Destructoid Owner: ‘I Think Overall #GamerGate Is Positive’

A reader recently tipped us off to an interview from back in July on GamerTag radio featuring the owner of Destructoid. Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez was on the GamerTag podcast talking about the business of blogging and wading through the current landscape of online media in a post-#GamerGate industry, and issues of disclosure.

On the subject of #GamerGate, Gonzalez stated in the GamerTag radio interview…

“I think overall… GamerGate is positive. It challenges websites like [Destructoid] and many others to be more transparent with the readers. That’s really the core of it.


“GamerGate hashtag has been used by various types of people to promote their own interests, which has kind of muddled the message, so GamerGate means a lot of things to a lot of different people.


“[…] It reminds me of when I first started, and I had this innate distress of the magazines where I was I’m like ‘you guys are selling the cover stories’ (which still happens) ‘you guys are not being transparent about the sponsored content you’re plugging on YouTube’ (Pewdiepie) and that stuff needs to be disclosed.”

You can listen to the whole podcast with the embed below. The discussion about #GamerGate starts at the 29 minute mark.

As far as positive changes in the industry is concerned, Heat Street reminds people about the #GamerGate campaign to put the fire under the FTC to update their guidelines regarding disclosures for Let’s Play videos, video game reviews and new media content. A site called This Is Video Games also has a timeline of achievements and accomplishments when it comes to restoring ethics in journalism.

Gonzalez also brings up the point about the fine line between holding journalists to standards and going on witch hunts, saying…

“[…] There’s also the unfortunate side [of #GamerGate] where it’s kind of like a witch hunt… where it’s like gaming industry and other people who are friends of other people in the gaming industry and it’s like illegal to network, which is kind of scary. Like… how are we supposed to learn and network?”

The host makes the cogent point of saying that it’s not bad to make relationships with those within the industry but it’s also important to be “real” with the readers and disclose it to the audience.

Interestingly enough, Gonzalez explains why some social media chatter amongst journalists and those within the industry has been kept to a minimum since #GamerGate blew up, saying…

“I think a lot of journalists did a step back on social media, because we don’t really want our lives and our families being put under a microscope. So that’s the ugly side of GamerGate… especially women in the gaming side were hit the hardest, and that’s really sad.


“It’s a passionate audience. Gamers can be the best people in the world, but if they think you’re trying to pull something on them [then] they’re the worst.”

For those of you unfamiliar, Destructoid’s role in #GamerGate started when former editor-in-chief Dale North was one of the first to update the Destructoid ethics policy following the flair-up of #GamerGate, which also included other sites like Polygon and Kotaku updating their ethics policies as well. Disclosure became a top priority for the site and a few others, especially after charges of nepotism and conflicts of interest were levied at Destructoid following an admission of guilt by former staff writer and former Gearbox Software employee, Anthony Burch.

The site later came under fire when the infamous Game Journo Pros blacklisting story came to light, implicating various members from the group – compiled of various managers, editors and writers from top tech and gaming sites – working in collusion to out former Destructoid writer Allistair Pinsof in order to appease certain members of the Social Justice Warriors clique after Pinsof fell out of favor with them [Full disclosure: I used to be a member of the Game Journo Pros].

Since then, Gonzalez has tried keeping a low profile, working behind the scenes to refocus efforts on building Destructoid back up as a brand. The site has not been given any leniency by the denizens of #GamerGate, as there are serious efforts by the community to reshape both video game and mainstream media journalism into something more ethical.

(Main image courtesy of Modern Method)


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • savaze

    SJW’s are going to be an institutional problem now:

    • Wow, some people just mass-downvoted your comment to get it moved into spam. You really triggered some people.

      • savaze

        Thanks, I guess!? I’d suggest that you need a curation email address so people can send articles when they don’t apply to your article, but I guess there’s enough bored SJW trolls that it would make it more of a problem than a help.

        • Actually I did setup some other e-mails specifically for that purpose, but shortly after creating them they were abused by various groups who attempted to use them to overload the servers with spam. I was trying to figure out what was slowing some of the processes down so badly and some Bluehost technicians revealed that there was “unusual” activity coming from those accounts.

  • Arbitrary

    “especially women in the gaming side were hit the hardest, and that’s really sad.”

