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Scott Benson details his history with Alec Holowka

metalslimer

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,147
I dont want to shit on him further but jesus he fucked up so many lives and it doesnt seem like he got that much better in the end.

I hope all his victims in all forms of abuse can find peace.

This is how one man can have several victims and never have it come to light. Abuse isolates you. It makes you lonely. It might make you too afraid to talk about it. And if you do, people may not believe you. But mostly it just goes on silently. For years. Because you depend on them. Because they hold control on some aspect of your life. Because you’ve just been beaten down into silence.
If people still want to understand why it was necessary to speak out in a public way just look at how he managed to keep everyone so separated that many people felt like they were alone in their abuse. This is why it's important to continue to empower those people to speak up. We can encourage those who commit these acts to seek mental health services but we should never be afraid of the consequences of that action.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
10,273
I'm glad he shared this, all of it. But I'm just so exhausted by how much of a tire fire the entire ordeal has turned out because of how much people believe in snapshots of people's lives and their own narratives. I just hope that everyone that's been a victim in this mess gains some sort of closure in the end and the harassments fizzle out.
 

YaBish

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,833
Fuck that was a heavy read. But also really insightful and made me reflect back on a relationship I had with an emotionally abusive roommate years ago.
 

LeonSPBR

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,186
That was really hard to read and I urge everyone to read it. Hope Scott can fully recover from this hell he's been through.
 

Chettlar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,463
I dont want to shit on him further but jesus he fucked up so many lives and it doesnt seem like he got that much better in the end.

I hope all his victims in all forms of abuse can find peace.



If people still want to understand why it was necessary to speak out in a public way just look at how he managed to keep everyone so separated that many people felt like they were alone in their abuse. This is why it's important to continue to empower those people to speak up. We can encourage those who commit these acts to seek mental health services but we should never be afraid of the consequences of that action.
Thank you. Sometimes - many times the only way to find help from anybody is to shout out "help" to everybody. Or once you're free to shout out "you're not alone" to those who feel that way.

"Private issues should stay private" is limited to issues where it's prudent and best for everyone to keep private issues between those affected. But this ends at abusive behavior.
 

ElNerdo

Member
Oct 22, 2018
324
Wow, that was a rough read. I'm glad he, and many others, have come out to tell their experiences.

Yes, Alec had mental issues, but he used those issues to hold power over people and never really truly changed for the better. He just showed some people what they wanted to see.

It's also crazy to see how one person can affect so many people while essentially keeping them all isolated until it all comes to light. It's chilling, really.
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
31,975
Fuck, Alec was just like my brother. So many of the exact same strategies, including weaponizing "I'm getting help!" to make people he had wronged start to soften their stance on him.

Ugh. I'm never gonna be able to think about this guy impartially ever again. It just reminds me so much of everything I went through with my brother.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,021
Wow, I just catched up on all this.

I only heard about Holowka because I played Aquaria all those years ago and now I see this stuff about abuse and his eventual suicide? Crazy world.
 

chaobreaker

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,065
Broke my heart to read what Scott went through. It was already tough to read Zoe's post but then Scott make it very clear the magnitude of harm Alec has left in his wake throughout his adult life. It wasn't just a handful of people.

Not a single iota of blame should've been levied at any of his victims. Never have more disgusted than to see people claim his victims have blood on their hands.
 

MadMod

Member
Dec 4, 2017
812
Just read through this, appreciate the insight. Makes me far more aware of abusive people too, definitely will help me in the future to look out for signs of these type of people.
 

Unclebenny

Member
Oct 28, 2017
418
I suppose the problem with indie game dev (from an outside perspective) is that a lot of people work remotely from one another. So it makes it easier for abusers to silo off groups or people who then have no one to turn to for support.

It's amazing that this already terrible situation is actually much worse than I thought.

I'm just desperately hoping it doesn't kick off GG 2.0.
 

Dandy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,304
I read this last night and was in tears by the end. I feel so badly for everyone involved, including Holowka.

It's amazing that NitW even came out, let alone ended up being so great.
 

BassForever

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,552
CT
Read this morning, what a tragic, horrible mess this was. Hopefully Alec’s many victims won’t blame himself for his actions.
 

Jamesac68

Member
Oct 27, 2017
378
I read this last night and was in tears by the end. I feel so badly for everyone involved, including Holowka.

It's amazing that NitW even came out, let alone ended up being so great.
I want to feel bad for Holowka but I've known people like him. I'm just out of empathy here. He died as he lived, hurting as many people as possible while playing the victim card. I get that sounds deeply harsh and vicious, maybe to the point of a couple days banning, but... Ugh. I just feel too bad for the people he kept on hurting to have much sympathy for the "I'm trying!" act, while he only switched targets.
 
