Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA Artist's Comments

June 24, 2013 -

Portland, Oregon-based developer The Fullbright Company announced via its blog that it will not be attending PAX Prime this year because of comments made by Penney Arcade artist Mike Krahulik. According to co-founder Steve Gaynor, the company is withdrawing from participation in the PAX Prime Indie Megabooth showcase. Gaynor said that the studio's employees no longer felt comfortable appearing at the show in light of recent comments made online by Krahulik.

Gaynor's issue is with comments Krahulik made in a series of tweets recently - most notably this one:

"If thinking that all women have a vagina makes me a monster, then yes, I am a monster," which was supposedly a remark made towards the transgendered community. He also said that people who use the word "cis" shouldn't tweet at him, telling one person, "If you use the word 'cis' I probably will hate you too."

Gaynor said that these remarks were just the most recent in a series of questionable comments made by Krahulik and Penny Arcade writer Jerry Holkins.

Others included the use of a rape joke in one of their comics (and their unapologetic response to outcry over it), and a PAX Australia panel with the following questionable text in the description: "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?" (The panel description text has since been changed.)

"We believe that people's opinions and actions on social issues and business ethics are important," Gaynor said. "We believe that agreeing to pay the organizers of PAX over $1,000 for booth space, and to present our game on their show floor 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."

Gaynor said that his studio took a vote on whether they should attend and they agreed that none of them felt comfortable attending.

"We are a four-person team," Gaynor said. "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."

Krahulik did try to address his tweets today, offering an apology of sorts:

"I'm very sorry about yesterday," Krahulik said. "There are very few things that someone can say to me that will actually make me lose my temper. All my buttons got pushed yesterday though and I snapped. I doubt that will change anyone's opinion but there you go. I'm not qualified to talk about the ambiguity of sexuality and frankly I don't give a shit about it. I like drawing comics and playing video games. I'll keep my mouth shut when it comes to all the other stuff."

Source: GII


Comments

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Social Justices Warriors ahoy!

I felt his apology was pretty honest tbh. Couldn't this be used to teach, instead of just whining and being dicks?

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Remembered from a MAD Magazine article, circa 1992.  It used to be funny, now it's just true.

"Political Correctness is the order of the day
So be very, very careful with the words you choose and say.
The PC Spies are watching, and they have a lot of clout,
And should you make the slightest goof they'll surely find you out.
They'll brand you as a bigot and attack you in the press,
They'll scream that you're insensitive and make your life a mess.
MAD hopes these verses help you with the words that you select,
So that you're learning How to Be Politic'lly Correct."

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Oh well, their loss.

I'm not sure why it's described as only an apology 'of sorts'. Mike was very straightforward about the whole debacle, and admitted he was wrong in how he'd acted. If total abasement and cancelling the panel and promising to never tread on the hallowed ground of Sensitive Issues is what it takes to qualify as a full apology, well, good luck with that.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

This was the reply I posted on my Facebook when someone I knew in the game development community posted about it. I don't really want to take the time to adapt it, but 95% of it should apply as is anyway. So here goes:

"I have grown weary of this arguments. People using a subset of a community as a divider and then battling through it, one way or the other. Mind you, I am quite aware of the issues faced with lgbt, polyamorous, and other groups. I'd invite anyone doubting that to simply peruse my facebook page. But here's where I get annoyed. When people go on their high horse and start a crusade over a scratched knee. And this is what it was. Or, to be fair, a scratched knee and a punched shoulder. Both bad things, but the response is so out of proportion, you just end up losing any high ground you may have started with.

I hope that very soon, technology will make this debate obsolete. We are making animals more intelligent and finding intelligence when we thought there was none before. We are altering bodies. We are curing genetic disease. We are protecting our weakest members (or hopefully will do so). We are removing the stigmas put by religion.

Now here are my questions for you: Would you be ok with two heterosexuals having sex together? How about being married without sex? How about adopting? Same two questions for single individuals? How about gays? Transgenders? Otherkins? BDSM people? What if it was consensual and safe incest? What if it's three individuals (make the mix you want)? Inter-ethnicity? What if we can prove an animal can think and give consent and will not cause diseases to either participants? What if a loved one gave their body to their partner. Can that person *use* it afterward?

I'm guessing most people at least got one of those against which they have qualms, to say the least. But to someone, that line of reasoning is perfectly natural. And quite frankly, as sciences develop and ethics get derived more from philosophy than religion, all of those should eventually become socially accepted and integrated. It's only a matter of time. In the meanwhile, yes, we get to educate, we get to teach, that's the most awesome job in the world. Think that for anybody you can reach, you've changed at the very least one life. And anyone who *isn't* is fighting a losing battle against the tides. It's only a matter of time. Mike has a way of being reactionary, but anybody looking at his tracks should notice that, more than anything, he's one of the "good guys". He's advocated so many issues that people in power dismiss. He stood his ground against some of the biggest haters of arts, games, literature and, yes, inclusiveness. And he still does. Taking arms against him is akin to fighting a civil war during a world war. Our energies are better used reaching out to him or moving out to more pressing fire.

Tl;dr: How to make a storm in a glass of water."

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

So wait, PA allows a panel submitted by the community on social justice issues, Mike tells critics quite reasonably don't go or do go and give them your opinion,is called a bigot and cis garbage. Also made the quite reasonable statement, at least biologically, all women have vaginas and some how PA is now evil.  wtf.

All the P.C hawks swoop in an attack the guy and people are surprised he got mad a did some trolling.

 

I've been reading through his twitter one the hawks seriously has the following on their twitter.

"i've started using bioshock infinite as a way of telling who i know is ok with casual racism and sexism"

"san andreas was the last good popular game probably"

 

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

I'm confused by the Bioshock infinite thing, are they observing who plays the game and ostracizing those who don't grow horrified, or are they attacking anyone who praises the game?

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

From their other tweets, probably the former.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Probably, and honestly, it would likely blow their mind if their apparent reason for saying San Andreas was the last good game is in itself racist.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

*sigh* for years I have been trying to kinda look the other way.. the PA people do such great stuff, but sometimes they really exemplify the 'how dare those "O"ther people ruin my fun', and when called out on little things they respond with venom rather then trying to understand why what they did or said was hurtful to people not like them.

And their 'oh us poor oppressed middle class white men' crap whenever they might actually have to think about how something impacts others was getting old.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

To be fair he was met with venon and gave what he got.  

 

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

"Others included the use of a rape joke in one of their comics..."

Despite what people think, all humour is funny to someone. A lot of our humour is based off taboo or sensitive topics. Rape is a serious issue. Jokes about rape are not. What's more important to note, however, is that since its inception Penny Arcade has never been funny. Therein lies the problem - Penny Arcade comics don't contain any humour so you have to assume they're serious about rape.

"...any antagonist race aside from Anglo-Saxon and you're called a racist."

Well, that is unfortunately quite true sometimes. I mean, set a zombie game in a shanty town in the middle of Africa and you'd best populate that shit with a diverse range of ethnicities or else. The best solution seems to be to set all of your games in Hicksville USA where they don't tolerate "them coloured folk" and you're free to kill inbred, bible-bashing rednecks. Oh... are they zombies too? Bonus!

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

I am glad I am not the only one who has had trouble figuring out why Penny Arcade was supposed to be funny all these years...

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

I didn't see anything wrong with what he said.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Nor I but I don't have the proper context and I have no idea what "cis" means.  Maybe those things make all the difference.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

jedidethfreak is correct.  "Cis" in this context refers to "cisgender".  It basically means that your gender identity matches your biological gender.  For example, I myself identify as a man and I have biological male parts, so I'm "cisgendered".