    If this is his official stance on the matter, then nothing he says has got any value.

  • durka durka

    ” especially women in the gaming side were hit the hardest, and that’s really sad.”

    Yeah women in gamergate had their identity removed from them for the sake of the narrative.

  • Michael P

    Interesting, but he still had to slip in the muhsoggyknee accusation.

    There’s plenty of successful women in gaming that nobody attacks because they’re not seeking to demonize us or force political agendas, does that not tell him something?

  • Italy GG

    “where it’s like gaming industry and other people who are friends of other people in the gaming industry and it’s like illegal to network”
    Meh, networking is one thing, colluding is another. Like 2 doctors can be friends without necessarily prescribing drugs to each other. Why can’t 2 journalists be friends without coordinating to push the same agenda?

  • Ghost

    I haven’t used that site since what happened in 2012.

  • LG

    Well… that’s a bit of sunshine on a site I don’t go to anymore due to all the bullshit for the past two years. Just get rid of that try hard hipster Jed Whitaker and I might actually go back to seeing what the site has to say about games.

    But I don’t see that happening so… no clicks for descraptoid.

  • Mr.Towel

    Niero always seemed to want to talk back to GG, fairly. He certainly get +internets for that. It’s no surprise he is one the most humane journalists from the big guys. So, really, kudos to him.

    As for the arguments themselves…

    I find the point about Witch Hunts kind of fruitless at this point. Witch hunts are of course never a good thing, they’re obviously terrible. But when BOTH sides are doing it… there’s not much use in pointing fingers anymore, both are equally to blame. The best thing to do is to just ask both of them to stop… which I don’t think it will happen. And that I blame mostly on anti-GG people. Why?

    Anti-GG people have usually a very Revolutionary mindset, because of that they tend to dehumanize their opponents, they can’t see their adversaries as real people, with real lives, real families, real feelings. To them, they’re all rapist misogynist scum that deserve to die by cancer/burning/homelessnes/lynching etc. Of course this inconsequential mindset can be found on both sides but it tends to be much more common on those who see themselves as part of a holy moral crusade, a crusade to protect women, gays, blacks, minorities, etc. So that every blood spilled is preemptively forgiven for it was a for a good cause. You can easily see this by analyzing the way important figures like Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, Ben Kuchera talk about their adversaries, they have no empathy at all, it just mindless mad-dog behavior. And it’s not just one or two people that are like this, recently leaked CON Network chatlogs shows that they act like this in groups, in a very organized manner, and so do their followers. Summed with the good will they have from the mainstream media, the whole thing comes to a point that it becomes a asymmetrical war… which makes things even worse as GG many times is forced to react in guerrilla behavior to counterbalance.

    Because of that I don’t think the witch hunts will stop anytime soon. If a journalist or developer on any side is worried about his family, he is best advised to not get in the front lines.

    The issue about networking… it has always been a problem in the whole profession of Journalism, particularly Niche journalism. But is exactly because of this problems that Codes of Ethics and Conducts are so important, it provides a very clear guidance to any journalist. Many ethical violations are not concious violations, they weren’t exactly done in bad faith, a Code of Ethics provides clear guidance to avoid this kind of situation. It can’t help when the journalist refuses to acknowledge ethical errors however, which is most of the cases. How do you expect people to react to this behavior? Certainly not leniency…

  • C G Saturation

    I thought Niero left and gave up Destructoid to Holmes (McIntosh’s close buddy,) after he tried to insult Milo by calling him gay and shut his Twitter down in shame.

    There wouldn’t be a witch hunt atmosphere if there weren’t so many assholes getting away with corrupt bullshit, thanks to the media going to such lengths to protect them. What they are seeing is equal reaction to their actions.

  • Einherjar

    First and foremost: Kudos to Yanier Gonzales.

    But one part of the interview irked me:

    ““[…] There’s also the unfortunate side [of #GamerGate] where it’s kind of like a witch hunt… where it’s like gaming industry and other people who are friends of other people in the gaming industry and it’s like illegal to network, which is kind of scary. Like… how are we supposed to learn and network?””

    Its not about “Networking being illegal”, its about the results from it.
    Look, if outlets, journos or even devs exchange their ideas etc, who am i to oppose of that ?