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NoName999

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,683
It's stories like this why I don't instantly jump on the sympathy bandwagon when it's revealed that they have mental illness. What good is it when it makes you mentally worse and makes you feel unsafe? Self-preservation is not selfish

And if any prick calls me heartless because of my opinion, I'm gonna lose it.
 

dock

Game Designer
Verified
Nov 5, 2017
770
I worked with Alec in 2009-2010 and we went separate ways because I couldn’t handle it. I could never fully grasp how things were between us.

It is heartbreaking to read this but it makes me feel better about where my experience falls, and it helps me better understand what everyone went through. It is so upsetting that anyone would criticise any of the victims in this story.
 

Wintermute

Member
Oct 27, 2017
591
just fyi this piece deals with abuse and trauma and i found it an incredibly hard read and it left me extremely upset for a long time. if you think it might affect you too, consider whether you want to read it.
 

Zehzin

Member
Jan 3, 2019
1,224
That hurt to read. What a mess.

My heart goes out to Bethany and Scott, if there are two people that didn't deserve this shit, it's them.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,331
That is a really tough read, my goodness.

While I praise Alec’s work, consider this- people left the industry because of what he did. People gave up their dreams, the art they wanted to make. People, drawn by the promise of working with a well known indie developer, found themselves caught between giving up their dreams and financial stability and getting away from him. People spent years with him as a destructive presence in their lives. People developed PTSD. People spent hours and money on therapy. People felt trapped by him. It’s hard for me to see how one man’s work is worth what he did to so many others.
This bit sticks out the most.
 

Onebadlion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,427
Its really hard to decide where I sit on this. Yes, he obviously left a trail of broken and unhappy people behind him everywhere he went, but the guy was clearly very unwell so I still sympathise with his plight as much as the people he hurt along the way. It doesn't sound like he is consciously setting out to cause misery, rather its an unfortunate side effect of a personality that is deeply affected by his mental illness.

This kind of situation kinda shows me that a lot of the support for mental illness that people claim to have these days is very much superficial and shallow. When things get really tough, the sympathy starts to dry up quick. Unfortunately one of the worst things about mental illness is that it can have a big impact not just on the life of the person suffering, but also on everyone in their orbit. Most of the people I've worked with who suffer from a condition affecting their behaviour and interactions are aware and find it one of the hardest things about their condition to deal with.
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,961
I was gritting my teeth through the entire thing. God, life is complex.

I wish we had help for people who are battling their demons. A lot of trauma is cyclical, and we have the means to break these cycles. But lawmakers don’t care.
 

AppleKid

Member
Feb 21, 2018
1,011
Ugh, so awful. Glad Scott is speaking out about it and that once isolated victims are able to verify that yes, their abuse was real and they were not the only ones with that experience. Not that more people being impacted is a good thing, but there is a sense of comfort in knowing you are not the only one with this type of horrific experience. Helps with the self-doubt of whether you imagined things
 

dock

Game Designer
Verified
Nov 5, 2017
770
This kind of situation kinda shows me that a lot of the support for mental illness that people claim to have these days is very much superficial and shallow. When things get really tough, the sympathy starts to dry up quick.
I’m not sure why you think this. This whole article speaks to the great lengths that people have gone to when accommodating his difficulties. Sympathy is separate to acknowledging willful harm and abusive behaviour patterns.

The lesson here is to avoid suffering alone and to avoid being trapped and manipulated by the behaviour of another.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,331
Its really hard to decide where I sit on this. Yes, he obviously left a trail of broken and unhappy people behind him everywhere he went, but the guy was clearly very unwell so I still sympathise with his plight as much as the people he hurt along the way. It doesn't sound like he is consciously setting out to cause misery, rather its an unfortunate side effect of a personality that is deeply affected by his mental illness.

This kind of situation kinda shows me that a lot of the support for mental illness that people claim to have these days is very much superficial and shallow. When things get really tough, the sympathy starts to dry up quick. Unfortunately one of the worst things about mental illness is that it can have a big impact not just on the life of the person suffering, but also on everyone in their orbit. Most of the people I've worked with who suffer from a condition affecting their behaviour and interactions are aware and find it one of the hardest things about their condition to deal with.
I'm really surprised this is your takeaway from the whole situation and/or article. Multiple people, including professionals, tried helping him over the years with the aid of medications and he never changed. At some point Alec needed to take responsibility and accountability for his own actions.
 

metalslimer

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,147
Its really hard to decide where I sit on this. Yes, he obviously left a trail of broken and unhappy people behind him everywhere he went, but the guy was clearly very unwell so I still sympathise with his plight as much as the people he hurt along the way. It doesn't sound like he is consciously setting out to cause misery, rather its an unfortunate side effect of a personality that is deeply affected by his mental illness.

