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Scott Benson details his history with Alec Holowka

Buckle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
15,774
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?
No, people were abused by Alec and had a right to speak out in hopes that they could get their story out there and stop anyone else from being a victim. Often times these people don't even really understand how bad they've got it until they hear someone else speak out and give them the courage to confront the situation and stop being manipulated or controlled.

Alec apparently left a long list of people in his wake that he hurt badly. Its unfortunate and tragic that he chose to commit suicide but these people have every right for their story to be told.
 

fiskyfisko

Banned
Mar 23, 2018
107
This is an incredibly selfish perspective. Alec Holowka hurt many people for years and killed himself after a history of suicidal behavior. Your favorite games should not be dictating your take here.
Yeah obviously but that's how humans work. Why do people cry when musicians, artists die? Because they were their best friends? No, it's beacause their art, music etc. meant something for them. I knew those people only because of the game.
 

Psychonaut

Member
Jan 11, 2018
2,388
It is perfectly acceptable to be a person who struggles with their mental health. However, it is unacceptable to habitually weaponize those struggles and forcibly place responsibility for your wellbeing on other people's shoulders. I don't blame anyone for removing themselves from a situation like that. I appreciate Scott's insight into this situation.

Many have said it, but it's still true: this is the worst ending for all involved. There's no way for Alec to truly reconcile with and atone for his actions, and his death may yet prove to be the worst thing that has happened to Zoe (which is quite a feat).
 

Nich

Member
Oct 26, 2017
19
My end goal is that a dev of one of my favourite games is dead and I wish this have never happened. I was excited for their games and what would they do together next. This all came out of nowhere.

Also I read Scott's post 2 times.
If you read the post twice, it should have been fairly clear that they would do nothing together next. Scott and Bethany had already started a new studio without Alec months before any of this came to light, and the stuff Scott says in this post highlights all the reasons why Alec wasn't involved in their new venture.
 

anexanhume

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,751
It is perfectly acceptable to be a person who struggles with their mental health. However, it is unacceptable to habitually weaponize those struggles and forcibly place responsibility for your wellbeing on other people's shoulders. I don't blame anyone for removing themselves from a situation like that. I appreciate Scott's insight into this situation.

Many have said it, but it's still true: this is the worst ending for all involved. There's no way for Alec to truly reconcile with and atone for his actions, and his death may yet prove to be the worst thing that has happened to Zoe (which is quite a feat).
Agree. Clearly this is devastating to his family and re-traumatizes his victims.

I also think the take that Alec is somehow escaping the consequences of his actions is also an incomplete view. Taking his own life is a direct consequence of his mental illness. He is a victim of his own mental illness, just as all those that interacted with him.

The difference is that he is the one with agency to change those conditions. That doesn’t make it easy, and a culture of mental illness stigma, toxic masculinity, and workplace power dynamics could have all enabled his ascent into a serial sexual and emotional abuser.

Let’s also be real, the consequences he was facing were already realized. He had lost his current work and been ostracized by those that knew him. There was no realistic threat of legal action, nor was he likely in physical danger. This is the typical cycle for male abusers. Many even come back after a brief hiatus with barely an apology and just get accepted automatically (Louis CK a prime recent example). We’ve got a long way to go there, and there needs to be a blueprint for how these people can repent for their actions. Supporting organizations that benefit the type of people they’ve victimized seems a bare minimum here.

There also tends to be an erasure of the value of life in these circumstances. When a person with a history of victimizing others commits suicide, there’s an immediate jump to defend the victims and absolve them of any fault. This is necessary as there’s still a support structure for these types of abusers. It has to be the central focus because the vitriol against them is so vile. Zoe had to delete her account just to protect her safety. In reality, we’d ultimately like to get to a place where we regret the impact on victims, but also mourn that more couldn’t be done to prevent the loss of the person that was severely flawed and couldn’t get on a path to reconciliation and redemption (I think this is partly because we have a culture focused on punishment rather than reparations and rehabilitation, but that’s a digression).
 
