Matt Lees’ Guardian Article Attacks #GamerGate With Multiple Falsehoods
Matt Lees

Matt Lees had an article published on the Guardian on December 1st, 2016 titled “What Gamergate Should Have Taught Us About The ‘Alt-Right’”. It’s a generic hit-piece filled with easily disprovable lies, defamation and misinformation. Lees also manages to unethically skip over disclosing ties to the subjects he discusses in the piece.

Lees manages to name-drop Leigh Alexander and link to her piece about the death of gamers in his article. He’s actually business partners with Leigh Alexander’s husband, Quintin Smith, for whom they share a Patreon account and conduct a podcast with each other, as pointed out in a Kotaku In Action thread, which was originally picked up by content creator Mundane Matt.

While it’s not an overtly gross ethical breach, it’s something you would think he would inform his readers about, given that #GamerGate is about ethics in journalism.

Nevertheless, the first bit that has been debunked and disproven with many facts over and over again happens near the top of the article, where Lees writes…

“[GamerGate’s] most notable achievement was harassing a large number of progressive figures – mostly women – to the point where they felt unsafe or considered leaving the industry.”

He has links to various other articles – mostly hearsay from Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu – to backup his statements. The particular quote above has no link, so it’s literally just conjecture.

Worse yet is that #GamerGate was never a harassment campaign according to various survey reports and statistical analysis, the most notable one being the peer reviewed report from WAM!, as reported by TechRaptor.

Even when Lees does decide to link to some fact to back up his point, he misrepresents it — such as showing the Newsweek statistic as evidence of harassment, when in fact the graph in the Newsweek article literally shows more than 92% of the tweets they measured from #Gamergate were neutral, with the other percentage divided between being either positive or negative. There’s a more detailed analysis of the stats in a piece on Medium.

In fact, no journalist has been able to actually point out where or when #GamerGate was used as a harassment campaign. The evidence doesn’t exist. Even Zoe Quinn’s own Crash Override Network couldn’t find any evidence that #GamerGate ever harassed Anita Sarkeesian.

More to the point, #GamerGate’s greatest achievements came in the form of getting various media websites to reform their ethical policies and for the FTC to update their endorsement standards regarding disclosures and affiliate links for video game reviews and Let’s Play videos. You could say, they achieved better ethics in journalism.

That’s not to mention that according to Max Read, the former executive editor from Gawker, #GamerGate’s greatest achievement was costing Gawker seven figures in revenue, forfeiting them from being able to get a loan to stave off bankruptcy during the Hulk Hogan trial, which ultimately led to the downfall of the main Gawker website and allowed Univision to take over the company.

Lees either decided not to do any research or felt his career was worth tanking on pushing such an easily disprovable lie about #GamerGate. His only citation for a #GamerGate victory in ethical reformation was pointing to Polygon’s paltry update regarding disclosing writers having ties to crowd-funded projects, but he ignored Destructoid, The Escapist, VideoGamer, VG 24/7, Eurogamer, Kotaku, The Verge and IGN also addressing the ethical concerns raised by #GamerGate.

If you look through Lees’ citations for harassment and rape/death threats, they all point back to other articles on the Guardian or similar interviews relying on the words of Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu. All three have been proven to have misled and misinformed the general public on multiple occasions. Just recently a veteran game developer debunked a lot of the misinformation Anita Sarkeesian has spread through the Feminist Frequency videos that has led to censorship and enforced policing of video game content under false pretenses.

Brianna Wu’s claim to #GamerGate fame came from a series of death/rape threats sent from someone using the handle Chatter Whiteman. There’s no indication that this individual had any connection to #GamerGate and after posting the death/rape threats the account was quickly deleted. Nevertheless, this one-off event was used to springboard Wu into the spotlight as an alleged victim of #GamerGate.

Zoe Quinn, the co-founder of Crash Override Network, was also discovered to have lied about what actually transpired during the Polaris Game Jam. Where leaked chat logs from the Crash Override Network Skype group revealed that Quinn admitted to purposefully sabotaging the Game Jam to see it tank.

Essentially, the only evidence of harassment and threats Lees can provide is from people have been discredited on multiple occasions due to lying and utilizing public platforms for their own private gain.

