Extra Credits’ James Portnow Accused Of Abusive Harassment, Denies Allegations
James Portnow Extra Credits Sexual Harassment
(Last Updated On: June 10, 2018)

James Portnow, from the gaming channel Extra Credits, has been accused of multiple counts of abuse and sexual harassment by a number of those within the gaming industry. The anti-#GamerGate critic originally condemned the consumer revolt, furthering the narrative that #GamerGate was about harassment, but it turns out that various individuals are claiming that behind closed doors Portnow was the one doing the harassing.

It started with a former employee of Extra Credits, Soraya En Hajji, who published a series of tweets on June 9th, 2018 explaining that Portnow’s abuse is what drove her away from working at Extra Credits.

The thread is quite lengthy, but Soraya paints Portnow as a hypocritical, male feminist ally, writing in some of the follow-up tweets…

“James started telling the other contractors, my former co-workers, that I had committed “a fireable offense.” He painted himself as as a hero who graciously allowed me to resign, even though I was so terrible, and painted my last paycheck as a concession that he gave.

 

“He reshaped Extra Credits around himself, stacking it with friends who did not see or would not question his behavior, and driving out the few who did. Wonder why so many people left in such a hurry? Whoops. That’s why.

 

“This man has made a career out of being a Progressive Voice in video games. He was featured in The New York Times for speaking out against harassment. And yet. And yet and yet and yet. He harassed me out of a job. He spread lies about me after I left.

 

“There’s your Extra Credits. There’s your James Portnow. There’s my truth, finally, about the way I left and why. I’ve got receipts, but I won’t be sharing them today. But my silence, my complicity, is done.”

I attempted to reach out to Soraya but she has me blocked on Twitter.

I did reach out to Extra Credits for a comment about Soraya’s allegations, but they opted to publish a public statement about the matter instead.

The piece was published on June 9th, 2018 following Soraya’s statements. The statement reads…

“About half a year ago one of our employees left Extra Credits. They later claimed that another employee had harassed them out of the company.

 

“Extra Credits takes allegations of workplace harassment very seriously.

 

“To verify the claim, Extra Credits hired an independent HR firm to investigate the matter, and was ready to abide by all findings, including firing anyone found responsible of committing misconduct.

 

“After investigating, the HR firm found no evidence of improprieties with regards to the claims of workplace harassment.

 

“To ensure maximum employee protection, we asked the HR firm to provide a list of recommendations for the future. Extra Credits is currently implementing these recommendations.”

After claiming that no harassment took place, assistant editor at Paste Magazine, Holly Green, published statements on Twitter on June 10th, 2018 claiming that James Portnow had harassed her as well.

Former Polygon contributor, Russ Pitt, also corroborated the stories of harassment with tweets of his own, claiming that James Portnow from Extra Credits also treated him the same way.

Two years before the consumer revolt started he was quoted in a New York Times piece published on August 2nd, 2012 claiming that the gaming industry needed to take away the megaphone from harassers and bullies. James Portnow later came out as anti-#GamerGate, standing against the movement that wanted better ethics in media journalism.

He was also captured on film at the MagFest Extra Credits Panel in 2015 talking about #GamerGate, and how it only fractured the industry. The video was uploaded by Y The Alien.

If you’re unable to view the video, Portnow states…

“[…] So here’s the quick thing: I have seen the native effects in the game business for months and months now, talking to politicians, talking to journalists […] trying to get them to be interested in this culture, to not just think of us as people who […] are the trenchcoat mafia. And then all of a sudden I started getting e-mails, [where they said] ‘you said all this stuff to us, and you started to use all our time, and now I’m starting to hear about these gamers threatening to rape people – and all this stuff’. Terrible. [GamerGate] has done a ton of damage to our image, it’s fractured our community. We all love games. Games are about joy. We should be playing together instead of being at each other’s throats. […]

 

“I don’t think [GamerGate is] worth our time; it’s going to damage our community; it’s going to damage the reputation of games. I think it is the last dying screams of people who are losing their power.”

As pointed out in other articles, other than a handful of trolls, the FBI report indicated that they were unable to find any actionable evidence that #GamerGate was a harassment campaign. A peer reviewed WAM!, report also indicated that #GamerGate was not a harassment campaign.

The narrative about #GamerGate being a harassment campaign was actually perpetuated most by games journalists and media personalities, many of whom were found out to be:

It doesn’t sound as if James Portnow will be exiting from Extra Credits. However, following the allegations of harassment, the image of the company as a feminist ally and anti-harassment organization will likely look tainted in the eyes of the general public.

(Thanks for the news tip Lyle)


[Correction:] The original headline stated “sexual harassment” but the claims from the alleged victims are supposedly “abusive harassment”. The headline now reflects those claims.


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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.