Difference between revisions of "Zoe Quinn"
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Occupation Developer<br />
Occupation Developer<br />
Affiliations Loveshack Entertainment<br />
Affiliations Loveshack Entertainment<br />
Revision as of 06:50, 24 January 2018
Aliases: Locke Knife (porn name), Chelsea Van Valkenburg (birth name), various others
Affiliations Loveshack Entertainment
Zoe Quinn is an independent video game developer whose relationships with various members of the video game industry were the starting point for the Zoe Quinn Scandal and GamerGate. Game journalism outlets which covered the topic only discussed the harassment levied at Quinn and mostly refused to address the ethical concerns. This served as confirmation for many that the gaming press was unethical and biased. She has since been one of the main figures decrying GamerGate as a hate group defined by sexism and harassment. Even before the GamerGate hashtag was created, the amount of coverage in support of her and the lack of questioning of her unsubstantiated claims served as evidence to many that game journalism had become unconscionably entangled with the independent development scene. She has also written articles for Kotaku, thereby technically making her a 'journalist'.
In 2007, under the name Locke Valentine, Zoe modeled for two 'soft core "alt" erotica / porn' sites, Broken Dollz and Deviant Nation. On 14 July 2007, Zoe wrote on Deviant Nation about beginning a new job as a stripper in upstate New York. The next day, Zoe wrote again that she had left her new job, the compensation for which she was greatly disappointed in, after hospitalizing a customer who sexually assaulted her: "Someone licked my tit, I blacked out, knocked him out and probably shattered his eye socket. The ambulence[sic] was coming as I was leaving."
In late October 2007, photographer Mallorie Nasrallah visited Zoe's home in Albany, New York for three photo shoots over a weekend. On 3 October 2014, after seeing Cracked.com articles about Zoe and GamerGate, Nasrallah posted to Facebook relating her experiences, in which Zoe claimed to have fatally stabbed a rapist, to have been sexually assaulted numerous times and never reported it, and described her roommate with ableist and misogynist slurs when making claims the roommate herself later contradicted.
She claimed to have stabbed a man - attempted rapist - in the face, who had grabbed her. She relayed to me no less than three other accounts of alleged violent assault. [...] Two claims involved alleged workplace incidents, and were her prime explanation for why she could not hold a job. [...] She also claimed to have reported nothing to police, or management at her work.
Zoe informed me that her roommate, who had been involved in the shoots, either by being in the apartment, or smuggling us in to her place of work turned out to be a, " mentally unbalanced cunt," (her words not mine) among other things, and that it was unacceptable to use ANY of the photos we had taken that weekend. I was pretty upset about this, and sent her several messages asking if perhaps I could talk to the roommate, have her sign a waiver, or something, despite the fact that neither Zoe, nor I, had any legal obligation to ask the roommate's permission for ANYTHING. Zoe insisted that she was a crazy, evil bitch, and refused to provide me with any sort of contact information.
Finally, weeks later, a handful of other models I had worked with on the site messaged me to inform me that Zoe had written them and told them that I forced her to look at, "mutilated vagina," pictures, which she said, had horrified her, and she had basically sent me away then and there. The models she told this to knew me, and thankfully came to me with these nonsense claims. We had in fact discussed cosmetic surgery, while talking about modeling, and she had looked up Before/After Breast Implant images. The conversation moved on to Labiaplasty, and we looked at a few of those images as well. So, there is an inch of truth, in the really awful lie she told about me. There was never any force involved, and she was the one controlling the computer the whole time. This took place in her home, on her computer, with her boyfriend and roommate both in the room.
I decided it wasn't worth the fight. I was eventually contacted by the roommate, who told me a very different story to the one Zoe had, and I let the issue drop.
I was never paid for the images, because I respected her wishes and never published them. I still have the images in archive on my computer, because I archive everything. I was never reimbursed for the gas, wardrobe, or food I purchased on the trip. To someone starting their career, that was quite a dig to my wallet.