Lees has no actual examples of #GamerGate harassment but hinges the entire article on the topic while trying to tie it into Donald Trump and the Alt-Right. To compensate, he continually refers to the movement as a group of anonymous males or young men, making blanket statements to erase the identity of women, minorities and those in the LGBTQ community. Nick Monroe, an infrequent contributor to One Angry Gamer, pointed out how Lees didn’t mind erasing the identity of women who supported #GamerGate to push his own agenda.

Lees even tries to say that Sarkeesian was a target, even though Anita Sarkeesian was the one who brought herself into #GamerGate, claiming she was a target. There was never any threats sent her way during that period from #Gamergate. The only series of threats she received was from an egg account that had nothing to do with #GamerGate.

Lees tries using the cooked up GameJournoPros’ conspiracy that #GamerGate was some 4chan monstrosity cooked up in anonymous sub-culture. He points to the “leaked’ chat logs of a public 4chan chatroom where – just before getting kicked and banned out of the room – someone mentioned about wanting to hack Zoe Quinn. It turns out that the selected chat logs were part of a 4,000 line public chat discussion, which was dumped in full and available for everyone to see, as reported by The Escapist. The hashtag itself didn’t come into fruition until actor Adam Baldwin made it so after watching a viral video from The Internet Aristocrat.

Lees disingenuously leaps from one flimsy talking point to the other, ignoring reality and facts along the way, even going so far as to write…

“[…] it has never been possible to write openly about Gamergate without attracting a wave of online abuse.”

As an anecdote, I’ve never received or attracted abuse for writing about #GamerGate, whether it was at Cinema Blend or One Angry Gamer. The only people who seem to regularly attract what Lees labels as “online abuse” are those who continue to push easily disprovable lies. And in this way, Lees affirms the self-fulfilling prophecy by pushing out the same kind of propaganda and misinformation that made #GamerGate such a massive force back in 2014.

Lees dishonestly proclaims that there was no clear goals and that attempts to find common ground (through media censorship and bleated pleas to force people to “abandon the hashtag”) were never enough, writing…

“It was constantly demanded that we debate the issues, but explanations and facts were treated with scorn. Attempts to find common ground saw the specifics of the demands being shifted: we want you to listen to us; we want you to change your ways; we want you to close your publication down.”

There was never actually common ground reached because journalists didn’t want it. In fact, Matt Lees himself told MCV in an article published on October 1st, 2014 that “I don’t see any point in negotiating” when it came to #GamerGate. Thus Lees betrays his own statements about finding common ground by admitting he wasn’t willing to negotiate or discuss the matter back when it first blew up.

What’s more is that #GamerGate supporters put up their own money to fly journalists out to the SPJ Airplay event in Miami, Floriday back during the summer of 2015. The only thing gamers received for their efforts – in an attempt to have a civil discussion about ethics in journalism – were bomb threats, as reported by Forbes.

The better question is where was Matt Lees during the SPJ Airplay and why didn’t he choose to be a part of the discussion if he intended to discuss ethics in a fair manner? The goals and discussions were always clearly defined: better ethics via disclosures. There’s even a video cut together by LeoPirate that clearly outlines what gamers wanted discussed at the SPJ Airplay event.

Lees even goes so far as to contradict the very reality that slapped gamers in the face during 2014 that kicked #GamerGate into high-gear, where he writes…

“Gamergate painted critics as censors, the far-right movement claims critics are the real racists.”

There was no need to “paint” the critics as censors… the critics were censors. N4G was a censor. Reddit was a censor (and still is). Imzy is a censor.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun is a censor. Heck there’s literally an infographic showing the media’s role in censoring people from even discussing the early days of #GamerGate before it was known as #GamerGate. And let’s not forget that Ben Kuchera from Polygon literally implored former editor-in-chief at The Escapist, Greg Tito, to censor and shutdown the #GamerGate discussion board on The Escapist forums, which is chronicled on the Deep Freeze entry for the GameJournoPros.

It’s clear that Matt Lees was taking one desperate attempt to further smear anyone who doesn’t align with his political views, abandoning all hope at honest discussion by cherry-picking falsehoods and completely ignoring all the facts. It’s a shame that the Guardian would taint their brand under blatantly obvious fake news.

(Main image courtesy of Alejandro Argandona)

About

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.

  • MusouTensei

    Oh I remember that spastic, it was the 1st Sargon of Akkad video I’ve seen.

  • Alistair

    Funny thing is there this watchdog body called PC Press complaint.

    They do not just deal with libel privacy cases. This is a good case for them as it misreported of the facts and yes libel does in some ways is involved.