Last edited:
Oct 25, 2017
5,642
Brooklyn, NY
If you read the post twice, it should have been fairly clear that they would do nothing together next. Scott and Bethany had already started a new studio without Alec months before any of this came to light, and the stuff Scott says in this post highlights all the reasons why Alec wasn't involved in their new venture.
close enough, but Holowka was working on a new, smaller NITW project with Scott and Bethany (which was cancelled last week in response to the new allegations, before Holowka's death).
 

fiskyfisko

Banned
Mar 23, 2018
107
If you read the post twice, it should have been fairly clear that they would do nothing together next. Scott and Bethany had already started a new studio without Alec months before any of this came to light, and the stuff Scott says in this post highlights all the reasons why Alec wasn't involved in their new venture.

I don't wanna talk about the games anymore because I know it's selfish.
But Alec (I think it's him) made this twitter post few weeks ago that he's working on three projects, one of them is Night in the woods:


After that the thruth came out and Scott canceled all the projects:


I'm actually gonna stop because I just don't know.
 

Doober

The Fallen
Jun 10, 2018
2,330
It seems like in way that being wealthy really prohibited him from facing his issues, since it was so easy for him to move away and start the cycle of illness and abuse with new people.

It also explains why he was so paranoid about it all falling down. Eventually his many victims were going to find one another.
 

anexanhume

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,751
It seems like in way that being wealthy really prohibited him from facing his issues, since it was so easy for him to move away and start the cycle of illness and abuse with new people.

It also explains why he was so paranoid about it all falling down. Eventually his many victims were going to find one another.
Just look at Charlie Rose and Louis CK. Spend 6 months going quiet, then just come back like nothing happened.
 

JDFaulky

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,809
Reading this makes me want to run over and purchase Night in the Woods just to support Scott and Bethany for the nightmare they went through developing this game.
 

Seik

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,524
Québec City
What a mess this whole situation has been/still is - very hard read.


I don't know about the legal situation in Canada but regardless of the whereabouts there is a thin line to walk between forcing necessary help (and getting the legal means in place) and letting people decide freely what to do with their lives. Besides if no one reports people who are hurt and are hurting others to authorities there is not much those authorities can do.
It's not really better here either.

My GF's brother (36 yo) suffers from paranoia, psychosis and probably plenty of other undiagnosed stuff which are inflated when taking drugs, which he does, and deflated when taking his medication, which he doesn't. He's in a state of mind where he's always right and everyone around him are wrong.

I'll do a long story short, three months ago he became homeless because he cannot keep a job, he went all the way from Quebec to Gatineau to attack his own father (who was sending him money to help him on a monthly basis) in a backstreet while he was going to work. Father made a complaint to the police but except an order to keep X distance from him, it didn't do much. One time when he was arrested he was forced to see a psychiatrist, with which he acted perfectly fine and was let go, because he knows how the system works.

Now he's back in Qc and he's slamming on his mother's door every 3 weeks in total psychosis. She had to file a complaint to the police last week who came to pick him up but he ended up at the hospital because he slammed his head in the windows to the point of opening his forehead, she was crying like there's no tomorrow, understandably. My GF is currently on a work break because she's scared af for her parents lives.

What the police can do? Nothing except waiting until he comes back to his mother's house with the restraining order active so that they put him in jail...and then again for longer if he repeats the act. We found a way to have him forcibly treated, but it implies that he'd have access to all the info, everything about the people who registered on the program. So of course his mom and dad dropped that, because guess what would happen if he learns that it's because of them he went there, which would probably be countered by fooling another psychiatrist.

It's really a sad situation all around, the guy had potential and was brilliant. But unfortunately our system is unfit to treat such cases, especially when it involves an uncooperative adult. Now we're at the point where we're 'waiting' to see what happen at this point because there's nothing we can do: Either he goes in jail for not respecting the court's orders, stay in the streets in his state or commits suicide.

:/
 

headspawn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,804
HOLY SHIT. He killed himself? The old thread was no longer being bumped so I didn't see it, and assumed that Scott's write up meant he like, "died" in the sense of cancelled.

