PCGamesN originally published an article by Hannah Dwan on November 30th, 2017 titled “The esports industry has a problem with who it is choosing to represent it”. The article attempted to paint e-sports journalists and casters such as Duncan “Thorin” Shields and Richard Lewis as toxic for the industry. Well, after getting his lawyers involved, Lewis managed to carve an apology out of the flesh of PCGamesN’s integrity, following their attempted smear on his character.
On December 3rd, 2017 PCGamesN updated the article clarifying that they didn’t mean to infer that Richard Lewis held transphobic, racist, or misogynistic views.
On December 4th, 2017 the PCGamesN staff posted a small apology, writing…
“We have come to accept that there was ambiguity in the language we used, and that the incidents we cited with regards to Mr. Lewis are not sufficient to constitute a ‘violent past’. There was also never any intention to label Mr. Lewis racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic.”
The article gained quite the attention thanks to being spread around the typical #GamerGate circles, which continues to monitor the ethical behavior of games media (and mainstream media) outlets.
Richard Lewis made it known that he got his lawyers involved after being denied a right of reply.
PCGamesN have issued a formal apology for their smears against me. Hopefully that puts an end to people repeating these lies. Thanks to my legal team for helping me achieve this resolution. I’ll be pursuing any further lies about me in a similar manner. https://t.co/l0ZOWEOf6U
— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) December 4, 2017
The initial response from the PCGamesN hit-piece was not favorable from the e-sports community. Even some of Richard Lewis’ detractors came out in support of the caster and journalist, letting their sub-community know that PCGamesN was being misleading with their editorial coverage.
No one in esports has feuded with @RLewisReports and @Thooorin more than me, including time I wasn’t allowed to talk. On all things esports; journalistic ethics and sociopolitical issues. Battles no one else will take. And I think the PCGamesN article is trite and misleading.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) November 30, 2017
That @PCGamesN hit piece was complete bullshit. @RLewisReports is legit a giant teddy bear, pulled me out of the depths of esports hell and helped me get treatment for all my mental and medical problems that everyone else in esports ignored. Don’t publish trash, he’s a legend
— Maria (@idolMariya) November 30, 2017
What a grotesque piece of “journalism” and a gross mischaracterization of both you and Duncan. Can say from years of personal experience that the image drawn in the article is an incredibly poor reflection of what these people are actually like.
— Anders Blume (@OnFireAnders) November 30, 2017
These sort of attacks have become commonplace within the traditional realms of video game journalism (or what’s left of it).
Many have taken on so-called “Progressive” viewpoints to push politics front and center toward (and against) their audience. This has created a rift, where many gamers who don’t agree with the platform’s proselytizing are outcasts as “misogynists”, “sexists”, “transphobes” and “racists”.
These kind of politic pushing sophists have oftentimes been labeled as Social Justice Warriors.
Years after #GamerGate started and called out the unethical practices and constant attacks on the gaming community by its own enthusiast media, we still have outlets that continue their attempts to push their so-called “Progressive” views by attacking its own community. This does little more than push people further away and enrage their own audience.
In this particular case, PCGamesN was forced to apologize thanks to the barrel of the justice system pointed squarely at their head, a defamation lawsuit being locked and loaded in the chamber, and Richard Lewis having his finger planted firmly on the trigger.
Forfeiting their obligation to ethics would have resulted in a resounding, legal “Bang!”.