    They libel against gamers, but you must contact them yourselves.

    Call this bullshit out, take it to the next level by reporting them. Boycott the papers.

    I use to read a lot of papers the sun, the star. Even the Sunday sport ahem.

    But when social justice regression kicks it in the head. “Page 3 girls that make a living as a model” stops then I stop reading them.

    Do I miss the papers no, & this whole new ball game they up the notch further proves they can’t be trusted.

    They colluded together to spin a narrative, fuck lees, fuck the guardian, and fuck the MSM.

    Edit: I now found a way to use unwanted papers, I use them as toilet paper. Clearing up the dog puke. Soak up dog piss.

  • giygas

    As I always say, GamerGate may be dead but it will live on forever in the minds of SJWs. They’ve been fighting a ghost for the past year.

  • Denis Lambers

    It is unbelievable to me that the majority of media (and people) still think Sarkeesian is an actual feminist. People should read up on scams like “multilevel marketing” and “handwriting classes” and other self-help bullshit, let that sink in and then realize that she worked with and for such people for years before suddenly turning into a SJW. Who then produced a handful of short and poorly researched youtube videos which costed no more than a few hundred dollars to produce but for which riled up people donated her hundreds of thousands for. It works if your donators don’t actually care about what they get but just want to see their own views reinforced.

    Sell a super cheap product at an insane price. Tell your victim what it wants to hear so he/she can feel good about him-/herself. The basis of so many scams.

    Unfortunately the gamers whom she triggered with her intentionally super-provocative bullshit are just as much to blame. The more they hate, the more attention, the more she seems like a victim to others. A victim that must be helped with more kickstarter money.

  • durka durka

    Ill speak freely, i wish i was Matt Lees i could be a incompetent brit cuck with a good voice and make videos about shitty indie games of my friends. I am not kidding i wish i was paid to do that.

    Now on this whole alt right thing, ill again speak freely, the anti sjw community mainly those who follow sargon of akkad have moved too far on the right for my tastes. The defense of trump is ridiculous, the man is picking every corrupt establishment swamp creature and puts it in his cabinet, yet people defend this.

    At one hand you hear this bulllshit that have nothing to do with reality like

    “GamerGate’s] most notable achievement was harassing a large number of progressive figures – mostly women – to the point where they felt unsafe or considered leaving the industry.”

    and

    “dedicated to enforcing its own unique version of ethics”

    Really unique? I think it is the same as everyone’s version of ethics unless he means his ideologically driven version of ethics of calling anyone who disagrees with him various shit.

    But you see here is the problem:

    ““It was constantly demanded that we debate the issues, but explanations and facts were treated with scorn. Attempts to find common ground saw the specifics of the demands being shifted: we want you to listen to us; we want you to change your ways; we want you to close your publication down.””

    Tell me with a fucking straight face this does not apply to a shiton of people withing the anti sjw movement who used to be in gamergate, pepe the fro memers, right wingers, shitlords who will throw away facts and common ground and will attack you if you say something they dont agree with and demand that you change your ways. It happen to alot of people lately. Sargon criticized Trump he got flak he had to change his ways, thunderfoot used science and reason on Brexit and hillary vs trump he got bashed too and called a “cuck” THATS NOT AN ARGUMENT DAMN IT. Lets not get into the whole “sargons marxism” bullshit that computing forever dude started.

    Wtf? You are turning into right wing sjws. Nuance is dead. All i see now is two sides throwing shit to the other side no discussion is happening no arguments are made, they just push its other worst elements to push each other away.

    The right dismissed the facts and pushed Trump, the right things that since the left insists on calling everyone a racist sexist, throwing someone they perceive as a sexist and racist to the left will shut them up. The left on the other hand looks at this and all they can think is “YES I WAS RIGHT THEY ARE HORRIBLE” they are not rethink their attitude they are re evaluate their views they are DOUBLING DOWN on their views they openly state it “what gamergate teaches us about alt right” Its like the fucking democrats blaming bernie sanders for their loss while CNN openly accuses him of causing HIllary to fail. These fucks they dont learn.

    Which brings me to the reason i am posting all of this rant. I want people to focus on the issues on logic on facts and not be driven of rampant populism and defend Trump with arguments like “cuck” because you prove them right. But i do get that these people are not capable of listening, i mean FUCK the whole fucking article on guardian is a list of all the things that gamergate opposed “THEY OPPOSED THE NEW ALL FEMALE GHOSTBUSTERS MOVIE”

    Oh really? HOW COULD THEY??? THOSE BASTARDS!!!