Zoe and others clearly dealt with a guy who was acting awful, but also he was someone who was sick. This forum and others need to take this as a serious warning sign, and become able to talk about people doing wrong things without the toxicity of saying they are evil people just because they do bad things. The culture in that last thread seemed to revel in attacking a guy who we must continue to say (clearly and directly) did really horrible stuff.
For this to make sense you have to believe that him taking his life is a result of people reactions and not Alec deciding to end his life to absolve himself from facing the fucked up things he did, just like he threatened to do for that very reason, repeatedly apparently.
 

freetacos

Member
Oct 30, 2017
988
Really tough read, but really powerful and well written

Hope all of the victims in this situation can eventually find peace
 

Brock Reiher

Member
Oct 25, 2017
31,856
For this to make sense you have to believe that him taking his life is a result of people reactions and not Alec deciding to end his life to absolve himself from facing the fucked up things he did, just like he threatened to do for that very reason, repeatedly apparently.
I would just report stuff like that, not worth your time
 

Xeteh

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,379
I read this earlier and made the mistake (again) of reading the comments on twitter and man some people are just disgusting. I don't understand why some people just need to go out of their way to be as vile as possible. It is absolutely depressing.
 

Darth Smurf X

Member
Oct 25, 2017
823
Hoth, WI
I really found Scott's method of writing to be captivating—horrifying—but really well written. I recommend people read the entire thing even if it is painful.
 

Phife Dawg

Member
Oct 27, 2017
526
It's not really better here either.

My GF's brother (36 yo) suffers from paranoia, psychosis and probably plenty of other undiagnosed stuff which are inflated when taking drugs, which he does, and deflated when taking his medication, which he doesn't. He's in a state of mind where he's always right and everyone around him are wrong.

I'll do a long story short, three months ago he became homeless because he cannot keep a job, he went all the way from Quebec to Gatineau to attack his own father (who was sending him money to help him on a monthly basis) in a backstreet while he was going to work. Father made a complaint to the police but except an order to keep X distance from him, it didn't do much. One time when he was arrested he was forced to see a psychiatrist, with which he acted perfectly fine and was let go, because he knows how the system works.

Now he's back in Qc and he's slamming on his mother's door every 3 weeks in total psychosis. She had to file a complaint to the police last week who came to pick him up but he ended up at the hospital because he slammed his head in the windows to the point of opening his forehead, she was crying like there's no tomorrow, understandably. My GF is currently on a work break because she's scared af for her parents lives.

What the police can do? Nothing except waiting until he comes back to his mother's house with the restraining order active so that they put him in jail...and then again for longer if he repeats the act. We found a way to have him forcibly treated, but it implies that he'd have access to all the info, everything about the people who registered on the program. So of course his mom and dad dropped that, because guess what would happen if he learns that it's because of them he went there, which would probably be countered by fooling another psychiatrist.

It's really a sad situation all around, the guy had potential and was brilliant. But unfortunately our system is unfit to treat such cases, especially when it involves an uncooperative adult. Now we're at the point where we're 'waiting' to see what happen at this point because there's nothing we can do: Either he goes in jail for not respecting the court's orders, stay in the streets in his state or commits suicide.

:/
That is horrible. I feel for you. In Germany where I live there are legal tools to help people even by force, stripping them of certain privileges (regarding financial things etc.) which is a good thing I think. However there are also cases where people were kept in an asylum who should not have been there - very delicate to tackle from a lawmaker's perspective.
 

JDFaulky

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,809
Logged into Steam to purchase Night in the Woods (again, to support Scott and Bethany) and noticed that a bunch of Gamergate people are review bombing the game while attacking both Zoe and Scott. That's a bummer to see.
 

T.Slothrop

Member
Jan 21, 2018
157
The only thing i will say is that it doesn't seem like Alec was some kind of a silent monster. He was a hot fucking mess. The good news is that you can train yourself to see those people coming from a mile away and run.
 

Sagroth

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,440
A few things:

- If you’ve read Benson’s statement and still blame Holowka’s suicide on his accusers, the Internet, or “cancel culture,” you’ve missed a major point in the statement. Holowka has a long-standing history of abusively threatening suicide to get others to do what he wanted. That he decided to follow through is indeed a tragedy, but after trying to pin his suicidality on others over the years (inflicting all sorts of abuse and trauma as a result), trying to pin his actions on his victims (or anyone else for that matter) spits in the face of those who had to deal with his abuse.

