Alec Holowka Sexual Abuse Allegations

Alec Holowka Sexual Abuse Allegations

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Updated Sep 01, 2019 at 05:57AM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added Aug 27, 2019 at 02:19PM EDT by Adam.

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Overview

Alec Holowka Sexual Abuse Allegations refer to allegations made against Night In the Woods and Towerfall creator Alec Holowka by Zoe Quinn, who alleged Holowka sexually and mentally abused her during their relationship together.

Background

On August 26th, 2019, Zoe Quinn posted two tweets alleging abuse against Alec Holowka, video game creator and founder of independent game companies Bit Blot, Infinite Ammo, and Infinite Fall (full text of allegations shown below).[1][2] Quinn alleged Holowka invited her out to Winnipeg, Canada after Quinn was assaulted by another, unnamed person in the games industry. She states Holowka originally agreed to pay for her flight home but did not do so once she arrived in Winnipeg. A relationship began between the two and Holowka would blame Quinn for her assault. One passage from the allegations reads:

“While I was in Winnipeg he slowly isolated me from everyone else in my life while degrading me whenever we were alone. He convinced me to talk the 3 friends out of getting a shared place with me there. He convinced me to let him program my game instead of the friend I had been working with, despite many protests. He screamed at me for over an hour once because of the tone in my voice when I said hello. He wouldn’t let me leave the apartment without him and refused to give me the code to get in.”

She also alleged that Holowka "jammed his fingers inside" her and walked her around by them. She stated she was inspired to come forward after Nathalie Lawhead’s rape allegation against game composer Jeremy Soule.


9:14 Notes August 26, 2019 at 9:13 PM I want to say upfront that I'm not saying this for anyone but me and the other people that I know have been hurt by him, and might in the future be hurt. I read Nathalie Lawhead's post about her r----- being an industry legend who took advantage of her and poisoned her career and it shook me to my core. Her waning health her fear, the way she described all of it feeling like drowning... and my heart broke for her. Beyond that, I felt *ashamed. So many of the little details, down to the timing, had been things I've gone through too, just a few months into my time as an indie game developer. And it's haunted me ever since. It's why I don't go to GDC anymore. I'm drowning too. A few months into making games, I was sexually assaulted. My visa status was threatened if I told anyone, and he went out of his way to tell the community that I'd been falsely accusing him of r--- when I hadn't said anything to anyone (but a third party who saw it happen firsthand confronted him about it the next day). This story isn't about him - after years of therapy and working on himself, he reached out and apologized for everything, and I've forgiven him. But that's the background to this story. 9:19 Notes August 26, 2019 at 9:19 PM One month after the assault, I wanted to leave Toronto. I was scared, I couldn't sleep, and I almost killed myself over it. I had a suicide note and everything ready to go but I just didn't want to do that to my roommate. Enter Alec Holowka. Yeah, the one from Aquaria and Night in the Woods. He was one person who I felt like, in my newly chosen field, had my back. He talked about how great and cheap Winnipeg was and we flirted and talked on skype for hours. He knew I was in an incredibly vulnerable place and he asked me to come visit him in Winnipeg to see if I'd want to start an indie house there with the 3 friends I'd been talking about the idea with, and to see if the thing between us was as cool as it seemed at a distance. Two weeks. I'd buy the plane ticket there, he'd buy my plane ticket back. He knew i couldn't afford it otherwise so that was the deal I wouldn't get home for a month, and only then it was because my roommate used his miles to get me out of his apartment that he had physically confined me to. 9:23 Notes While I was in Winnipeg he slowly isolated me from everyone else in my life while absolutely degrading me whenever we were alone. He convinced me to talk the 3 friends out of getting a shared place with me there. He convinced me to let him program my game instead of the friend I had been working with, despite many protests. He screamed at me for over an hour once because of the tone in my voice when I said hello. He wouldn't let me leave the apartment without him and refused to give me the code to get in. About the sexual assault, he blamed me. He said he was jealous of me, to be wanted like that. He'd bring it up during sex, where he'd regularly be mean and violent. He told me he loved me, in a way no one else would, because he could see that I was terrible and he loved me anyway. And I bought it, because that's how you feel when you're recovering from being sexually assaulted. I spent a lot of that month hiding from him in the bathroom. His moods would shift and he'd throw things and hurt himself seemingly at random and blame me. He'd jam his fingers inside me and walk me around the house by them when I told him it hurt. 9:35 Notes I was scared to leave. I was scared to tell anyone. He'd act normal when other people were around and lay into me as soon as we were alone, then apologize and say how much he needed and loved me. I got even more scared when the two weeks had passed and he kept putting off the agreed plane ticket home. I spent a lot of that time hiding in the bathroom from him. My roommate started to get scared and asked me if I needed help getting out. I said yes, and Alec barely looked at me as I left. When I got home, I sent a cordial and friendly break up email. He lashed out and banned me from an indie games community he ran, banned himself, then went to other industry legends asking them to help him kill himself because I was such a bitch. He made sure to blacklist me at important industry events. He tried to ruin the career l'd barely started. To a degree it worked. The night GG started I vaguebooked about it without specifying which ex and two other women in games immediately messaged me to ask if it was Alec. He'd done similar things to them. They knew he'd been fixated on me and were also too afraid to speak up about an industry legend. 9:39 Notes August 26, 2019 at 9:39 PM It's been the better part of a decade and I'm still afraid of him. Too afraid to speak out, especially because I've gone through so much publicly, like people will just roll their eyes and ignore me as if there's some karmic limit on how much bad s--- can happen to someone before people stop listening. I'm afraid that people will care more about their love of Night in the Woods than they will about the safety and truths of women and non-binary people in games. I'm still afraid of him. I'm afraid of telling anyone about him. I'm afraid of how many indies have seen this behavior and given him a pass. I'm afraid of being in the same room as him because I'm afraid he'll hurt me again. I'm afraid of all the developers who watched this happen, and watched him scream abuse at another woman out front of Moscone during GDC. But being silent for years has been worse than the fear. I skipped the last 2 GDCS because l couldn't risk being around him or seeing everyone clap for him on stage. Especially not people who know. 9:45 Notes August 26, 2019 at 9:45 PM I don't wish any ill will on anyone. I know Alec is likely not well and I will always believe in rehabilitation over punishment. I don't want anything bad to come of this to his collaborators who may not know any of this. But I've watched enough of the big names in the indie community know about him so much so that the reaction to his first meltdown about me was "oh well that's Alec what can you do" - and I've seen enough to know nothings going to happen about this particular broken stair unless someone says something. But we're all scared. I'm scared. A big childish part of me has been hoping people would somehow start caring or figure it out on their own. But feeling like a coward in the face of Nathalie's strength, feeling like I have to hide from my own life because it's not safe and I can't tell anyone *why* I'm hiding, of knowing l wasn't the first or last, of drowning, that's too much for me to keep carrying with me. I just want the other boot to drop so I can breathe again. I don't want another new dev to get hurt and hear the same "oh that's just how he is" after the fact that I did. I want to breathe again.

