Eurogamer: Troubling GOG tweets, a fired CD Projekt employee, and the spectre of GamerGate

Oct 25, 2017
1,482
#1
Eurogamer have done a great in-depth look at the recent GOG and CDPR troubling social media posts including an interview with the person who made the posts on GOG's side:

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/...projekt-employee-and-the-spectre-of-gamergate

On 22nd October, Polish game seller GOG - a part of CD Projekt - found itself in trouble again on Twitter. It had insensitively appropriated the trans civil rights hashtag WontBeErased. "Classic PC games #WontBeErased on our watch," it tweeted. "Yeah, how's that for some use of hashtags?"

GOG quickly deleted the tweet but not before the internet noticed, and a stink was kicked up. Not only was it a problem on its own, but it was the third problematic tweet in a handful of months from inside CD Projekt. Once is a mistake; three times?

A day after the #WontBeErased tweet, a response appeared, but it wasn't an apology. "Yesterday, we posted a tweet containing a trending hashtag as a pun," it said. "The tweet was neither intended as a malicious attack, nor as a comment to the ongoing social debate. GOG should focus only on games. We acknowledge that and we commit to it."

It didn't go down well, as Sean Halliday knew it wouldn't. The tweet had been his fault and he'd drafted his own apology as soon as the shitstorm had appeared. He's still got the draft, he tells me over Discord, and he shares it with me.

"A tweet was posted that included the hashtag 'wontbeearsed'," it began. "The context of the hashtag was missed, which was a huge oversight on my behalf. After coming to understand the hashtag, and the importance of what it represents, the tweet was promptly deleted. Please allow me to apologise profusely for the offence the tweet caused. This was not the intention of the tweet by any means, nor was there any ill will intended.

"I empathise and strongly support LGBTQ folk from all walks of life. Video games are for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexauilty, ability or religion. It's a mistake that has cost me an incredible amount. Everyone has the right to exist and live, it was a shameful mistake to make light of this. I will do better."
But Halliday wasn't allowed to use his tweet. He tried repeatedly but his manager said no. "We are not apologising for this," Halliday was apparently told, and his manager wrote the GOG response instead - minutes after he fired Halliday.
Incident one: the Postal 2 tweet

This was Halliday's fault. "It was me who posted the tweet," he admits.

It was five minutes before a meeting and Halliday was looking for material for a Postal 2 tweet. GOG had just gotten the Paradise Lost expansion, released 12 years after Postal 2, and developer Running With Scissors wanted some promotion. Halliday had only been at GOG a couple of months.

"I was looking through the trailer to see what we could tweet and it was all head explosions and mass gore, and you can't really tweet that out," he says. "You can tweet some gore but this stuff was throwing a dead cat at someone and vomiting, and shooting their head and setting them on fire. I'm looking through this trailer like, 'There is literally nothing here.'"

But then something caught his eye: the character urinating on a gravestone. You don't see genitals, just a stream of urine. "I was like, 'This is the most safe for work thing we can find." So he asked if was OK and says he got the thumbs up.
Incident two: the Cyberpunk 2077 gender tweet

Roughly a month later, on 20th August, an eager Cyberpunk 2077 fan tweeted at the official game account declaring, "I WANT MORE GUYS", presumably missing an important comma. The Cyberpunk 2077 account sensed an opportunity and replied, "Did you just assume their gender?" aping a meme created to mock transgender struggles for recognition and equality in society.

The shit hit the fan.

But this tweet was not Halliday's doing.

"The Cyberpunk [tweet] isn't anything to do with GOG," he says. "CDP Red have their own social media team - there's five or six of them. The Cyberpunk tweet, the 'Did you just assume their gender?' one: GOG has nothing to do with that. It's a whole CDP Red thing. They have their own PR plans, their own staff."
Incident three: the #WontBeErased tweet

It's the evening of 22nd October and busybody Sean Halliday is doing a final tweet before bed. "I'll do one more tweet," he tells himself, flicking through European Twitter trends for a hashtag to piggyback. And he finds one: #WontBeErased. "I clicked on it and it was just people talking about their favourite games or films or music they wouldn't get rid of," he tells me. "I was like, 'OK, this fits perfectly with what GOG does,' so I put the tweet out.

"Then - it was like 20 seconds later - an American user sent a message saying, 'This is what the hashtag is actually about...' and it was something to do with a New York Times article - I don't take huge interest in politics in general, let alone American politics; I don't read the New York Times, it's just not something I do."

It was enough to convince Halliday he'd made a mistake, so he deleted the tweet. That's when he drafts his apology he never got to use, and that's when he notifies his manager on group messaging app HipChat, but apparently his manager wasn't overly concerned and logged off and went to sleep - which was more than Halliday could do.