-The ONLY good thing to come out of this at all is that Holowka can no longer directly traumatize others and/or remove creative individuals from the industry. And even then, it would have been far better for him to have gotten better and tried to make restitution.

-Acknowledging the harm he did to others even after his death is not wrong and should not be discouraged. His victims deserve the validation of their experiences, and while grieving, his family deserves the truth should they wish to find it (though anyone who chooses to harass said family can get fucked). Some individuals are going to make judgement calls based on his behavior. Depending on your personal set of ethics, some are going to care about intent (and possibly ascribe intent to actions), but as Benson said, the truth is that regardless of intent, abuse and harm was the typical result of his actions. Personally, motive matters to me, and as I never knew the man personally, I cannot make a judgement call on such. But the truth remains that consciously or not, he was manipulative and put evil out into the world, and likely cost us creative works of others.

-Some of his victims are still being abused by fans of Holowka, and this should be unacceptable to everyone. There are individuals on social media, for example, actively trying to get Zoe Quinn to kill herself (and it ain’t the first time).

-Mental illness definitely doesn’t make someone a bad person. But one can struggle with mental illness and still be awful as well. Many have already made up their minds about the type of person Holowka was based on his actions and their personal set of ethics. As long as they are not stigmatizing mental illness, they are not inherently wrong to do so.

-There’s nothing to be celebrated here. This is a fucked situation for all involved. At best, some may feel a weight lifted, or relieved he can no longer harm anyone directly. They should be allowed to feel this way without judgement.



Edit: and on a personal note as someone on the receiving end of such: Whether intended or not, using threats of suicide to manipulate others is an abusive, awful thing to do regardless of whether it is done consciously or not. The damage it can do to others can take years of therapy to heal, if at all. I have attempted to leave my personal angry trauma response to such out of the above, but my apologies if it bled through.
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,963
The only thing i will say is that it doesn't seem like Alec was some kind of a silent monster. He was a hot fucking mess. The good news is that you can train yourself to see those people coming from a mile away and run.
Definitely. I’ve had my fair share of encounters with these types of people. Once you’ve survived one, you can see through them all pretty quickly.
 

Just_a_Mouse

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,885
Reading this makes me want to run over and purchase Night in the Woods just to support Scott and Bethany for the nightmare they went through developing this game.
Now that I know that none of the proceeds will be going to an abuser I will also be purchasing to support the rest of the team. This is the kind of ordeal that leaves scars that last a lifetime.
 
Oct 27, 2017
161
SoCal
A few things:

- If you’ve read Benson’s statement and still blame Holowka’s suicide on his accusers, the Internet, or “cancel culture,” you’ve missed a major point in the statement. Holowka has a long-standing history of abusively threatening suicide to get others to do what he wanted. That he decided to follow through is indeed a tragedy, but after trying to pin his suicidality on others over the years (inflicting all sorts of abuse and trauma as a result), trying to pin his actions on his victims (or anyone else for that matter) spits in the face of those who had to deal with his abuse.

-The ONLY good thing to come out of this at all is that Holowka can no longer directly traumatize others and/or remove creative individuals from the industry. And even then, it would have been far better for him to have gotten better and tried to make restitution.

-Acknowledging the harm he did to others even after his death is not wrong and should not be discouraged. His victims deserve the validation of their experiences, and while grieving, his family deserves the truth should they wish to find it (though anyone who chooses to harass said family can get fucked). Some individuals are going to make judgement calls based on his behavior. Depending on your personal set of ethics, some are going to care about intent (and possibly ascribe intent to actions), but as Benson said, the truth is that regardless of intent, abuse and harm was the typical result of his actions. Personally, motive matters to me, and as I never knew the man personally, I cannot make a judgement call on such. But the truth remains that consciously or not, he was manipulative and put evil out into the world, and likely cost us creative works of others.

-Some of his victims are still being abused by fans of Holowka, and this should be unacceptable to everyone. There are individuals on social media, for example, actively trying to get Zoe Quinn to kill herself (and it ain’t the first time).

-Mental illness definitely doesn’t make someone a bad person. But one can struggle with mental illness and still be awful as well. Many have already made up their minds about the type of person Holowka was based on his actions and their personal set of ethics. As long as they are not stigmatizing mental illness, they are not inherently wrong to do so.

