm glad Polygon did the right thing.
posted by minsies at 5:59 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


His apology doesn't really apologize for what he did. It's good to apologize and make efforts to undo the harm done you've to others but you actually have to apologize for the harm you did.

Robinson created a milder version of what he did wrong. It's shitty to offer up a milder version of the harm you caused and then ask people if they'll please accept your apology. An apology needs to own up to the whole of the wrong you did, outline a way to do better and offer to make amends to those harmed if you can. Being caught harassing people isn't an "embarrassment" because, oh, now it suddenly hurts you too. Harassment is a horrible experience that you gave to other people that they now have to live with. You can't cause this sort of harm over and over to someone's life and then act like you're a victim too. That doesn't make you sorry you did it.

It makes you sorry you were caught.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:39 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


On the other hand, while this is a pretty shitty apology as those go, I don't doubt that it's all true. That like, he really did not have any understanding that what he was doing was wrong, or of what his power differential was between himself & the people he was talking to, that he just never gave any of this a second thought. And that probably he is sorry for that now.

But like these types of apologies where people are like "Sorry I was so clueless" are enraging to me because like, man, I don't want to hear this, I wanted you to not feel like you could get away with being this clueless. Some people have to keep their eyes open and their ears open and their head swiveling around like an owl 24 hours a day because other people just never have to think about anything, ever and they stumble around smashing into people and hurting them and never giving it a second thought.
posted by bleep at 6:47 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


It was also cool and good that he managed to work in how cool and popular he was and how much fanart he got into his apology for sexual harassment, I mean"flirting".
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:54 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


That like, he really did not have any understanding that what he was doing was wrong

I also believe this. (Doesn't let him off the hook, but I believe this.) I've been female on the internet since the early 90s, and there is something inherent to our society that makes men believe this is an acceptable approach. From AOL to USENET to IRC to ICQ to emails in response to my hand-coded Online Journal to IM to DM, I've never not been treated this way by random men.

I've had dudes sliding into my technology all this time. I once had a raucous conversation drunk on a beach in Mexico with internet friends from way-back when we found out we had ALL been getting the Midnight Email from one specific man for years. Back when I had a 1 megapixel (you heard me; it was $500) camera and smoked, if I mentioned smoking in my journal I'd get emails from at least one man asking for pictures of me smoking. I don't even want to talk about the feet.

I may have partially married my husband because he emailed me Eddie Izzard quotes instead.

And I honestly don't think a lot of women know, either, that this isn't okay. Since the dawn of time we've had dudes complaining about their hurty balls and let me put it in for just a second ("floating", apparently, is the term among religious kids now?) and over-the-shirt and under-the bra and just let me look for a second and it's no different from a Tinder introduction of "tiddies?" in the end. Like, eventually...you just give in. You get used to it.

I don't think he knew better. I think he should still be eviscerated for it, but mostly as a lesson for the rest. Women have been quietly putting up with this shit since sex was invented, we've had sliders sliding since the dawn of time, and mostly all we do is laugh on beaches about it because nobody cares except us.

If this is going to get fixed, it's going to have to be dudes arriving to deal with their co-dudes. I hope this is a tipping point, but I think it's disingenuous to say "he knew what he was doing" when it's a whole lot more like "he was doing what's acceptable unless you've leveled up a bunch already."
posted by Lyn Never at 7:05 PM on August 10 [15 favorites]


Lyn Never, I agree with most of the general thrust of what you're saying, but specifically "it's disingenuous to say "he knew what he was doing" when it's a whole lot more like "he was doing what's acceptable unless you've leveled up a bunch already." " isn't true when there are multiple accounts of Robinson trying to keep his victims quiet.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:22 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I am, unfortunately, taking that as part of the same territory. (These) men ought to know that pressuring women to shut up is wrong, but I don't think they do. It's what they've always been allowed, and entitled, to do. Preserving the status quo is not the same as knowing something is actually wrong. It's part of a pretty horrible cycle.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:27 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


There might be some element of "pleading guilty to a lesser offense". Like he actually did some shit he didn't think bother about because he didn't have to, and he's sorry, and then there's other stuff, that he's not talking about here, that apparently everyone he knows knows about.
posted by bleep at 8:25 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Linked to from the Lurch's non linear time summary.
The last 4 minutes of touch the syrim episode 5 are in retrospect deeply uncomfortable.

