Kotaku Defends Why They Incited Harassment Against Nintendo

In a recent piece published on Kotaku on April 15th, 2016, writer Patrick Klepek attempts to defend his previous coverage of the Alison Rapp scandal – where a former Nintendo employee was fired for moonlighting at a second job. He glosses over the new information that has come to light indicating that she may be an escort and that was the real reason she was fired, and instead focuses on #GamerGate as a harassment campaign.

Klepek starts by claiming that reporting is about finding the truth and wading through the minefield of sometimes complex topics, but he failed to investigate if the claims were true about Rapp’s second job as an escort. He even admits that Kotaku was one (amongst many) of the media outlets who were critical of Nintendo for firing Rapp, but never followed through to see if what the company had issued in their press statement was true. Instead, Klepek defends the misreporting that took place by equivocating around the need to verify facts, stating that it would only amplify “unconfirmed claims”…

“Rapp did not comment when asked about [the escort job], nor has Nintendo. Even the idea of asking about this, though, stirs some controversy. A reporter’s obligation is to find the truth, but for stories like this we also weigh the potential of incentivizing harassers, of amplifying unconfirmed claims.”

Essentially, Klepek has admitted that Kotaku did not want to verify the claims, nor report the whole truth.

If the claims are true or not, it should be up to the media outlet to confirm that information and minimize any additional undue harm.

Inc.com [backup] did a fine job of at least assessing the information that was present — and the relevancy of digging into that information — that may have led Nintendo to their decision of firing Rapp. It doesn’t have to be salacious, just factual.

If Klepek was keen to put a spotlight on Nintendo and Rapp involving harassment, he should have been keen on verifying all the facts so that the public has the whole truth, not just the partial truth that fits a media outlet’s sociopolitical narrative.

After the media blamed #GamerGate for getting Rapp fired, anonymous diggers discovered that it appeared as if Rapp moonlighted as an escort while working at Nintendo. Kotaku did not make the discovery of Rapp’s second job, nor did they seek to vindicate Nintendo’s position after the company was attacked for firing the marketing specialist.

Kotaku also avoided seeking clarification of the details surrounding the firing of Rapp, which could have prevented other media outlets from further misreporting on the situation. Instead, they ran with the harassment narrative. Klepek even says as much in the article, writing…

“When she was fired, Rapp publicly laid blame at the hands of harassers who she said motivated her employer to “look at her tweets.” We reported that story and were critical of Nintendo for having taken no public action involving Rapp all these months, only to then fire her.”

Kotaku’s articles inflamed misinformation and undue harassment at Nintendo’s expense. Kotaku never verified Nintendo’s position before inciting harassment against the company, the only thing they did was update the original story with Nintendo’s response. Meanwhile, social media blew up with Nintendo and #GamerGate taking the brunt of the blame.

Nintendo Insider on Twitter

Nintendo Of America Criticised Over Alison Rapp’s Dismissal #Nintendo https://www.nintendo-insider.com/2016/04/nintendo-of-america-criticised-over-alison-rapp-dismissal/ …pic.twitter.com/yNFjt29OND


Kimberly Crawley on Twitter

Tell @NintendoAmerica that firing a Gamergate target encourages more abuse: Sign + RT! https://bit.ly/NintendoCowardice … #NintendoCowardice #Nintendo


Emna Ghariani on Twitter

Game developer group doesn’t let Nintendo off the hook for firing Alison Rapp https://bit.ly/1V7NPPU #startups #tech


Daily Dot Geek on Twitter

IGDA gives statement condemning Nintendo’s firing of Alison Rapphttps://ift.tt/1ShcFWY


Biya Byte on Twitter

We believe @Nintendo should have defended @alisonrapp but it is what it is. best wishes to both parties~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3oMiHV38PI …

The bigger question becomes: why didn’t Klepek wait for Nintendo’s response before publishing the original article? Additionally, why didn’t Klepek verify what Rapp’s second job was before putting Nintendo under a critical spotlight?

Following Kotaku’s original report, many media outlets picked up Klepek’s story and continued to misreport on the situation based on Klepek’s spin. Various outlets attacked Nintendo for not standing up for Rapp, but none of them investigated if what Nintendo was stating was true, or whether or not Rapp did violate the company’s employment policies.

If Nintendo decided to sue for defamation, it wouldn’t be unfair.