I think the most interesting parts of the article are in these paragraphs though. History of writing an article about Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan Macintosh and "how they don't enjoy games":

But the words "Games Journalism" can be made out, Halliday even acknowledges seeing them, so why didn't they give him cause for concern? Because, he says, he didn't really know what GamerGate was.

I find this hard to believe. He's saying he, a community manager in 2018 - someone who lives in gaming forums and on social media - had no idea what one of the most infamous movements in gaming in recent years was about. I even found an E3 2015 article written by Halliday about Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh, two critics repeatedly attacked by GamerGate. And in the article Halliday seemed to be doing a similar thing.

He wrote lines like, "Both McIntosh and Sarkeesian have been suspected of telling lies when it comes to their connection with video games..." and, "They are not people who enjoy games, they are people who enjoy power and accolades, even if that means stomping on the hopes of a movement, while dehumanizing [sic] anyone who dare question them."

How could a paid freelancer - a games journalist - writing this kind of sentiment be unaware of what GamerGate was?

On being asked if he supports GamerGate:

It's why I decide to stop dancing around the issue and come straight out and ask him: do you support GamerGate?

There's a pause while he thinks.

"I'm certainly of the view there is a discussion to be had about video game press and the industry," he answers, "but I disagree with how most of the GG crowd handle that - though I can say the same about the very liberal side of the culture too.

"I don't really subscribe to any group. I find the whole concept to be a little toxic in general. I'm a huge believer in just talking to people and understanding them, but some you simply can not do that with.

"As for harassment of people," he adds, "insulting them and all that, no I'm not a supporter of that in any shape or form. Same with any walk of life ... the world's rough enough without us attacking each other.

"But as we discussed, I've been on the fiery end of both 'sides'. That highlights a problem with modern society in general: if you don't fully commit yourself to a cause or a label, you're seen as fair game to attack."

Which isn't a 'no', but it's not really a 'yes' either.
A lot more details in the article which is worth reading.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/...projekt-employee-and-the-spectre-of-gamergate

Update: Sean Halliday is now working with a right-wing YouTuber popular with Gamergate content.

https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/gog-transphobic-tweet-gamergate-website/

However, Eurogamer’s report fails to mention that Halliday is working with Jeremy “TheQuartering” Hambly, a right-wing YouTuber, on a new website focused on “all games, no politics.”

For Magic the Gathering players, Hambly’s name is notorious. The YouTuber received a lifetime ban from Magic’s Wizards of the Coast after reportedly harassing cosplayer Christine Sprankle. These days, Hambly creates YouTube videos complaining about “SJW RAGE” and why “incels did nothing wrong.” He also created a gaming website called “Exclusively Games,” dedicated entirely to “fans of gaming who are sick of politics forcing its way inside.”

“I don’t want any infection from politics or modern day ‘journalism’ which is of course just activism parading as games journalism,” the site’s Indiegogo reads. “I got sick and tired of reading the same BS ‘Hot Takes’ from our existing options in terms of ‘video game news’ websites and rather than just complain I have undertaken doing something about it myself.”

Hambly revealed in November that he planned to offer a job to Halliday, letting him “join my team, to help Discord, my social stuff, and work on managing a new community I am working on.” Apparently, that job has now come to fruition. After Eurogamer published its profile on Halliday, Hambly revealed that the former GOG employee is now Exclusively Games’ community manager.

The Daily Dot was able to gain access to Exclusively Games’ Discord, where Halliday serves as a moderator under the username “Linko64.” In one post on Exclusively Games’ Discord, Halliday sympathized with users complaining about the Eurogamer story and “SJWs,” although he stressed that users are not allowed to condemn neither the “alt-right” nor “SJWs.”

“Ah lets keep the sjw bits and pieces away from here now,” Halliday wrote. “I understand the frustrations with it all but let’s stick the core values we’re aiming for here.”
 
Last edited:
Oct 25, 2017
1,891
#2
But Halliday wasn't allowed to use his tweet. He tried repeatedly but his manager said no. "We are not apologising for this," Halliday was apparently told, and his manager wrote the GOG response instead - minutes after he fired Halliday.
wow, fuck GOG. good that they fired him, but fuck them for not wanting to apologize.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,949
Sweden
#3
so the guesswork that it really was sean halliday making those tweets was true

i find it really hard to believe that someone who wrote that article about sarkeesian is as innocent and in the dark, about gamergate and the internet culture war symbols he was using, as he pretends to be in this interview

his answers in this interview are almost enough for a full shit post bingo ("i don't follow american politics", both sides are toxic", gamergate had some legitimate points"). sounds almost exactly like those <50 post resetera alts that come into threads like this to whine about the community
 
Nov 3, 2017
6,071
#4
But the words "Games Journalism" can be made out, Halliday even acknowledges seeing them, so why didn't they give him cause for concern? Because, he says, he didn't really know what GamerGate was.

