NeoGAF gaming forum goes offline after owner is accused of sexual harrassment

    
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Long-running and popular video game forum NeoGAF went down virtually overnight this weekend following allegations of sexual harassment against the site’s owner.

A series of posts accusing owner Tyler “Evilore” Malka of sexual assault set into motion a firestorm of controversy on the forum, leading to a walkout by the rest of the site’s moderators. After the forum filled with discussion, rants, and calls for Malka’s resignations over the accusations, it was taken offline on Sunday.

Film director Ima Leupp publicly named Malka last week in an account where she alleged that he harassed her in a hotel shower. Some of the other accusations span back years, including a series of crude remarks made over the whole GamerGate controversy back in 2014.

“Casual bulls*****ing about video games isn’t worth supporting Evilore,” one user posted. “Burn it all down.”

NeoGAF said that it will be preparing a public statement over the issue, but so far no statement has been forthcoming.

Update: Malka has finally made his promised statement, to Vice Waypoint; he characterizes Leupp as a “a deeply disturbed, malicious individual” and claims the sexual harassment allegation is “totally ridiculous and baseless” and that the incident described was “totally harmonious and consensual.”

Leupp has countered by saying the rebuttal is “bullshit.”

“The only thing I gain from this is harassment,” she said. “I’m not trying to ruin his life. I wasn’t trying to call him out. I was responding to a fucking hashtag about sexual assault and sexual abuse, and that story fit really well. Who gets into a shower with a naked girl who’s puking?”

Waypoint chronicles an additional incident involving another woman and includes statements from moderators who suggested that this was just the final straw in a pile of past dramas mishandled by Malka, one including a NeoGAF mod arrested for child porn.

NeoGAF remains offline in “maintenance,” though Malka says the site will be back tonight with an impending restructure focusing on video games. “I’ll be at the helm as I always have,” he reportedly said. It is not clear whether the moderating team will be returning.

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kelvar

I don’t understand why people don’t go to the police. Why post allegations on the internet? If true, throw the book at him, press charges, face criminal reprocussions and warn others. If false… well it doesn’t matter now the damage is done.

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Simon

She did talk about that, it was something about her not feeling safe, being in her position in the industry. She also couldn’t afford it. I don’t know how it works in USA, but having to pay for something like that seems odd. Counterproductive.

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Frank White

Well, seeing as how she admitted to still being friends with him after the alleged event, and admitted to having a physical relationship with him AFTER said event, I really don’t think she was shaking with fear.

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Jack Pipsam

What a douche. I don’t understand the mindsets of people who think they can just do that kind of stuff.

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Bryan Correll

Harmonious and consensual? He should have stuck with just “consensual” cause ain’t nobody gonna believe it was harmonious.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

We’ve updated with the latest statements. Neogaf is expected to return tonight.

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Greaterdivinity

That’s a pretty disappointing, and in light of his past comments, hypocritical statement coming from him.

Rings especially hollow given the exodus of mods who largely corroborate the behind the scenes drama stemming from his poor behavior.

But…”an impending restructure focusing on video games”…has Gaf ever been about anything but gaming? What does this even mean…

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CMDR Crow

I’d put heavy money on the delay in the release of the statement being due to Malka retaining/consulting a lawyer.

The language is also surprising considering the prior events. That sounds more like setting up a legal defense than anything that could be taken as earnest or realistic. But that’s the issue with these problems. The best legal defense, which anyone would be crazy not to attempt, is literally a part of the systemic problem. But at the point where, likely, a company is involved liability and self-protection become easier to accept extremes and falsehoods about.

Basically, as soon as things get serious a whole different, non-ethical set of rules and behaviors begin to apply which are determined by the current mores in legal theory.

agemyth 😩
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agemyth 😩

In response to the responses Waypoint got from each party and Neogaf returning tonight: Oh boy. This is only just getting started isn’t it??

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Castagere Shaikura

I just don’t understand the mindset of these guys. They are willing to risk it all with this behavior. They bust their butt to get where they are and blow it over hoping to get sex from someone not interested in them.

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CMDR Crow

Actually… there was mutual interest. They dated for a period after the event. Hell, the idea that Leupp intended to “publicly” name Malka isn’t supported as the name was basically “bullied” out of her. She shared a story in the way she was comfortable sharing and then people piled on NEEDING to know WHO TO ATTACK. I have no idea what actually happened in the betweens, but this sounds like almost every college relationship I ever saw. Drunken hookup/flirting. Dating. Splitting.