-There’s nothing to be celebrated here. This is a fucked situation for all involved. At best, some may feel a weight lifted, or relieved he can no longer harm anyone directly. They should be allowed to feel this way without judgement.



Edit: and on a personal note as someone on the receiving end of such: Whether intended or not, using threats of suicide to manipulate others is an abusive, awful thing to do regardless of whether it is done consciously or not. The damage it can do to others can take years of therapy to heal, if at all. I have attempted to leave my personal angry trauma response to such out of the above, but my apologies if it bled through.
This is a great, level-headed assessment. I don't feel any personal bias bled through at all. I hope your recovery from your own experiences has been going well.
 

Orbit

Member
Nov 21, 2018
1,135
A few things:

- If you’ve read Benson’s statement and still blame Holowka’s suicide on his accusers, the Internet, or “cancel culture,” you’ve missed a major point in the statement. Holowka has a long-standing history of abusively threatening suicide to get others to do what he wanted. That he decided to follow through is indeed a tragedy, but after trying to pin his suicidality on others over the years (inflicting all sorts of abuse and trauma as a result), trying to pin his actions on his victims (or anyone else for that matter) spits in the face of those who had to deal with his abuse.

-The ONLY good thing to come out of this at all is that Holowka can no longer directly traumatize others and/or remove creative individuals from the industry. And even then, it would have been far better for him to have gotten better and tried to make restitution.

-Acknowledging the harm he did to others even after his death is not wrong and should not be discouraged. His victims deserve the validation of their experiences, and while grieving, his family deserves the truth should they wish to find it (though anyone who chooses to harass said family can get fucked). Some individuals are going to make judgement calls based on his behavior. Depending on your personal set of ethics, some are going to care about intent (and possibly ascribe intent to actions), but as Benson said, the truth is that regardless of intent, abuse and harm was the typical result of his actions. Personally, motive matters to me, and as I never knew the man personally, I cannot make a judgement call on such. But the truth remains that consciously or not, he was manipulative and put evil out into the world, and likely cost us creative works of others.

-Some of his victims are still being abused by fans of Holowka, and this should be unacceptable to everyone. There are individuals on social media, for example, actively trying to get Zoe Quinn to kill herself (and it ain’t the first time).

-Mental illness definitely doesn’t make someone a bad person. But one can struggle with mental illness and still be awful as well. Many have already made up their minds about the type of person Holowka was based on his actions and their personal set of ethics. As long as they are not stigmatizing mental illness, they are not inherently wrong to do so.

-There’s nothing to be celebrated here. This is a fucked situation for all involved. At best, some may feel a weight lifted, or relieved he can no longer harm anyone directly. They should be allowed to feel this way without judgement.



Edit: and on a personal note as someone on the receiving end of such: Whether intended or not, using threats of suicide to manipulate others is an abusive, awful thing to do regardless of whether it is done consciously or not. The damage it can do to others can take years of therapy to heal, if at all. I have attempted to leave my personal angry trauma response to such out of the above, but my apologies if it bled through.
like the post ^ I feel bad for Zoe Quinn. First the crazy boyfriend (and yes, what person who isn't a complete psycho posts private messages between you and the person you were dating) gets everything stirred up and she receives all this crap and threats. Now, she bravely comes out and reveals the truth about what kind of person Alec is. The reason Alec's suicide - while sad and I wish it didn't happen - pisses me off is because now the idiots with GameGate look at this dude, thinking Zoe and the other accusers 'killed one of our own'. I have sympathy for Alec's family and the void and sadness left in their life, but I have zero for Alec - even in the end, he was thinking of himself. I mean, for goodness sakes, there is evidence out there that he was still acting the way he had in the past - it never stopped - as Scott detailed he just moved on to other victims. A poster posted this somewhere in this thread, something like 'Mental illness is your responsibility' and it is! I truly believe that Alec struggled with mental health and that it is what caused him to do what he did, but I think it speaks a lot to his character that he did not hold himself responsible.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,389
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.
This kind of conscious, predatory abuse has absolutely ZERO to do with broader concern about mental health care and awareness. I find the bolded hard to read without assuming something about you as an individual. Conflating these things shows either a basic misunderstanding of the subjects (the differences between criminality and mental health issues) or a willful desire to deflect from consequences for that kind of wrongdoing. It honestly comes across as the sort of conscious manipulation someone does when they (for example) manipulate others by threatening suicide.