This kind of situation kinda shows me that a lot of the support for mental illness that people claim to have these days is very much superficial and shallow. When things get really tough, the sympathy starts to dry up quick. Unfortunately one of the worst things about mental illness is that it can have a big impact not just on the life of the person suffering, but also on everyone in their orbit. Most of the people I've worked with who suffer from a condition affecting their behaviour and interactions are aware and find it one of the hardest things about their condition to deal with.
The question becomes at what point does mental illness become an excuse that covers up just being a shitty person. There are millions of us who deal with mental illness and the vast majority dont end up terrorizing people.

You cannot blame every single bad thing you ever do as being out of your control you lack capacity and this story clearly indicates just how manipulative he was.

Also I'd like to point out that he basically seemed to have already decided he was going to kill himself whenever his assault allegations came out based on this so no this had nothing to do with intent mob justice as well.
 

fiskyfisko

Banned
Mar 23, 2018
107
User banned (permanent): victim blaming, account in junior phase
I lost some respect for Scott after reading this.

It seems like everyone knew about Alec and his mental illness but no one ever talked with him about it. It's even sadder because he talks about how one time Bethany made those twitter posts how she's done with Alec and he listened and got better etc.

You would think, after that, they would talk with him more about it but it seems like they were again just silently suffering.

They made a beautiful game about friendship and mental illneses, that friends should help each other but in real life they just didn't do much.

This is just a huge fuck up on all sides.

That "I survived Alec holowka" sounds really bad. He's successful thanks to Alec.
He could have waited some more before badmouthing him. He died just a few days ago. Let his family mourn.
 

Onebadlion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,427
I’m not sure why you think this. This whole article speaks to the great lengths that people have gone to when accommodating his difficulties. Sympathy is separate to acknowledging willful harm and abusive behaviour patterns.

The lesson here is to avoid suffering alone and to avoid being trapped and manipulated by the behaviour of another.
I'm not so much talking about the people in the article as much as some of the comments I see towards the situation on here and Twitter. Its clear that Scott in particular made tremendous efforts to help.

I'm really surprised this is your takeaway from the whole situation and/or article. Multiple people, including professionals, tried helping him over the years with the aid of medications and he never changed. At some point Alec needed to take responsibility and accountability for his own actions.
Wasn't he taking responsibility for his actions by using professionals and medication though? Its easier to say he should have helped himself than it is to actually do it when you're in that situation. If it was that easy, far less people would be committing suicide.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,331
I lost some respect for Scott after reading this.

It seems like everyone knew about Alec and his mental illness but no one ever talked with him about it. It's even sadder because he talks about how one time Bethany made those twitter posts how she's done with Alec and he listened and got better etc.

You would think, after that, they would talk with him more about it but it seems like they were again just silently suffering.

They made a beautiful game about friendship and mental illneses, that friends should help each other but in real life they just didn't do much.

This is just a huge fuck up on all sides.

That "I survived Alec holowka" sounds really bad. He's successful thanks to Alec.
He could have waited some more before badmouthing him. He died just a few days ago. Let his family mourn.
So are you just straight up ignoring how Scott said when it seemed like he got better after the Bethany tweets he was just off abusing other people/teams?
 

jaekeem

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,310
I lost some respect for Scott after reading this.

It seems like everyone knew about Alec and his mental illness but no one ever talked with him about it. It's even sadder because he talks about how one time Bethany made those twitter posts how she's done with Alec and he listened and got better etc.

You would think, after that, they would talk with him more about it but it seems like they were again just silently suffering.

They made a beautiful game about friendship and mental illneses, that friends should help each other but in real life they just didn't do much.

This is just a huge fuck up on all sides.

That "I survived Alec holowka" sounds really bad. He's successful thanks to Alec.
He could have waited some more before badmouthing him. He died just a few days ago. Let his family mourn.
wha? it's not the responsibility of victims of abuse to save their abusers. also the post details how alec hadn't really changed. he had just shifted his abuse onto others.
 

metalslimer

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,147
I lost some respect for Scott after reading this.

It seems like everyone knew about Alec and his mental illness but no one ever talked with him about it. It's even sadder because he talks about how one time Bethany made those twitter posts how she's done with Alec and he listened and got better etc.

