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Allistair Pinsof, a former games journalist turned game developer, has come forward to talk about his time as a writer and journalist in the gaming industry until it all came crashing down. He does so in an extended Reddit AMA. Anyone curious about the inner-workings of the game industry and the journalism ring will likely find the whole thing quite fascinating.
GameZone picked up the story, writing about how back in 2013 Allistair Pinsof had written about an IndieGoGo campaign that saw the creator asking for money to have "life-saving" surgery from shrapnel lodged in their body from a car accident. However, Pinsof discovered that the money would be used for sex reassignment surgery; he and the higher-ups at Destructoid didn't actually come to a concrete understanding over how to proceed with the situation, with management mostly attempting to wash their hands of the ordeal. Without clear ethical directions from management, Pinsof went public about the IndieGoGo campaign and was later fired over it when Destructoid caught ire from certain members of the transgender community.
The big issue wasn't so much about Pinsof being fired doing what he did, as he's stated that he was okay with that, but it was the involvement of certain other third-parties that caused ears and eyes to perk up when the details became apparent on Reddit. According to Allistair's account in the Reddit AMA...
"I worked 3+ years as a game journalist (The Daily Texan, The Escapist, Destructoid) until I became part of a scandal when I revealed the identity of a developer in an effort to end a fraudulent charity (read my full, horribly long personal account here: http://pastebin.com/nnR5gqdX). I felt awful about my mistake and tried to reconcile, at the time: https://archive.today/JVyaL
There are some fascinating revelations in the AMA, the pastebin file and the GameZone article. Anyone who was curious how the inner-workings of some of the games journalism circles work will find a lot of fascinating revelations unveiled.
The one thing that really stood out was how a private group called the “Game Journo Pros” – consisting of top managers, editors and site owners from some of the top tech and major gaming media websites – helped decide the fate of Allistair, as well as his future employment opportunities.
According to the GameZone article...
"After Niero fired Pinsof, Editor in Chief Dale North took to Game Journo Pros in what appears to be an attempt to blacklist Pinsof when he wrote on May 22, 2013 in a threat titled “You-know-who may try to contact you”: “Ugh. I can’t tell you what to do, fell EiCs, but I can advise on what you shouldn’t do. Industry friends have informed me that a certain problem child has been reaching out to some of you.” That was met with jokes and another journo writing, “Oh, ‘he who must not be named’ is just a silly superstition. ALLISTAIR ALLISTAIR ALLISTAIR! See? I didn’t summon him just by mentioning his name.”
As noted in some articles covering the situation, attempting to blacklist someone from employment is illegal in many states, including the state where Destructoid is located, Florida, where it's outlined on the state senate website.
Interestingly enough, shortly after the story broke about Allistair's firing and the involvement of the “Game Journo Pros”, Dale North took to Tumblr to announce that he was resigning from his position as Editor-in-Chief at Destructoid. North wrote on his blog...
“Without going into details, I feel certain actions taken and statements made by Destructoid management have not accurately reflected my feelings or taken my input as Editor-in-chief into account. I’m no longer comfortable having my name attached to the continued engagement with former staff.”
The entire thing seemed so surreal that GamesIndustry.biz also wrote an article about the fallout. In addition to this, they reached out to Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez, the owner of Destructoid and the co-founder to Destructoid's parent company, Modern Method.
According to Gonzalez, he briefly talked about Dale's departure, saying...
“It’s all good. Like any boss and employee relationship, we dont always agree. He put in a solid 8 years here. I’m proud of him and wish him the best,”
Pinsof's AMA and the surrounding drama has given people a lot of pause to think about how the game industry works and the inner workings of the game journalism ring. It shouldn't come as a surprise to everyone, however, as Total Biscuit and Jim Sterling have been rather critical about some aspects of games reporting, and this case here further shows that there's a lot of maturing that needs to take place in the games industry.
For the full story and all the gritty details, be sure to check out Pinsof's full AMA.