Alec Holowka passes away (Sensitive Content)

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#1 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

Recently, Alec Holowka, along with many other people involved in the games industry, was accused of sexual and emotional abuse (detailed here), and was subsequently removed from the development team behind A Night in the Woods (detailed here). Unfortunately, his sister has announced that he passed away this morning, despite attempts to support him (note does not go into too heavy detail, but still may be uncomfortable to read)

Hopefully all involved/related to Holowka (positively or negatively) are able to stay strong.

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#2 Edited by Efesell (4634 posts) -

That reply thread sure is peak fuckin' twitter huh. What a nightmare.

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#3 Posted by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

Honestly not very surprising. Abuse is an evil circle.

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#4 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

Update from the sister on what should hopefully be obvious:

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#5 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4586 posts) -

Terrible situation all around.

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#6 Posted by wollywoo (324 posts) -

I hope we have room to recognize the humanity in anyone, even abusers, and especially ourselves.

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#7 Posted by devise22 (749 posts) -

It's a horrible situation all around, and this is exactly the type of stuff abuse can create to both abusers and victims. Obviously as someone said above, ignore the Twitter comments as it's literally just people trying to bait bullshit.

If anything the writing on this wall was that people waited too long. Too long for those whom he abused to deal with their grief. Too long for him to feel guilty and try to turn himself around, despite the fact that he did start seeking help/looking to address his demons. All of that combined in a very secret and tightly wound industry where all that was left was people overwhelmed by damage and emotional instability. Consequences always come in those situations, and they always suck for everyone involved.

It's one of the most infuriating things that Twitter and the Internet at large do with these very personal situations. Take sides. Make it about who is right and who is wrong. All of that is over. It's not about he said she said. It's just about tragedy, and acknowledging how god damn real this shit is so that in the future we can all learn to be better. Better at dealing with rejection or bad situations, better at resolving it, better at supporting each other through it. Just better. Instead so many treat this as an arms race to see how many people on one side they can continue to shame/harass into the ground.

Sorry to everyone involved for the losses and damage that has been done. Nothing really more can be said on this subject. It sucks, and it'll continue to suck until we as people across the board start caring way more than we do now.

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#8 Edited by chaser324 (8719 posts) -

It's extremely difficult to know what to say here, and it kinda gets my stomach twisted in knots just thinking about it. This is just an altogether awful situation, and I certainly don't think anyone wanted this outcome.

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#9 Posted by someoneproud (668 posts) -

@wollywoo said:

I hope we have room to recognize the humanity in anyone, even abusers, and especially ourselves.

100% This. I feel for the people he left behind and it's sad it came to this.

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#10 Edited by BrunoTheThird (854 posts) -

It's gut-wrenching to see the cycle of abuse come back full circle and devastate everything in its path all over again. Even the most sincere people can inadvertently feed back into that cycle and make its power all the more dangerous and uncontrollable, dragging those on the periphery into it also.

Tragedies like these highlight how we need to look inside ourselves sometimes and seriously decide how we go about finding justice in the world, and to realize how important it is to discuss abuse not just from a pedestal of outrage, but with a wish to heal in the right ways, improve the lives and mental health of victims, and expose the poor behaviour of others in the most healthy, reasoned, appropriate, compassionate way we possibly can. Abuse has to be tackled, it's imperative, but this is the worst possible outcome.

I've suffered sexual abuse by both genders, and struggled with thoughts of suicide for twenty years, and no one was ever there for me or believed me -- some family even laughed -- and it was only my own willpower and education on the subject from a psychological perspective that finally allowed me to forgive them, improve myself, understand the dark thoughts of abuse that had begun to percolate in my own mind, and restore my hope. I could have gone a different road: lashed out at everyone, kept it a secret for more years, kept self-harming, etc., but all I saw ahead of me was death and destruction. It helps no one; it does nothing.

My thoughts go out to all those suffering, no matter who or how.

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#11 Posted by HrCules (16 posts) -

I made the mistake of reading the comments. I shouldn't have.

Scott Benson appears to have deleted his twitter account, Adam Saltsman is named here, and Bex put out a weird (now deleted) "please help" tweet some hours ago. I simply can not imagine what they are going through. I hope the Finji family gets all the help they need. The same goes for Zoë. Unfortunately we all know how this will be weaponized against her by a certain crowd.

Fuck, this is the worst.

Take care out there everybody. The world is fucked up, but it's better with you in it.