I find this hard to believe. He's saying he, a community manager in 2018 - someone who lives in gaming forums and on social media - had no idea what one of the most infamous movements in gaming in recent years was about. I even found an E3 2015 article written by Halliday about Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh, two critics repeatedly attacked by GamerGate. And in the article Halliday seemed to be doing a similar thing.

He wrote lines like, "Both McIntosh and Sarkeesian have been suspected of telling lies when it comes to their connection with video games..." and, "They are not people who enjoy games, they are people who enjoy power and accolades, even if that means stomping on the hopes of a movement, while dehumanizing [sic] anyone who dare question them."


How could a paid freelancer - a games journalist - writing this kind of sentiment be unaware of what GamerGate was?
 
Nov 2, 2017
534
#5
"I don't really subscribe to any group. I find the whole concept to be a little toxic in general. I'm a huge believer in just talking to people and understanding them, but some you simply can not do that with.
Oh, so he's one of those "i can see both sides" types of douches.
What do people think "understanding" someone means? Like, how can you "understand" that something is very hurtful to one person, but also "understand" why people think it's worth to make the joke for the lulz??

"But as we discussed, I've been on the fiery end of both 'sides'. That highlights a problem with modern society in general: if you don't fully commit yourself to a cause or a label, you're seen as fair game to attack."
No man, you were attacked, because you made very inappropriate remarks on a company twitter, not because you didn't "fully commit to a label", idiot.

Anyway, I respect he that he made himself available for an interview and took the blame where needed, he doesn't seem to be the brightest of bulbs though, so that job probably wasn't a good fit.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,055
#6
Maybe he should ask himself why he takes fire from both sides(lets be honest, he only means one side) and educate himself abut GG rather than trying to dip his toes in. Saying its about "ethics in journalism" already gives himself away.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,587
The Netherlands
#7
Your trade and expertise is social media engagement with the gaming community and you don't know what GamerGate is until you 'stumble' into amplifying their talking points..?

Dude. You're either incompetent or disingenuous and neither is a good look.
 

Sean

Member
Oct 25, 2017
374
Longview
#10
Read through the whole thing, I feel absolutely no sympathy for the guy. Bullshit that he didn't know what GG was and lol at the "both sides" bullshit at the end.

Sure jan. Sure sure sure.

If you even have to consider whether you're against GG or not, screw you.
 
Nov 8, 2017
339
#11
He used the company's social media platform to take ideological pot-shots in a very passive aggressive manner. He needed to go.
 
Oct 25, 2017
851
#12
It's the evening of 22nd October and busybody Sean Halliday is doing a final tweet before bed. "I'll do one more tweet," he tells himself, flicking through European Twitter trends for a hashtag to piggyback. And he finds one: #WontBeErased. "I clicked on it and it was just people talking about their favourite games or films or music they wouldn't get rid of," he tells me. "I was like, 'OK, this fits perfectly with what GOG does,' so I put the tweet out.
Complete bullshit.
You thought it was just a regular hashtag? So why the fuck would you post the second line, unless perhaps you knew that you were being an edgy dumbfuck.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,082
Indonesia
#13
Yeah, he's full of bullshit.

It's just crazy that this all happened in a relatively short timeline. And it's happening in the crucial time of Cyberpunk 2077 marketing cycle.
 
Oct 16, 2018
103
#14
Interesting article. I don't believe he didn't know about GamerGater (I mean the article even offers proof that he knew), but maybe he did not know about the date or did not even see it. If the latter is the case, he certainly did an over-rushed job. And I am certainly not buying his second tweet. I mean he did a really bad job if he did not even look at the stuff he posted about.

He got what he deserved, albeit the management seems pretty reluctant as well. Too bad his family was dragged into it.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2, 2017
534
#15
Do you expect him to be keen on the guys who shouted at his dad and got him fired?
Will nobody think of the poor guy that screwed up in his job as a social media manager? :(

I am sure people got personal in their attacks, as people tend to, and that's shit, and I don't expect him to take kindly to that, but what got him fired was ultimately his own incompetence at the very thing he was hired for. As a community manager, one of the first things you aspire to do, is to not provoke people to the point where the company's Twitter becomes a shit show. I'd say he failed pretty spectacularly at this.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,770
#18
Why the heck they are trying to portray the guy as a victim?