Jodie Mae on Twitter

So are game journos going to apologize to #Nintendo now that they know Rapp was moonlighting as an escort? #gamergate

Klepek goes on to talk about harassment… pinning the crux of the story on social media attacks, writing…

“The interesting questions raised by these debates, often focused on portrayals of sex and gender and artistic integrity, are easily drowned out by ugly and disingenuous attacks meant to overwhelm and silence.


“These attacks largely take place on social media, putting them out of sight and out of mind for many.”

This is a disingenuous statement that contradicts his core point: if these attacks largely take place online and out of sight and out of mind of most people, why exactly are random troll attacks newsworthy?

But more importantly, where are these attacks happening in social media? Klepek points to harassment and bombarding attacks against himself and Rapp, but his article provides no evidence of these attacks, nor does the article that was published on April 2nd, 2016. The only evidence we receive of this harassment is a critical tweet about the localization of Fire Emblem, everything else is hearsay.

Klepek also doesn’t define “harassment” in the piece, leaving one to question if the comments were meanly written disagreements, critical points of data comparisons, or picking apart fallacious arguments?

Is a comment thread on KiA with many people criticizing Kotaku’s practices harassment? Is an article criticizing poor journalistic standards “harassment”? Are disagreements harassment?

We don’t get any definition of these nebulous, all-encompassing terms, nor any legitimate evidence that they’re happening to some riotous degree.

When Bill Clinton was found out to have cheated on Hillary with Monica Lewinsky, there was all manner of critical comments sent his way. Was that harassment?

Klepek tries to tiptoe past the topic public scrutiny and criticism by stating that the nitty gritty details make it tough to report on stories like this, writing…

“The reporting of this saga has been tricky. We’re not talking about products. We’re talking about people in all their complexity. Every new piece of “evidence” is more salacious than the last, making it hard to tell if people care about Rapp’s firing or simply find themselves enraptured by the spectacle of a person’s personal life becoming public.”

Ironically, Rapp became a public figure once she became the face of Nintendo; that position was further exacerbated by Klepek’s lopsided reporting. Spinning the story led people to question the story, which led to people digging into the details of the story, which led to people uncovering more about Rapp than what needed to be uncovered.

The question becomes: had Klepek originally dug into the details and moderately reported on Rapp’s firing in the first place, would there have been a need to correct the misinformation that Kotaku, Playboy et al., published?

Klepek tries to further defend himself by claiming that the information he’s sent that might offer additional facts and information could be misleading, writing…

“Hundreds of people have emailed and tweeted, asking me to look into this or that, but it’s difficult to know their agenda. “

Why not ignore the agendas and examine the evidence?

Klepek ends the piece by claiming that he has also become a victim of harassment. He doesn’t apologize for forming a narrative that had other media outlets aggregating his content that was later used to harass Nintendo on social media. Instead, Klepek pontificates…

“For the great sin of covering this topic, the personal details of my family have been investigated, with harassers finding ways to target us in real-life. That we cannot even have a discussion without such extremes shows how toxic this has all become.”

Klepek provides no evidence for the harassment his family received, but all of this comes back to a question: Had Klepek done his job, examined all the evidence, all the facts, and waited to publish the story without a spin on harassment, would the topic still have become “toxic”?

More importantly, will Kotaku and other media outlets ever apologize for smearing Nintendo’s name across the web based on a lack of information?

(Main image courtesy of Ashion101)


OAG staff consists of writers creating content about video game and digital culture.

49 thoughts on “Kotaku Defends Why They Incited Harassment Against Nintendo

  1. This is a disingenuous statement that contradicts his core point: if these attacks largely take place online and out of sight and out of mind
    of most people, why exactly are random troll attacks newsworthy?

    What is so fascinating about all this harassment narrative is that harassment have been happening like… since internet e-mails have been invented. I remember reports from 2006 talking about how some dev got a lot of hate mail in his inbox telling him to kill himself over some development decision, and even before that, there were tons of hate letters going to companies and companies representatives. How the fuck is that a newsworthy today? Why it wasn’t in the past? Because they look coordinated? How? By a hashtag? Do they know what trolls are?

    Klepek doesn’t really define “harassment” in the piece, leaving one to question if the comments were meanly written disagreements, critical
    points of data comparisons, or picking apart fallacious arguments?

    Hehehe… according to the likes of Anitta, saying “You suck” is akin to a War declaration.

