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Published October 24, 2018

It’s no secret — social justice activists in the gaming community form brigades to pressure gaming studios into firing employees that they deem guilty of wrongthink. All it takes is one bad tweet, one errant comment, a dismissive gesture, or a harmless joke to trigger a crusade to ruin the lives of everyone involved.

And they are now bringing their harassment to the next level by doxing and harassing the families of their victims.

Cyberpunk 2077 (Screenshot: CD Projekt Red)

The latest company to fall afoul of the grievance cops are the developers at CD Projekt Red — the guys who made The Witcher 3, Gwent, and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. They were initially targeted by posters on ResetEra, many of whom are avowed social justice advocates who were themselves exiled from the NeoGAF forum where their brand of extremist politics has left the much older, more credentialed forum in ruins.

The issue then was Cyberpunk 2077 limiting you to playing as either a male or female protagonist, with no allowance for “genderqueer” characters. It was a big enough deal that publications like Polygon and VICE Waypoint accused the game of “misogyny” and criticized it for its refusal to address “transgender issues.”

I don’t think I need to point out the ridiculousness of demanding that the game cater to every single gender identity out there. The developers wish to tell a story that involves either a male or female character. It’s their choice.

The studio has since found itself under intense scrutiny by the mob, and everything it — and GOG.com, by extension — does, is being interpreted as a deliberate attempt to alienate and even mock them.

Kotaku stirred controversy in August with a throwaway tweet posted on the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account responding to one of its fans, in which it joked that the fan was wrong to assume the gender of some of the participants of the game’s presentation at Gamescom. The author, Heather Alexandra, admitted that the tweet itself was not in itself explicitly transphobic and only considered by some as offensive. That alone was enough to provoke a flurry of anger towards the company.

The studio deleted the tweet and issued an apology, stating:

“Sorry to all those offended by one of the responses sent out from our account earlier. Harming anyone was never our intention.”

Besides the fact that jokes can’t actually harm anyone, there’s no reason to think that the remark, which by internet standards would qualify as a dad joke, was intended to offend anyone. The apology  did nothing to dissuade the mob, or the writer for that matter. The Kotaku writer claimed that taken alone, the remark is just a “PR faux-pas, but it is not the first time a CD Projekt Red-related Twitter account has posted questionable content. Last July, the official Twitter account for GOG, the game storefront owned by CD Projekt, tweeted an animated GIF from Postal 2: Paradise Lost depicting the main character urinating on a tombstone marked Games Journalism. The date on the tombstone,” according to the writer, was a reference to GamerGate.

The apology was clearly not enough, and it led to another round of interrogations by Kotaku demanding answers for the tweets and so-called “questions” about their vetting process for social media managers. The implication is pretty cut and dry: the person or persons responsible for the tweets need to be sacked. That’s the message.

Amidst the inquisition, forum members of ResetEra doxed a CD Projekt Red employee, publicly posting his phone number and private email addresses for the mob to besiege with complaints.

Most normal people took issue with the apology. It was completely unnecessary, and no effort was being made by any of the so-called journalists to take the harassment mob to task for their participation in the controversy. The Quartering created a video calling out the hypocrisy of all those involved, rightly pointing out that many of Cyberpunk 2077’s detractors had no intentions whatsoever to even play the game.

GOG fires off a tweet (Screenshot: Twitter, October 22, 2018)

The mob is now once again at it with its “no bad tactics, only bad targets” harassment tactics. On the eve of the launch of CD Projekt Red’s new game, Thronebreaker, the studio tweeted into a trending hashtag called #WontBeErased.

If you aren’t politically active, you probably have no idea what #WontBeErased refers to. Like so many other trending hashtags, it looked like one of those every day normie hashtags that people tweet into and post jokes or references, so it’s difficult for any sane human being to fault the social media managers at CD Projekt Red and GOG for thinking it was anything but political.

As it turns out, it was a political hashtag opposing some new kerfuffle over Donald Trump.

The tweet was pretty straightforward. It read: “Classic PG games #WontBeErased on our watch. Yeah, how’s that for some use of hashtags.”

The tweet lasted for about a minute before it was promptly deleted, no doubt after the social media manager realized it was political. But it was a long enough time for the hypervigilant moral squad to take screenshots of it and start yet another thread on ResetEra, once again accusing the company of bigotry.

This led to a new round of abuse directed towards GOG and CD Projekt Red, with loud, vocal attempts to get the entire team fired.

ResetEra calls for CD Projekt Red/GOG to fire social media team (Source: Nick Monroe, @nickmon1112)

I wouldn’t even call it a mistake — hashtags do not belong to anyone, and they’re opted and co-opted by anyone and everyone who uses Twitter as a public platform. The company, as it stands, has no reason to apologize.