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#12 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

Fuck social media sideways.

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#13 Posted by berfunkle (197 posts) -

Calling people out publicly as predators who are mentally ill? How messed up has this society become? There has to be a better way to address sexual abuse than attack by public shaming via Twitter or any other social platform.

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#14 Edited by Zolbek (15 posts) -

Twitter is trash and dumb to smoke.

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#15 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

@berfunkle: There are more than enough.. people.. who will be lining up to place blame on his victims.

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#16 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

Everything about this is so incredibly sad.

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#17 Edited by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

Social media has proven to be an incredibly useful tool in getting people to speak up about abuse and most importantly giving others the courage to do the same, and to be believed. To suggest that it is overall damaging and/or it should be stopped is ridiculous.

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#19 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

@bonelessspirit: I think its pretty clear that, outside of a case like Epstein or something like that, the damage that social media does in these sorts of situations, to all involved (the accuser, the accused, friends of either, witnesses etc.) is far too immense. I mean, just look at who is involved in this situation. All of that started with a blog accusing her of emotional abuse.

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#20 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

@bonelessspirit: There's just as many idiots out there with a keyboard...if not more, ruining that tool, and misusing it for gain. Not to mention too many supporters of both sides in unfortunate public situations like this being incredibly ugly human beings with their need to chime in. It's an absolute shitshow and the best advice anyone could give would be "don't scroll down."

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#21 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

@shiftygism: @niko_of_death: What other recourse would such people have? Would you truly suggest people just stay quiet, just say sorry this happened to you but you don't wanna make things worse?

If not then what course of action would there be to have any hope of actual repercussion?

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#22 Edited by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

@zolbek: No, what has been going on with Funimation in regards to abuse allegations? Are you referring to Vic?

@niko_of_death: I don't think Epstein really got outed on social media? As for false accusations and such, those appear to be in the vast, vast minority. As for the potential damage to people surrounding allegations, that's the result of all the public exposure. But we don't really have any good alternatives or ways to fix that. Go to the police with an old accusation? Yeah, do that and see what good that does you.

The problem in these cases is that it more than often seems to be an open secret about these people. People around knows or has heard things, but nobody wants to speak up out of fear or not feeling like it's their place to do so. So how do we otherwise break cycles of abuse that's seemingly being done in the open?

@shiftygism: I don't necessarily disagree with that, but that's just the internet. Assholes will be assholes.

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#23 Edited by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

@efesell: I honestly have no idea what the solution is, I just believe that what's been happening is not the solution. I think the entertainment industry as a whole has serious issues that have lead to these callout situations, which even if we were to pretend they perfectly resolved those specific situations (which they of course have not), I feel have done little to nothing in terms of resolving the overall cultural issues at their core. I absolutely don't blame people who make these sorts of callouts, as I can easily see it being the only recourse one can think of, but I think they have done more harm than good in the bigger picture.

@bonelessspirit: Do you really feel that cycle of abuse is being impacted in any major way? That is my main concern, I don't think this trend has made any real progress of bringing about that change. False accusations are probably very rare, but the bigger issue is these situations are almost always taken as cut and dry (whether it is in support of the accuser or accused), when it almost never is so. Human perception, memory, and expression just isn't capable of painting a proper representation of either side.

As for the Epstein part, I know it wasn't social media that outed him, I was just using him as an example of someone who's actions and dealings were so horrific that I don't think there was any level of hate to be thrown at him that would be too far.

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#24 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4586 posts) -

@bonelessspirit

Epstein was an open secret for a long long time. Long before social media. Trump was joking about him liking young girls back in 2002. He was investigated back in 2005 for raping a 14-yo.

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#25 Edited by chaser324 (8719 posts) -

This discussion is headed in a certain direction, so I'm just going to go ahead and say this preemptively: everyone please keep the discussion here as civil and respectful as possible. If any posts are beyond the pale, please flag them and/or PM the moderators rather than replying in kind.

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#26 Posted by FinalDasa (3241 posts) -

Consider this a general warning. Keep this thread on topic and within our community rules.

Otherwise you will face moderation and/or this thread will be locked.

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#27 Posted by chaser324 (8719 posts) -
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#28 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

@efesell: I never said anyone should stay quiet (though this seems to be a recurring thing for some folks), or for anything to be shut down, I just said fuck social media sideways, because with as much negativity and opportunists gumming up the works, it does more harm than good in high profile accusations. Like the first fucking response....jesus...