You would think, after that, they would talk with him more about it but it seems like they were again just silently suffering.

They made a beautiful game about friendship and mental illneses, that friends should help each other but in real life they just didn't do much.

This is just a huge fuck up on all sides.

That "I survived Alec holowka" sounds really bad. He's successful thanks to Alec.
He could have waited some more before badmouthing him. He died just a few days ago. Let his family mourn.
Oh fuck this nonsense. He is a victim of abuse. I dont know if this is even a real account of yours but you should be ashamed.
 

Hoot

Member
Nov 12, 2017
582
I lost some respect for Scott after reading this.

It seems like everyone knew about Alec and his mental illness but no one ever talked with him about it. It's even sadder because he talks about how one time Bethany made those twitter posts how she's done with Alec and he listened and got better etc.

You would think, after that, they would talk with him more about it but it seems like they were again just silently suffering.

They made a beautiful game about friendship and mental illneses, that friends should help each other but in real life they just didn't do much.

This is just a huge fuck up on all sides.

That "I survived Alec holowka" sounds really bad. He's successful thanks to Alec.
He could have waited some more before badmouthing him. He died just a few days ago. Let his family mourn.
Alec was litteraly his abuser, and he goes at length describing this. You cannot just go "oh well he got better, now we can get along". Scott litteraly got unrepairable harm from his relationship and you expect him to still do the work to mend the relationship with Alec ? Especially considering that he in fact didn't change at all, just went on to abuse other people. It's literaly this kind of mindset that kept his victims in check, thinking they were the one who had to take responsibility.

No one wants to dance on his grave, and I certainly don't think that's how Scott's post comes off. But you have to be open and honest about this, especially when people are basically blaming him for his death. Like it's somehow his fault that Alec abused people, got outed and then killed himself.

If anything, his message might help others so that this kind of stuff won't happen again for at least a few people
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,961
I lost some respect for Scott after reading this.

It seems like everyone knew about Alec and his mental illness but no one ever talked with him about it. It's even sadder because he talks about how one time Bethany made those twitter posts how she's done with Alec and he listened and got better etc.

You would think, after that, they would talk with him more about it but it seems like they were again just silently suffering.

They made a beautiful game about friendship and mental illneses, that friends should help each other but in real life they just didn't do much.

This is just a huge fuck up on all sides.

That "I survived Alec holowka" sounds really bad. He's successful thanks to Alec.
He could have waited some more before badmouthing him. He died just a few days ago. Let his family mourn.
They talked with him about it multiple times, for years upon years. Scott checked in with Alec’s roommates about his mental health for years. Alec threatened suicide to hurt and manipulate Scott... multiple times. For years.

After a certain point you really need to establish boundaries, and I’m glad Scott did.

I won’t comment on the timing. But he clearly wanted to open up about this for a while.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,331
Wasn't he taking responsibility for his actions by using professionals and medication though? Its easier to say he should have helped himself than it is to actually do it when you're in that situation. If it was that easy, far less people would be committing suicide.
Seeing professionals and medication is one part of the responsibility. Stop being abusive to people is another part that Alec apparently never bothered with, only switching his targets to make his victims think he had gotten better.
 

Mazinger

Banned
Nov 15, 2017
86
User Banned (permanent): Inflammatory Commentary Surrounding Abuse Allegations and Victim Blaming Over Multiple Posts in this Thread; Account in Junior Phase
At some point Alec needed to take responsibility and accountability for his own actions.
There is a vast difference between "accountability" and "total destruction".

The man is fucking dead. Suicide is ultimately the decision of the person taking their own life, but it's impossible to discount the factors, here. This dude would not be dead right now without that callout - is that not by itself reason enough to suggest something was wrong with it, or at the very least something wrong with the culture and vocabulary surrounding it?
 

metalslimer

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,147
There is a vast difference between "accountability" and "total destruction".

The man is fucking dead. Suicide is ultimately the decision of the person taking their own life, but it's impossible to discount the factors, here. This dude would not be dead right now without that callout - is that not by itself reason enough to suggest something was wrong with it, or at the very least something wrong with the culture and vocabulary surrounding it?
Nice post history
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
31,975
Wasn't he taking responsibility for his actions by using professionals and medication though? Its easier to say he should have helped himself than it is to actually do it when you're in that situation. If it was that easy, far less people would be committing suicide.
Speaking from the experience of someone who had to live with a manipulative abuser like Alec for years...it's not that simple. Abusers, especially of the strain that Alec and my brother come from, often weaponize "I'm getting help" as a means of deflecting criticism from the people they're hurting. "But I'm in therapy", "but I'm on new meds", etc - it's fairly clear that in Alec's case, just like my brother's, these revelations were used by Alec, whether consciously or subconsciously, to get people like Scott and Bethany to back off while he focused his abuse on other people.