I mean, this is just weird. Stupid tweets appear - media criticise GOG. GOG fires person responsible. And now I feel like Eurogamer is trying to make him seem like a nice guy who didn't know what he is doing.
 

Claven

Game Localization
Verified
Aug 22, 2018
980
#19
GoG management really comes off of this with a super shitty look with the "no, we're not apologizing for this".

Glad I did cancel my account back when this thing happened, nothing I read here convinced me I jumped the gun.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,654
#20
Him realizing his mistake and drafting that apology is good, but everything else in that interview tells me this guy is extremely incompetent at best. Holding "people getting offended easily" equal with mass hate, harassment and doxxing is just... whew.

It also shows GOG is utter shite.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,082
Indonesia
#21
Why the heck they are trying to portray the guy as a victim?

I mean, this is just weird. Stupid tweets appear - media criticise GOG. GOG fires person responsible. And now I feel like Eurogamer is trying to make him seem like a nice guy who didn't know what he is doing.
How did you came up with that conclusion? Eurogamer is actually questioning his claims.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,285
#22
I don't want to defend GOG any more than I have to, but considering everything else that he says here, that story about his intended apology really comes off as bullshit.

"Oh, I totally had the perfect apology. It was exactly what everyone wanted, but GOG, they're actually the ones that put up that shitty one."

"Pay no attention to the fact that I'm still both-sidesing GG and am likely lying to you about other things in this very interview."
 
Mar 3, 2018
697
#23
Will nobody think of the poor guy that screwed up in his job as a social media manager? :(

I am sure people got personal in their attacks, as people tend to, and that's shit, and I don't expect him to take kindly to that, but what got him fired was ultimately his own incompetence at the very thing he was hired for. As a community manager, one of the first things you aspire to do, is to not provoke people to the point where the company's Twitter becomes a shit show. I'd say he failed pretty spectacularly at this.
OK, I phrased that not quite right. He was deservedly fired for his own incompetence.

But even if your firing was entirely justified, having a mob calling for you to be fired is likely to leave you understandably bitter towards the people involved.
 

Tzarscream

Banned
Member
Oct 28, 2017
788
#24
His responses that supposedly prove his innocence all seem very coincidental and “my brother logged in to my account” kind of internet excuses.

I really don’t want to believe that GOG fired him because he wanted to do a proper apology because that’s just fucked up, and something about his excuses seem unconvincing.

So I still don’t know how to feel about GOG and CDprojekt and wish this was more clean cut.
 
Oct 25, 2017
413
#26
Why the heck they are trying to portray the guy as a victim?

I mean, this is just weird. Stupid tweets appear - media criticise GOG. GOG fires person responsible. And now I feel like Eurogamer is trying to make him seem like a nice guy who didn't know what he is doing.
They actually mentioned they didn't believe he had no idea what GG was when compared to the past things he has written about GG.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,088
#27
Why the heck they are trying to portray the guy as a victim?

I mean, this is just weird. Stupid tweets appear - media criticise GOG. GOG fires person responsible. And now I feel like Eurogamer is trying to make him seem like a nice guy who didn't know what he is doing.
? They legit question him and say they don’t believe parts of his story.

Did you not read the part about Gamergate?
 

Claven

Game Localization
Verified
Aug 22, 2018
980
#29
I really don’t want to believe that GOG fired him because he wanted to do a proper apology because that’s just fucked up, and something about his excuses seem unconvincing.

So I still don’t know how to feel about GOG and CDprojekt and wish this was more clean cut.
My understanding was they fired him because of yet another fuck up, the fact they didn't let him post his apology was just a byproduct of the situation (probably).
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,882
#30
He wrote lines like, "Both McIntosh and Sarkeesian have been suspected of telling lies when it comes to their connection with video games..." and, "They are not people who enjoy games, they are people who enjoy power and accolades, even if that means stomping on the hopes of a movement, while dehumanizing [sic] anyone who dare question them."


So he used GG rhetoric, won't denounce the movement and yet somehow is completely oblivious to their memes and hate campaigns and just stumbled upon them, repeatedly?

Fuck, off.

CDP done the right thing in firing him but seriously should've reached out to the affected communities better rather than shutting down like they did after the latest incident.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,495
#31
Why the heck they are trying to portray the guy as a victim?