7 years later, Zoe is still BY FAR the worst client I have ever had.
What does this story have to do with GamerGate? When I realized Locke was Zoe, I was disgusted to see she was still playing the same games. Stealing, cheating, lying and claiming to be victimized by anyone and everyone. Maybe she did stab some guy in the face, and maybe in the first week at every new job she had, some guy tried to extort sex from her. Maybe that doesn't establish an MO on her part. But I know, I did nothing wrong to that woman, and I did not deserve to be lied about. I did not deserve to have my time and my money wasted, and even now, I wonder if opening my mouth about this means she will think of some new horse shit to spread about me to try to ruin my career. And that does seem to be her modus operandi.
Nasrallah emailed Zoe over claims she had made about Nasrallah's photo shoot to other models. In the email exchange, Zoe repeated her claim of "killing someone in self defense" during an attempted rape.
Nasrallah notes in a second Facebook post that "this correspondence took place on the adult modeling website Deviant Nation. This means Zoe had to use her ID to sign up, and so the account can be directly traced back to her." On 4 October, Eron Gjoni posted on Tumblr that "Mallorie sent me a bunch of proof that everything she was saying is true." 
Zoe Quinn was involved in a helldump, a goon board that doxxed and harassed furries. 
Wizardchan harassment allegations
On 12 December 2013, Zoe Quinn posted on twitter that she was being called and harassed by "channers" in relation to Depression Quest. She shared posts from a thread on Wizardchan in which two anonymous users made sexist statements involving her. The two posts in question claimed that she couldn't understand what it was like to be depressed because she was a woman. Over the next two days, Quinn was allegedly subjected to a "raid" in which she received unsolicited phone calls. The story was covered in numerous publications, which offered no evidence of harassment beyond the original two Wizardchan posts given by Zoe. Depression Quest was greenlit on 14 December, ostensibly due to this publicity and media coverage. Fredrick Brennan, the administrator of Wizardchan from March to September 2013, has stated in an interview with Knowyourmeme that Quinn herself orchestrated the supposed harassment. Brennan says he was informed by Glaive, the admin of Wizardchan at the time in which the incident took place, that referencing of IP logs have shown that Quinn was responsible for the alleged threats being posted on Wizardchan along with trolls coming to the image board from other websites.
Quinn was one of eleven developer contestants on GAME JAM, a televised reality show which famously crashed and burned on March 27, 2014, after a single day of shooting. There were numerous problems with the publication, which started before filming even began. The concept had changed from a documentary to a reality show without the developers being properly informed, the contracts they were requested to sign were unfair, the product placement was incredibly invasive, and provided computers malfunctioned. Despite the setbacks production moved into the first day of filming before it was ultimately canceled. The failure of the event was ultimately the responsibility of Matti Leshem, the consultant hired by Pepsi to manage the brand friendliness.
It was Leshem who, when Quinn and Jon Jafari (JonTron) had a disagreement, attempted to force them into a shouting match for the sake of drama. When that failed, he attempted to introduce sexist drama by asking the teams "Two of the other teams have women on them. Do you think they're at a disadvantage?" and, to Adriel Wallick's team, "Do you think you're at an advantage because you have a pretty girl on your team?" This offensive line of questioning stopped the production dead in its tracks. Quinn, Wallick, Robin Arnott, and Davey Wreden were all ready to leave the production at this point, but stayed behind as the rest of the developers discussed if they could salvage the program. Unfortunately everybody's enthusiasm for the event had long since waned and the event was canceled.
After GAME_JAM ended, Quinn desired to start a game jam of her own, run to her own standards. The jam she decided to organize was Rebel Jam, which professes to be a documentary like GAME_JAM was originally meant to be. The website for Rebel Jam was registered on 1 April 2014, 5 days after GAME_JAM was canceled, but has extremely few details, lacking a start date or formal plans. Despite the lack of details, Quinn solicits donations on the website, which sends funds to her personal account. This account is also used for Patreon and Depression Quest donations.
