Here’s what we know: Allistair Pinsof, Destructoid, Yanier "Niero" Gonzalez, Game Journo Pros and more
The story so far...
I’ve never met Allistair Pinsof. I’ve never met Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez either. I did meet Dale North at E3 once. I’m not pro or anti-gamergate (I refuse to think they’re all misogynists and I care about ethics, but there's harassment on both sides taking place). And I’m not a member of Game Journo Pros. I’m just another writer that covers video games during a time when there’s some very interesting situations and movements taking place. I’ve written pieces on journalistic integrity in the past, and I consider modern journalism (across all industries) to be more of tabloidism or yellow journalism.
I’ve been very cautious about what I write regarding other outlets, their drama, and the Civil War currently taking place in the industry. That said, there’s a story here, it’s industry related, and there’s interesting facts on the table. So what I’m here to do is shed some light on what has happened and let you, the reader, come up with your own conclusions. (There’s a lot of information in here and will require additional reading to get the full picture.)
Recently, former Destructoid employee Allistair Pinsof sounded off on his termination at Destructoid, and the actions of his boss, Yanier “Niero” Gonzalez. It stemmed from Pinsof’s tweets from a year ago when he outed a transgender indie developer (which he has said he regrets multiple times) who was using Indiegogo to fund reassignment surgery under the falsehood that it was a “life-saving surgery” instead. After a public suicide attempt (which happened before Pinsof outed her), Destructoid was worried about the legal ramifications of their involvement in those events. During the whole ordeal, Pinsof and Niero had back and forth emails regarding the event and the actions to be taken. You can see the leaked emails HERE for yourself, taken from a NeoGAF thread.
It looks like the story about Indiegogo was being worked on and Niero offered some advice on how to proceed. Pinsof, with what appears to be a misunderstanding and lack of clear communication between the two, didn’t think the advice was a strict command, and his tweets set off a firestorm. As owner of Destructoid, Niero fired Pinsof with the excuse that Pinsof disobeyed his instructions to lay low and not use social media, while Pinsof was under the assumption that he was already fired. But Niero was asking advice from Game Journo Pros the entire time.
Some of the Game Journo Pro suggested that Niero seek legal advice, but most advised that he should fire Pinsof. Pinsof, a few days ago, took to Twitter to speak about how his employer “wronged” him and “corroborated with other on #GameJournoPros.” That tweet was from October 17. In tweets that followed, Pinsof wrote, “I'm still disappointed #GameJournoPros knew of the corruption and decided to turn their head because they are all buddies. Immature as hell.” And “There is an unspoken rule among game journalists that you don't cover scandals at other sites or question them. That needs to stop.”
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.”
That brings us to October 17, 2014 (last week), when Pinsof decided to put in pastebin an unpublished Reddit post where he gave his entire story and criticized the ethics of journalists in the game industry, and how everyone (including himself) handled things. You should give it a read, as he writes things much better than I can attempt to replicate. But to put it briefly, he recounts how Niero, Game Journo Pros and other Destructoid staffers did some not-so-nice things, and how everyone ignored his claims even though they knew about the cover-up.
Now there has been even more of a shake-up to Destructoid. Editor-in-Chief Dale North announced on his tumblr that he is leaving Destructoid. “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.” One would reason that the continued engagement would be what’s going on between Niero and Pinsof, but that’s me filling in the blanks.
There’s a lot of support for Niero, a lot of support for Pinsof. Regardless of whoever you think is right or wrong, there were missteps by all parties involved. So there’s the information and the required reading. Do your homework.
For more reading on this matter, William Usher of Cinema Blend has a long, multi-part read on the events.