This whole situation is sad.  As Mike demonstrated, most people don't have any experience differentiating between gender identity and biological gender.  When someone says "I am a woman", are they saying they identify themselves as female or that they have female parts?  Usually it's both, since the majority of people are cisgendered.  The idea that your psychological gender and your biological gender don't match up is a hard thing to wrap your head around for a lot of people.

Just because someone lacks the knowledge of the shades of grey between the male and female ends of the spectrum (both psychological and biological) doesn't make them a bigot.  Mike simply couldn't separate the biological gender from the psychological one.  He never had any issue with anybody wanting to have a sex change, or anything like that.

This could have been a positive learning experience, but this being the Internet, we had to go completely apeshit confrontational about it.  I'm not saying Mike didn't also react badly, but it basically devolved into people shouting extremes at each other on both sides.
 

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Considering the context, I think "cis" refers to "cis-sexual," someone who identifies their gender as their real gender, as in, a guy "identifies" as a guy, or a girl "identifies" as a girl.

I may be reaching, but I think what angers him about this term - which is really the same thing that angers me about the term - is that we even have the term in the first place.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Feeling angry is part of the point, since it gives you just the slightest taste of how trans people are treated and just how blindly prevelent normalicy and priviliage are.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Statements like these give good causes the bad reps they don't deserve. Shame on you.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

So...

  • transgender = person who identifies as the opposite gender
  • cisgender = person who identifies as their gender

Huh, first I heard of that.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Most people outside the trans community have not encountered it, and since the gay rights movement have kinda thrown trans people under the bus over the last few decades it has not gotten as much exposure as other terms.

It fills a similiar linguistic role as 'hetrosexual', which before that started entering the public mind you had 'people' and 'gays', with 'people' defaulting implicitly to hetrosexual and thus there was no 'need' to use the word, only 'homosexual' was needed since that was how you deviated from being 'just a person'.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Well, that's a decent first step. But it gets even more complicated than that in reality. There are people who are born with ambiguous genitalia, and can't be classified based on there bodies as definitively male or female. And there are people who get the same thing psychologically, and identify as in-between, a third gender, or non-gendered. It's a big, varied world.

If you want a more complete description, try this:

 

  • Cis-gendered: Biologically female or male, and identifies as same
  • Trans* (and I mean "Trans*," I'm not using the * to copy "gendered from above): Anyone else

Not everyone agrees with that, but there isn't really much better.

For a little Trans* 101, here are a few of the things Trans people find very offensive:

  • Claiming their identified gender isn't their real gender (eg. saying "she's really a man.")
  • Mis-gendering them. Always use pronouns and terms based on their identified gender. If you don't know this for sure, go with what gender they're presenting as (eg. Lipstick => presenting female). If you don't know what they're presenting as, use neutral "they"/"them" until you know better. If you make a mistake, briefly apologize, but don't make a big thing about it.
  • Equating body to gender. For instance, saying "all women have vaginas" to the trans* community is highly offensive. Imagine hearing "All gamers have Wii Us" if you don't but identify as a gamer, except in this case it's even more central to someone's identity. Or hell, imagine if someone said to you in all sincerity "You're not a man if you don't have a vagina" (or woman if you don't have a penis). Hearing it once might sound ridiculous, but what if everyone in society is telling you that you can't be what you think you are because you were born with the wrong genitalia.

I'm not the best expert on this, but feel free to ask any clarifying questions here and I'll do what I can.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

It gets even messier when you get into binary vs non-binary trans stuff, with both groups often considering the rhetoric and sometimes even existance of the other offensive.. with both sides trying to shut the other out because they 'hurt the real cause'

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Why does it anger you? It's just a description of a continuum. Biology and psychology are messy, dichotomies just don't really exist.

 

 

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

jedidethfreak is offended that a word other then 'normal' might be used to describe him, and that only those un-people should have special words to differienate them from him.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Because it isn't a term based on biology or even psychology, but politics.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Gone Home Developers Pull Out of PAX Prime over PA ...

Getting angry over the term "cis", while not all that similar, somehow reminds me of people who get angry over the term "homo sapiens".

 
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