One of the first things someone has to come to terms with in mental health care is that you're responsible for your actions, and that no mental health condition makes you do this: That's all on the perpetrator. Decisions and actions exist alongside a person's underlying mental health. And if their condition is used in the service of their abuse of others, that's all the more damning.
 

Sagroth

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,440
like the post ^ I feel bad for Zoe Quinn. First the crazy boyfriend (and yes, what person who isn't a complete psycho posts private messages between you and the person you were dating) gets everything stirred up and she receives all this crap and threats. Now, she bravely comes out and reveals the truth about what kind of person Alec is. The reason Alec's suicide - while sad and I wish it didn't happen - pisses me off is because now the idiots with GameGate look at this dude, thinking Zoe and the other accusers 'killed one of our own'. I have sympathy for Alec's family and the void and sadness left in their life, but I have zero for Alec - even in the end, he was thinking of himself. I mean, for goodness sakes, there is evidence out there that he was still acting the way he had in the past - it never stopped - as Scott detailed he just moved on to other victims. A poster posted this somewhere in this thread, something like 'Mental illness is your responsibility' and it is! I truly believe that Alec struggled with mental health and that it is what caused him to do what he did, but I think it speaks a lot to his character that he did not hold himself responsible.
Agreed. Those blaming Zoe Quinn, other victims, or the Internet for Holowka’s actions are perpetuating his cycle of abuse whether they know it or not. Insisting others were responsible for his emotions and actions was clearly part of his pathology, and no one should continue to perpetuate that on his behalf .
 

muteKi

Member
Oct 22, 2018
8,622
a sunken pirate ship
Are you saying that his death by suicide would make it easier for his victims to move on?
I don't think that anyone sought for him to die (the fact that he was given so many chances to try to get better and received support from his former victims when he told them he was getting professional help) but I am reminded of what John Darnielle, the man who is the musician The Mountain Goats, once said on the matter (sourced from here):

I ask survivors when they come up to me at the merch line, “has your abuser died yet?” And they will say, “no” and I will say, “I want you to be ready, cause it is, I hate to say this (I don’t wish death on anybody), it is wonderful when your abuser dies. It’s wonderful, it’s like nothing in the world. It’s like you are free.” There’s a feeling that you will never be free of what you were, you know, there’s that…But to know that the person who used to hurt you no longer can is very very very deep. It’s unbelievable.
Should anyone need a target to draw their ire in act of celebrating a man's death, then let it be me, for I do not have any pain to fear. People who are trying to make communities I am even a small part of safer deserve never to be hated or harmed for their work, and I shall celebrate their efforts. This result is not their fault. Holowka bears the burden of the consequences of his actions, both for the people he isolated and drove out of these communities, and for the way in which he responded to their demands he be held to account.
 

SteadFast

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
5,131
What a harrowing read. Well done to Benson for being able to put it out there with this much detail.
 

Doc Kelso

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,743
NYC
I don't think that anyone sought for him to die (the fact that he was given so many chances to try to get better and received support from his former victims when he told them he was getting professional help) but I am reminded of what John Darnielle, the man who is the musician The Mountain Goats, once said on the matter (sourced from here):



Should anyone need a target to draw their ire in act of celebrating a man's death, then let it be me, for I do not have any pain to fear. People who are trying to make communities I am even a small part of safer deserve never to be hated or harmed for their work, and I shall celebrate their efforts. This result is not their fault. Holowka bears the burden of the consequences of his actions, both for the people he isolated and drove out of these communities, and for the way in which he responded to their demands he be held to account.
Amen, amen, amen.

As someone that’s been abused, there can be an immense sense of relief when you no longer feel the compulsion to look around every corner and expect them to be there; You no longer have to be concerned about things you say making their way back to them. Especially when it’s all within a community of some sort, one you still want to be a part of.

