The NeoGAF Controversy

Image: NeoGAF

NeoGAF, one of the most pre-eminent, and longest-running, forums for gaming discussion on the internet was offline for a few days earlier this week. What caused this trouble? NeoGAF’s owner, Tyler “EviLore” Malka, was the centre of allegations of sexual harassment. Soon after this allegation was made, it spread like wildfire across the forum.

NeoGAF’s community leans left politically, and many of its members are vocal supporters of movements like feminism and LGBT+ causes. Many were understandably horrified that the owner of the forums had been accused of sexual assault while the forum publicly decries such behaviour. This news was especially damning, coming hot off the heels of the Harvey Weinstein debacle. Some members were confused wanting to hear what the site’s owner had to say.

This news was especially damning, coming hot off the heels of the Harvey Weinstein debacle

Others took their chance to voice long-standing complaints about the forum they felt scared to voice prior. Some made “suicide posts”, asking to be banned or choosing to flood the board with memes and nonsense. Much of this behaviour was unusual for the site, due to its heavy moderation and stringent registration requirements. Many of these moderators resigned from their positions in response to the allegations made against Malka. The site soon went down after this.

So why is this a big deal? NeoGAF has long been a major hub of activity and discussion for gamers. Many developers and figures within the industry have taken to the forums to discuss upcoming projects or hardware. Some members of the site have become industry insiders. Many of the leaks we have read in the last few years (from leaked game projects and ideas to hardware specs of unreleased consoles) originated on NeoGAF, and NeoGAF is usually one of the first places to break any major gaming news.

Issues of sexual harassment (especially to women) is rife across much of the media industry, video games being no exception

Malka eventually released a statement, saying that the allegations were made by a vindictive ex, and have no factual basis. Despite this, the damage has already been done. Issues of sexual harassment (especially to women) is rife across much of the media industry, video games being no exception. This incident, involving the owner of a site very vocal of its stance against such behaviour, has stained the site’s reputation. Many members have since quit for greener pastures, leaving the site in droves.

Only time will tell if NeoGAF can recover from this blow but, as of now, the community remains upset and fractured. It also goes to show just how widespread the issue of sexual harassment is, and that more needs to be done to making many walks of life (including the gaming industry) more welcoming, and safer, places to be.

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