Dozens of journalists from prominent outlets were discovered to be part of a group of harassers known as the LOL League, which was originally started back in 2009 by journalist Vincent Glad, who contributed to the French outlet Liberation. The LOL League were eventually outed and some of them have been fired.
The news originally broke on February 8th, 2019 via the fact check section Liberation, called Check News. Robin Andraca detailed how various people complained on Twitter about a group known as the LOL League, which prominently harassed women, minorities, and feminists for years. However, this wasn’t just any ‘ole harassment campaign, it was an organized harassment campaign made up of around 30 professional journalists from some of the biggest media websites on the net.
A few of them were named and shamed in a piece published on February 11th, 2019 by Michael Fitzpatrick over on the site Eye On France. Some of these individuals included the aforementioned Vincent Glad, along with Alexandre Hervaud, another journalist from Liberation, and Henry Michel.
Apparently the group targeted women from other prominent media outlets, including journalist Lucile Bellan from Slate; Mélanie Wanga from the podcast Le Tchip, and beauty blogger Capucine Piot.
According to the women, the journalists targeted women, feminists, members of the LGBTQ communities, and minorities of different races.
This is despite the fact that some of these journalists were against #GamerGate’s efforts to improve ethics in media journalism. In fact, Kotaku in Action member Platypus581 detailed how Vincent Glad was one of the anti-#GamerGate journalists who penned a piece over on Liberation on October 30th, 2015 condemning #GamerGate while praising Zoe Quin and New York Times editor and author Sarah Jeong.
Others like Alexandre Hervand were also responsible for tweeting out anti-#GamerGate propaganda, such as showing his support of John Oliver when the host of the night-time satire show condemned the consumer revolt back on June 22nd, 2015.
— Alexandre Hervaud (@AlexHervaud) June 22, 2015
David Doucet, the former editor-in-chief at Les InRocks, was responsible for approving a handful of articles promoting Zoe Quinn and condemning #GamerGate.
There was an article published on October 3rd, 2014 about Intel and Zoe Quinn being a “victim of harassment”.
Doucet also approved another piece on October 9th, 2014, titled “The Zoe Quinn case: #GamerGate tearing [apart] the video game world”.
On January 21st, 2015, another piece was published on Les InRocks promoting Quinn’s Crash Override Network group. And more recently on June 15th, 2018 a piece was published about the #MeToo era “coming to video games”, and how women were coming to the forefront of the industry while condemning #GamerGate.
While Doucet didn’t actually write the articles himself, he was responsible for their approval and publishing.
However, that will no longer be the case for Doucet because he was fired from Les InRocks. He posted an apology on Twitter on February 9th, 2019 using the LOL League’s hashtag: #ligueduLOL.
— David Doucet (@Mancioday) February 10, 2019
In an article published on February 11th, 2019, French outlet L’express, detailed how many of the professional journalists involved with the harassment campaign – even with public apologies made – were dismissed from their positions. This included Vincent Glad and Alexandre Hervaud both being laid off from Liberation as a “precautionary measure”. Hervaud was also suspended from further contributing to the site Brain. Les Inrocks editor-in-chief David Doucet was also let go as a “precautionary measure”.
Christophe Carron, an editory from the French version of Slate, apologized for partaking in the group’s harassment campaigns, which – according to L’Express — persisted for 10 years, targeting women, minorities, and those in the LGBTQ community.
The article also notes that some disciplinary actions may also be taken in addition to the journalists being let go from their positions.
According to the article, online harassment can be punishable for up to three years of imprisonment and carry up to a €45,000 fine for acts committed after August, 2018. For harassment proven to be committed between 2014 and 2018, there’s a two year prison term and a fine up to €30,000.
There’s heavy irony here insofar that some of these journalists railed against #GamerGate, publishing calumny that it was a harassment campaign, all while they were part of a legitimate, actual harassment campaign against women.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely retractions will be made regarding the false statements about #GamerGate, even though a peer reviewed report from a feminist organization like Women Action Media!, couldn’t find enough evidence to support the claim that #GamerGate was a harassment campaign. This was also mirrored in the FBI report, where they concluded that were unable to find any actionable leads that warranted classifying it as a harassment campaign.
Even still, the lack of evidence didn’t stop journalists from making false statements that the movement to improve ethics in the media industry was a harassment campaign. Even though in reality it was actually the journalists proclaiming to be “woke feminists” who were actually engaged in a decade’s long harassment campaign against women.
(Thanks for the news tip Lyle)
(Main image courtesy of Galdelic)