    Curiously, calling you rapist, misogynist, low-life virgin basement nerd and the likes is not harassment, it’s “the truth”. According to Keplek, it’s just “pushing buttons”, harmlessly. So many button pushers these days…

    1. So he could say we press all the right buttons.

      So the gamers ID are dead & be called other names sexiest etc is only pressing people buttons.

      When a person called antia you sucked he a troll a harrashment. Which planet Jeff on?.

      1. The Gamers are dDad debacle is exactly where his quote came from.

        He did an interview with TotalBiscuit and when TB pressed him about the “Gamers are dead” article he said he greenlighted the article because “it pushes people’s buttons, I like that”

        Apparently, he doesn’t like when people push his buttons. Hypocrite much?

      2. Is “hypocrite” even the right word? Using that word would imply that GG are doing the same, which is untrue.

        Kotaku and all these mainstream media outlets are always on the offence, slandering gamers and GG every five minutes.

        Gamers and GG defend themselves by refuting their slurs in a logical and reasoned manner. And yet these SJWs call this “harassment”.

        Therefore GG does not engage in the same actions as Kotaku/SJWs do. ‘Sanctimonious bigot’ would be a better description of Kotaku and Patrick Klepek.

      3. I agree with you.

        My point is that even when we use their OWN logic (“pushing buttons”) they’re the ones misbehaving and making a mess of it all.

      4. It doesn’t need to be true of both sides for it to make him a hypocrite. He only needs to believe that his own rules do not apply to himself, or to attempt to establish rules that he himself has no intention of following. That’s what makes a person a hypocrite.

      5. And the buttons they push are actually harmful, like for real.

        “You suck” only hurts feelings of the emotionally immature.

        But an accusation like “you are an——insert label–” here can actually damage someone’s career or personal relationships.

    1. Probably more expensive. The reason going stripper/escort/porn actress is so common between college students is that it pays way better than a part-time job (if the girl knows how to take care of her looks), like, if you’re good looking and get yourself a sugar daddy you can work only two nights of the week, have the rest of the week off, and still make more money in one week than a guy can do as a McDonalds clerk in one month. There are probably more people interested in her right now, so she can charge even higher on the hour – demand/supply laws. If she’s smart, she can use that boost to pay her whole tuition and even have some left over for luxury goods or investments.

      For many college students sex work is no sacrifice, they’re fucking anything with a pulse already, so why not do it for money as well?

  2. The worst thing about what Klepek did is that it’s irreversible. He ran with the story, spun the shit out of it, and published what Rapp said without further knowledge. The damage had been done the moment other sites started citing Kotaku’s piece. Right then and there, all the article updates in the world would not change the view of people that believed Kotaku’s, and by extension Rapp’s, words. Most of the people that read articles like Kotaku’s only read them once, never checking back for updates, and go based off the initial report.

    Klepek royally fucked up. His poor excuse of an… excuse, is just par for the course for Gawker’s ilk:
    Deny accountability.
    Deflect blame.
    Distance from further discussion.

    1. Indeed. Not doing follow ups is a classic misinformation tactic.

      The best thing we can do right now is to archive and document these happenings for future use. And clarify all the data on information aggregators sites like Wikipedia and Snopes. I don’t know how is the misinformation situation on the wikipedia though, last I checked there were some anti-GG getting nuked out.

      1. I think Wikipedia is still a lost cause at the moment. When you have editors defending citing sources with blatant misinformation and defending them as “reputable”, there’s nothing to be done but wait it out.

        The scary part about it is that if that information doesn’t change, #GamerGate goes down in history as this evil entity, and Gawker, Vox, etc., are made to look like the good guys. It will be a disgusting day in human history if that’s how the history books will recount this era of video game journalism.

      2. Luckily, we can see that history is not very likely to go completely that direction. Whether or not #GamerGate’s name is ever cleared, it’s a fact that Gawker, Vox, etc, are all dying, one court case/fiscal report at a time. And their reputation is sinking as fast as their bank accounts.

      3. Let’s hope those rags burn out within our lifetime. I would hate for the next generation to pick up a book about the age of digital journalism and read how Gawker helped defeat #GamerGate.

      4. There’s far too many people that know the truth, far too much evidence of it, for all of it to just go away and be forgotten.

        Keeping in mind that all of it is connected, that the current events within videogames are but part of a bigger picture, and the currents of society can and seem to be changing, things are not so hopeless.