Mental illness is not a get-out-of-consequences-free card. If you're just shunting your abuse to someone else when one of your targets finally has enough of your shit, you're not actually improving at all.
 

Hodgy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
UK
Its really hard to decide where I sit on this. Yes, he obviously left a trail of broken and unhappy people behind him everywhere he went, but the guy was clearly very unwell so I still sympathise with his plight as much as the people he hurt along the way. It doesn't sound like he is consciously setting out to cause misery, rather its an unfortunate side effect of a personality that is deeply affected by his mental illness.

This kind of situation kinda shows me that a lot of the support for mental illness that people claim to have these days is very much superficial and shallow. When things get really tough, the sympathy starts to dry up quick. Unfortunately one of the worst things about mental illness is that it can have a big impact not just on the life of the person suffering, but also on everyone in their orbit. Most of the people I've worked with who suffer from a condition affecting their behaviour and interactions are aware and find it one of the hardest things about their condition to deal with.
Mental illness doesn't give you a free pass to hurt the people around you.

I've had to deal with people like Alec and like Scott I've tried my best to be accommodating. but it causes real harm to you and at some point you just have to say no.

Its sad what became of Alec, but its equally sad what happened to his many victims. if there was a way for his behavior to have been recognized and dealt with earlier then this weeks end result may not have happened. This is the fault of no one involved directly with Alec, they managed despite the huge strain he placed on their physical and mental health, but the social systems of society that failed to deal with a repeat abuser.

There is a vast difference between "accountability" and "total destruction".

The man is fucking dead. Suicide is ultimately the decision of the person taking their own life, but it's impossible to discount the factors, here. This dude would not be dead right now without that callout - is that not by itself reason enough to suggest something was wrong with it, or at the very least something wrong with the culture and vocabulary surrounding it?
so you are okay with loads of people suffering from abuse in silence because of the threat that their abuser might kill themselves if they call them out?
 
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garion333

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,149
Goddamn, I've known Scott from a different online community and this is harrowing. Especially because I've gone through years of panic attacks and came out the other side. I know what that is like and it's hell. Damn.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,331
There is a vast difference between "accountability" and "total destruction".

The man is fucking dead. Suicide is ultimately the decision of the person taking their own life, but it's impossible to discount the factors, here. This dude would not be dead right now without that callout - is that not by itself reason enough to suggest something was wrong with it, or at the very least something wrong with the culture and vocabulary surrounding it?
So you're implying victims of abuse should never come out or come forward for fear that their abuser might commit suicide?
 

Hoot

Member
Nov 12, 2017
582
There is a vast difference between "accountability" and "total destruction".

The man is fucking dead. Suicide is ultimately the decision of the person taking their own life, but it's impossible to discount the factors, here. This dude would not be dead right now without that callout - is that not by itself reason enough to suggest something was wrong with it, or at the very least something wrong with the culture and vocabulary surrounding it?
What "culture". What "vocabulary" ?

Alec was outed because he was abusing people and isolating them from each other. There's no grand scheme here, the intention wasn't "Oh we''ll show him", the intention was "This guy is an abuser, and has gone as such for years and you should be careful". People like Quinn, who have already been getting abused for YEARS (and yet no one bats an eye about cancel culture for that ?) in her private life and online had to take a massive amount of risk to come out with this

The opposite of that would be people would keep shut or just use whisper networks, which they did, but obviously that didn't change much, as he kept on leaping from team to team and the results kept the same. At some point, if you want to avoid extra victims, you have to make it public.
 

Onebadlion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,427
Seeing professionals and medication is one part of the responsibility. Stop being abusive to people is another part that Alec apparently never bothered with, only switching his targets to make his victims think he had gotten better.
Again, its not so easy to just "stop" when his behaviour is linked to his unhealthy mental state. It also sounds like he didn't even realise the extent of the harm he caused until he saw Bethany's tweets, at which point it sounds like he understood and felt some remorse.

He was obviously a deeply troubled guy, and I think its just an all round shit situation for everyone involved. He's not totally blameless, but I'm also fairly sympathetic to how much turmoil he was probably in personally. The fact he chose to take his own life shows how he suffered more than anyone due to his behaviour and I have a lot of sympathy towards him for that. What that doesn't mean is that I don't also have sympathy for everyone else involved in this situation.