As far as one can tell, they got absolutely hammered together. They also clearly had mutual attraction to each other. In a drunken stupor this idiot (everyone is an idiot when they’re drunk) got into the shower with her and Leupp rightfully freaked out. In this case, it seems fairly clear this was a failure of communication brought about by alcohol and simply a lack of any conversation. Uninhibited flirting and late nights… I saw the same constantly when I was on a travel team at work. Spending all day with someone where there’s a mutual attraction and then getting pissed at night…

Whatever happened, they talked and worked it out after. And whatever happened I choose to believe Leupp was making a fully-owned choice to try to have a relationship with Malka. I also respect that she wanted to share her experience and not engage in vengeance, which seems clear. This kind of thing has happened somewhat frequently. Individuals share their experiences in a way that is for them only to have internet detectives and warriors decide that putting someone like Leupp into a spotlight as a “victim” is probably the most insensitive thing one can do for the individual who is sharing their experience.

There is so much here that is so different from the majority of these accusations, first off being that it was never even an accusation until a third-party decided it needed to be. Regardless of right and wrong, you can bet Leupp is curled into a nerve-wracked ball right now. No one wants their trauma co-opted by the internet unless they plan on selling it somehow.

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John Bagnoli

Is it bad I had no idea that this forum existed?

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Castagere Shaikura

Me neither.

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Bryan Correll

Me neither neither,

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Fervor Bliss

Just like Star Citizen, most likely a lawyer will come out, “We are going to sue for these lies”, then nothing will happen ever. Sad to see how gamers forgive repugnant behavior.

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Witches

If the guy is innocent, this will be free publicity, but the fact that his collaborators turned on him like this isn’t a good sign.

Sadly in europe this is commonplace, not one person caught in multiple accusations of harassment/assault has ever turned out to be innocent.

The internet gives people this false sense of invulnerability, if your dismissal of an accusation gets more likes than the accusing post people tend to think that’s it.

This is one of the rare cases when i see things with optimism, i don’t think bad behaviour is necessarily more common, i think it is denounced more often.

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rafael12104

What we have is just a little info. And, I hate to make an ASSumption without the details. But what the hell. This is a discussion and I think the discussion has been good with points on all sides.

The key for me is what happens after the shower incident. According to the girl involved he got mad at her and treated her badly. That, right there, is enough to make me think that there was harassment.

The alcohol excuse, it’s bullshit. Yes we do stupid things from time to time if we over indulge. But in my personal experience, right and wrong, don’t go out the window. And you know, you still know, when something isn’t right but it is easier to ignore under the influence. So… he nuded up and jumped in the shower. Whoops? Nah, brah. You crossed the line.

To his credit, he did stop. But instead of being embarrassed, apologizing, agonizing over how to make things right again, if possible, Malka got pissed treated her like crap and made her feel worse.

Think how horrifying it was for her even in her drunken state? She threw up, felt like shit, jumped in the shower and then was greeted with a dude in the shower with her looking for a lather. Afterwards when he jumped out and I assume left, do you think she wasn’t worried and maybe a little scared something still might happen?

So, was it harassment ala Harvey Weinstein? No. It wasn’t a con. But his actions and most notably reactions certainly were.

Listen, she was throwing up in the bathroom. Is that a green light for: “come, expose yourself in the shower with me?”

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Jerry

Why did she wait a few years before this came to light if she was so traumatized?

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camren_rooke

I believe she felt this person was in a position of power and could make life difficult for her or her friends in the industry. I want to say I heard that in SidAlpha’s take on it.

Irregardless, does it matter that it took a few years for it to come to light? If so. why?

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Xijit

She brought it up as part of the “me too” campaign on Facebook & one of her followers took it and turned it into a shit storm … seems like even she didn’t think it was as big of a deal as other people are making it out to be.

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CMDR Crow

If we want to talk about respecting victims and helping them… this is just insane. I bet Leupp is curled in a ball somewhere feeling exposed and wanting to just disappear.

rafael12104
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rafael12104

Don’t know but hardly uncommon for women who have been harassed or worse.

I’m only going by what I’ve read. But from what I’ve read, her story isn’t less valid because it is coming out now.

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Jerry

I work in Law Enforcement, waiting a long time hurts your credibility.

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kgptzac

From what I take from this situation, the woman isn’t looking to have the guy prosecuted.

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CMDR Crow

To be honest, the opposite doesn’t do much either.

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Solaris

The #metoo movement was the catalyst. Women often afraid to speak up because of history of not being taken seriously, and/or backlash associated with accusations. It’s a vicious cycle.

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Greaterdivinity

Shitty to hear about apparent harassment, but I shed no tears for Gaf. It’s been a circlejerk of useless and self-important nonsense for years now. Sucks for the folks that actually enjoyed chatting there, but the internet is probably better off without it.

One of the worst parts about this is yet another “progressive” voice coming out as apparently being a massive hypocrite and engaging in the same kind of deplorable behavior they so publicly speak out against for years : (

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Solaris

I won’t miss it. World is better off without NG imo.