The parent company of Escapist Magazine, Enthusiast Gaming, decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of keeping the battle going and they decided to settle at the pre-trial on August 8th.
The news was barely covered in a single sentence post over on the Escapist Magazine website, which doesn’t offer any details about the case, but simply reads…
“Enthusiast Gaming and Robert Marks have settled, to their mutual satisfaction, a lawsuit of which the details will remain confidential.”
A more thorough explanation of events was rolled out on a Medium post by Robert B. Marks on August 30th, 2019.
In the post Marks explains that much of the settlement is behind non-disclosure agreements, but goes further into the nitty gritty of the claims, writing…
“So, now that this is over, it feels good to be vindicated. Over the course of this lawsuit, Enthusiast Gaming had a full year with unfettered access to The Escapist archives. And yet, they could not produce a single article that contained antisemitism, racism, misogyny, or that articulated an extremist ideology of any sort. The closest they ever came were the Gamergate interviews, most of which did not provide open support for Gamergate, and those few that did limited themselves to criticism of how video games were covered by the media — the worst they got was the occasional use of the pejorative “SJW,” and not a single one advocated for reduced diversity in the world of gaming or video game design.”
This all spawned from former editor-in-chief Russ Pitts claiming that The Escapist courted a community of the Alt-Right and Nazis, which turned out to be patently false.
Marks notes that the false allegations hurt his association with the interactive entertainment medium, and that Pitts’ insistence that he had to “erase Alt-Right stink” from The Escapist when he returned as the editor-in-chief was damaging to Marks’ writing career.
In the Medium post, Marks explains that it never should have required a lawsuit to make amends for Pitts’ comments, and that today’s outrage culture affords some of the worst people platforms to spew all sorts of defamation against and about people they don’t like, writing…
“I hope that my actions over the last year have at least some sort of chilling effect on the discourse. Right now, allegations that are potentially career- and life-destroying are made with ease — in fact, one of the worst things about all of this was how casually the defamatory statements were made. And, it’s easy to make harmful and even devastating statements about people when you feel as though there will be no meaningful consequences against you for your actions.
“But, I hope I’ve proven that there are, that one can be held to account for defaming somebody. I hope that what I’ve done gives people pause before they attack a stranger on the Internet with a potentially life-destroying allegation. I hope all of that from the bottom of my heart.
“Because nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, should ever have to go through what I did ever again.”
Unfortunately somebody did go through that just recently, and his name was Alec Holowka. He was a independent game developer from Canada, and he ended his life after having his career destroyed based on unsubstantiated allegations.
Holowka was unable to fight against his allegations, though, because they were widespread and propped up by someone protected within the gaming industry… Zoe Quinn.
After his friends publicly defamed him and fired him from the company he helped build, Holowka fell back into a deep depression that he had been fighting and ultimately committed suicide just a couple of days after the allegations spread around Twitter.
This kind of outrage-based cancel culture isn’t just career-threatening, as outlined in Marks’ lawsuit, but it’s also life-threatening, as evidenced in the case involving Alec Holowka.