An administrator on ResetEra, who goes by the name of Hecht underscore Era underscore on Twitter, an account that has been tied to a prominent account on the website, took it upon himself to dox a CD Projekt social media manager on ResetEra by publicly releasing all manner of personal information, including his family’s whereabouts and private phone number. He was just one of several doxxers who actively pursued CD Projekt employees, several of whom independently posted dox and instructions on how to intimidate the employees.

ResetEra admin harasses CD Projekt Red (Screenshot: Twitter, October 22, 2018)

Posting on Twitter, Hecht, who has posted rants about the NPC meme, complained about CD Projekt Red and took credit for his participation in outing CDPR employees. In a series of now-privated tweets, he wrote:

“Jesus Christ CDPR is filled with f**king idiots. Hey CD Projekt Red, GOG com, I am available to be your social media manager. I promise I can help promote games without resorting to bigotry. I also have a trained monkey that can do it. DM me. I’m serious hit me up, CD Projekt Red, GOGcom, clearly you’re gonna have an opening.”

But the harassment hasn’t stopped. I’ve been informed that employees of the company are facing a barrage of abuse both online and offline over the tweets, some of which is directed towards their families.

In response to the controversy, GOG and CDPR have not issued an apology this time around. Perhaps recognizing that the harassment campaigns have simply escalated to a point where they are being targeted over pretty much anything, the company has instead issued a statement saying simply that they “posted a tweet containing a trending hashtag as a pun. The tweet was neither intended as a malicious attack, nor as a comment to the ongoing social debate.

“GOG should focus only on games,” they added. “We acknowledge that and we commit to it.”

You know what? Good on them for not apologizing. No one owes them an apology, especially when they didn’t do anything wrong. Using a hashtag is not something anyone can hope to hope to moderate, and they have no reason to be sorry for anyone else’s willingness to take offense at anything they post.

Chuck Wendig flips out (Screenshot: Twitter, October 8, 2018)

I also want to point out the irony in the fact that these are the very same people who complain that game writer Jessica Price was fired from her job at ArenaNet and comic book author Chuck Wendig from Marvel Comics over their abysmal conduct on social media. The same people now participating in online harassment campaigns allege that their dismissals were caused by online harassment campaigns—as if the companies involved can’t read those Twitter accounts and determine for themselves that Price or Wendig aren’t good representatives of their brand.

While the dismissals of Price and Wendig have made the waves in both the mainstream and gaming press, with much of the blame being falsely laid upon the feet of some imaginary fanbase gone rabid, journalists have been less keen to cover harassment campaigns directed towards individuals targeted by the social justice mob.

Perhaps it’s a lack of diligence, or perhaps these journalists believe these harassment campaigns to be fully justified given that the targets fall on the so-called “wrong side of history” by sharing problematic views or making jokes that the journalists themselves are offended by. Whatever the case, they’re not doing their jobs, and the victims affected by these campaigns fall by the wayside as they are unfairly dismissed—or are, at the very least, bullied into submission and never have a chance to have their stories told.

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“A force of evil.” Journalist. I do stuff on Twitch and YouTube. Previously seen on Daily Caller, Heat Street, and The Escapist. Subscribe to YouTube.com/HypeBreak for insightful analysis of games and criticism of game journalism and the culture surrounding video games.

65 Comments

  1. […] October 23, Ian Miles Cheong released a YouTube video and a LULZ article reporting on a doxxing and harassment campaign targeting game studio CD Projekt Red employees and their relatives. The report quickly went viral, reaching the Reddit front page with the most […]

  2. Anonymous Anonymous

    The only NPC’s that CDPR should be concerned with are the ones in their games…

  3. Anonymous Anonymous

    So tired of Kotaku trying to stir up controversy where there is none. Terrible site with terrible journalists. Shame on ResetEra mods, site was supposed to be a haven from NeoGAF but is now a joke in itself with terrible moderation since day 1. Everyone involved in this that is offended should be ashamed of themselves. Truly pitiful, get a grip.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous

    I don’t know what happened in these peoples lives, to make them like this…. I’m from San Francisco, I’ve known a huge number of gay/trans people and none of them were easily offended, crybaby bitches, living their lives looking for poopy to get upset over. In fact they were some of the best at dishing poopy back at people who would give them poopy, and then laughing about it later. So who the hell are all these soft, easily offended idiots? They sure as hell aren’t the people they’re taking offense for, I guarantee that.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous

    This world have started to gain so much special snowflakes, and sheep’s to protect them…. Is this really the evolution of mankind? Games can’t no longer be just games where you sit down, relax and enjoy. Everything is to be ruined by idiots and the idiots protecting the idiots.
    Freedom of speech is taken to a dangerous level.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous

    So a game company that makes games where the major female characters not only aren’t damsels in distress but are also very serious threats if confronted (while also being more emotional and real feeling than the typical resting b***h face personality most strong females get stuck with in media) is being harassed for jokes being purposefully taken out of context.

