Alec Holowka (Night in the Woods, TowerFall) accused of sexual assault [Update: Alec Holowka has reportedly passed away] [See staff posts/threadmarks]

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JasonMCG

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,513
Denver, CO
What an awful situation. I don’t even know what to say aside from I hope this serves as a (albeit horrific) cautionary tale and everyone involved gets the help they need.
 
Oct 25, 2017
13,749
Sweden
I read some of this earlier and the people saying the want Era to basically focus on just discussing games in a nice, hype focussed way, and not to feature discussions like troubling issues like this...

I’m a little torn. More from a really selfish basis and wanting to preserve my sanity from time to time while still being able to come on this site. Sometimes I just avoid Etcetera because there’s so much depressing shit. It’s nice to just come back to Gaming and get excited about the future next gen consoles or whatever. However, no, I don’t think these kinds of discussions should be curtailed.

If I could choose it, however, I would quite like to be able to filter these sorts of stories out altogether sometimes. Maybe put them under a different sub category of discussions?

I dunno, it’s not easy. We can’t hide from this stuff, and indeed all sorts of injustices regarding the gaming industry and the people who make or report about the games we play shouldn’t be hidden. I’m just asking for maybe some filtering of some sort.
there is functionality to filter threads by thread title on an account level. i haven't used it myself, but you should be able to filter out e.g. threads containing the wordd "abuse", "assault", "accused" if these threads are negatively affecting your mental health
 

Karish

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,116
It's a pretty massive contradiction that people think we should talk less about abuse and that the victims should be more silent when the abuser was a former victim himself who, if he had been free to be more open and talk about it earlier on in his life, might have got the help he needed to not turn into an abuser and eventually take his own life as a result.

But silence is the answer, sure. Just let the courts handle it somehow. It's better if we don't actually figure out how to deal with these issues as a culture, because it's not our place, and victims should know that nobody wants to hear about it unless it's in a courtroom.
👏👏👏
 

stupei

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,870
I don't think it's a coincidence that he killed himself after these accusations resulted in the loss of his job and status. A more reasonable form of justice permits a person to respond to the allegations before facing consequences for them.
Given that his sister's statement suggests (more than once) that she believes his accuser, I'm not sure what response you imagine he would have had. This was his response. It's tragic, but it's not something that was done to him. It's his reaction to his own actions having consequences. It's very, very tragic, but what difference do you imagine there being if he was on his way to jail?

It honestly just sounds like you think there shouldn't be any actions taken unless someone goes to jail. How is that less vindictive and life ruining than a company publicly stating they don't want to continue to work with someone they no longer trust?

I don't get why these people dont talk to the police but instead to twitter followers. Someone said that we should not talk about game devs personal lifes but it's real hard when they wrote these kind of stuff to twitter.
I'm not trying to be a dick, but these kinds of posts seem so naive.

You realize that police barely run the rape kits they receive with actual DNA results, right? They don't even bother when they have forensic evidence of things that happened last night. What do you think they're going to do about coerced sex that happened years ago? I mean that honestly, what do you imagine happening that helps anyone at all? The reason you say something on Twitter is if you fear someone might still be doing this to other vulnerable people. At least that way you might prevent future abuse.
 

morrigan8bit

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Banned
Jul 1, 2019
249
They say that suicide is the cowards way out but this one feels especally cowardly
What an awful person you are.

I lost a dear friend to suicide over a decade ago. he was neither a coward nor deserved to be called one. What a terrible thing to say in light of this tragic turn of events.
 

DavidDesu

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,932
Glasgow, Scotland
there is functionality to filter threads by thread title on an account level. i haven't used it myself, but you should be able to filter out e.g. threads containing the wordd "abuse", "assault", "accused" if these threads are negatively affecting your mental health
Ahh didn’t realise you could do that, thought it was just hiding threads that you’ve already seen. It’s not that bad, I just need to get off the internet and stop checking news all the time anyway.
 

Delriach

Designer at Iron Galaxy Studios
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
656
Chicago
It's super tiring seeing people spew weird narratives not based on any semblance of reality.

Everything about this situation is obviously messed up. But there seems to be a huge lack of self awareness from all the people who were tweeting at both Alec's sister and Zoe. Literally doing the exact thing they were claiming is Zoe's fault after she brought things to light. Let's not pretend like the people hating on Zoe currently weren't already hating on Zoe previously.

