NeoGAF goes down amid sexual harassment allegations against owner [UPDATED]
Let this note serve as a general warning. The following post contains frank discussion of claims of sexual harassment and assault.
Overnight, Waypoint published statements from both Malka and Ima Leupp, the woman behind the allegations. There are two points of contention: an incident involving Malka touching a girl in a bar while on holiday that he bragged about on the forum, and the June 2017 arrest of NeoGAF user and former mod Amir0x on charges of possessing child abuse imagery. In the latter case, other NeoGAF mods say Malka attempted to distance himself from Amir0x by stating he did not know the ex-mod well, while clamping down on further discussion of the story. The discussion thread for this announcement also seems to be following a similar path, sadly.
Prolific and popular gaming forum NeoGAF (formerly the Gaming Age Forums, founded in 2006) is currently offline at the time of writing, and it might not be coming back this time.
The current owner of NeoGAF, Tyler “Evilore” Malka, has been accused of sexual harassment.
Tyler Malka is no stranger to accusations of this nature. A controversy of a similar kind broke out in 2012 when he admitted to some objectively appropriate behavior. Now, earlier this week a similar series of accusations from another victim have surfaced online.
NeoGAF may continue, but it’s unlikely that many will want to be associated “Evilore” after this. So the site will likely take a different form. As of now, no public statement has been issued. But the post will be updated when that happens.
The next bit is the part where I address the gaming community at large within the context of the issue of sexual violence. More specifically, those who may choose to defend “Evilore”.
It’s important to note that there may be many reasons why these accusations don’t often surface in the form of a legal complaint first. There’s a definite empirical trend that applies to sexual assault and harassment. And that trend is one where not only are these crimes under-reported, but wherein the trends involved also create an environment where victims tend to be ridiculed or ostracized for coming forward. It’s also been observed empirically that the vast majority of these accusations turn out to be true to the extent that the police believe a crime has taken place. Even though only a portion of these crimes are reported, and an even smaller percentage are prosecuted.
The many factors that affect these trends and the help reinforce those trends all need to be addressed. And the constant re-surfacing of these issues in a variety of industries highlight the reality that needs to be changed. In simple terms, victims need to be believed, and their choices about how to proceed need to be respected and supported. It would be great if all of these crimes were prosecuted, but that won’t happen overnight.
The gaming industry obviously isn’t immune to these issues and it never has been. So despite the obvious emotional attachment people may have to NeoGAF or other parts of their “gamer” identity, it may be time to reevaluate that attachment if it causes one to refuse to observe the reality of these issues.
ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.