    What if they were actually trying to show support? The whole assuming gender bit was in response to a comment from someone that was sick of all the female lead characters. That seems fairly supportive in a way that also doesn’t alienate other groups. Won’t be erased was likely meant to be similar in showing support. People need to remember that text has no body language or tone of voice, so it’s easy to misunderstand and throwing a fit over it is almost always a mistake with people we know very well, let alone someone we don’t know at all.

    Kudos for this article showing the other side of things and rightly reporting on the problem of doxxing. It’s going to lead to violence at some point if people don’t stop.

    And for those that think that’s ok, it isn’t even if the person was being clearly hateful. You can’t expect your rights to matter if others rights don’t matter to you.

  7. Britanny Britanny

    gently caress gamers and gently caress transphobic white bigots.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Why would you want to caress bigots?

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Aww seems a little snowflake needs a nap.

    • Juicedgoose Juicedgoose

      I think your racist you left out black bigots, Indian bigot, and bigots that identify as liberal democrats. I know there are more but just to make a point include them all if you are going to spout off about it. how insensitive.

  8. Anonymous Anonymous

    Harassing people — especially their families — is going too far.

  9. Karma Karma

    Simple solution. Cyberpunk has a huge following and does not need much more press. Any journalists involved in doxxing etc lose their organisation the right to be at the press parties for future developments. See how they like having nothing to report. The ones that don’t get involved in this poopy carry on getting the nice headlines.

  10. JP JP

    I wish the extreme trans defense community would try to perceive the intention behind tweets. No one is trying to hurt trans people. Looking very hard for things to be mad at is hurting them as a group and giving Trump supporters all the fuel they could want. There’s a huge difference between CDPR and an antitrans bigot.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      In reality people like that are not “trans defenders”. They do it to cause chaos and ruin someone’s life, defending trans community is an excuse to be outraged about anything that even remotely touches the subject.

  11. Anonymous Anonymous

    I also want to point out the irony in the fact that you use material from the known stalker pressfarttocontinue in an article about online harassment campaigns.

    Well done sir, well done.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Where? ..what? – who?

  12. Rob Rob

    I am so glad I was born normal, in that I don’t obsess over getting offended like these people do.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Me too, man, me too.

    • shiki87 shiki87

      What are you saying is like you are happy that you are not born so where third world like. Full with religion and the stuff that comes from it.
      Not all trans are like those idiots who are like a not trained dog, barking at everything that looks bad to them. Many see so much of this poopy, because they bark so loud and are destroying so much, that you just see it. These people just want to destroy anything, if it is just a bit different from what they think is perfect. They form a mob to actually harass people and their familys because of one thing that can be taken badly. If they are big enough, maybe they are then like the nazis, who killed people because they where not like they liked them.

      Back to topic: I really hope that cyberpunk will be great. I look forward to it and if they deliver, I will buy it then. And by the way, this is an Role playing game. You play a role and you can think of an backstory you like for that character. If you have no fantasy, then it will be difficult and you see this game just the way you want to see it, or like someone else wants you to see it like.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous

    Even on deep web doxxing is a banable offense. But Twitter is okay with it?

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Well, word filters kill that post’s meaning. Has a something to do with a lucky clover.

  14. Anonymous Anonymous

    Since when did the gamers become judge and jury… these kids remind me of that group called anonymous who think they’re above the law. Why would anyone go after someone’s family over in employee’s tweet that is just gently caressing stupid please kids really need to get outside more I’ve been involved with computers since I was 15 before these kids Were even born my generation created the Internet we never went out for people like this it’s so weird to think that the kids nowadays are such social Warriors but yet I can’t hold down a McDonald’s job.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Most of those people probably aren’t even gamers. They are full time offended and don’t have time for games.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Copycat of Anonymous, with 50% off on average IQ.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous

    I was looking at Resetera stuff on twitter and came across this cap. Is it true? Why would people go along with it instead of fleeing to some other site?

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      lol thats not even remotely true. i just made a troll account there myself and it does not ask you for your gently caressing name and address. gently caress sjws but liars are the worst.

  16. Anonymous Anonymous

    oh wow, npc throwing a tantrum, whats new?