Or maybe you feel guilty because you keep thinking that because it’s no longer you, it’s going to be someone else. Maybe you didn’t do enough, or maybe you didn’t speak up soon enough, or maybe people just refuse to believe you.

I’m not saying a death should be celebratory, but the freedom that can come with your abuser literally vanishing from the world is... yeah. It’s a sort of freedom that being abused can absolutely take away from you. And it’s a shock to the system when you realize that.
 

Sankara

Alt Account
Banned
May 19, 2019
1,311
Paris
That was such a powerful piece. I wish more men in the games industry were as open and willing to be vulnerable.
 

John Rabbit

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,737
I would absolutely call Alec an evil person for what he systematically did to numerous people for years.
I hope some day this perspective changes for you. Evil is a pretty big word to label an entire person with. He did terrible, awful, evil things, but a big part of the process in changing yourself for the better is learning not to define your entire existence by the things you do, or have done. The point at which at person has 'redeemed' themselves in the eyes of others is different for everyone. For many, Alec would have likely never redeemed himself, and that's fine for them, and had he lived and improved himself, Alec would have had to come to accept that about the people he hurt.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,332
I hope some day this perspective changes for you. Evil is a pretty big word to label an entire person with. He did terrible, awful, evil things, but a big part of the process in changing yourself for the better is learning not to define your entire existence by the things you do, or have done. The point at which at person has 'redeemed' themselves in the eyes of others is different for everyone. For many, Alec would have likely never redeemed himself, and that's fine for them, and had he lived and improved himself, Alec would have had to come to accept that about the people he hurt.
"He did terrible, awful, evil things, but evil is a pretty big word to label an entire person with."

Did you even proofread your post before you hit post reply? We, as a society and as a species, judge people entirely on their actions (or inactions). Alec had many, many, many years to "redeem" himself and never did. I'm not going to withhold my judgment and condemnation of him based on "what if he got better?"
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,963
He was called out for being an abuser in 2015. I don’t see where this redemption narrative is coming from, because I don’t think he ever tried to actually become a better person.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,389
I hope some day this perspective changes for you. Evil is a pretty big word to label an entire person with. He did terrible, awful, evil things, but a big part of the process in changing yourself for the better is learning not to define your entire existence by the things you do, or have done. The point at which at person has 'redeemed' themselves in the eyes of others is different for everyone. For many, Alec would have likely never redeemed himself, and that's fine for them, and had he lived and improved himself, Alec would have had to come to accept that about the people he hurt.
It's worth pointing out that, when confronted with the mere suggestion of the realities of his actions, he chose to end his life rather than change and work to make amends. He was given numerous opportunities to reflect and change, including public accusation as recently as 2015. Considering the sheer breadth of the timeline, the active pursuit, abuse, and manipulation of his victims was not an issue of "two lives in one" or "a simple mistake." This man was a predator in every aspect of his life that could possibly matter to another human being. Someone choosing this situation to insist on his theoretical humanity given all this, frankly, reflects poorly on the defender.
 

John Rabbit

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,737
"He did terrible, awful, evil things, but evil is a pretty big word to label an entire person with."

Did you even proofread your post before you hit post reply? We, as a society and as a species, judge people entirely on their actions (or inactions). Alec had many, many, many years to "redeem" himself and never did. I'm not going to withhold my judgment and condemnation of him based on "what if he got better?"
I don't know why you're being so aggressively antagonistic about this. I think you should re-examine this statement:

We, as a society and as a species, judge people entirely on their actions (or inactions).
As a society we used to enslave people and sacrifice each other to appease deities nobody believes in anymore. What difference does "what society does" make in terms of what defines a person? Maybe examine why you're using "what society does" as a justification for your own feelings. I never said you shouldn't condemn or judge Alec's behaviors; more that it's myopic and limiting to define his entire personhood based solely on his actions. Every person is born with, and demonstrates, an equal capacity for good and evil. Again, it's not about forgiving him, or excusing him, or doing anything to diminish the negative impacts of what he did; it's about believing that he had the capacity to become a better person and change, and that now he can't.