    The dumbfuck keeps going on with DUDES, DUDES DUDES, THEY ARE ALL DUDES I TELL YOU THATS WHY THE LIKE TRUMP AND NOW THEY CLAIM THEY ARE THE ONES WHO GET HERASSED.

    FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK YOU MATT LEES…….This is how you get Trump for a second term you dumb fuck, then he goes on about europe and Le penn and farage……YES FUCKTARD WE ARE ALL COLLABARATING AND FINELY IRON OUT THOSE “TACTICS” TO BE USED BE EVERY RIGHT WINGER…….FUCKING IDIOT FUCK…. then he keeps on doing it, its like this dumbfuck is wiring his own death sentence and wants to bury the left in a sea of SHIT, stop you fucking idiot. STOP.

    AGAIN i dont want this to turn into 2 monkeys throwing shit, i want arguments logic and reason.

    “YOU ARE A CUCK”

    Shut the fuck up for a second shitlord. You are proving their point.

    But if you act like them, then you are not talking to each other, you just throw shit to each other and push each other further and further. Which is bad because as always the democrats are gonna bend over and all those theocratic war mongering lobbyists will dismiss facts and use populism to make money and this Matt fucktard does not get it.

    I mean fuck read this shit

    ” The “post-truth” reality is not simply an accident – it is a concerted assault on the rational psyche.”

    YOU DO NOT HAVE RATIONAL PSYCHE and i am not claiming the right does but you essentially are a mainstream mouthpiece like CNN peddling the same bullshit and the people DONT TRUST THE MEDIA even if you tell the truth they gonna vote against you.

    I am sick and tired of this cg saturation dude namedroing soros everywhere but FUCK ME you proving his point my doubling down on your bullshit. That applies to both Matt lees and CG saturation.

    “We have no idea where this will lead, ”

    Then you are retarded Matt. Everyone can see where it leads but you.

    “but our continued insistence on shrugging off the problems of the internet as “not real”

    BUT WHAT CNN AND YOU FUCKTARDS SAY, THATS “REAL” RIGHT? RIGHT?

    “2016 has presented us with a world in which our reality is being wilfully manipulated. Fake news, divisive algorithms, misleading social media campaigns.”

    GEE WHERE DID THEY LEARN TO DO THAT? I WONDER WHO TAUGHT THEM THAT, WHO COULD IT BE???? WHO WAS IT MATT?

    “The majority of people who voted for Trump will never take responsibility for his racist, totalitarian policies, but they’ll provide useful cover and legitimacy for those who demand the very worst from the President Elect. ”

    WILL ANY OF YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HILLARY’S WARMONGERING POLICIES OR ADMIT THE LEGITIMACY OF THE PRESIDENT? NO BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN AND WE GOTTA HAVE A WOMAN PRESIDENT AND WE DEMAND THE WORST SEXISM FROM HER BECAUSE SEXISM IS NOT ONE SIDED MATT AND WOMEN CAN BE SEXIST MATT….YOU FUCKING CLOWNS.

    ” but his rhetoric has led to them feeling legitimised.”

    SAY THAT TO THEM OUT OF YOUR SAFE SPACE YOU FUCK, SAY IT TO THEM YOU SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE OVERPAID USELESS LAZY HIPSTER FUCK, SAY THAT TO THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR JOB WHILE YOU SCRATCH YOUR BALLS FOR A LIVING, NONE OF THE BULLSHIT YOU FUCKTARDS WRITE HAVE ANY LEGITIMACY YOU OVER PAMPERED BRATS.

    ” the press risks being manipulated into a position where it has to tread a respectful middle ground that doesn’t really exist.”

    Ahhhhh, you know i am not even mad, i am disappointing….yes Matt call them racist and sexist, attack Trumps language and not what he does, THAT WILL TOTALLY WORK MATT, DONT BE OBJECTIVE JUST KEEP DOING WHAT YOU DOING “PRESS” IT HAS WORKED WONDERFULLY SO FAR.

    “Prominent critics of the Trump administration need to learn from Gamergate. They need to be prepared for abuse, for falsified concerns, invented grassroots campaigns designed specifically to break, belittle, or disgrace. Words and concepts will be twisted, repackaged and shared across forums, stripping them of meaning. ”

    YOU HAVE BEEN DOING THAT FOR YEARS MATT YOU TAUGHT THEM THAT YOU FUCKING DIPSHIT.