  17. Anonymous Anonymous

    why even report on this poopy? “some tweet offended mentally unstable kids” some story guys good job

  18. gigi gigi

    gently caress off transcunts

  19. Fuck you Fuck you

    gently caress every last one of you nazi poopylord pieces of poopy actually defending this.
    gently caress every piece of poopy that thinks it’s ok to deadname and use wrong pronouns.
    gently caress you for using a dehumanizing meme like NPC.
    You think it’s so funny but you’re destroying peoples lives. You’re too gently caressing pathetic of incels to realize how much harm you’re doing.
    I hope every single one of you gets what’s coming to you when we run your Nazi asses out of this country like we did the last time.

    • "Nazi poopylord" "Nazi poopylord"

      I honestly cannot tell if you are being sarcastic.

      • Juicedgoose Juicedgoose

        You win the Internet today My PoopyLord.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      NPC activates script #4 In response to perceived transphobia.

    • The Hard Truth The Hard Truth

      Oh shut the gently caress up your hypocritical, attention seeking, insane, complete screwed-up, ruined gently caresstard. You’re interfering with thing I happen to like alot, and spewing hate for no reason, which only fuel any animosity I could harbor against you, your kind and your cause.

      I get it, you’re angry at Trump, but gently caress off and direct your anger where it matters.

  20. Strzok Strzok

    I thought this firing thing would have been moot after NYT hired that poopyposting editor Jeong.

  21. Adam Adam

    FYI, you can still report @Hecht_ERA_ for targeted harassment even if his Twitter account is locked down.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      See? Both sides are the same. You’re doign harm to each other and reporting each other for doing that harm.

      • Anonymous Anonymous

        Tweeting a message that hurt someone’s feelings (with no intent to do so) and doxxing someone are so totally incomparable in the sense of doing harm. Grow up.

  22. Common sense Common sense

    >be repeatedly offensive and insensitive to a suffering community
    >consequences, somehow!

    Maybe they should’ve hired someone smarter to handle their dreadful PR for them.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      >suffering

      They brought it upon themselves when they decided to cater to their mental illnesses

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Just you wait till the shoe is on the other foot. You will get yours one day. Mark my words.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      >repeatedly offensive and insensitive

      I dare you to prove it, nothing they’ve done is offensive or insensitive, and guess what? Nobody cares about your feelings, getting offended for other people is gently caressing stupid. Get a life, gently caressing loser.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      How many real transgenders there are? The whole LGBT community (I mean real LGBT people, not wannabe) is something around 4%.

      So, you’re basically telling that normal people have to constantly monitor their speech in favor of something like <1% of population.

      But the thing is that someone will be offended anyways. Now it's trans wannabes, then it will be zoophiles or something, and so on.

      People like you are really gone too far.

  23. Anonymous Anonymous

    >dox someone in order to get them fired
    >immediately and unironically ask for that person’s job
    delightfully devilish!

  24. Anonymous Anonymous

    ” form brigades to pressure gaming studios into firing employees that they deem guilty of wrongthink”

    Don’t you do the same thing, Ian? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you start to start a brigade against a low-level Bioware employee who made a handful of jokes about white people lmao?

    “I don’t think I need to point out the ridiculousness of demanding that the game cater to every single gender identity out there. The developers wish to tell a story that involves either a male or female character. It’s their choice.”

    Then don’t make a game about Cyberpunk 2020. If you bothered to read any of the sourcebooks, you’d know that genderfluidity is a pretty established part of the lore. To the point where it was a core aspect of the Budayeen supplement to the tabletop.

    CDPR made a mistake. Imagine if EA tried to use a contentious social/political issue to advertise their games. There would be outrage!

    It is funny to read you complaining about ‘extremist’ politics, Ian. Apparently, any political views to the left of *very very far-right* are extremist to you.

    • JB JB

      who cares if they are following the lore or not? Are you seriously saying that because the ‘lore’ has genderfluidity in it so should a game? Are you seriously that dense? They are making the game they can pretty much do whatever they want.. if you dont like how they have created the game just dont buy it? I hate that we are in 2018 and everyone is a gently caressing whiner. Do ‘you’ people not realise how idiotic you sound to EVERY other human being… the funny thing is i remember when the worst the internet had to offer was /b/tards but here we are the_donald is loose and everyone else has to pay the price because some turds wants to be a keyboard warriors.

      Yay. Wait if I disagree with you do I just post all my personal details as it will save you time trying to dox me I guess lol.

      • Sorry man :/ Sorry man :/

        I just wanna say that JB you are definitely the one who is sounding idiotic to most other human beings…I don’t even strongly agree with the other guy but your response was just plain silly

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      This isn’t the same as ubisoft had when they said that making a female character was too hard.

