The Dark Heart at the Core of Social Justice: The Story of PandoDaily, an Alleged Rapist, and Misogyny.
GamerGate is now five months old.
In those five months, we’ve persuaded the FTC to revise their guidelines on affiliate links, we’ve forced several outlets to reshape their ethics policies, we’ve blown a million dollar hole in the hull of Gawker Media, and importantly, we’ve dragged ‘Social Justice’ into the searing spotlight of the mainstream media. Respected publications like Spiked call us rebels, and see us as allies in the fight for the very ideal of the freedom to fantasise. There’s no doubt about it. On all fronts, GamerGate, we’re winning.
Even whilst the liberal media has reflexively spat their bile at us, we have stayed the course. We have watched in bemusement as they have coronated noted liar Brianna Wu and beatified alleged con artist Anita Sarkeesian, never once turning away. Because their hypocrisy and sanctimony only fuels us.
We’ve exposed the rancid underbelly of gaming journalism, and the putrid cesspool these journalists flail in. And even still, I wasn’t prepared for what I was to learn.
It was with a naive mindset that I approached what I assumed to be just another Twitter argument this morning. But I was wrong. I would go on to learn, to really realise for the first time, that our enemies aren’t just cyber beggars and attention starved sycophants, but some pretty nasty characters. People you would not want anywhere near your family.
Early this morning, I stumbled across an article written by a guy named Paul Carr. It was a hit piece slamming Dan Lyons, the Valleywag writer who replaced our old friend, Sam Biddle. You know, just your typical, hysterical Social Justice Warrior bullshit. ‘Valleywag’s Dan Lyons is mad he can’t call women “shrill harpies” or witches anymore’. I approached it with the mischievous schadenfreude one can’t help but indulge when witnessing what I originally thought to be a Social Justice Warrior ravenously devouring one of their own.
At first I had assumed Carr was pissed that Lyons wasn’t toeing the SJW line, since Lyons had recently published a piece on Valleywag slamming queen of madness Shanley Kane - sourcing an article written by Milo Yiannopoulos.
Our favourite provocateur got a real scoop on that one, by the way. Through his investigative savvy, Milo came to discover that Shanley had been in a fairly lengthy relationship just a few years back with notorious hacker and proud Internet troll Andrew ‘Weev’ Auernheimer, notable for the huge swastika tattooed across his chest. In the article, Weev reveals that he had trained Shanley in the art of Internet trolling - which is all too often fully on display on her Twitter account. Quite in fact, at this point, Shanley is probably more known for her preposterous hate rants than any actual writing she does. The hatred she displays is, as is so common in third wave feminism, directed at the evil cis white male oppressors she encounters (read: all white men), so it’s naturally brushed off as a quirky personality trait by many journalists, when it’s not being downright admired. At one point, she even sought advice on how to circumvent the Civil Rights Act in order to discriminate against men when hiring employees. This only compounded the shock, then, when one reads her white supremacist paramour recount in Brietbart how the two initially bonded. Discussing a run in he had had with an African American man in a bar, he explained, ‘…I said to him: “This is a bar. You’re a nigger filling a diversity quota. Don’t front, just get wasted.” I was removed from the bar by security shortly afterwards. Shanley came out running after me. She had found my remarks hilarious.’ Weev goes on to explain Shanley’s hatred for mixed race couples. One could be forgiven for thinking this would prove to be the cinder block around her feet which would finally sink her, but alas, she harumphs on. At the time of submission, her Patreon account continued to enjoy the support of 152 patrons, resulting in an income of $1589.46 per month, with one social justice advocate deciding the revelation merited him doubling his financial donation.
Well, it would turn out that there was a simpler reason for Carr rounding the wagons. Malice. The woman who Lyons aptly described as a ‘shrill harpy’ was none other than Sarah Lacy - co-founder of Pando. For readers unfamiliar with Lacy, she is notable for her attacks on Uber (the usual - misogynists, sexists, ‘make me feel unsafe as a woman’, etc.), which really picked up after the company made it clear that it would investigate shady journalists who attempted to destroy them with poorly researched hit pieces. It seems clear, then, that Carr’s full blown crusade against Lyons is an intimidatory tactic. It seems like he is saying ‘If you criticise my sloppy co-workers, I will attempt to destroy you with Social Justice faux outrage’. It’s a tactic we involved in Gamergate have witnessed a thousand times. Carr, who wrote for The Guardian between 2008 and 2012, seems to be nigh on obsessed with Lyons. Even a cursory glance at his Twitter feed reveals the extent of his campaign of hate against the guy:
(Please note this is just a sample - there are many, many more.)