Developments

Reaction on Twitter was divided, as some users voiced their support and belief in Quinn's allegations while others doubted her credibility after her actions in the #Gamergate controversy. Ian Miles Cheong[3] tweeted schadenfreude at a male feminist being accused of rape, gaining over 260 retweets and 1,100 likes (shown below, left). User @SidAlpha[4] tweeted that they believed Quinn was attempting to draw publicity towards herself for financial reasons (shown below, right).


lan Miles Cheong @stillgray The creator of the woke video game Night in the Woods, a supremely woke male feminist named Alec Holowka, was just accused of multiple rapes and sexual assaults days since last male feminist accused of sexual misconduct 0 00 0 SidAlpha @SidAlpha If true: really s-----. This is Zoe Quinn, though. I have little doubt she is only mentioning this NOW in order to try to formulate some sort of relevancy to once again ply her trade as a professional victim. In short, she's probably broke so now she decided to trot this out GR Game Rant @GameRant 4h Zoe Quinn has accused Night in the Woods dev Alec Holowka of abuse buff.ly/2HHB7Gf 11:19 AM Aug 27, 2019 Twitter Web App

Others in the industry voiced their support of Quinn by sharing their own stories of sexual assault in the games industry. Twitter user @ohadelaide tweeted that they were inspired by Quinn's story to share her story of being assaulted by another developer, Luc Shelton (shown below, left).[5] Night in the Woods co-creator Scott Benson tweeted that he believed Quinn's allegations (shown below, right). As of August 27th, Holowka has not responded to the allegations.


Adelaide PAXU @ohadelaide Since we're on the topic of Alec Holowka and other game devs who are sexual assaulters, Luc Shelton of Splash Damage assaulted me and gaslit me and at least one other woman two years ago and plenty (former) mutuals told me to stay quiet about it but I won't ever shut up anymore. 2:16 AM Aug 27, 2019 Twitter Web App Henry Dubb OK @bombsfall so that was an absurdly worded tweet because it was in a stunned moment but- we believe zoe's account of alec's actions, we're very sad and very angry, this is all hitting us in the middle of the night, well have more to say about it tomorrow 3:22 AM Aug 27, 2019 Twitter Web App

Infinite Ammo Response

On August 28th, Benson tweeted that Infinite Ammo would be severing ties with Holowka. They also stated that a physical release of Night In the Woods would be postponed and an unannounced project had been cancelled.[6]

Death

On August 31st, 2019, Holowka's sister tweeted that her brother "passed away" earlier that morning, along with a note stating that while her family had tried to give Holowka support, "in the end he felt he had lost too much" (shown below).



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