Public perceptions of cheating and their effect on careers
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
We’ve discussed Gamergate in this and last week’s Features section of the Other Press. For more information, refer to our “A brief history of Gamergate” and “The height of Gamergate” articles.
On August 16, Eron Gjoni published an over-8,000-word diatribe about his ex-girlfriend Zoe Quinn. This particular diatribe was a post on his blog and reveals more than anyone wanted to know about the months-long relationship Gjoni and Quinn shared.
Gjoni outlines a few examples of Quinn’s rampant lying and cheating with rants and screencaps of texts and social media messages. Quinn is an independent game developer, and since Gjoni’s post, Gamergate, a misogynist movement against women in the games industry, has led to the flame war of all flame wars. Quinn has been in hiding since she was doxxed—the revealing of one’s private information online—and is currently hated by many, all because she cheated on her boyfriend.
Evidently, Gjoni hoped that his blog post about Quinn would affect her career. As her career-of-choice involves a specific niche, there’s no saying how much of her career will actually be affected in the end. Those in the games industry who have taken Quinn’s side have had to hold back from saying too much, for fear of being doxxed themselves, and because our society often clings to specific public figures who cheat.
You might recall the Tiger Woods scandal in November 2009, when the public learned of his repeated infidelities. Woods’ relationship with his then-wife Elin Nordegren ended in divorce in August 2010. The revelation of Woods’ affair caused him to lose sponsorships ranging from Gatorade to General Motors, yet Nike and Electronic Arts, arguably his biggest sponsors, stayed with him. Today, from a standpoint of public perception, it’s fair to say Woods’ career was not affected by his cheating.
You might also recall former president of the United States Bill Clinton, who in 1998 was briefly impeached (the decision was acquitted some months later) following the reveal of his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton initially denied this before eventually revealing to the public that he had indeed cheated on his wife. So, basically, Clinton’s life was not affected by his cheating either.
A written interview between Gjoni and Buzzfeed writer Joseph Bernstein via Skype was released online in mid-October following the published article, “The Man Who Sparked GamerGate Regrets the Harassment, Says He’d Do it Again.” The transcript reveals that Gjoni’s ultimate goal was that Quinn’s career would be abolished based on how she acted in their relationship and how she’s treated others in the gaming industry. Various other persons around the Internet have made claims that defend the perception of Quinn being a compulsive liar.
Whatever the reason for it, cheating and lying are shitty things to do, but where lying is easily justifiable depending on the situation, cheating is difficult to justify.
To backtrack, Woods’ and Clinton’s careers were ultimately unaffected by their cheating, and Quinn’s career shouldn’t be either. Gjoni is right to feel betrayed, as any partner who has been cheated on might feel. If cheating should affect anything, it should be the public’s perception of that person, but it’s not right to say cheating should affect one’s career. Whatever happens with Quinn’s career, let it be based on her work ethic, if nothing else.