During the fallout of John “TotalBiscuit” Bain succumbing to the ill effects of cancer and passing away, leaving a wife and child behind, various individuals within the gaming industry have been celebrating the good he’s done for the industry, while others have taken it as an opportunity to defame and excoriate his legacy posthumously.
One such individual who went on a rant against TotalBiscuit on May 25th, 2018, days after his death was announced, was independent developer Shane Wilson Butler. He’s the maker of games such as Paper Toss, Arsenal: Arena Combat and Pixel Loot, as detailed on his Kickstarter page.
Butler, who goes by the Twitter handle “Shaneopolis”, published and retweeted a series of messages, starting with the following tweet.
Shane went on to retweet other messages such as the following:
He then goaded others into the discussion to further claim that TotalBiscuit was defined by encouraging harassment against women and minorities.
The initial tweet is what actually caught the attention of various members of the gaming community, where Shane Butler chastised the industry for paying respects to TotalBiscuit in death.
It turns out that Blizzard Entertainment’s Harrison G. Pink, a senior designer on Diablo III, actually liked Butler’s tweet and showed his support toward his view of seeing TotalBiscuit as an instigator for harassment. There’s an archive showing Pink having retweeted Butler’s statements in order to broadcast it throughout the rest of the development community.
While some people had an issue with Pink supporting a controversial opinion like the one that Butler shared about TotalBiscuit following his death, it was the revelation that Butler was actually a convicted sex offender that made things far more telling.
Journalists Nick Monroe and Ian Miles Cheong discovered that the independent developer was actually registered as a sex offender in South Carolina.
It doesn’t surprise me that one of the people attacking @Totalbiscuit yesterday is a sex offender.@GilesPink should feel ashamed for retweeting that crap. https://t.co/gsVHIQbeSI pic.twitter.com/ru0qnZb59l
— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) May 26, 2018
Oh it gets better, @shanenopolis was convicted (and imprisoned for four years) for producing and distributing child pornography.
Statute: TITLE 18 PART 1 CHAPTER 110 2252 (A)
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) May 26, 2018
According to Busted Offenders’ South Carolina index, they do have Shane Wilson Butler Butler listed after he was convicted back on January 21st, 2005. He was released on April 6th, 2009, after being sentenced in Illinois.
The sex offender profile lists that he was charged under statute title 18, part 1, chapter 110 2252 (A).
According to the Cornell Law School, this particular statute relates to someone distributing, facilitating, or producing child pornography. Section (a) reads…
“Any person who knowingly mails, or transports or ships using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, any child pornography; knowingly receives or distributes any child pornography that has been mailed, or using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce shipped or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer; or any material that contains child pornography that has been mailed, or using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce shipped or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer;
The information on the sex offender registry matches up with Shane Butler’s details available on various video game profile websites, including Board Game Geek, where the profile for Butler is the same as the one on his Twitter profile, noting that he’s the owner of the company Endymion Games.
If you follow the Endymion Games link to the official website, you’ll see that there are links to Butler’s other social media profiles, which also includes his Kickstarter page, where he has a number of projects and a pitch video where he talks about one of his projects. As noted on the Kickstarter page, Butler is located in the same city and state just as it’s listed on the sex offender register.
However, Butler recently seems to have moved out of South Carolina, as his new location is now listed as Tallinn, Estonia. This was also updated on the HomeFacts sex offender registry, where once again, it shows a picture of Butler, along with information indicating that he is located in Tallinn, Estonia.
The significance of this information is that Butler is an avid anti-#GamerGate individual, as depicted in his tweets above and his insistence that the consumer revolt was about harassing women and minorities, despite the fact that it was never true that the campaign was about harassment.
What we did learn is that many of #GamerGate’s biggest detractors have actually turned out to be:
In one of the more egregious cases, anti-#GamerGate journalist Matt Hickey had been drugging and raping women for more than a decade. He’s now serving a 34-month state prison sentence.
The #GamerGate movement was actually about exposing corruption in the media industry and vying for more disclosures in reviews and promotional material. The movement also helped spawn updates in the FTC disclosure guidelines, as well as fund a website called Deep Freeze that chronicles ethical violations from corrupt journalists.
Butler attempted to use his platform to defame #GamerGate and TotalBiscuit because the aim was to improve ethics in media journalism and weed out corruption, which is actually something TotalBiscuit had been fighting for years before #GamerGate became a thing. This was evident in this article from October, 2012, where TotalBiscuit lamented the lack of ethics on display in enthusiast media following the DoritosGate fiasco.
Anti-#GamerGate critics are now using the death of TotalBiscuit to stand on his grave and rewrite history to depict him as an enabler of harassment and misogyny.
Some developers from prominent studios such as Electronic Arts were also part of the group of defamers who fulminated TotalBiscuit, while those such as Blizzard Entertainment’s Harrison G. Pink simply decided to stay silent and broadcast the vitriol by supporting tweets from those who despised TotalBiscuit and #GamerGate.
It’s unknown if Harrison G. Pink knew about Butler’s past conviction for child porn, but his Twitter feed is filled with support for divisive polemics.
After attention was brought to Butler’s tweet about TotalBiscuit, Harrison G. Pink did remove it from his feed. Butler, meanwhile protected his Twitter account.
I did reach out to Butler for comment, and if he chooses to respond the article will be updated with the appropriate information.
(Thanks for the news tips Ian Miles Cheong, Nick Monroe, and Lyle)