It’s been a very emotional and traumatizing few weeks for the games industry. Night in the Woods developer, Alec Holowka was accused of a variety of abusive behaviors by fellow industry colleague, Zoë Quinn. Among the various allegations, is the claim that Holowka was extremely controlling, including a period of about a month where he allegedly kept them from leaving his apartment.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the situation has become even more tragic, as Alec’s sister Eileen Holowka has revealed that the worst has happened, and Alec has died.
According to Eileen, Alec passed away earlier this weekend. Details of his death are unknown, but it’s suggested by Eileen’s statement that Alec committed suicide. “We tried our best to support Alec, but in the end he felt he had lost too much,” she said on Twitter.
Eileen Holowka quickly added a very important element to her earlier posts, stressing the need to not politicize this tragedy:
“And in case it’s not already f****** obvious, Alec *specifically said* he wished the best for Zoë and everyone else, so don’t use our grief as an excuse to harass people. Go outside, take care of someone, and work towards preventing these kinds of things in the first place,” Eileen Holowka wrote.
These pleas fell on deaf ears obviously, as Twitter immediately gaslit into hundreds of chuds trying to pin the death on Quinn and accusers in general. It’s almost like the entire point of those people harassing victims and family members isn’t about ethics, but rather to stoke their ideological hatred. This is a trend we’ve all seen before, as another instance of harassment against an outspoken woman in games resulted in a massive wave of this same behavior. And apparently, it’s gotten so bad overall this time that Zoë Quinn has deleted their Twitter account entirely, while Eileen Holowka has set her account to private.
Anyway, there’s an equally important element here along with highlighting the gaslighting, one that’s being lost in the haze.
Accusations did not cause this alone. Mental illness is not a catalytic reaction, it’s not an easily understood or managed thing either. Each case is different, and each person requires help unique to them to engage in the healing process.
Suicide is a terrible and deadly problem, and mental health doesn’t get the attention and support it deserves. If you, or someone you know, is at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Hotline. Call 1-800-273-8255.