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#29 Edited by Efesell (4634 posts) -

@niko_of_death: I see what you're saying but it seems like a lot to be placing on the shoulders of victims.

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#30 Posted by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

@shiftygism: In that case, I fully agree with you that shitheads which there, unfortunately, are too many of are making things worse by getting directly involved with the allegations, and whatever opinions they may have on the matters are harassing people. But that's also a result of twitters almost nonexistent and shit moderation. So it often devolves into a circus.

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#31 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

@shiftygism: I mean yeah also Fuck Twitter.

It's just unfortunate that a very useful tool we have for something is also jagged, rusty, and prone to giving the wielder tetanus.

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#32 Edited by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

@niko_of_death: I really do think it is making an impact and a change. I do not have any data to back this up, but I believe that this is driving towards a breaking of certain taboos and norms that in the past has prevented or made it harder for the abused to be heard and made it easier for the abusers to abuse.

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#34 Edited by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

@efesell: Yeah, its extremely difficult thing all around. Again, I don't think accusers are at all to blame (in the majority of cases at least), and it feels awful to have to say there's no good recourse that I can think of for victims.

@bonelessspirit: Fair enough, you're probably just less cynical than I am. I just find it hard to believe that behavior that has been basically public knowledge for decades (i.e. casting couch jokes) will be deterred by having more specific stories out their. I do think it probably has had a positive effect for a decent number of victims, if nothing else.

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#35 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

@efesell: I've Doogie Howsered this response like seven times, so I'll just say this....while we may not necessarily see things the same way, I'm glad you can find the positive in a vast sea of negativity.

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#36 Edited by BrunoTheThird (854 posts) -

Social media itself isn't the issue, though I agree its implementation is often deeply flawed. It comes back to abuse and how our culture deals or doesn't deal with it in those forums, from my view. Victims feel alone to the point where those avenues they've been down before that didn't result in improvement or justice (police, confiding in family, etc.,) make them give up and seek other ones entirely. These people chose SM because they feel empowered by their followers, and that's a crazy buzz to be so empowered and believed after feeling so helpless for so long. I wish I had that when I was in hell, but there's a fine line to straddle.

You should be responsible with how you phrase yourself when you use the platform to finally unearth your pain, of course, but that isn't what made the situation worse: it's the knee-jerk reactions and behaviour; the wishes of some of their followers to take it upon themselves to forcibly stamp out abusers (alleged or proven) with sheer force, becoming abusers in the process, because they aren't properly educated on the subject, merely emotional toward it. They make it worse.

A more controversial point, speaking from experience, is that some victims -- as hard and painful and counter-intuitive as it is -- sometimes don't dissuade that toxic tsunami. Turning hate into another type of hate can feel amazing for a time, it's pure revenge . . . but then it ends, and you feel like a victim again. I did, anyway. I wouldn't want people to hunt out my rapists and abusers after I poured my heart out to them, but asking them not to probably wouldn't have helped much anyway.

It's what makes these topics so much more difficult, that feeling of guilt for potentially hurting others with your hurt. It's unbearable. Your brain can overload with emotions and what ifs and buts, which precedes self-harming, suicide, and mental breakdowns.

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#37 Posted by nutter (2397 posts) -

@shiftygism: So many potential pitfalls to fall in during this discussion.

“Fuck social media” is not one of them. I agree. Social media is a fucking mess.

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#38 Posted by devise22 (749 posts) -

@niko_of_death:Not to overstep, but it's easy to look at what is currently happening and say "it's not the solution" when the reality is it was never presented as the solution. These are the cracks of the barriers of various cultural and professional issues inside of and around the games industry and social media industries at large.

To say that the victims of abuse in these instances have no recourse, because the recourse they are using has consequences bigger than them, which is often also associated with mental health problems ignores the ACTUAL problem at large.

Culture in the games industry is the problem. It's been said here already but obviously of course it's important to humanize abusers in these situations. Which means we are recognizing the abusers have problems of their own they aren't dealing with. Which means the abusers have friends, and colleagues who also bear the burden of trying to make sure these people seek help when the signs and symptoms begin to show up.

This shit is just so large, so much bigger, I mean you could even argue crunch and other work related stresses in the games industry play a factor. And the idolizing and amount of deifying of indy and other notable game figures that goes on. All this shit plays together, and creates the molotov cocktail like responses that come when things do become public. Ultimately we as a gaming community have let our anticipation and excitement over the products of games we get, allow us to ignore the screams of help that have been going on in the games industry writ large for years. Whether it's been from the "boys club" style abuse and work cultures, the crunch and dehumanizing of workers. Pick your poison, but the signs have been there that this industry needs serious culture help, among other changes.