All you have to do was just search her name on twitter and you'd see the crazy abusive stuff constantly thrown her way. If you look at the NeoGAF thread when the allegations started, Tyler Malka (EviLore), was literally one of the first to chime in with a totally insensitive remark that made it clear that it was ok to pile hateful messages her way.

If people actually cared about what could possibly happen with a mob mentality then they wouldn't actually do that stuff when it plays into the arguments they want to make. This isn't even getting into all the weird conspiracy stuff I've seen. You see this same crap when it comes to review bombs too. Or people getting upset that a game is adding more options to a character creator. It's ok for them to mob up if it suits their tastes. Maybe take a step back and realize that you're literally the problem that you're complaining about before trying to blame others?

Anyway. I don't believe that a person calling out their abuser should be held responsible for the actions of their abuser. They already dealt with enough. Also, anyone with any sort of empathy would feel terrible about this outcome. Have you seen the crap people were saying to her before the account was deleted? Imagine your notifications being filled with comments saying you killed someone. That shit is not cool.
 
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stupei

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,870
Sorry to bother, but I can't find those statement/tweet, any help?
It seems like a lot of the twitters associated with this event have been deleted, made private, etc, but I'm taking this from the IGN write up from earlier today:

"Those who know me will know that I believe survivors and I have always done everything I can to support survivors, those suffering from mental illnesses, and those with chronic illnesses. Alec was a victim of abuse and he also spent a lifetime battling mood and personality disorders. I will not pretend that he was not also responsible for causing harm, but deep down he was a person who wanted only to offer people care and kindness. It took him a while to figure out how."
There's quite a bit more, including apparently a follow up tweet where she said Alec specifically said he wished the best for Zoe "so don’t use our grief as an excuse to harass people."
 

Nerokis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,421
I don't understand all the people invoking "mob mentality" in this thread.

Is there evidence that Alec was being harassed, or that public backlash on social media had a role of prominence in his tragic suicide at all? Did places like Resetera lead the public discussion being had where people who once feared Alec felt emboldened to come together and reveal how much he hurt them, or force the industry to reckon with his abusive tendencies, or cause previous connections of his to cut ties with him?

Also, even to the extent that people responded to stories like Zoe's with shock and disgust, was it really "mob mentality" that drove those responses?

Rushing to blame "the mob" in this situation seems off-base on multiple levels. This was a tragic ending to a moment that seemed hopeful just a little bit ago: people who had felt forced into silence finally speaking out, showing solidarity with one another, pushing the industry toward much needed change. Distributing blame in the face of suicide is almost always problematic, and it seems to me that's even more true than usual this time around. Some tragedies just aren't conducive to simple solutions. It turns out that when you layer abuse on top of abuse on top of abuse, it's very difficult to maneuver around it all without hurting someone.
 

Dr. Monkey

Mafia MVP
Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,100
I read some of this earlier and the people saying the want Era to basically focus on just discussing games in a nice, hype focussed way, and not to feature discussions like troubling issues like this...

I’m a little torn. More from a really selfish basis and wanting to preserve my sanity from time to time while still being able to come on this site. Sometimes I just avoid Etcetera because there’s so much depressing shit. It’s nice to just come back to Gaming and get excited about the future next gen consoles or whatever. However, no, I don’t think these kinds of discussions should be curtailed.

If I could choose it, however, I would quite like to be able to filter these sorts of stories out altogether sometimes. Maybe put them under a different sub category of discussions?

I dunno, it’s not easy. We can’t hide from this stuff, and indeed all sorts of injustices regarding the gaming industry and the people who make or report about the games we play shouldn’t be hidden. I’m just asking for maybe some filtering of some sort.
Speaking as an individual user here and not as a mod--

I get the compulsion to look away. It's a lot sometimes, to confront all the horrors in the world; sometimes it's nice to just think about and talk about games or movies or whatever. But I think it's already too easy for us to ignore things that don't directly impact us. I think filters just make that even easier.
 

Delriach

Designer at Iron Galaxy Studios
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
656
Chicago
I don't understand all the people invoking "mob mentality" in this thread.

Is there evidence that Alec was being harassed, or that public backlash on social media had a role of prominence in his tragic suicide at all? Did places like Resetera lead the public discussion being had where people who once feared Alec felt emboldened to come together and reveal how much he hurt them, or force the industry to reckon with his abusive tendencies, or cause previous connections of his to cut ties with him?

