Fullbright Company decides not to show Gone Home at PAX Indie Megabooth in protest

#1
http://thefullbrightcompany.com/2013/06/21/why-we-are-not-showing-gone-home-at-pax/

We made a difficult decision today.

Earlier this month, Gone Home was accepted into the Indie Megabooth at the PAX Prime expo. The Megabooth is awesome– a huge area of the showfloor dedicated entirely to indie games. We’ve attended a number of times as fans, and the energy there is inspiring. It’s wonderful that via the Megabooth, indie games can be such a destination at such a huge event. We were very excited when Gone Home was accepted by the organizers.

But in the back of our minds all along, we’ve been bothered by the public stances that Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the founders of PAX’s parent organization Penny Arcade, have taken on a number of issues.

First there was the entire “Dickwolves” debacle, during which Mike said that it “felt pretty good” to “support rape culture.”

Then there were the Penny Arcade Kickstarters, one of which offered to let backers pay them $7,500 to work as a Penny Arcade intern for a day.

When critics recently raised objections about the over-the-top depiction of female characters in Dragon’s Crown, Jerry referred to opinions that differed from his own as “censorship.”

And then yesterday a panel was announced for PAX Australia entitled “Why So Serious?” Its description initially included the lines

Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic, and involve any antagonist race aside from Anglo-Saxon and you’re called a racist. It’s gone too far and when will it all end?

Soon after, it was changed to a less inflammatory description, but the fact that the original panel was okayed by Penny Arcade still stands.

Which finally led to Mike tweeting ignorant dismissals of transgender people, then posting an email chain that, as part of a self-serving quasi-apology, includes him attempting to defend his position by saying

I hate the idea that because I think boys and girls have different parts I am “transphobic” that pisses me off it makes me angry and so I lash out.

So here’s where the difficult decision comes in.

This morning we stopped pushing those long-held reservations about Jerry and Mike into the back of our minds. We talked to each other and did a simple show of hands– do any of us feel comfortable presenting Gone Home at PAX?

No hands went up.

We believe that people’s opinions and actions on social issues and business ethics are important. We believe that agreeing to pay the organizers of PAX over $1,000 for booth space, and to present our game on their showfloor for four days, provides explicit support for and tacit approval of their publicly demonstrated positions on these subjects. And we have finally come to the conclusion that we cannot support Jerry, Mike, and their organization by participating in this event.

We know that this will do them no harm; that’s not the point. Another developer will take our slot at the Megabooth; they won’t lose any ticket sales; we won’t hurt their feelings. If anything, we’re hurting ourselves– our ability to reach new fans who might not have heard of Gone Home, to connect with players, sell stuff, meet with press and video crews, and so on.

But this is not something that we’re doing for practical reasons.

We are a four-person team. Two of us are women and one of us is gay. Gone Home deals in part with LGBT issues. This stuff is important to us, on a lot of different levels. And Penny Arcade is not an entity that we feel welcomed by or comfortable operating alongside.

We wish all the best to the organizers and participants in the Indie Megabooth, as we really do believe that it is an incredibly positive force for indie games and video games in general.

We just wish it weren’t at PAX.

Signed,
The Fullbright Company
Steve, Karla, Johnnemann and Kate
It's interesting to see the some figureheads of gaming being questioned for some of their somewhat awful statements, especially when they seemed to be loved by everyone. But I appreciate Fullbright taking a stand and questioning the unconditional love everyone seems to have for Jerry and Mike.
 
#4
unfortunately this is going to lead to Gabe doing the 12 year old forced apology "Ugh, I guess I'm sorry for how you all reacted *eye roll* *arms cross*" again
 
#15
Personally I think that is kind of lame. Who gives a shit what Gabe says. I don't.

I mean if proceeds from PAX went to fund anti-transgender legislation, sure boycott it. But someone says something offensive on twitter. Chill out.
 
#19
This was a very reasonable, thoughtful letter and will probably get them more exposure than they ever would have gotten. I had not heard of this and will now check it out.
 
#21
This seems like a lot of controversy over nothing. The Dickwolves thing was ridiculously overblown, the fact you're not allowed to even talk about things being too politically correct in a panel is ridiculous and I haven't followed the recent "transphobia" controversy but I'm sure it's equally ridiculous.

shidoshi has had a panel on transgender issues in gaming at the last two PAX Easts I attended. Clearly they aren't some sort of internet hate machine out to destroy feminists and transgender alike.
 
#22
Personally I think that is kind of lame. Who gives a shit what Gabe says. I don't.
he's a big, loud, and rich figure in the industry, plus PAX makes him a lot of money and gives a lot of press to games. if people keep tolerating the bullshit he spews it continues to send the message that minorities should either leave or put up with nasty behavior if they want to play games.
 
#23
unfortunately this is going to lead to Gabe doing the 12 year old forced apology "Ugh, I guess I'm sorry for how you all reacted *eye roll* *arms cross*" again
Yep. The thing is though, I can't remember Jerry ever being a dick the way Mike has been, yet everyone seems to lump them together in condemnation. Not really a meaningful distinction in terms of making a PAX decision I guess, but it's weird seeing people call out "Mike and Jerry" or "the PA guys" when only one of them seems to consistently shoot his mouth off.
 
