Read Polygon's Version Of the Harassment Story Folks Are Buzzing About

Illustration for article titled Read emPolygon/ems Version Of the Harassment Story Folks Are Buzzing About

Did you hear the one about the ex-BioWare writer who supposedly quit her job because she was being harassed? Hopefully not, because that's wrong, despite it being today's supposed hot news.

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That "fact" is wrong, but it's been ricocheting all around the Internet today thanks to a writer for a publication called Metro getting a story by our pals at Polygon a bit turned around.

Metro:

The senior writer on Dragon Age II has decided to leave developer BioWare after ‘graphic threats’ were made to kill her children.

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Technically, Metro is writing "after" and not implying causality, but we've seen causality widely inferred on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere online today.

They also wrote:

Jennifer Hepler was working on sequel Dragon Age: Inquisition but is quitting BioWare this week to go freelance, in large part thanks to threats she and others of the team received in the wake of Dragon Age II’s release."

The actual story, as originally reported by Polygon:

Jennifer Hepler left BioWare this week to begin work on a book about narrative design and do some freelance work. Her most recent job title was senior writer on Dragon Age: Inquisition. But it was Dragon Age 2 that led to the death threats, the threats against her family and children and the harassment.

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That bit above is part of a much longer article about harassment of game developers by gamers. As it was published yesterday, it continued into an explanation of how Hepler, the BioWare writer, dealt with fallout from the online abuse she was subjected to in early 2012. As Polygon reports, Hepler's story actually has a surprisingly happy ending, as she seems to have managed to avoid some of the worst abuse directed at her and channeled a lot of the negativity she did experience into positive developments for her and her family.

Today, Polygon added this quote to their story in order to make things ultra-clear:

When asked if the harassment led to her departure, Hepler told Polygon "No, leaving Bioware was for family reasons. I am going to be working on a text book on narrative design among other game-related freelance projects."

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Unfortunately, the world loves a more sensational version of events (we had no idea about that here at Kotaku). And so Metro's story, which has been read as "threats-cause-writer-to-leave," has been spreading around the Internet at the expense of the subtler, more nuanced original Polygon take.

People, read the Polygon version. They did the hard work and wrote the better story. We recommended as much last night.

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To contact the author of this post, write to stephentotilo@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo.

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DISCUSSION

I get that a threat can be scary, but they are only words. They shouldn't have this much of an impact, especially over the internet. I've been called plenty of things after getting one too many kills in what ever game. I even got rated aggressive after a fighting match in Naruto Ninja storm. Was I supposed to be hugging the guy? lol.

Maybe I just have thick skin.

Words are wind. :D