Also, even to the extent that people responded to stories like Zoe's with shock and disgust, was it really "mob mentality" that drove those responses?

Rushing to blame "the mob" in this situation seems off-base on multiple levels. This was a tragic ending to a moment that seemed hopeful just a little bit ago: people who had felt forced into silence finally speaking out, showing solidarity with one another, pushing the industry toward much needed change. Distributing blame in the face of suicide is almost always problematic, and it seems to me that's even more true than usual this time around. Some tragedies just aren't conducive to simple solutions. It turns out that when you layer abuse on top of abuse on top of abuse, it's very difficult to maneuver around it all without hurting someone.
Alec's account was made private shortly after the allegations. But from what I've seen of the discourse it was more along the lines of expected reactions of shock than a mob trying to ruin the person's life. In fact, there's more proof of a mob going after Zoe than vice versa.
 

Accoun

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,432
Sorry to bother, but I can't find those statement/tweet, any help?

Not perfect, but I think this is the best screencap posted so far. There was a follow-up I think, but I haven't seen a screenshot yet.
Sadly, she was being harassed after posting (someone earlier ITT claimed they saw her being accused of "being on it with Zoe" and called a traitor) so she locked her account.
 

NoName999

Member
Oct 29, 2017
4,472
Watching people go out of their way to continue to slander a dude who spent a year very obviously deteriorating from mental illness before taking his own life is aggressively unpleasant.

I reject the idea that a lack of empathy or understanding is a default state of being. As a queer woman who also suffers from mental illness, I'm personally capable of nuance, and it's actually not that hard to pull off.
You just admitted to not giving a shit about someones suicide if they called you something offensive a few days prior, even if they were evidently severely troubled to where they were not acting like how they used to. Id say you have a lot of growing to do and should probably start with not referring to suicide as "doing the deed"
You do realize that most victims of abuse don't advocate for the deaths or torture or whatever of abusers, right? That most people who have experienced this, while they do have anger about what has happened to them, most of them just want further suffering to end. You aren't on the side of victims when you post shit like what you've been posting. Sensitivity and understanding are the bare fucking miminimum when it comes to approaching situations like this.
Where the fuck did I advocate for torture or death? I'm trying to say that the abused don't have any obligation to sympathize their abuser if said abuser kill themselves.

Why is everyone misrepresenting what I'm trying to say? I knew this was fucking coming.

And for the record, guys. Our anger at Etika and Alec didn't kill them. They didn't die by our hands. We did not push them over the edge. It's not our fault. We can feel bad about their deathswithout feeling guilty.


And stop fucking hiding mental illness. Do you know how insulting that is? He's not an invalid. He knew what he did was wrong. What if someone did the same to you like he did to Zoe? Would you really like it if defenders said "mental illness. don't be mad at him lulz"

And now I await the same people calling for sensitivity to call me a heartless, angry shrill without seeing a hint of irony of hypocrisy.
Ironically, you're not any better than me. But at least I'm not hiding behind some false sense of civility.

I have mental illness. You don't see me being emotionally abusive to my significant other. stupel, you mean to tell me that your mental illness made you have hate filled twitter posts? lvl 99 Pixel, just answer my question. It should be clear that I wouldn't be upset if you said you wouldn't care if I died if I treated you like garbage.

But hey guys, thanks for not even following your own call for fucking sensitivity. Thanks for implying that I'm a heartless monster too. Way to live up to the call for understanding.

THANKS FOR FUCKING NOTHING!
 

morrigan8bit

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Banned
Jul 1, 2019
249
Anyway. I don't believe that a person calling out their abuser should be held responsible for the actions of their abuser. They already dealt with enough.
You are correct a victim is not responsible for the actions of their abuser. However, I'm not sure I agree with naming and shaming someone on Twitter being the correct course of action. It should be done via the authorities who will take action.

Interestingly enough there has been a recent debate in the UK around whether or not "abusers" should be named on the basis of accusation alone. Especially in the light of trial by social media.

It's a tough call really as we want/need victims to come forward, but we need to protect those from false accusations.
 

Sibylus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,756

Not perfect, but I think this is the best screencap posted so far. There was a follow-up I think, but I haven't seen a screenshot yet.
Sadly, she was being harassed after posting (someone earlier ITT claimed they saw her being accused of "being on it with Zoe" and called a traitor) so she locked her account.
I saw a lot of that before the account locked down, yeah. There were also a couple of people (trolls or otherwise) that were all too happy to celebrate his death in the comments of her post.
 