        Right now PC, SJW, all of that is at its peak, this is as strong as it gets with the full support of governments, all the biggest media outlets and more. And yet the free people still manage to connect the dots, uncover facts and expose all the misinformation and corruption that acts as foundation enabling the current PC,SJW sort of culture to prosper.

        Truth has a tendency to come out, kind of.

      5. Which is why they’ve taken to teaching courses at various colleges on the evils of Gamergate. It’s real, and propaganda is their weapon.

  3. Slandering gamers as “sexists”, “misogynists”, “racists”, “woman-haters”, “mom’s basement dwellers”, “driving women out of tech” = “pushing people’s buttons”

    Rational, logical and reasoned refutal to the above = “harassment”

    SJWs are absolute fucking cancer.

  4. Oh hey, it’s Kate Edwards.

    So fun fact, in 2013 the IGDA co-hosted a GDC party where dancers were hired. People and the media created a controversy over the dancers claiming they were “under-dressed” and danced inappropriately. So Kate issues a statement around this and part of it was all about professionalism and coming off as professional.

    No take into consideration that Allison Rapp had been slamming consumers from her Twitter, posted inappropriate photos to her Twitter account, was asking for gifts, and even telling her followers that she’d make sure prints of her photos would be available. All this under her Twitter account that she tied to her job by listing where she worked and even talking about her work.

    Going from 2013 to this event and Kate Edwards is, defending someone who not only posted inappropriate photos to her account, but overall act unprofessionally?

    I sure do love finding myself a hypocrite story. 😛

    1. Not really worth the headlines Nintendo would get if they did, all the sjw media would just love the chance to write 1000 headlines about Nintendo harassing one of them

      Hogan did it because he had nothing left to lose, thats why you should not push anyone that far when you are full of shit

  5. I’m sick of this blind defense of Nintendo in everything. No wonder the company still selling home consoles despite having a poor game library. Always have a fanboy to buy it.

  6. Great critical article as always.

    A lot of analysis, tho overall it just confirms what seemed plainly obvious at first glance.

    Kotaku, Kelpek, the mainstream media, all trash, all hypocrites.
    All failed at actually trying to dig the truth on important matters to the public and reporting on it.

    All of it for the sake of a political stance, an ideology, more excuses to push a narrative or to avoid letting it sink. A narrative that day by day becomes more evidently all based on lies and misinformation.

    Is it any wonder that people had to dig out all this stuff about this woman’s past and her boyfriend and all the stuff she’s been doing? If the media was actually doing its job then people wouldn’t have to do all of this, and it could be done in a more sensible and proper way, but because the intended channels are not doing their work people have to take charge of it in a more chaotic and disorganized way because it is the only way left.

    I didn’t enjoy seeing people posting her personal stuff out there, I don’t wish that to anybody, but it had to be done because the media was throwing out accusations against the public and refusing to do the real investigative work that would usually follow the rules so digging the real truth and dropping it out there became the only way to rectify it.

  7. While not the thrust of the article…

    “When she was fired, Rapp publicly laid
    blame at the hands of harassers who she said motivated her employer to
    “look at her tweets.” We reported that story and were critical of
    Nintendo for having taken no public action involving Rapp all these
    months, only to then fire her.”

    But I sort of love this unintentional suggestion that, beyond anything else, there actually was something in her tweets worth letting her go from her job as a public relations representative. Just gloss that over by mentioning harassment though, friend. No one will notice.

    “But harassment” is becoming the equivalent of “The terrorists will win” as an excuse for crummy behavior and poor decision making.

  8. Klepek has friends to keep so of course he’s never going to break narrative.

    He’s *just* intelligent enough to see what happens when ypu break ranks. “Progressives” usually can’t wait to eat their own.

  9. When you accuse an innocent of wrong doing with no proof, you have NO RIGHT to claim harassment when they try to prove themselves innocent and give you proof. Gamers are not your scapegoat.

    We’ll keep exposing corruption and collusion. Hopefully more and more will wake up eventually.

  10. “Klepek also doesn’t define ‘harassment’ in the piece”

    Harassment = Disagreement. There, I defined it for you m8

  11. The one time your mom forgot to swallow we end up with your bitch ass. Fuck you and all the pathetic bitches that thing you’re “witty”.

  12. Kotaku one day might remember that’s it job is to preview and review games. It’s like they want to do anything but.

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