All this because Lyons had the audacity to call out an obnoxious scold for the shrill harpy she is. Remember, this is the same cackling harridan who attacked Uber for its alleged offensive against critical journalists. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. But it’s here the story actually takes a dark turn. Although the behaviour of the hacks over at Pando is shocking, and although many will find attempts to destroy a writer’s career, because he criticised one’s company, wholly unacceptable, it pales in comparison to what I would go on to discover.
Shortly after I tweeted about Pando’s pretty abhorrent ways, someone got in touch to raise the dark matter of Mark Ames. Ames is another Pando writer, who as far as I can tell, has been involved with Carr since at least 2012. Ames is a privately educated Bay Area apparatchik. You’re probably thinking at this point, neon hair, fifth gendered, zim/zis pronouned, millennial crack pot, right? Not Ames. Ames is old-school. The fifty year old is more likely to identify with Hunter S. Thompson than the effete ramblings of a Jonathan McIntosh or an Alex Lifschitz. He is known for his co-authored book, The Exile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia, written with Matt Taibbi, MSNBC darling and Rolling Stone contributor. And this is where it gets sordid.
Whilst reading on, bear in mind the vicious and vindictive attacks Ames’ boss, Carr, the guy who employs him, has made on Dan Lyons. The comparison to a serial killer, the volley of tweets, an article attempting to destabilise his editorship of Valleywag, and of course, the hallmark accusations of misogyny. Carr clearly postures as a decent guy. A defender of women. But I put it to you that this is a facade, and that Carr has no interest in the promotion of women, no care for their safety or benefit. I put it to you that, like so many Social Justice Warriors, Carr is using accusations of sexism to further a personal vendetta against a person who was critical of his shitty company. Furthermore, I suggest that Carr’s disinterest in the safety of women is manifest in his choice of staff. I suggest that Mark Ames is a nasty sexist with a history of abusing women, and allegedly, children, with a long line of people revolted by his debauched past and blatant misogyny.
A 2009 article in Brietbart by Joel B. Pollak, quotes Ames’ memoir:
"When I went back into the TV room, Andy pulled me aside with a worried grin on his face.
“Dude, do you realize…do you know how old that Natasha is?” he said.
“No! No, she’s fif-teen. Fif-teen!” Right then, my pervometer needle hit the red. I had to have her, even if she was homely. I sat down next to her on the couch and fed her another double martini with pineapple juice… After sex, she confessed to me that she had a three-month-old baby…(153)
Let that sink in for a second. Assuming the context is as reported in the Brietbart article, Ames is confessing to intoxicating and proceeding to commit the statutory rape of a 15 year old girl (at least under UK law, US law, and most other European countries’ law), when he was in his 30’s.
The article has more:
We [he and ‘liberal’ firebrand Matt Taibbi] have been pretty rough on our girls. We’d ask our Russian staff to flash their asses or breasts for us. We’d tell them that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they’d have to perform unprotected anal sex with us. Nearly every day, we asked our female staff if they approved of anal sex. That was a fixation of ours. “Can I fuck you in the ass? Huh? I mean, without a rubber? Is that okay?” It was all part of the fun. (134)
But hey. At least he’s pro-choice:
…Katya sat on my lap and told me she had some exciting news: she was pregnant, and I was the father!
I panicked. Children are my worst nightmare–worse than worst…
“No, Katya, you don’t understand. I cannot have a child. I do not like children. I hatethem. They disgust me, physically.”
“But I can’t have an abortion,” she pleaded. “I was told that if I did, I’d never be able to have a child.”
I knew she was bluffing, so I countered with the RU-486 pill. I offered to fly to France, pick one up, and bring it back for her. “It’s totally safe,” I cheerily offered.
“I can’t do that,” she said. ‘I can’t kill our child.”
Right then, I stared at Katya with a look–I’m not sure how it appeared to her, but in my mind, I was starting to contemplate two courses of action: murder, or AWOL.
“What will you do, kill me?” she said, laughing nervously.
“Maybe, yeah,” I replied. “I’ll throw you off my balcony. I’ll make it look like an accident.”
