So, here is a day that I have awaited for over a year — the day that I could announce that my libel suit against Enthusiast Gaming is over. Enthusiast Gaming settled with me during the pre-trial conference on August 8, 2019.
Most of the terms of the settlement are protected by a non-disclosure clause, but what I am allowed to say is that a joint statement from Enthusiast Gaming and I is to be published on Medium and The Escapist. The statement on The Escapist can now be found here, and the statement on Medium is here (the statement they published erroneously claims that the entire lawsuit is confidential, but it is, in fact, just the terms of the settlement that are covered by the confidentiality clause).
So, now that this is over, it feels good to be vindicated. Over the course of this lawsuit, Enthusiast Gaming had a full year with unfettered access to The Escapist archives. And yet, they could not produce a single article that contained antisemitism, racism, misogyny, or that articulated an extremist ideology of any sort. The closest they ever came were the Gamergate interviews, most of which did not provide open support for Gamergate, and those few that did limited themselves to criticism of how video games were covered by the media — the worst they got was the occasional use of the pejorative “SJW,” and not a single one advocated for reduced diversity in the world of gaming or video game design.
The price I paid, though, was excessive. I spent a full year turtled, afraid of being written off as an extremist if I applied for work with anybody who I wasn’t already working for. I was terrified to tell my students about my pop culture writing for the same reason. The stress destroyed my health for months. I couldn’t afford a lawyer, so I had to represent myself at every stage of it. My ability to engage with the pop culture that I loved was all but annihilated. I’m still dealing with the effects of it all, and I’ve got a lot to rebuild. But, for the first time in months, that seems possible (and, in fact, I’m now ramping up for what will hopefully be a very productive period of writing for CGM).
I hope that my actions over the last year have at least some sort of chilling effect on the discourse. Right now, allegations that are potentially career- and life-destroying are made with ease — in fact, one of the worst things about all of this was how casually the defamatory statements were made. And, it’s easy to make harmful and even devastating statements about people when you feel as though there will be no meaningful consequences against you for your actions.
But, I hope I’ve proven that there are, that one can be held to account for defaming somebody. I hope that what I’ve done gives people pause before they attack a stranger on the Internet with a potentially life-destroying allegation. I hope all of that from the bottom of my heart.
Because nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, should ever have to go through what I did ever again.