    “Perhaps the true lesson of Gamergate was that the media is culturally unequipped to deal with the forces actively driving these online movements. The situation was horrifying enough two years ago, it is many times more dangerous now.”

    Dont end the article like that damn it, tell me what is the “solution” to this problem you clueless pseudointelectual buffoon. Tell me what is the solution, maybe that way you can backwards engineer it like you do with your gender studies researches and you can find the cause. I dont think it has to do with patriarchy Matt, i think it has to do with how you seek to sanitize everything, the language the news, the way of thinking, human nature, art in order to hide behind the fact that horrible things are happening all over the world and you are backing the people who are doing them. Just like the people who were SHOCKED and PISSED at that picture during the Paris attacked showing blood and distress, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, because the problem in the first world were the pictures not the fact that IT HAPPENED but the pictures HOW DARE THESE FUCKS SHOW IT TO ME? HOW DARE THEY? Just like games shouldn’t dare to show sexualized women but when rapes happen every day from muslim illegal migrants..LETS HIDE THAT DONT TALK ABOUT THAT IT WILL MAKE US LOOK BACK, SHUT UP OR YOU ARE A RACIST.

    You know what? Fuck it. Just Fuck it. They deserve what they get but if you on the right are total cunts to to them and you keep pushing the worst of your ideology on them, they wont get it, they have demonstrated they have ZERO self awareness, you need to explain it to them and MAYBE just maybe they dont choose to dismiss it in a “ignorance is bliss” kind of way.

    Now if only we had a way or the means to discuss this close and personal so we can get rid of all those misconceptions OH WAIT WE DO AND WE HAVE BEEN ASKING YOU TO DO IT FOR YEARS BUT YOU IGNORED US OR BLOCKED US!!

    • There’s a lot to parse through in this comment. Dang, you basically wrote an article dude.

      I definitely agree that the sides have become too polarized. Nuance is lost in a shuffle to ground footing in tribalism. It’s become an argument about sides rather than a debate about the issues.

      If we stripped away the labels it would be nice to discuss the problems actually facing society, but we can’t do that. I think the “Alt-Right” boogeyman peddled by the Left only exists because of them.

      I think the secularist position the so-called Alt-Right takes (if the Alt-Right actually exists, because at this point I don’t really even know for sure) is because the actual established Right forfeited all means of being proactive in addressing the concerns raised by people tired of the extreme Left’s fearmongering, rape culture pushing, “ist” mentality.

      Both sides are to blame, but sadly we don’t have a moderate media where the issues can be discussed. Just like, if you try to discuss PizzaGate, you can’t. Sites like BBC have comment sections closed off and pro-Clinton puff pieces saying “PizzaGate is fake news and anyone discussing it is an Alt-Right conspiracy rapist/harasser/racist supporting Donald Trump.”

      Like, WTF is up with that? There’s just so much BS in the media and they’ve forced people to take sides with all that BS and now it’s left a lot of moderates out in the cold.

      • durka durka

        “. It’s become an argument about sides rather than a debate about the issues.”

        Yup also in my defense it was 2 in the morning when i wrote that.

        “PizzaGate is fake news and anyone discussing it is an Alt-Right conspiracy rapist/harasser/racist supporting Donald Trump.”

        Like, WTF is up with that?”

        What you mean wtf is up with that? It is the same thing as Gamergate, you cant talk about those things cause REASONS…..if anything Trump’s presidency will make it ok to talk about things since the media will have to adapt if they want to survive.

  • savaze

    I think GG needs to make an LLC so they can sue for libel…

  • Hawk Hopper

    The Guardian: “OH SHIT WE PUBLISHED A PIECE BY FAKE SJW TROLL GODFREY ELFWICK! WE IS FAKE NEWS! WHAT TO DO WHAT TO DO??? I KNOW, LETS CRY ABOUT GAMERGATE!!!”

    • durka durka

      PULITZER WINNING SITE!!!

  • C G Saturation

    The Guardian being delusional as always. In reality, it’s more like, “What GamerGate taught us about the Soros-funded lying liberal mainstream left”.

    “Alt-right” is such a bullshit new label. Only simple idiots fall for stupid labels. Again, in reality, you can’t just slap a label on everything and have it absolutely apply accurately in every case.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Lees kills kids and sacrifices them to Moloch.