The eagerness to start collecting donations, the fact that the donations go directly to her personal account, and her role in the collapse of GAME_JAM have led some to speculate that Quinn intentionally sabotaged GAME_JAM in order to promote her own jam. They point to the fact that, if GAME_JAM were to fail, the interest in a televised game jam would remain and could be transferred to Rebel Jam. However, there were a large amount of factors completely outside Quinn's control that contributed to the failure of GAME_JAM. Moreover, many of the developers seemed interested in another future project with Maker Studios and Polaris, and Rebel Jam would likely not be able to compete with another production with Maker Studio's resources.
The Fine Young Capitalists
On 28 February 2014 Quinn had a much publicized run-in with The Fine Young Capitalists, a company that aimed to help women who had no development experience make and sell a game, chosen by voters, with most proceeds going to charity. She misunderstood the project and believed that the women were being asked to work for free. She also believed that their policy regarding transgendered individuals was intolerant. Unsatisfied with the answers she got, and upon realizing the traffic generated to their website had caused it to crash, she and Maya Kramer celebrated "killing an exploitative startup's website."
Quinn and Kramer's discussion induced former Destructoid writer Jonathan Ross to publicly tweet Facebook posts from one of TFYC's partners, Matthew Rappard. Rappard did not appear in any public information because he preferred to remain a silent partner. Rappard held Quinn partially accountable for this because he (incorrectly) believed Kramer was Quinn's PR agent, and because Quinn retweeted or replied to a tweet containing his information, spreading the information to all her followers.
Because of Quinn's much publicized accusations that they were exploitative, and because of the lack of verification that Quinn's claims underwent in the press, TFYC struggled to get any coverage for their project from gaming news outlets. Not wanting the project to fail because of this, in early August, 2014, TFYC attempted to contact Quinn and Maya to address her issues with the project, and even offered Quinn a paid consultation position, but they received no reply. Now feeling desperate, on 17 August, Rappard posted on reddit about what happened to the production as a plea for help. Rappard's reddit post got massive amounts of attention. When criticized for her treatment of TFYC, on 24 August Zoe dismissed the criticism with demonstrably false claims that she had only made "4 tweets" about them and that she had been ambivalent. Concerned that Rappard incorrectly claimed that she had doxxed them, Quinn contacted TFYC on 27 August.
Over the next week they exchanged a number of emails attempting to craft a statement that TFYC would publish to declare that they had reached an understanding. They also talked on the phone, where they discussed the possiblity of publicizing their accord at PAX to further repair their images. In the end they agreed to a wording for the peace treaty and it was published on TFYC blog on 29 August. They also edited their reddit comment and replaced with with an audio recording less focused on blaming Quinn.
Shortly after the publication of the peace treaty, on 5 September, TFYC posted a small excerpt of their email conversation with Quinn on twitter as evidence that Maya had doxxed them. Quinn felt that TFYC had used their emails to attack a woman and stopped talking to them. This sudden falling out after TFYC had helped her get funding for her Rebel Jam left them feeling used, so they took down the peace treaty and redirected the URL to a more harshly worded statement published on 3 September.
One month later, on 14 October, Quinn posted the emails she had sent with TFYC to attempt to put to rest the misconception that she had doxxed TFYC. In retaliation, TFYC posted an email sent to Maya Kramer intended to show they sincerely tried to reach an understanding and to correct what Quinn and Kramer felt was wrong with the project. This led to an argument where they both accused the other party of lying about them.