I mean, this is just weird. Stupid tweets appear - media criticise GOG. GOG fires person responsible. And now I feel like Eurogamer is trying to make him seem like a nice guy who didn't know what he is doing.
You need to finish reading the article bruv
 
Oct 25, 2017
13,351
#35
I don’t agree with people who harass women

But I also don’t disagree with them and think they might have some good points if you just get to know them

Alright bud
 

Dyle

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,484
Wisconsin
#36
Well I guess now we know for sure that the issue is a deeper management one at the company and not just limited to a single person. It's hard for me to believe that he had no idea what he was doing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
890
Poland
#39
Thanks for posting this. Guy was clearly not cut out for being a community manager and his response clearly reflects that. Apolytical former game journalist not aware of GG - c'mon, buddy, do you think people are this stupid? Good on Eurogamer to point out this in the article. It's a damn shame his family members had to suffer harassment for his incompetence though.

Do better CDP, do background checks on your PR people, establish some boundaries, this is basic stuff. You give someone too much rope and they hang themselves with it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,055
#41
Finished reading the article. Either this guy is dumb as rocks or clever enough to make people think he is.

I don't use twitter but how likely is his story about just using some random hashtag without looking it up? Twitter is a social platform and using a wrong hashtag seems like a faux paux that could backfire on you unless it was clearly used ironically. Seems especially risky when you are promoting your employers products and you already have had 2 strikes on you for previous incidents.

Also the Cdpr death march is real. 5:45pm and having dinner in the office while being fired by HR.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,313
#43
Finished reading the article. Either this guy is dumb as rocks or clever enough to make people think he is.

I don't use twitter but how likely is his story about just using some random hashtag without looking it up? Twitter is a social platform and using a wrong hashtag seems like a faux paux that could backfire on you unless it was clearly used ironically. Seems especially risky when you are promoting your employers products and you already have had 2 strikes on you for previous incidents.

Also the Cdpr death march is real. 5:45pm and having dinner in the office while being fired by HR.
Considering how much he lied about knowing what gg is while still going ''they had some good things going'' I'm willing to bet he is also lying through his teeth about knowing what the hashtag actually represented.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,474
#44
You really shouldn't need a pause to distance yourself from Gamergate.

And one thing I can believe from CD Projekt is that they did not fire him just because of this.
 
Aug 31, 2018
55
#45
wow, fuck GOG. good that they fired him, but fuck them for not wanting to apologize.
I would take his words with a truck full of salt.

This Halliday guy sounds like a dick.

Not knowing Gamergate despite being Community Manager at a major game company. Yeah, right.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,852
#46
So the Postal 2 tweet was definitely intentional, and good on Eurogamer for calling him out on it (albeit after the fact).

But still confusing why GoG would not use the apology.
 
Oct 30, 2017
89
#47
Why the heck they are trying to portray the guy as a victim?

I mean, this is just weird. Stupid tweets appear - media criticise GOG. GOG fires person responsible. And now I feel like Eurogamer is trying to make him seem like a nice guy who didn't know what he is doing.
Did you read the article?
 
Oct 27, 2017
628
#49
I do have a small amount of sympathy for the guy- maybe just because he's from my part of the country. He just seems like a real clueless idiot, who uses "I'm not political" as an excuse for being politically cynical in a right-leaning way.

I don't believe his #WontBeErased excuse for one second
This is the only bit that I do believe tbh. Like the "how's that for the use of a hashtag" bit seems to basically be saying he can pick any trending hashtag and make it relevant to GOG. I'm pretty sure he at least didn't understand the implications of piggybacking off that hashtag- the vast majority of other hashtags, even political ones, you could appropriate without controversy, after all- e.g. if GOG tweeted "Preserving old games #ForTheManyNotTheFew" no-one would care, but there is obviously an extra level of sensitivity when it comes to vulnerable groups. I can understand someone not knowing the extent of that sensitivity, although as a social media manager, they obviously should, but that is also GOG's responsibility in terms of diversity training.

GoG management really comes off of this with a super shitty look with the "no, we're not apologizing for this".
I think this is because an apology can really open up an organisation or individual to attacks, because they've admitted something. Even though non-apologies infuriate people, I always think that they play better than actual apologies, which people on twitter or message boards pick apart and deem insincere no matter what. Non-apologies are often quickly forgotten and people move on, while a proper apology is viewed as both insincere and as absolute proof that an organisation or individual knowingly did something wrong, and is therefore actually much worse than just "we didn't mean to cause offence" type stuff.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,679
#50
Doesn't surprise me at all that the narrative of a rogue employee writing these posts wasn't true and that the problem seems to be more systemic and goes into management. All this stuff just makes me sick to my stomach and it's hugely contributed to turning me from "oh, this looks cool, I'm pretty excited to play this" about Cyberpunk to "don't want to play it, don't want to hear about it, don't even really want to talk about it."