Nick: "This is like a horniness level of like 2 out 10 right now"
Griffin: "But here's the thing, 10 out of 10 and I get fired from Polygon.com. We need to be careful there"
...
Nick: "I just think, more horniness, and that's up to you to decide..."
Griffin:"I can't put full blown nudity in these videos"
...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:58 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


A couple of reactions on Twitter-

Danika Harrod (Waypoint):
as someone who's witnessed the absolute pain nick robinson has caused others, his message is disappointing, sure, but it's not surprising.
this is a person who has been doing this for years. his main concern is not the people whose lives he's impacted, it's his image.
my heart goes out to those who've been hurt by this person. please know you have so many people standing with you in support.
Abby Russell (Giant Bomb):
I'm truly upset about this manipulative "apology." He is downplaying his abuse as misguided flirting and using ignorance as an excuse.
Even if I believed that, ignorance is never an excuse. And his behavior is wrong even if he wasn't a public figure.
I've dealt with emotional manipulation and abuse and this has so many of those red flags. And I worry that people are believing him.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:06 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


Ugh.

Is there a Polygon statement not on Twitter? I'm not going on Twitter for Reasons.
posted by dismas at 7:13 AM on August 11


I don't see one, but I haven't looked that hard. Here are the two tweets from Chris Grant, Polygon's editor-in-chief:

I've heard the allegations re Nick Robinson and am taking them seriously. Nick has been suspended pending a thorough Vox Media inquiry.
August 4

Update: We're parting ways with Nick Robinson, effective immediately. I wish him the best.
August 10

Arthur Gies, Polygon co-founder, who is leaving the company, recently tweeted this:

Sometimes a thing happens and you absolutely, positively, actionably cannot talk about it.
August 10

Which makes me think we're not going to be hearing too much more from Polygon.
posted by ODiV at 7:27 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Figures. Thanks. I could find Nick's lousy apology on Reddit but not much from the other end.
posted by dismas at 7:45 AM on August 11


Last weekend I was bummed because a guy I thought was on the level was shitty, and the loss of enjoyment of his content that brought me. I never doubted that he was trash or that his actions were clearly much worse than what was public, but I definitely centred on my feelings of why can't we have nice things.

Seeing his shitty, self-serving apology that is carefully crafted to make himself look cool and only address the bare minimum that is publicly known, badly, and the people who are willing to accept it, and the others who know that this has been going on for many years with many many women, that his behaviour was persistent and calculated... I don't give a shit for myself, I'm burning with rage for the people who have to suffer assholes like this. I'm so encouraged that so many on the internet have responded the right way to this, but still so angry that people don't believe women in the first place and accept apologies like this. I selfishly hoped for a redemption arc the other day, but at this point launch the fucker into the sun.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:30 AM on August 11 [12 favorites]


As I read more about this stuff after my first comment here, I sent my wife an e-mail at one point to say, "It's gonna have to be a pretty damn good apology."

This, dear reader, was not that.
posted by Caduceus at 3:38 PM on August 12


Awful Squad is back today (currently streaming) and Griffin addresses what he is able to at the beginning re Nick and the future of Polygon:

"Hey before we get started I wanted to talk about the elephant in the room real quick if that's ok with you all. So obviously Nick is no longer employed here at Polygon, and I think there's probably a lot of you who have been following this situation and there's probably also a lot of you who maybe haven't and this is the first that you are hearing about it, and I imagine both of those groups are going to be very frustrated about the fact that we cannot, we just can't comment on it right now. I know that sucks, and there are answers to questions you probably want, and there things that you want to hear us say but we are just not permitted to comment on it right now.

But before we get started I wanted to say that, I don't know, I've felt uncomfortable this whole past week or so with talking about it from our perspective, like how it affects us and our team because like obviously we were not the ones who were most affected by what happened. But I think it's worth talking about because we did kind of go dark all last week, like we were getting a lot of messages from a lot of folks who were like 'Hey, where'd you go?' and so I think it's worth talking about. We kind of took last week off and a lot of that was because everybody was travelling, we were all doing this all hands get together, that was completely unrelated to what happened, that's just how it timed out. But really the biggest reason why we kind of went dark is we were working through this, and there is a lot of difficult stuff that we were going through, both professionally like a lot of the stuff that we worked on and all worked to make just sort of disappeared overnight.

And I mean the bigger thing was personally we've been working through this, I think we were all out of our depth a little bit, this is not something that I personally have had to deal with in terms of like a breach of trust of this magnitude. And so we took some time off and I am nervous and excited to get started again, this is really the first thing that we have all done together since everything went down, and I want everybody to know that we are excited to get making stuff again, we are going to be doing new stuff, we are going to be working to make the stuff that we make already even better, we are going to be working on becoming more like thoughtful about the stuff that we make and how we make it, and it's probably going to be a tricky transition for a little while but I am optimistic that we can do a good job by it.

So, again I know it's going to be a cloud hanging over things for a little while and that is not helped by the fact that we are not allowed to comment on it but I just want everybody to know that we are going to be working to make this thing and this weird dumb stuff that we all make together even better now, and we hope that you will bear with us as we get everything figured out."
posted by yellowbinder at 11:46 AM on August 15 [11 favorites]


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