The Zoe Post
Much of the criticism levied at Quinn stems from Zoe Quinn Scandal, a blog published by her ex-boyfriend, Eron Gjoni, on August 16, 2014. The contents of thezoepost were originally posted as threads on Something Awful and Penny Arcade, where they were swiftly deleted, leading Gjoni to create a WordPress blog. In it, Gjoni alleged that Quinn had sexual relationships with at least five men in the gaming industry, and possibly more. Only three were identified by name:
- Nathan Grayson, journalist at Rock Paper Shotgun and later Kotaku, confirmed by Stephen Totilo, editor-in-chief of Kotaku
- Robin Arnott, a video game sound designer and developer
- Joshua Boggs, head developer of Loveshack Entertainment, Zoe's boss
That same day, popular YouTuber Mundane Matt released a video about Quinn's relationships and the allegations in thezoepost, paying specific attention to the fact that, when talking with Gjoni, Quinn seemed most concerned with saving her career. The video description contained a link to an imgur album created by members of Wizardchan responding to Quinn's allegations of harassment, originally uploaded on 11 April 2014. The album was submitted to reddit on 17 August, where it garnered significant attention.
On 18 August, Quinn filed a spurious DCMA takedown request on Matt's video on the grounds of it containing an image from her game; this image was later shown to be an item of promotional material from the official Depression Quest website. Later that day, Matt uploaded an edited version of the video with the image removed, which received significantly more views than the original upload. The original video was reinstated by YouTube on 21 August.
On August 18, YouTuber Internet Aristocrat uploaded a video concerning the allegations surrounding Quinn shortly after Matt's video was taken down. In it, he describes the harassment Quinn claimed to have faced from Wizardchan, the manner in which her game was greenlit, the amount of press devoted to supporting her, and the censorship of discussion critical of her, including the takedown of Matt's video. To describe this seeming conspiracy, Internet Aristocrat coined the term "Quinnspiracy". His video became the seminal resource for people new to the topic, getting nearly a million views and a huge amount of attention on reddit, where it was submitted on 19 August 2014. Quinnspiracy would be used to describe this controversy until Adam Baldwin coined the term "GamerGate" on 27 August 2014.
Conflicts of Interest
Upon finding out that she had connections to people inside the videogame industry, many gamers began to suspect that these connections influenced the amount of positive coverage she and her game got. The earliest example unearthed was Quinn's role in IndieCade 2013. While Depression Quest did not win any awards during this show, it was chosen for the 2013 Night Games Festival, which is an exhibition of games chosen by IndieCade staff held on 5 October 2013. The person responsible for selecting the Night Games was Robin Arnott, one of the men with whom Quinn was to later have a sexual relationship.
More controversial still was Nathan Grayson, who gave her game special consideration in a Rock Paper Shotgun article he wrote about greenlit Steam games on 8 January 2014, shortly after her successful greenlight campaign. Grayson would again cover Quinn during his coverage of GDC 2014 which was held from 17–21 March 2014 in San Francisco. As GDC was ending, Grayson interviewed Quinn on a Rock Paper Shotgun video blog uploaded on 22 March. After moving to Kotaku, Grayson wrote about Quinn yet again on 31 March 2014, in which he mentioned her role in a failed game jam TV show.
More investigating would establish a timeline for Quinn and Grayson's relationship. Shortly after GDC, Quinn, Grayson, and then-writer for Indie Statik Jared Rosen went on a road trip to Las Vegas. The trip was planned by 30 March, one day before Grayson's Kotaku article mentioning Quinn. It was on this trip that Quinn and Grayson started their romantic relationship. The trip to Vegas did not seem to be a work related function, since Grayson never wrote about it. This suggests that Greyson and Quinn were at the very least friends at the time Grayson wrote the Kotaku article, even though no connection to Quinn was disclosed.
Quinn appears to have been friends with Patricia Hernandez since March 2013, as tweets from that month reveal that they were planning to meet up with each other. Despite of this, Patricia gave Zoe positive coverage in two articles from May and December 2014 without initially disclosing her friendship with Zoe in said articles.
On March 19, 2014, Ben Kuchera, senior editor at Polygon, published an interview with Quinn that focused on the harassment she claimed to have received from Wizardchan, and, overall, portrayed her in a positive light. It was not disclosed at the time of the interview that Kuchera had been giving money to Quinn via Patreon since January 6, 2014. and that Philip Kollar, a deputy review editor at Polygon, had been doing the same thing since January 9, 2014.