Someone choosing this situation to insist on his theoretical humanity given all this, frankly, reflects poorly on the defender.
It really doesn't; it reflects on my own experiences with trauma and shame and past abusive behavior. I'm not defending anything he did, I'm defending the line between someone's actions and someone's personhood.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,332
I don't know why you're being so aggressively antagonistic about this. I think you should re-examine this statement:


As a society we used to enslave people and sacrifice each other to appease deities nobody believes in anymore. What difference does "what society does" make in terms of what defines a person? Maybe examine why you're using "what society does" as a justification for your own feelings. I never said you shouldn't condemn or judge Alec's behaviors; more that it's myopic and limiting to define his entire personhood based solely on his actions. Every person is born with, and demonstrates, an equal capacity for good and evil. Again, it's not about forgiving him, or excusing him, or doing anything to diminish the negative impacts of what he did; it's about believing that he had the capacity to become a better person and change, and that now he can't.


It really doesn't; it reflects on my own experiences with trauma and shame and past abusive behavior. I'm not defending anything he did, I'm defending the line between someone's actions and someone's personhood.
How am I the one being aggressive when you're the one that quoted me and came at me with this holier-than-thou attitude?

I'm going to do you a favor and look past your comparison to slavery or blood sacrifices because it's 2019 and nearly worldwide everyone is in agreement both of those things are bad.

I don't believe he had the capacity to become a better person, he had several years with several opportunities to do so, all while abusing many more people along the way.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,389
It really doesn't; it reflects on my own experiences with trauma and shame and past abusive behavior. I'm not defending anything he did, I'm defending the line between someone's actions and someone's personhood.
I'll suggest that a thread about a victim's personal account detailing abuse isn't the place to wax nostalgic about the unrepentant perpetrator's underlying humanity, in the context of a career of equally unrepentant abuse.

If you've abused others and you're still coming to terms with your own self worth in light of that, I don't think this is an appropriate place for you to work that out.
 

Wok

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
France
Nice write-up by Scott.

I had no idea the scale of the mood disorder issues which Alec was going through.

Alec could not work (under boss supervision) more than 3 weeks in his whole life. It is not just a matter of being rich. It is also a matter of mental health.
To me, the fact that he never had any boss for at least a month is telling.

Alec needed more than meds (which he forgot to take once in a while). Alec needed some closer supervision, maybe at a psychiatric hospital.

He would talk then about how he didn’t need work/life balance, that work WAS his life. I told him I’d sort of lost that mindset when it was imposed on me by jobs I’d previously had. “Oh god, I had a job once”, Alec said. “That was the worst 3 weeks of my life.” I laughed. He explained to me that he wasn’t kidding. I said ok.
"Work was his life". Damn. This hits hard.
 
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John Rabbit

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,737
I don't believe he had the capacity to become a better person
Then I guess we'll just continue to disagree about that.
I'll suggest that a thread about a victim's personal account detailing abuse isn't the place to wax nostalgic about the unrepentant perpetrator's underlying humanity, in the context of a career of equally unrepentant abuse.

If you've abused others and you're still coming to terms with your own self worth in light of that, I don't think this is an appropriate place for you to work that out.
You came at me with a personal attack, don't act like I just showed up and started talking about myself.
 

Jamaro

Member
Oct 27, 2017
341
I've only gone through the first two pages of this thread after reading the story, but I just wanted to say that I appreciate those who shared their related personal anecdotes. Its interesting seeing some of the parallels with behavior patterns in those who abuse others, and the stories give a peek behind the curtain of how mental illness can play into it.

Props to Scott Benson on sharing his story, I know that can't have been easy. It seems real easy to armchair critique and say he could've handled things differently along the way, but being a victim of abuse in this manner will take a toll on your psyche as he's described, and I feel like he handled that situation about as well as he could. And to the guy who says, "see, they tried to enlighten him of what he was doing and he shaped up and got better!", I feel like you didn't finish reading the story.

I try to imagine what it's like being in the mind of the abuser in this case, and where you can draw the line of blaming actions and lack of awareness and understanding on mental illness. I'm not sure I believe that having this exact type of mental illness should render you unable to be cognizant of causing grief and pain to other people. If he did realize this and it's because of his mental illness that he could not bring himself to care about the fact that he was hurting anybody, well, then, it seems that's a different discussion to have.