    But if it results in an armada of carbon copy articles, in undisclosed favor reviews and clique behavior among indie devs, it is an issue if you ask me.

    If this “networking” results in a PR scam disguised as a made up “competition”, then its not networking.
    If networking results in a fixed narrative that spawns the same article, with the same logical and factual errors across severa publications, then its not networking.

    Its an information bubble. Proper disclosure and transparency towards your readership pops this bubble. It challenges the narrative and separates made up stories from hard facts.

    • C G Saturation

      Yup. The same goes for gushing super high review scores for games that just happen to be made by their personal love interest, family, friends, etc. They got away with it for so long, and so many people do it, that they thought there was nothing wrong with it.

      I don’t trust reviews to begin with, but it’s understandable that other people don’t want to get tricked into buying trash. I also hate that they are effectively ignoring other works that deserve attention, because they focus so hard on their buddies’ stuff.

      • Einherjar

        Exactly. Its pretty obvious that the mainstream gaming media has a pretty big bias towards either highly advertised AAA titles (probably even with Ad-Deals and paid reviews) and indie games from their closer circle.

        Its the infamous rabbit hole.
        If there is a favorable game you haven’t heard about, dig a little and you will see that the author has a closer relationship with the developer.

        Due to this “networking”, professional reviews are highly compromised and generally (sadly) untrustworthy.

        And it sadly didn’t stop there. Remember when people said “written reviews are untrustworthy, i rather watch YouTube reviews” ?

        Guess what happend ? Stuff like the WB-PewDiePie deal.

        Same shit, different medium.

    • Black Magic

      the idea is that yes, you may network, hang out and even sleep with whoever you like. The only thing is, if/when you write about their work, just say “i am friends with this dev” or something.

  • Alistair

    Hmm intreasting read. I give the dude respect as he didnt call out GG As a hate group.

    He brought up holding journalist into account and witch hunt if you did something unlawful you going to get hounded even the authority like poilce.

    AntiGG Are on a witch hunt by doxxing and people getting fired, devs can have friends, girlfriends with-in the industry like eyerywhere esle.

    But i do see a issue with that, it only nature that you would protect your friends and love ones and give “Favors” To them that why disclosure is important the info out there and readers then decides for themselves.

    But the other factor issue could arise is they could bring their workplace in dispute. Look what happen to gawker also some devs and journalists would be in a marriage that part will be in private let the mrs found out if things happen.

    But what is Not private is pushing their shitty world views in our games if devs feel uncomfortable making ecchi games those games are not for you to make make a game that not rich in fanservice.

    For journalists feel triggered about ecchi games dont cover them at all as you always stray from talking about the gameplay. I dont give a dam of your triggered state of mind you should be unbiased.

    • Arbitrary

      “I give the dude respect as he didnt call out GG As a hate group.”

      He practically did, but did so in a way slightly more poisonous and slimy:

      “especially women in the gaming side were hit the hardest, and that’s really sad.”

      Please read the fucking interview again.

  • hurin

    I think what is needed, is for some realization that SJWs have created the equivalent of a comic book code for games, and that if the cost of ‘breaking’ it is that the media will run hitpieces against the game and the studio. Then what they are doing is not journalism, it is blackmail.

    • Alistair

      Emotional blackmail that is, journalists making gamers feel small and dirty that what femmists SJWs often do that we feel ashamed and stay the way of certain type of games.

      Then devs use emotional blackmail by making a censored game like criminal girls 2 knowing the outcry it cause by lying, if you want to play this game so badly in English you have to accept our censoed version.

      Like we not got any choice its either a Japanese uncensored import that we cant read or a censored one that we can read some choice.

      Edit: Speaking of censored girls 2 the NA version is delay to October 11th.

      • Arbitrary

        “if you want to play this game so badly in English you have to accept our censoed version.”

        You should NEVER “want something so badly” that you’re willing to accept censorship.

        Then you should seriously re-prioritize a few interests in your life.

      • HisShadowX

        In the mid 90s when emulation if you remember JRPGs were being translated and released in America. In the case of Final Fantasy V it was translated and released on the Internet for free which promoted Square Electronic Arts to release the FFA version which has an uncensored ffvi (ff3) and ff5.

        Funny thing though later on Square would again censor Final Fantasy VI