Don’t mess with Felicia Day. She has friends in high places. And on Twitter.
Last week, the now former writer for gaming site Destructoid, Ryan Perez, attacked Day completely out of left-field, accusing her of being nothing more than a ‘glorified booth babe’ who brings nothing to the gaming industry.
As Julie Roberts would say, “big mistake. Huuuge”.
Felicia Day, as most of you will know, is one of the hardest working people in the industry. Hands down. She’s clearly an intelligent, hard-working woman who has found her niche and exploited it. And I use the term ‘exploited’ in a positive sense. She’s evidently got a good business head on her shoulders and has leveraged her success to create a geek media empire in the making. It was a good call. At time of writing, the Geek and Sundry Youtube channel currently has 247,391and Day herself has over 1.9 million followers on Twitter.
Perez came under almost immediate attack for his unwarranted diatribe of abuse, triggering an incredible display of solidarity by friends and fans of Felicia Day.
What does this teach us?
Fist of all, your mother was right. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Secondly if you do say something awful about someone, you better have a bulletproof vest and a highly resilient ego because her friends gonna’ get you.
Perez may be regretting his attack now because not only will he never be invited to Wil Wheaton’s house for dinner, but he has officially been dumped by Destructoid in a ‘it’s not us, it’s definitely you’ type scenario. Perez and Destructoid parted ways in the wake of Felicia-Gate with Destructoid stating categorically that they in no way shared the opinions of Perez.
The internet is aflame with the controversy, some accusing Perez of sexism and others claiming that his right to free speech is being compromised.
It’s all too easy to throw the sexist card out there and accuse Perez of being biased against Day simply because she’s a woman in the gaming industry, an industry which incidentally gets some (justifiable) flak for not always being female-friendly. But it would be too simplistic to just say that he’s a misogynist and be done with it.
The gaming industry is suffering from an image problem, and is seen by many to be nothing more than a boys’ club. It’s explored in greater detail in a must-read interesting blog post by Xenos. For women working in, or who are fans of, that industry, it’s easy to see how Perez’s attack on a lady who has done a lot to raise the profile of the gaming industry and made it more accessible for women, can just compound the current situation.
My personal opinion is that he may just be an idiot, a notion he may well subscribe to himself stating that he may have been better off to aim his attack at God or the Catholic Church.
On the other hand, he is perfectly entitled to his own opinion even if it’s a negative one, however Twitter isn’t the forum for an attack, and an unwarranted and very public one at that.
Whether he was drunk, as he claims isn’t an excuse. It might account for his lack of forethought but certainly not for the bilious attack on Day, the reason for which is still unclear. Perez even goes so far as to suggest that he doesn’t really know who Day is (he certainly can’t claim that now) which makes the entire situation even more baffling. He does go on to say that he will actually acquaint himself with her portfolio of work, which may have been an idea prior to the Twitter fiasco.
He also offers a contrite ‘sorry’ to Day which is followed by a 7-part apology issued, ironically enough through Twitter.
Felicia Day accepted Perez’s apology with good grace, and the controversy is eventually beginning to die down. His actions were completely unjustifiable but it’s safe to say that even if he never learned a lesson from this, his career now lies in tatters and his credibility seems to be shot to pieces. That should be deterrent enough for the next person looking to take a swipe at the Queen of Geek.
The solution? Somebody needs to invent a breathalyzer that plugs into your laptop or phone and disables all social media channels when your blood/alcohol limit reaches a certain point. Anybody looking for a startup idea? Invent that and you’ll be golden.
Bet Perez wishes he had just drunk dialed his ex on Friday night, instead of drunk tweeting that ‘glorified booth babe’.