Delriach

Designer at Iron Galaxy Studios
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
656
Chicago
You are correct a victim is not responsible for the actions of their abuser. However, I'm not sure I agree with naming and shaming someone on Twitter being the correct course of action. It should be done via the authorities who will take action.

Interestingly enough there has been a recent debate in the UK around whether or not "abusers" should be named on the basis of accusation alone. Especially in the light of trial by social media.

It's a tough call really as we want/need victims to come forward, but we need to protect those from false accusations.
I think you're putting too much stock into authorities actually doing something. Maybe in a more just world where things work like how they are supposed to this would be an option. But sadly the system clearly doesn't work and has been broken, especially when it comes to this topic, for a very long time.
 

stupei

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,870
And for the record, guys. Our anger at Etika and Alec didn't kill them. They didn't die by our hands. We did not push them over the edge. It's not our fault. We can feel bad about their deathswithout feeling guilty.
To be clear, I don't believe you or anyone on this message board in particular killed Etika (or Alec). But I do think that vilifying the mentally ill is harmful to other users on this board and reading the way that people spoke about him made me feel less safe in this community as someone with a mental illness to a much larger degree than him using slurs as an act of self-destructive behavior and emotional self-harm ever made me feel unsafe as a lesbian. If you can't forgive him his slurs, understand that I hate the way you all talk about him in a very similar and equally personal way.

For what little it's worth, I don't really understand why people jumped down your throat either.
The way people talked about the self-destructive actions of an obviously mentally ill personal as though he was an irredeemable monster sucked and I hate having to see it in more threads still to this day, even after he's dead. I'm not super thrilled with the people who felt like bringing him up here again either because they knew damn well what would happen, but it'd still be great not to have to see it.
 

monketron

Member
Oct 27, 2017
776
It's right that people publicly expose predators and abusers. Zoe and the others were unbelievably brave to come forward and victims should be encouraged, not discouraged, to keep doing it. They are in no way responsible for the actions of the abuser, both at the time of the abuse nor in his eventual suicide.

Unfortunately there's a small subset of people who don't care for the welfare of, or justice for, Zoe or any other victims of abuse. They just love the drama. They want to feel important and have a craving for the feeling of righteousness that destroying people gives them. Without knowing the full story, or giving time for the dust to settle, they're straight on forums, sub-reddits and Twitter, stirring up shit and contacting workplaces to demand action. Demanding why news outlets are actually doing their due-diligence rather than immediately reporting. We all know the type. The sad thing is those people won't give a flying fuck that someone is dead or his family are grieving. Or that the victims are now under even more stress, partly due to their actions. They'll just see it as how they have been vindicated and move on to the next drama. They'll convince themselves they are doing the right thing, and that the abuser deserves it.

Now we're seeing the second wave of these narcissists spring into action. The ones who will report on the consequences of the actions of the first lot and milk it for all they can. The YouTubers who also care little for the actual victims, or the people close to them, or the accused. But who only care about the currency of attention and how they can use this tragedy to push their own political agendas before it's out of the news cycle. It's a shit-show all round.

These people existed long before the Internet. But Twitter, Reddit, Forums, etc have given them a much easier way to mobilise and satisfy their hunger. It's horrible.
 

Lord of Ostia

Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,645
Where the fuck did I advocate for torture or death? I'm trying to say that the abused don't have any obligation to sympathize their abuser if said abuser kill themselves.

Why is everyone misrepresenting what I'm trying to say? I knew this was fucking coming.

And for the record, guys. Our anger at Etika and Alec didn't kill them. They didn't die by our hands. We did not push them over the edge. It's not our fault. We can feel bad about their deathswithout feeling guilty.




Ironically, you're not any better than me. But at least I'm not hiding behind some false sense of civility.

I have mental illness. You don't see me being emotionally abusive to my significant other. stupel, you mean to tell me that your mental illness made you have hate filled twitter posts? lvl 99 Pixel, just answer my question. It should be clear that I wouldn't be upset if you said you wouldn't care if I died if I treated you like garbage.

But hey guys, thanks for not even following your own call for fucking sensitivity. Thanks for implying that I'm a heartless monster too. Way to live up to the call for understanding.