On 13 October 2014, Quinn was invited to be a guest on a live Huffington Post segment. Initially, Quinn agreed, but after finding out that HotWheels would be there, and that it would be a debate, not an interview, she backed out, because HotWheels was the admin of 8chan, part of which was unfriendly to her. Quinn said she felt like she had almost been lured into a trap. The interview was held on 14 October without her in attendance.
On August 19, 2014, an anonymous user on 4chan's /v/ board claimed to have hacked Zoe Quinn's tumblr account and called for 4chan to raid the account. 4chan users generally refused to participate and accused Quinn of hacking her own account, declaring it an obvious honeypot. Investigation into the posted hack revealed--among others things--a phone number that led to a defunct repair shop and a Hawaiian area code, indicating that, no matter who posted the hack, they were lying about themselves.
According to several leaked Ghazi IRC logs, Zoe Quinn was briefly involved in the coding of Fez. 
In mid September, Quinn filed for and was granted ex parte a 209a temporary restraining order (TRO) against her ex-boyfriend and thezoepost author Eron Gjoni. The order included a custom prior restraint clause ordering Gjoni “not to post any further information about the plaintiff or her personal life online or to encourage "hate mobs"”.
Despite Quinn's supporting affidavit focusing almost exclusively on purely online speech and harassment, Quinn sought an 209a abuse prevention order, an order for preventing "physical harm" or coerced sexual relations, rather than a 258e harassment prevention order. According to Gjoni, "There have actually already been cases saying you can't use harassment restraining orders as gag order," while abuse prevention orders have "no such free speech precedent yet" in Massachusetts. At the end of the affidavit, Quinn makes three claims implying potential for future physical harm from Gjoni immediately before asking the court to gag Gjoni from speaking publicly or to people in the games industry: that Gjoni "admitted mental instability" (Gjoni has described experiencing symptoms of schizoid personality disorder, such as lacking emotional reactions, as a defense mechanism against emotional abuse), that he wrote an "email that he had a history of being violent with a family member" (Gjoni's friend Ben Hitov reports having read the email which says "he tackled his grandfather once when he was eight and his grandfather hit his head on a cabinet"), and that he was "violent during our last sexual encounter" on the night of July 14, the same night described by Gjoni in thezoepost Act 3.
On 30 September 2014, a court hearing was held in which the judge granted the order be made 'permanent' (one year in duration). On 23 October 2014, a scan of Quinn's affidavit, dated 16 September, was posted online:
On or about August 16, 2014, the Defendant wrote and published a long post about my sex life and private dealings to several websites that he knew had a history of harassing me. He was aware that harassment and stalking would happen, and openly admits to doing so to damage my professional reputation as an independent artist. Since then I have received numerous death and rape threats from an anonymous mob that he had given details to. My personal info like my home address, phone number, emails, passwords, and those of my family have been widely distributed, alongside nude photos of me, and several of my professional accounts and those of my colleagues have been hacked.
Eron has coached this mob multiple times, made multiple social media accounts to smear my name publicly, and has stoked the fire of this on many occasions and doesn't seem to be stopping. He has also called hotels that he suspected me of staying at, falsifying information to give more personal info to the mob. I am in fear of him as he is not repentant for the mob's harassment of me and keeps hinting at giving them more information, which he knows will continue inciting the threats and harassment.
He also was violent during our last sexual encounter in July, prior to breaking up, leaving several bruises on my arm. My friend [redacted] stayed with me in the hotel Eron and I had shared after this, having seen the bruises on my arm + noticing he still had a hotel key because we feared he would come back. Eron has also admitted mental instability to me, and informed me via email that he had a history of being violent with a family member. For these reasons, I ask that he be ordered to stay away from me, not contact me, and stop providing any information about me to those involved in an ongoing harassment + stalking campaigns against me, and stop contacted friends and professional colleagues to try and destroy my business.
I have several hundred pages of evidence if needed, and FBI complaint #1409092052252061 SFPD case #140711557, and Boston PD case #142029502.
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