#31
he's a big, loud, and rich figure in the industry, plus PAX makes him a lot of money and gives a lot of press to games. if people keep tolerating the bullshit he spews it continues to send the message that minorities should either leave or put up with nasty behavior if they want to play games.
But how does it affect you other than being offended?
 
#33
It's a classy move on Fullbright's part. Staying out of PAX will almost certainly result in less exposure and awareness for Gone Home, when exposure is a huge factor for small indie outfits like them.

Even if you don't agree with their reasoning or their assessment of Penny-Arcade, it should be applauded that they're willing to risk/sacrifice their own fragile bottom line to take a moral stand.
 
#34
All these people are doing is proving Mike's point that things have gone too far.

He expressed his opinion that HE feels that genitalia is what defines a persons sex. He didn't slander anyone for having a penis and identifying as female, or vice versa.
 
#36
But how does it affect you other than being offended?
me personally? seeing as i have transgendered friends, and this specifically getting no response from PAX attendees, developers, panelists, etc would make them feel worse about gamers and the industry. it sends them a message that people either actively dislike them or don't care enough about their problems to make any kind of stand for them.

it makes my friends feel bad, which hurts me too.
 
#37
Hope more developers pull out from PAX. The stuff Mike's said has been out of line for a long time. Congrats to Fullbright to sticking to their word.
 
#38
Their "give us money to record a podcast that costs us no money" Kickstarter was the final straw with me, but this is icing on the cake.

That, and it doesn't help that the quality of their comics has gone so far downhill it isn't funny. They aren't even trying anymore. It's just dreadful. They need to hand the comic duties off to some young talent, retire, and be rich assholes for the rest of their life, out of the spotlight.
 
#39
They do have every right to not associate themselves with people or organizations they do not see eye to eye with(though bringing up Dragon's Crown debacle as an example is moronic IMO).
 
#40
All these people are doing is proving Mike's point that things have gone too far.

He expressed his opinion that HE feels that genitalia is what defines a persons sex. He didn't slander anyone for having a penis and identifying as female, or vice versa.
holding opinions that are naive and ignorant and responding to people who criticize you for them in a strongly offensive and negative way will make bad shit happen
 
#41
All these people are doing is proving Mike's point that things have gone too far.

He expressed his opinion that HE feels that genitalia is what defines a persons sex. He didn't slander anyone for having a penis and identifying as female, or vice versa.
Agreed. Frankly a lot of these unknown Indies just look like they're hijacking for PR purposes.
 
#42
All these people are doing is proving Mike's point that things have gone too far.

He expressed his opinion that HE feels that genitalia is what defines a persons sex. He didn't slander anyone for having a penis and identifying as female, or vice versa.
The assertive statements that he makes are the reason the suicide rate is so high.

The fact that someone that is worshiped online by arguably hundreds of thousands of people, enough to sell out expos, and possibly by you, despises your lifestyle choice hurts A LOT.

This isn't just one person saying it. It's a person that people look up to.
 
#44
All these people are doing is proving Mike's point that things have gone too far.

He expressed his opinion that HE feels that genitalia is what defines a persons sex. He didn't slander anyone for having a penis and identifying as female, or vice versa.
All my friend's grandpa does is express the opinion that HE feels that people are lesser because of the color of their skin.
 
#45
funnily enough, this is better for their exposure than actually going to PAX
That's not really true. The people who are going to hear about this (mostly in the game development community and journalists) are probably going to get the game already, but the exposure they'd have gotten at PAX is huge. Nonetheless, what they're doing is definitely admirable.
 
#46
All these people are doing is proving Mike's point that things have gone too far.

He expressed his opinion that HE feels that genitalia is what defines a persons sex. He didn't slander anyone for having a penis and identifying as female, or vice versa.
Are people not allowed to react to his opinions as they see fit?
 
#47
They do have every right to not associate themselves with people or organizations they do not see eye to eye with(though bringing up Dragon's Crown debacle as an example is moronic IMO).
I think it was specifically Penny Arcade's "Art is exempt from criticism" crazyness he was talking about, not the actual Dragon's Crown stuff
 
#49
Haha, yeah right, considering how much other shit he let him get away with, and how much shit they've started together.
Whatever our disagreements with Mike and Jerry, Jerry is not Mike's keeper or boss. It is not his responsibility to rein him in, nor does he have the direct authority to do so.
 
#50
Yep. The thing is though, I can't remember Jerry ever being a dick the way Mike has been, yet everyone seems to lump them together in condemnation. Not really a meaningful distinction in terms of making a PAX decision I guess, but it's weird seeing people call out "Mike and Jerry" or "the PA guys" when only one of them seems to consistently shoot his mouth off.
I was thinking the same way but then I thought, you know what? If Jerry is this nice/reasonable guy (and he seems to be) he needs to step the fuck up and either publicly say that mikes views are not the views of PA, or tell mike to shut the hell up cause he's not just speaking for himself when he puts it on PA and stop letting him post this stuff to the PA website.

I feel bad for Jerry and everyone else at PA it can be really hard to stand up to a long time friend who you have been through a lot with, but it needs to happen. sooner rather than later