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GOG community manager's tell-all interview asks more questions than it answers

GOG community manager's tell-all interview asks more questions than it answers

The GOG.com community manager behind the company's most notorious tweets has raised more questions in a post-redundancy interview.

CD Projekt’s DRM-free storefront has been no stranger to our news feed this year, and not for all the best reasons. Following the inappropriate use of a transgender activist hashtag, community manager Sean Halliday was dismissed from his position at the Warsaw-based company.

It was the third strike for Halliday, who spoke to Eurogamer following his redundancy and return to the United Kingdom. In the lengthy piece by the site, Halliday attempts to justify the series of missteps that lead to his redundancy, including the prior Gamergate-dogwhistling Postal 2 tweet.

The piece tells the story of a strapping lad freshly flown over to Poland to fix up GOG’s toxic forums and improve its social media presence. Halliday capitalised on GOG’s retro appeal, mixing up the store’s Twitter and Facebook activity to be more than just sporadic posts on new releases.

But while his hashtag-hijack may have ended up in losing his job, but it’s important to note that this tweet didn’t exist in a vacuum. Neither does Halliday’s apolitical stance, excused for his ignorance behind the #WontBeErased tweet.

In good company

Missing from the discussion is a wider attack on CD Projekt’s company culture as a whole. After all, the second incident mentioned - the Cyberpunk 2077 “assume my gender” tweet - wasn’t Halliday’s responsibility.

Two out of three strikes may have come from the GOG account, but there’s a wider problem at CD Projekt that has social media across its teams engaging in troubling memes.

Managers had also withheld an apology written by Halliday after the #WontBeErased tweet, telling him: “We are not apologising for this."

At the end of the piece, Eurogamer presses Halliday on his true opinions on Gamergate. Earlier on, Halliday had claimed total ignorance to the industry-wide horror-show. But the would-be community manager was also a writer and had himself written pieces attacking anti-Gamergate figures like Anita Sarkeesian.

Halliday, who claimed no knowledge of Gamergate, had previously penned the words: “They are not people who enjoy games, they are people who enjoy power and accolades, even if that means stomping on the hopes of a movement.”

He later pleas a middle ground attitude towards the harassment campaign - there’s a discussion to be had, he believes, but claims to disagree with how “the GG handle that.” Not to take sides, he also holds disagreements with the “liberal” side - The side that received the bulk of the death threats.

There’s a conflict, too, between his claimed ignorance of events like Gamergate or the message behind hashtags like #WontBeErased. Either he failed to perform his job as a community manager by researching these topics before riffing on them, or he deliberately played with highly-controversial material.

Neither is exactly a good look. But the onus still falls on CD Projekt and GOG going forwards to prove it can clean up its act online.


Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and Pocketgamer.biz, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 GamesIndustry.biz 100 Rising Star list.

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