Why I no longer support Penny-Arcade

I was a long time supporter of Penny-Arcade.  Since high school (and possibly even middle school) I read Penny-Arcade on and off.  I found them funny and I thought they were clever.  When they launched the Penny-Arcade Report I quickly found that I greatly appreciated the way Ben Kuchera covered games news and that he covered the news that I was actually interested in (usually).  When I started my RSS feed Penny-Arcade was one of the first RSS’s added and checking my RSS feed usually started off by checking out Penny-Arcade and the PA Report.

Then I found out about this PAX Prime panel:

Why does the game industry garner such scrutiny from outside sources and within?  Every point aberration gets called into question, reviewers are constantly criticised and developers and publishers professionally and personally attacked.  Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic and involve any antagonist race other than Anglo-Saxons and you’re a racist.

It’s gone too far and when will it all end?  How can we get off the soapbox and work together to bring a new constructive age into fruition? (via BorderHouseBlog)

There was a huge outcry and rightly so.  (I won’t be discussing why there the outcry was right, and if you’re unconvinced just reading it you should read the Border House Blog linked after the quotation)

While they later changed the description to no longer include lines with titillation, sexism, and misogyny the spirit of the panel was still clearly the same.

Then enter the transphobic tweets of Mike Krahulik (AKA Gabe of Penny-Arcade).

cwgabrial transphobic

All of the tacit support I had given Penny-Arcade was called into question.  I know that they made a few poor jokes here and there, but I never realized just how terrible they were in response to said jokes.  They refuse to apologize and when they do it’s a half-hearted dismissal which is clearly meant as some sort of “calculated” PR move for Penny-Arcade Brand and not because they realize any error of their ways.

At this point I had stopped clicking on anything related to Penny-Arcade.  Child’s Play Charity, PAX, Penny-Arcade Report, etc.  Anything which would create support for Penny-Arcade had become part of my temporary ban list.  (I call it temporary because I wasn’t sure if I would, I guess you would say, get over it and still think of them in a positive light).

Then I saw Dickwolves.  Somehow I had missed this whole debacle (probably because it started when I was still fervently studying in my isolated box filled with books written in the range of 100 and 2500 years ago attempting to graduate).  The Dickwolves debacle has been documented extremely well on debacle.tumblr.com.

The Tumblr post is long, and detailed.  Reading through just the post and not the source material took long enough, but reading through what had happened (and what was still happening) just made me realize what I had been supporting the entire time I supported Penny-Arcade Report.

Mike Krahulik, the face of Penny-Arcade, has been a constant voice against change that he doesn’t agree with.  He holds certain truths and then refuses to believe anything outside of it.  He has been lucky because some of those “truths” are considered socially progressive (such as his stance against bullying and the treatment of women).  However, when he is called out for something offensive he turns into the school-yard bully.  His Penny-Arcade thugs come out in droves, behaving like marionette dolls dancing to Krahulik’s offensive tunes.  They punish those who call Krahulik out (threats of rape and violence against them) and reinforce sexism, misogyny, and rape culture.

As such anything related to Penny-Arcade will no longer be getting my support.  I have removed Penny-Arcade and the Penny-Arcade Report from my RSS feed.  I no longer follow anyone related to Penny-Arcade on Twitter and will no longer be supporting anything related to Penny-Arcade.  Some may call it harsh (because Penny-Arcade has done some good).  However, I refuse to support a network which not only creates content which it knows is offensive but which also refuses to apologize and take responsibility for its actions.

Penny-Arcade I say this with no regret or sadness – Goodbye.