      Did you consider how difficult it is to make a game with a “gender fluid” protagonist?

      Yeah table tops are easy because the railings are loose and a lot of the work can be handled by the dm and players.

      Computer games don’t work that way. At a table top game you can do things on the fly and everything is adjustable.

      A computer game is an illusion of choice ultimately. You have a set amount of choices that you can make. The developers have to expand the railings to the point where they can’t be seen or they aren’t of concern.

      But every single path they build is built using time and code.

      Additionally, cdpr wants to tell a narrative story. Narrative stories are generally very in depth when it comes to the player character. If they wanted to they could back out to a more thematic level like the elder scrolls does (and does well) and focus more on the world.

      But that hasn’t been cdpr’s style.

      So how do we make Cyberpunk2077 meet the gender fluid requirement? Two choices: expand character focus extensively so that a clearer picture can be drawn, or subtract to where perception and description are fuzzy enough for it to not matter.

      The latter is not cdpr’s style, so let’s focus on the former.

      So let’s make a gender fluid character.

      Let’s focus on appearance. Well iirc there were a plethora of body sliders allowing you to adjust that.

      So what about the character’s voice? They might have a few voices available. But if they didn’t I guarantee it is because of how much work one voice was. According to Google, Geralt had over 20000 lines of dialogue. You’re seriously asking them to not only design a character model that fits your expectations, but to also give it the same assets. So another batch of voice lines likely in the same amount as Geralt’s just to fit your expectations? That’s months and months of work.

      And it can all be undone by someone saying “it doesn’t fit my expectations of a gender fluid character.”

      So what then? Do they go back and put in even more work only to have the same thing happen again?

      No. It’s a stupid investment of time and resources. Gender fluid isn’t a gender, it’s a state of not being defined by either gender. That’s a problem because almost everything we deal with is defined by WHAT IT IS rather than WHAT IT IS NOT. If a gender can’t define itself by what it is, then how can someone of that gender expect people of another gender to do so properly?

      How can you extend that expectation to a game that has to design everything from the ground up?

      It’s irrational.

      And the sentiment that if they couldn’t tackle the issue then they shouldn’t make the game is stupid too.

      It’s like there’s a ice cream parlor with a flavor that a lot of people are OK with. But because you don’t like that flavor, you don’t want the ice cream parlor to sell ice cream at all.

      It’s asinine and ultimately indefensible.

      • Anonymous Anonymous

        Did you consider that a game with gender fluid protagonist might not sell? I wouldn’t buy one.

        It’s really hard to comprehend, but it probably may somehow relate to the fact, that >99% of population aren’t transgenders.

  25. Anonymous Anonymous

    CDPR will ignore this whole thing, and make another joke in a few months, this type of thing increase their sale from the target audience, as well using the current hate towards SJWs to increase the user base.

    For them, this is the best PR they could have done, the only way these people can win against GOG/CDPR is by ignoring the tweets (but they won’t).

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      “this type of thing increase their sale from the target audience”

      Emotionally stunted retards?

      Yeah bro. Big companies hijacking social movements/political issues and making light of them always ends well.

      I can’t wait until EA uses the Jamal Kashoggi dismemberment to advertise their ‘cutting’ game sales!

      The funny thing is that Cyberpunk 2077 – if it’s going to be even remotely loyal to the source material – is going to be SJW as gently caress. It’s already showing signs of that like white characters being the minority. I can’t wait to see how Ian and all the other right-wing SJWs respond!

      • Anonymous Anonymous

        The tweet was retracted fairly fast. It isn’t their fault it was screencapped and shared before they could delete it.

        CDPR made a mistake and fixed it bit people LOOKING for something to be angry about use a screencap that can’t be deleted to showcase how insensitive they are. If they weren’t sensitive then would they not have left the tweet up?

        They didn’t mean to, get over it. You don’t have a good reason to be angry.

        You may have a reason to be miffed but being hyper sensitive about everything is just going to make you a grumpy and unpleasant person.

  26. Anonymous Anonymous
    • Anonymous Anonymous
    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Extreme mansplaining by the way

      this site is a goldmine

    • lol lol
    • Anonymous Anonymous

      From reddit:
      “On a lighter note, reading any potentially controversial thread on resetera is hilarious because someone gets banned every 3 replies for the most innocent poopy possible.”
      >unexaggerated truth

  27. Anonymous Anonymous

    #WontBeErased
    Just like their original gender lmao

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      I wish I could hit you with a like lmao.

  28. Guess Guess

    I guess you could say they want gog to take……

    …………….personal responsibility

  29. Anonymous Anonymous

    WEAK

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