Back in 2014, an event called GamerGate caused a TON of controversy in the gaming world.
Driven by a story that someone called Zoe Quinn had dated gaming journalists in exchange for coverage, and eventually expanding to everything media and social justice related, it let to a huge backlash that’s still being felt to this day.
But while that’s calmed down a bit in the Western gaming world, it seems history is repeating itself in South Korea.
Because another GamerGate like situation has just erupted there! And this controversy is even worse than the GamerGate firefight turned out to be.
So what could possibly cause such a huge uproar? Why is the South Korean internet and gaming community in flames at the moment?
Well, it all starts with a t-shirt being worn by a voice actor for the online game Closers.
Content wise, it doesn’t say much of interest. Just the sentence “Girls don’t need a prince”. It’s a mildly positive message and nothing more.
"I don't need a hero. I need a friend."
Star vs. the Forces of Evil EP08 pic.twitter.com/79CeIBGVSt
— 김자연 (@KNKNOKU) July 18, 2016
But the context behind the t-shirt… that’s a different story. Why? Because it comes from a very controversial site called Megalia.
What’s Megalia? Well, it’s a site that’s supposedly about ‘promoting misandry and female supremacy’. Seriously, that used to be their stated ‘mission’.
And this is not an exaggeration. The people behind this site, absolutely hate men. Like, at a level that makes Jezebel look like Reddit in comparison.
So much so in fact, that they:
- Celebrated the Korean War, because ‘so many men died’.
- Falsely accused a webcomic author of being a rapist.
- Filmed the men’s changing rooms/restrooms
And that’s only the somewhat ‘work safe’ stuff we can mention here. Put simply, they’re deeply despised in South Korea. So much so in fact that people from said site are being arrested on a weekly basis due to various incidents caused by it.
Oh, and the sales from the t-shirt go towards paying legal costs for those arrested in relation to events on the site.
So yeah, it seems to be a pretty messed up place.
Because of this, Nexon thought it was inappropriate for a staff member to be wearing the t-shirt. So she got fired for it, and her voice clips removed from the game.
And this is where all hells breaks loose.
I mean, you know what happened with Alison Rapp, right?
How she got fired from Nintendo for doing some second job of question disrepute? And how afterwards, people started trying to claim she was fired because of GamerGate?
Well, imagine if that was the event that started GamerGate. If Rapp’s firing caused gaming journalists to say ‘gamers are dead’ and caused a large scale internet war to break out as a result? If everything bad around Rapp and GamerGate was merged into one big ball of internet drama?
Because that’s what’s happening in the South Korean version. Many writers, voice actors, game devs and others are now saying she was ‘fired because of a t-shirt’. And this has led to a large scale fight on sites like Twitter, with some of the same people calling anyone who opposes them misogynists and banning them from their sites and Twitter accounts.
Then to add a bit of ‘gamers are dead’ controversy in, the same figures supporting the fired voice actor are now calling their fans ‘slaves’, ‘dogs’, ‘pigs’ etc and saying they only matter for them because they pay them money.
Which is going down about as (not) well as you can imagine.
And it gets worse. You see, these people are part of a company called Lezhin Comics. This site became well known because it actually paid its authors a normal salary with extra incentives based on who read their books. So, it’s a bit like an American comic publisher then, except with works submitted by third parties a bit like Steam.
Unfortunately for Lezhin, the attacks by their authors have led to tons of accounts being deleted, refunds requested and other such things. This is causing a panic among investors and management.
Add possible censorship laws and the damage being done to the reputation of these industries, and you’ve got an absolutely massive internet war that could make GamerGate look like a mild disagreement.
Guess those who forget history really are doomed to repeat it.
What do you think about this South Korean GamerGate type crisis? Is it as bad as it seems?