Destructoid’s Jonathan Holmes originally had a story published on the front page entitled “River City Ransom: Underground Taken Off Steam due to DMCA claim” on July 16th, 2017. The article originally painted Alex Mauer – the composer who provided music for River City Ransom: Underground – as the victim in the situation, stating that Mauer was on the receiving end of death threats and that they received unfair treatment regarding the situation involving Mauer’s music. The article avoided mentioning Mauer sending death threats to the developers and YouTubers covering the situation.
The article also originally claimed that they didn’t know why River City Ransom: Underground was taken off Steam, and only provided comments made by Mauer who gave their side of the story.
The comment section was not at all pleased with Holmes’ one-sided take on the situation, especially after he made comments criticizing YouTubers who have been regularly covering the Alex Mauer case.
He later went back and made two more updates, citing the original Siliconera article that contained comments from Conatus Creative’s lead programmer who explained that they were working to get River City Ransom: Underground restored to Steam, as well as included comments from Imagos’ lawyer, Leonard J. French, who is currently trying to resolve the matter involving Starr Mazer DSP and Alex Mauer, for whom the latter issued multiple DMCA claims and copyright strikes against YouTubers who had videos up of the game.
In the original published article, it contained no comments from Leonard J. French, who took issue with the fact that he was told that Destructoid would not be reporting on the threats that Alex Mauer had sent to him and the developers.
I was straight-up told they would not report the threats Alex Mauer was sending to us. Great journalism.
— Leonard J. French (@leonardjfrench) July 16, 2017
After the misreporting was brought to the awareness of Destructoid owner Niero Gonzalez, the article was prefaced with a note from the owner, which now reads…
“Destructoid is a multi-author blog. This story in particular was an opinion piece that should not have appeared on our home page, but instead on Mr. Holmes’s personal blog. We stand by Holmes in that he should always write from his gut, but that doesn’t mean Destructoid endorses any part of this editorial. There’s two sides to every story, and that’s come ver apparent here as more sources come forward. This is a story that is still developing and requires more investigation”
Readers asked if this sort of lack of oversight was normal at Destructoid, and Holmes mentioned that it was not normal but he suspects that the rules may be tightening up soon.
Holmes also admitted that he should have touched on the death threats from “both sides” instead of only showing favoritism toward Mauer. The reality is that the developers from Starr Mazer: DSP and River City Ransom: Underground, and YouTubers like TotalBiscuit and SidAlpha, have not sent any death threats to Alex Mauer.
SidAlpha recently did a video covering Destructoid’s one-sided piece favoring Mauer and his history covering this event that has gone practically unreported by many other larger mainstream and enthusiast media outlets.
SidAlpha even managed to more than double his subscriber count given that he’s one of the only few outlets in all of media providing reputable coverage of these events involving Alex Mauer, in a decorous manner, despite having received death threats from Mauer on several occasion.
Kotaku in Action user B-Volleyball-Ready spotted a Twitter exchange that involved questioning if Holmes would be fired from Destructoid over this ethical violation. Holmes was unsure of his fate at Destructoid but claimed he still loved writing there.
Destructoid’s misreporting of this situation isn’t entirely new for the outlet. They’ve been trying to recover after a string of other situations involving ethical malfeasance, many of which are documented in the site profile over on DeepFreeze.it, which is an online resource that sprouted up during the heyday of #GamerGate in order to track ethical violations from video game media outlets, personalities and journalists.
[Update: For those of you wanting to dive deeper into the rabbit hole and get a full understanding of the situation, there’s a definitive and objective timeline of events that was put together over on the SirTapTap website that chronicles the drama from the start up until now.]