The Quinnspiracy: How One Woman Called Journalistic Integrity and the Video Games Industry Into Question

Zoe Quinn is a woman who has found a following. Her Twitter feed is followed by over 23,000 people who have taken it upon themselves to answer to her every beck and call.

To her credit, she is an accomplished video game developer. Her published work, Depression Quest, found a home on Steam thanks to a crowd voted system called Greenlight.

Voting fans skyrocketed her notoriety on the biggest games distribution platform for PC. She also has taken on technology directly by installing electronics in her body, becoming the first true “cyberpunk.”

Her installations include a magnet in her finger and a chip in her opposite arm that holds keys to a free download of Deus-Ex, a game about a cyberpunk future.

What makes her feed blow up more than anything, however, is her posts about feminism and related issues. Finding fault almost strictly men, especially at games conventions, Quinn found some attention in the Social Justice Warrior crowd.

SJW is a name often associated with people take it upon themselves to fight against the ills that they see in the world, namely misogyny.

Having Quinn as a sort of representative for their causes fostered a mutual relationship over time.

Quinn found people she could appeal to her work and her followers got to speak poorly of anyone who wouldn’t recognize the special statuses of those they have sworn to fight for. Eventually this relationship would come to a head.

In a massive reveal in Aug. 16, Zoe’s ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni created a blog on WordPress called “The Zoe Post” that was a massive tirade and attack on Quinn and her character.

On the site, he airs all of their dirty laundry including her manipulative nature, accusations about her cheating on him multiple times and, by her own definition, an admission of her having raped him.

To corroborate these claims, Gjoni posted a massive image file of text conversations between the two of them. In it, Zoe admits to having slept with at least 5 people while the two were still dating. Three of those people turned out to be men who worked in games journalism.

Among the listed men included Quinn’s boss Joshua Boggs. In a summary video called “Quinnspiracy Theory: The Five Guys Saga,” poster InternetAristocrat explains that while Gjoni and Quinn were still dating, she slept with her boss.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Boggs himself was married. According to Quinn’s definition of sex without consent, it “is inherently wrong even if the person who was cheated on never finds out, because if the unfaithful party then has sex with their partner they are doing so under false pretenses and therefore without their partner’s consent.”

Three of the other men listed are indie game devs. The final name, though, is the most important.

Nathan Grayson is a video game journalist who writes for major online publications for game news, among them being Rock Paper Shotgun and Kotaku.

Kotaku draws nearly 7 million unique viewers a month. Grayson, while under the employ of these sites, has given only positive reviews of Quinn’s products and accomplishments while the two slept together. Instead of recusing himself of Quinn, Grayson went out of his way to hide evidence of their relationship.

If it was strictly a professional or friendly relationship that Quinn had with the men in question, that would be one thing. It wouldn’t be an issue. Instead, she took it upon herself to sleep with men that could aid her career.

She got her name into the spotlight of major sites where millions might see it. That is not to say that these men are free from guilt. Far from it, they willingly ignored journalistic integrity for sex and clicks, the latter of which paid them in ad revenue.

In the end, both made money from their deception of the public at large.

However, the deception does not stop there. A group called The Fine Young Capitalists are a small independent group who were running a contest for charity, called “Women in Video Game Production,” the idea was to have five women pitch ideas for a game which would be crowd funded via Indiegogo.

The ideas would be voted on by the public. Once a winner was chosen, the game would begin production with 8 percent of the money raised going to the winner as a prize and the rest to be used for game production.

Once published, all profits made by the game would go to a charity of the Indiegogo’s choosing.

Quinn, in trademark fashion, decided to “call out” TFYC for something she saw as sexist or, at the very least, anti-feminist. “Why do you expect women to work for free to make games,” she asked, ignoring the 8 percent cash award.

Quinn insisted that the idea was oppressive to women and began a tirade on her Twitter account, drawing the ire of her army of SJW’s.

These people took it upon themselves to crash the TFYC’s website, “dox” (steal personal information about) people working for TFYC and spread it in various venues, and personally had TFYC’s Twitter account banned for a time.

As though things couldn’t get worse, the only reason Quinn attacked TFYC in the first place is very telling of her character. Quinn’s own “Rebel Jam” game competition has similar ideas about helping women make games, as well as others in the independent game scene (which would undoubtedly include the three she slept with).

Only, her idea requires a production film crew as she wanted to make it into a YouTube show. This idea only came as a response to an earlier drama involving Quinn and a failed film production game jam that she walked out on, to date, “Rebel Jam” has no start date, no location, no listed participants or judges, but has raised money since it began taking shape in April.

As detailed in a post on Reddit by a TFYC employee going by the name SillySladar, in response to all of these attacks TFYC’s tried to reason with Quinn.

They offered her payment to consult on future projects and an immediate closure of their contest if Quinn offered an explanation about what was offensive about the contest as a whole.

Quinn then ignored TFYC and let the storm rage without abatement, much to the chagrin of a company with only good intentions.

Seemingly out of nowhere members of the /v/ board of 4chan, normally regarded as one of the most controversial websites on the internet, found the story and decided to fight back against Quinn and her cronies.

Normally, 4chan takes it upon themselves to fight back the ills they see. Sometimes, this creates a wake of chaos that seems like random attacks.

People who frequent the site are regarded as “trolls” or people who make trouble for fun.

In this instance, /v/ helped fund 1/3rd of the TFYC campaign on their own and chose the charity that would benefit.

Never straying from a chance to be funny, they chose a charity that researches colon cancer so that they might help “cure butthurt.”

Because of their level of funding, they also had a chance to design a character that would be integrated into the winning game. Arguably the best thing to come of this entire situation is Vivian James.

Her name is a bastardization of “vidja games”, /v/’s favorite past time. She’s a teenager, approximately 16-18-years-old, and she’s a hardcore gamer.

She’s modestly dressed in a sweater and jeans, and only cares about playing games and doesn’t take crap from anyone who wants to deny her that right.

TFYC loved the design and the ideals behind James so much that they vowed to print shirts that would be for sale. All profits will also go to the colon cancer research charity.

Without warning, the world of video games has been turned on its head. Journalistic integrity has been found, in some places, to simply not exist.

A woman who so desperately seeks attention found sleeping with men while involved in a relationship a means to an end to further her career. The “most wretched hive of scum and villainy” on the internet, 4chan, is quickly becoming the hero.

When 4chan is seen by the world at large as a force for good in a situation then clearly those they are fighting are deserving of their comeuppance.