I’ve been reading Penny Arcade since it started on loonygames. I don’t read them any more. And I won’t go to PAX as long as Mike Krahulik aka Gabe is involved no matter how many people say it is an inclusive and welcoming place.
I first stopped reading Penny Arcade back in 2010 or 2011 during the Dickwolves debacle. What I found most frustrating about that whole thing wasn’t the original comic strip. I didn’t find it that bad. I can see why people would though. It was Gabe’s inability to show a similar understanding of why people might be upset about a rape joke that made me stop reading Penny Arcade. As the timeline I linked to shows, Gabe and Tycho didn’t just disagree with people who didn’t think it was funny, they ridiculed them and were jerks.
So I stopped reading their comic.
But after a while, I started occasionally reading the comic again.
Then in 2012, Gabe threw his support behind a card game about tentacle rape that eventually got pulled from Kickstarter. When someone questioned his support of the game, Gabe replied to the criticism with snarky and mocking tweets.
Another offense, although quite minor in the overall pattern of what I view as terrible behavior, was the Penny Arcade Kickstarter. I saw it as kind of sleazy and taking advantage of the good will of their fans. But, that isn’t that big of an issue.
Then in June of 2013 Gabe initiated two separate twitter flame wars about transgendered people. The first, which didn’t get much publicity started on June 7th (it might be hard to follow these because Gabe tweeted so many times and because of how twitter does their timeline but I’ll start with the screengrab of the oldest tweets first and then move to the more recent ones):
Then, on June 20th, some people noticed that a panel at PAX Australia had a description that some people found disturbing.
Somewhere along the line, the issue of transgendered people came up again and Gabe showed that he had learned nothing from the tweets that happened on June 6th.
This resulted in posting an apology of sorts on Penny Arcade and Gabe promising to donate $20,000 to charity.
The makers of Gone Home, The Fullbright Company, decided not to attend PAX because of this. And other people debated it as well.
Throughout all of this, I had posted some comments on blogs and tweeted about this but what made me take the time to document the reasons why I won’t read Penny Arcade or attend PAX is the news that during an interview at PAX, Penny Arcade’s business manager, Robert Khoo, asked if there was anything that he had done that Gabe and Tycho resented. Gabe responded:
“I think that pulling the dickwolves merchandise was a mistake.”
To which several people in the crowd cheered.
Other people have probably written about this and done it better than I have but that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced me to write about it.
By using the cliche “straw the broke the camel’s back,” I want to emphasize that it wasn’t just one thing that made me stop having anything to do with Penny Arcade or anything Mike Krahulik aka Gabe is involved with because it wasn’t just one thing. I’m sure lots of people will still support Penny Arcade and still attend PAX. They are free to do so but I won’t be one of them.
Hopefully, by posting all these links and screen captures I’ve shown that Gabe has a pattern of saying, writing, and doing things that that are insulting and infuriating and I’m not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt any more. For me, the price of doing so it too high.
Since I posted this Mike Krahulik has posted a clarification. I don’t really find his explanation of why he said what he said to be entirely satisfying. Actions speak louder than words. I hope he means it but I will need to see him do a lot of good things before I give him the benefit of the doubt again.