She started to cry, but I was relentless. I told her that if she had the child, she would be killing me, so it was an act of self-defense. And if I didn’t kill her, then I would flee Moscow and she’d never find me….I was relentless. I attacked her the Russian way: I wore her down for hours during the KGB interrogation-style…
At 5:30 the next morning, Katya, acting the martyr, quietly slipped out of my apartment, made a beeline to the abortion clinic, and sucked the little fucker out.
Now, if you’re thinking, as I did when first reading the article, ‘Come on, man! It’s Brietbart! Ames is a political opponent! It’s just a hit job, something must be wrong!’ then I totally get where you’re coming from. How can a guy gleefully document his persistent sexual harassment of co-workers, his statutory rape of a child, his psychological torment of a woman until she submitted to an abortion? Well, the honest answer is, I don’t know. I can only present the debased words as they are written and allow you to make up your own mind. Perusing the book’s reviews on Amazon UK, though, I did find these words by a reviewer called Ed Austin:
Buy the book and imagine. It really was like they describe. Only better. It was perhaps the only time in our lives we actually felt alive. I met Mark on a few occasions. An interesting guy to say the least. Heck we were young and more than a little bit crazy, but Moscow around that time was even crazier. The Duck, Boar House, Johnny “The Chenster” Chen… all history now.
A glowing recommendation. 5 stars. Would read again.
It’s also worth noting the copyright page of Ames’ memoir:
Does Carr care that Ames has written a book basically cataloguing his crimes against women? No. He’s too busy trying to destroy the ‘misogynist’ Dan Lyons who calls particularly obnoxious women - gasp - shrill harpies, and just, you know, coincidentally wrote in a 2012 blog post entitled ‘Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool’:
‘…The fact is they have turned themselves into hacks for hire and as such have lost all credibility. They’re not the only ones working this racket. Now we have PandoDaily, a new tech blog crated by their TechCrunch pal Sarah Lacy and funded by CrunchFund and a bunch of other VCs and angels whose companies PandoDaily aims to cover.
PandoDaily is working the same deal as CrunchFund. You invest in our site, and now we’re business partners, so at the very least you’ll have a friendly media outlet whose “influence” you can call upon.’
But, it’s actually about misogyny!
Don’t allow the rhetoric of SocJus to pull the wool over your eyes, because these people are wolves. And they will pounce and rend every last bit of flesh they can get if you step out of line, and they’ll do so by trying to destroy your character. And by having their media friends do the same. Dan Lyons is obviously being attacked by the morally bankrupt Pando staff because he’s dared to criticise them and their allegedly unethical business practices.
That isn’t the end of Pando’s moral failings, though.
Last year, a female Tor developer named Andrea Shepard had the misfortune of being a target of their reporting. Yasha Levine, a not especially bright writer at Pando, wrote this story alleging that almost everyone who is involved in the development of Tor is or was funded by the US government.
Andrea, no doubt through curiosity about the people who were reporting on her, stumbled across yet more of what appear to be Ames’ confessions of rape. She tweeted an apparent quote of his: ’“Russian woman expect you to rape them. …you really have to force Russian girls.” #MarkAmesFacts’ accompanied by what appears to be a screenshot of a printed interview Ames had given. Andrea then says she was harassed on Twitter by countless sock puppet accounts, which she believes were directed by Ames and Levine. She says the harassment became so severe it caused her to experience a recurrence of suicidal ideation.
I can’t verify Andrea’s story, as my only source is this Storify, which I strongly urge you to read (as the veracity of the events is contentious). But it is worth noting that Anonymous (or at least @YourAnonNews) became involved, and called for the end of Ames’ and Levine’s careers. And it is worth noting that Pando staff are known for waging wars against people who criticise them.
It’s been fairly obvious to us all for some time now that myriad opportunists use ‘Social Justice’ as a get rich quick scheme, and we all know adherents of the faith are often egregious hypocrites. But to have an an apparent rapist on staff whilst lambasting a critical competitor as a misogynist, as Paul Carr has done, is another level.
I’ll end this with another exert from Dan Lyons’ astute analysis of the state of tech journalism (and you better believe it applies directly to gaming journalism, too):
'This is what now passes for “journalism” in Silicon Valley: hired guns and reformed click- whores who have found a way to grab some of the loot for themselves. This is perhaps not surprising. Silicon Valley once was home to scientists and engineers — people who wanted to build things. Then it became a casino. Now it is being turned into a silicon cesspool, an upside-down world filled with spammers, liars, flippers, privacy invaders, information stealers — and their grubby cadre of paid apologists and pygmy hangers-on.’