Snakes Have Legs
Maybe you've seen this video. If you haven't and can't be bothered to click "play": A snake confronts a guy who is telling people snakes have legs. The snake doesn't have legs. The snake asks about the source:
It's 2018 and Vampire: The Masquerade, 5th edition--produced by White Wolf games, a division of Swedish video game company Paradox Interactive--is trucking on after weathering a variety of internet hoaxes, including:
Surely. SURELY. The RPG community will not fall for a third conspiracy theory from exactly the same guys who spread these? And, surely, surely, it wouldn't be a conspiracy theory about the same target? And surely, surely surely, if it did, then after what happened to Rob Donoghue at Evil Hat, at least no reputable company would join in?
Here we go.
So, again, I'm long gone by this point--I didn't write a word of the new Vampire tabletop game.
On November 8th, just a few months after "Jews are Nazis..." some snakes-have-legs-thinking-idiots retweeted yet another Ettin hate-take three-hundred and eighty-nine-times.
- In the Camarilla book, the Vampire team (still operating on the policy: real real real, personal political horror) created this piece of in-game lore that Chechnya's state-sponsored murders of LGBT+ people were actually disguised anti-vampire pogroms.
- Realistically, really, honestly, in good faith, the actual effect of this on most readers was either they barely noticed it and just kept reading because it's exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to read in a book trying to be now now now real real real personal political scab-picking horror or "Oh, there are anti-LGBT+ pogroms in Chechnya? Wow that's a bad thing, I am glad to learn about this real-life issue in a made-up game about vampires".
- Let's say you thought differently. Would the best way to address that be maybe approach the designers or...a viral harassment campaign?
- On November 8th, 2018, Paul Matijevic aka Ettin (who is not L or G or B or T or +, so far as anyone knows) dug the paragraph up and launched the idea this Chechnya reference was Social Justice Bad. (Receipts for this whole chain of events.) This was at least the third time he and his goons had aggressively mined the game looking for something to have a bad-faith take on since it was announced.
- All the usual suspects bought it, hook, line and sinker.
- His take went viral.
- It went so viral someone from the actual Chechnyan government found out about it.
- The Chechnyan government began to put real dictatorship-scale pressure on White Wolf, claiming this White Wolf book was slanderous.
- Before the month was over White Wolf had to apologize to fucking Chechnya.
Once again, a guy who:
- ...is a Something Awful goon...
- ...admits repeatedly to being a troll...
- ...is described by everyone who knows him in the industry as "a troll"...
- ...lies so often he got quite successfully sued over it...
- ...literally no-one has ever said isn't a troll...
- ...is a white straight cis dude...
- ...got caught twice already doing the same thing to the same victims...
...was believed and shared and treated like something other than The Daily Testicle. This guy:
And, again, exactly like the incident five months before, actual adults with jobs in the mainstream RPG industry inexplicably helped him.
Cam Banks, formerly of Atlas Games and Margaret Weis productions, author of Marvel Heroic RPG, chipped in the day after Ettin started the ball rolling:now freelancing for WOTC):last chapter with Rob Donoghue, these are people who could have easily dealt with any perceived problems with their colleagues' work in a non-viral-hate way.
"Moral Masturbation at Somebody Else's Expense"
So that's how, but doesn't cover the why. Part of it is, as-discussed earlier, the hatemob had been obsessively looking for imaginary flaws in this game ever since White Wolf put out a video game with my name on it.
But as for why they're a hatemob in the first place, Crystal Frasier herself helpfully explained in a thread just this year: