Polygon’s selective reporting of the GaymerX controversy [Updated]

UPDATE: Polygon has now set the record straight in NIS America to make its GaymerX payment ‘in full,’ conference founder apologizes. I’m so glad to see this: faith in Polygon’s editorial policies restored.

Original post begins:

In case you somehow missed it, it all started Monday night when the CEO of GaymerX, a “gaming event for everyone, but focusing on supporting LGBTQ gamers and allies” took to Twitter to share an email sent to him by an employee of NIS America, a small video game publisher that focuses on localizing Asian games for the Western market. Apparently NISA had pledged $3000 to sponsor an event at GaymerX and now this employee was indicating they weren’t going to be able to pay.

GaymerX’s CEO, Matt Conn, was understandably upset and shared the email via twitter. (Tweets have been deleted.)

Polygon covered the story in NIS America allegedly backtracks out of GaymerX sponsorship. The post was written by a Polygon staffer who disclosed that she was a personal friend of Conn. It’s good that she disclosed this fact but bad that it was she who wrote the piece in the first place. The piece included this line:

Conn noted that he felt NIS America’s actions denote a poor attitude towards queer people. “I feel awful and betrayed,” he said.

Here’s what Conn initially tweeted:
To me, this isnt about the money, this is about standing up against bullies
The whole POINT of gaymerX, the reason why I left my high paying job @bandpage was to fight for queer geeks
I dont care about the money, $3000 is nothing in the scheme of life. thats a month of pay. The big deal is a company is bullying us
theyre bullying us becuase they think they can get away with it and I wanna show the world that you CANT get away with bullying queer geeks
(again, all deleted unfortunately)

Meanwhile Joystiq covered the situation too in GaymerX in dire straits after NIS America pulls pledge [update]

Joystiq opted not to make this about sexual orientation, and added an update:

Update 1: Though it has no formal comment at this time, NIS America tells Joystiq it is “trying to work with GaymerX so that we can resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

By later on Monday Conn and NISA had already begun to sort things out. Another string of his tweets:

We are working towards a resolution on this matter tomorrow morning and Ill be able to update you then.
NISA is a good company that made a small oversight and I responded strongly. We both are at fault and I look forward to a quick resolution
I have no interest in causing NISA harm..i just want to be paid for the services that were rendered. I have been assured it was a mixup
And I take them at their word. Everyone can calm down now. Call off the war train or whatever
I deeply apologize for implying their choice to not pay was related to anything due to my sexuaity as Ive realized that was self projected

In the meantime another small publisher, Devolver, offered to cover the $3000. Tuesday morning Polygon reported on that:

Hotline Miami publisher is coming to the rescue of GaymerX after this week’s funding mishap (update)

There was no mention of the fact that Conn and NISA were working towards a resolution, but did reiterated that original issue.

Devolver Digital has come to the rescue of the LGBT-focused video game convention GaymerX after the event’s original sponsor NIS America pulled out earlier this week

Notice according to Polygon they have no longer “allegedly” pulled their pledge, it is now being reported as fact.

At some point during the day on Tuesday Conn and NISA cleared things up.

“We have come to an agreeable arrangement with @NISAmerica and they are currently making things right.”
“Agreeable meaning theyre paying what was owed and we both apologized for the misunderstanding and way that this went down”
“Everything is all settled – @NISAmerica has explained the poor wording of the email which I misinterpreted very poorly, apologies and hugs”
“Please note that @NISAmerica unlike most AAA companies was willing to sponsor and be at @GaymerX, which takes extreme courage”
“I have nothing but respect for @NISAmerica and their team, this was a poorly worded email that I received and acted very strongly to”
“I apologize for any distress that I may have caused their team and anyone who follows their or my threads.”
“I will be reaching out to press to help update the story and that it has come to a positive, peaceful resolution quickly”
“I personally do feel terrible for escalating it to such a level so quickly, I felt hurt and upset by the wording and reacted far too strong”
“for what the situation called for, I’m just happy that they have cleared up the confusion and confirmed that they will fufill payment”

These tweets are still on Conn’s stream but I wanted to capture them in case for some reason he decides it’s best to delete them. I won’t embed them all but here’s the first one

So the good news is, the story ended on a happy note. GaymerX is getting their $3K from NISA, Conn seems happy, everything is sorted out.

Later that day Polygon ran another post on the situation:
The industry is trying to resurrect GaymerX, $3,000 at a time

There is NO mention of the fact that Conn and NISA have settled the issue between them, no mention that Conn himself is trying to get the press to update the press about what he himself calls a “positive, peaceful resolution” to what was apparently an unfortunate mis-communication.

If someone were to only read Polygon’s posts (and ignore the comments…I’ve been trying to fix their poor journalism via their comment system) they’d think NISA was a homophobic company with “a poor attitude towards queer people” even though the source of the comment has pointed out that NISA was one of the few companies to sponsor the event in the first place.

The bias (or incompetence, take your pick) shown by Polygon is unfathomable to me. I’ve lost so much respect for that site. I’m hoping today we’ll see the situation being cleared up by them.

BTW Joystiq also wrote a second post:
NIS America to pay agreed pledge for GaymerX2 [Update]

It included a Press Release from Conn and GaymerX. He is really trying to set the record straight. I’m not sure why his ‘personal friend’ at Polygon isn’t passing this info on to readers. Press release in full below.


I would like to give an updated statement on the events that have unfolded over the past 24 hours.

We, GaymerX, received an email from NIS America in regards to the sponsorship, which read as though there was a budget misallocation and that they would not be able to complete the terms of the sponsorship. This has been explained that that was not the case, however, they agreed that it was worded poorly and could understand how I could misconstrue the intent of the letter.

I apologized to them for escalating it to the press in the manner I did – as I have no intention of causing the NIS brand harm, and was only looking to defend our company and make sure that we were going to get paid. I realize that it would have been much better to have more back and forth on the subject before going to the press and that my reaction, while in defense of the company, was extemely severe given the circumstances.

I want to publically apologize for any pain or distress I may have caused NIS America or their team – they have been very genuine and sincere in fixing the issue and have confirmed that payment will be made in full. They have been nothing but professional during this process after the initial email, and it can’t be understated the fact that, unlike most conservative AAA companies, they were willing to take the risk of being associated with a queer event and they went out of their way to be a part of it. That statement alone is huge and I feel as though my statements were taken out of context. I in no way intended for the dialog to be that they had made this action because we are a LGBTQ organziation, my point, at the time, was that I did not feel like that email would have been sent to a larger convention or organization, and felt bullied because of that.

They have assured me that this was not the case, and that the email was just simply poorly constructed for the meaning of what they meant to say, which was: “We did not run this up the ladder properly, and we need to discuss how we can resolve this”. I did not interpret that message correctly and that is how we came to this point.

In the end, I am very happy that they have made steps to apologize for any miscommunications on their end and to pay the full amount invoiced, and I am happy to publically apologize for a) escalating the issue beyond what the situation called for b) making comments which could be inferred as that they were making that decision based on anything besides budgetary concerns.

I hope that this statement helps clear the air on this matter and myself, or NIS America, would be happy to answer any follow up questions.

Thank you very much.

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