THANKS FOR FUCKING NOTHING!
No one called you a heartless monster. They asked you to stop shitting on Etika for things that were a very obvious indication of deteriorating mental illness, illness that eventually led him to take his own life. Etika isn't even remotely related to the subject of this thread anyway, and while I know you didn't bring him up, you did continue to badmouth him after he was brought up...for reasons I can't exactly tell. No one is saying they are better than you either. I don't think I'm better than you, I just find your posts in this thread to be lacking any sort of nuance or perspective. I'm sorry you struggle with mental illness; I do as well, and was sexually abused as a minor. My words come from that place, and yes I think empathy and understanding are necessary in situations like this. I just see your posts here as enflaming tensions for no good reason.
 

Zelas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,694
Another example why these sorts of news should be banned in a forum where people know fuck nothing about devs lives.
Nah. The line is perfectly drawn at "don't sexually abuse anyone." There is no scenario that calls for a victim to stay silent against their will or to not receive support after speaking openly. Focus on decreasing the amount of abuse out there if you don't like to see situations like this.
 

Z-Beat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,173
I didn't really expect this.

It's not her fault for this happening in the slightest though.
 

NoName999

Member
Oct 29, 2017
4,472
For what little it's worth, I don't really understand why people jumped down your throat either.
Also where's the line to be drawn?

People said that Alec was also sexually abused. Would we have to tiptoe around his abuser as well because he MIGHT be mentally unwell? Would there be calls to silence an abused male like there is right with Zoe?

Jermery Epstein also killed himself. Is he off limits now?
 

lvl 99 Pixel

Member
Oct 25, 2017
19,227
Also where's the line to be drawn?

People said that Alec was also sexually abused. Would we have to tiptoe around his abuser as well because he MIGHT be mentally unwell? Would there be calls to silence an abused male like there is right with Zoe?

Jermery Epstein also killed himself. Is he off limits now?
Stop with the shitty appeals to emotion/slippery slope arguments already.
 

Lord of Ostia

Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,645
Also where's the line to be drawn?

People said that Alec was also sexually abused. Would we have to tiptoe around his abuser as well because he MIGHT be mentally unwell? Would there be calls to silence an abused male like there is right with Zoe?

Jermery Epstein also killed himself. Is he off limits now?
People were mainly taking issue with what you were saying about Etika...which really has no place in this thread to begin with. It's not about things being 'off limits' so much as it is treating serious and complex situations with the respect they deserve. Also none of the people asking you to stop shitting on Etika in this thread are saying victims should stay silent. It's actually the opposite; the more victims are heard, the better.
 

Karish

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,116
It's super tiring seeing people spew weird narratives not based on any semblance of reality.

Everything about this situation is obviously messed up. But there seems to be a huge lack of self awareness from all the people who were tweeting at both Alec's sister and Zoe. Literally doing the exact thing they were claiming is Zoe's fault after she brought things to light. Let's not pretend like the people hating on Zoe currently weren't already hating on Zoe previously.

All you have to do was just search her name on twitter and you'd see the crazy abusive stuff constantly thrown her way. If you look at the NeoGAF thread when the allegations started, Tyler Malka (EviLore), was literally one of the first to chime in with a totally insensitive remark that made it clear that it was ok to pile hateful messages her way.

If people actually cared about what could possibly happen with a mob mentality then they wouldn't actually do that stuff when it plays into the arguments they want to make. This isn't even getting into all the weird conspiracy stuff I've seen. You see this same crap when it comes to review bombs too. Or people getting upset that a game is adding more options to a character creator. It's ok for them to mob up if it suits their tastes. Maybe take a step back and realize that you're literally the problem that you're complaining about before trying to blame others?

Anyway. I don't believe that a person calling out their abuser should be held responsible for the actions of their abuser. They already dealt with enough. Also, anyone with any sort of empathy would feel terrible about this outcome. Have you seen the crap people were saying to her before the account was deleted? Imagine your notifications being filled with comments saying you killed someone. That shit is not cool.
Amen.
 

Poodlestrike

It's salt.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,886
In between the trolls with low post counts, and posts that unfortunately disregarded the discussion guidelines, there has been an important discussion happening in this thread about how abuse is handled in the gaming industry.

However, the intersection between tragedies here has been exacerbating the dialogue and this thread no longer appears to be a productive place to have that discussion. Much of that discussion has already been played out at this point.

As a result, the thread is now locked.
 
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