Vox Media, one of the prime enemies and targets of #GamerGate, is now on the receiving end of news that many of their journalists accused #GamerGate of: sexual harassment and assault. This time the victim of social justice was Vox’s own editorial director and a Social Justice Warrior who advocated for diversity and inclusiveness, Lockhart Steele.
The Awl is reporting that Vox Media sent out an internal memo via the slack channel, where the CEO of Vox Media, Jim Bankoff, wrote…
“[…] I am writing to let you know that earlier this evening Lockhart Steele was terminated effective immediately. Lock admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and will not be tolerated at Vox Media.
“Our investigation into issues raised by a former employee in a post on Medium continues. Anyone with information should contact our external investigation leads, [redacted].
“Vox Media is committed to fostering a safe and welcoming community, and appreciates everyone who has been willing to speak up and share information during the course of this investigation.”
According to The Awl, this was in reaction to a Medium post made by a former Vox employee, Eden Rohatensky, on October 12th, 2017.
In the post Rohatensky explains that on one occasion an executive at the company was in the backsteat of an Uber with her and began feeling on her and kissing her during the ride. She later explains she was fired and nothing was going to be done about it due to his influence in the company, where she writes…
“I was fired a month later due to lack of productivity. No longer fearful of losing my job, I reached out to a few of the people I had worked with. I reported what had happened with the VP. A year later, I found out that an investigation had been done. That he had multiple victims within the company. That his punishment was being told he could not drink at corporate events any longer. He had too many shares in the company. There was nothing they could do*.
“A few weeks later they tweeted photos of him sitting on a panel about diversity in the workplace and corporate culture.”
It’s true that Steele toed the party line about inclusiveness and diversity at Vox, advocating for workplace feminism and multiculturalism. On the career and diversity page of the official Vox website, Steele wrote…
“For Vox Media’s editorial teams, diversity and inclusion aren’t just a cultural imperative. They’re critical to how we do our jobs of reporting on the world — jobs which require as broad a perspective on the world as possible.”
The news came to the attention of #GamerGate thanks to BroTeamPill spotting the tweet from a Roran_Stehl.
— Bro Team Pill (@BroTeamPill) October 20, 2017
Quite naturally, opposition research was conducted on Steele, and while he did not make any notable comments about #GamerGate outside of making a brief blog post pointing to an article on Polygon by Chris Grant, Vox Media was notorious for fabricating a narrative about harassment against #GamerGate, despite Steele mostly keeping his distance from the movement.
— Nekomancer 🐱 (@MagickalFeline) October 20, 2017
Under the subsidiary named after the parent company, called Vox, they made various inflammatory articles since 2014 painting #GamerGate as a harassment campaign. They continued these attacks throughout the years, including attempting to tie the movement to white supremacy in a piece published on December 14th, 2016.
Vox most recently published another article on September 19th, 2017 talking about how Zoe Quinn “survived” #GamerGate.
Polygon, another subsidiary of Vox, has also been consistently demonizing #GamerGate, even publishing an article defending Vox as they postured to prevent a #GamerGate panel from being present at SXSW. None of this is too surprising given that Lockhart Steele was a former ally of Nick Denton and worked at Gawker, as reported by The New Yorker.
The irony to all of this is that both Vox and Polygon had to acknowledge #GamerGate’s campaign to the FTC in August of 2017, and stated that they would be improving their disclosure practices. Thus, they inadvertantly admitted #GamerGate was still about ethics in journalism.
Lockhart Steele, however, is out of a job at Vox for allegedly being involved in sexual misconduct.