The irony to all that is that we as gamers often preach and tout the value of the medium we enjoy for helping us relieve the very stresses, abuses and issues the people making our games have kept secret/bent up for years.

So what you see isn't solutions, it's people fed up with where things continue to go, and then of course we also see the consequences of where things have been/gone. Which sucks. But that doesn't mean victims speaking out publicly can't be a stepping stone to the right solutions.

Not to take it to off topic but I find an apt comparison to this culture problem, smoking. For those who were not alive when smoking was considered such a public norm/non-issue, it used to be everywhere. And I don't just mean more people smoked. People smoked everywhere. Doctors in front of sick patients, people over food they would eat or other peoples food. If you didn't smoke or you were one of the few trying to quit and failing, you were mocked or made the butt of jokes. Initially, as more and more scientific evidence mounted and society writ large started to realize "what are we doing" you started to see what were then labelled "assholes" who would take every opportunity to rub in peoples face that they were giving themselves cancer. They would demand people stop smoking in their faces, demand they not do it in public spaces etc. At the time, those people weren't seen to be offering any solution. The thing to remember is, it reached a point where even if large amounts of people knew what they were doing was "bad for them" they refused to be told how to live.

Fast forward years later? Those assholes, who simply had enough and short of finding a better solution outed their obvious concerns, are responsible for no smoking in public spaces, no advertisement of smoking, it falling in the presence of media. And waves of those people who didn't want to be told how to live eventually grew to realize that they were wrong. Now we live in a world where some smokers say they feel victimized or chastised because of how rare it is, especially in certain cities or among certain circles.

Ultimately, to say these type of things can't change because it sucks now is exactly how things stay the same forever. Sometimes it has to suck now, before it gets better. Because we've let it suck for so long that there is no easy fix solution.

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#39 Posted by nutter (2397 posts) -

@berfunkle: Methods to call out crime aside from social media, like a police report?

I keep low key, but holy hell would I rather deal with an arrest and court date than the lynch mob that is the Internet. Everyone has their narrative and they’ll fucking attack, call others in to pile on, etc.

Why you’d want to increase your social media presence is beyond me.

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#40 Posted by nutter (2397 posts) -

@ouchmyfingers: I’ve always been social (like, real world social, not phone/computer social), but I got dragged into Facebook early and grabbed a Twitter account a while back, too.

I’ve also stopped watching the news so much. I read headlines here and there, but I was a news junky for about 25 years.

Pushing 40 now, seeing how media, social and otherwise, is progressing...you’re doing it right by detaching and living your life.

Holy shit am I happier just keeping up with local events and having no idea which hack celebrity broke the internet.

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#41 Posted by Barrock (4167 posts) -

Why was his sister's twitter account suspended?

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#42 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -
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#43 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1101 posts) -

Scott Benson, co-creator of NITW with Alec wrote this to the kickstarter backers: https://www.reddit.com/r/NightInTheWoods/comments/cxqjp8/end_of_summer_backer_update/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app (sorry I’m on mobile, can’t link). It’s a good read.

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#44 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1436 posts) -

@efesell: That is the best description of Twitter I've ever heard.

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#45 Posted by JasonR86 (10274 posts) -

This whole thing is what makes me pessimistic about the internet as a place for discourse of important topics. It’s just too easy to have a snap judgement, lean into strong emotion, and flood places and people with both. Alec may have done what he was accused of, but didn’t deserve a flood of anything without some sort of due process. Zoe shouldn’t be flooded with anything because she came forward with her truth and because the guy killed himself after she made the accusations public. But the internet seems incapable of being reasonable, with a few exceptions. It’s a bummer all around.

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#46 Edited by dgtlty (1248 posts) -

Thread title is kind of misleading.

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#47 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -
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#48 Posted by gunflame88 (398 posts) -

If you were dogpiling on this person then acting sad now is a bit hypocritical. Like you didn't know this was a very possible consequence.

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#49 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

@gunflame88: I think that's an irresponsible way to put it. While I do think many people went too far in their reactions (and go to far with their reactions in general), I think (or at least hope) most of them did not seriously think their actions could lead to this. Not that it excuses anything, but hopefully this can be a sobering case for a lot of people.