Indie Developer Zoe Quinn Alleges Alec Holowka Abused Her During Their Relationship
Alec Holowka, best known for co-creating Night In the Woods, faces accusations of abuse from Zoe Quinn. Quinn is an indie developer and created the game Depression Quest. She claims Holowka isolated her and he was “mean and violent”. Quinn posted her entire experience to Twitter. She wrote on the post, “I’ve been silent about this for almost my entire career and I can’t do it anymore. Sorry if this is rambling and messy, I’m scared shitless to out an industry legend like this but I can’t live with the secret anymore.”
How It Started
In her statement on Twitter, Quinn explained that the relationship began online. About a month prior to meeting Holowka, another man in the industry (whom she did not name) allegedly sexually assaulted her, and Holowka seemed to have her back. She agreed to come to Winnipeg because it was cheaper than Toronto, and to explore their relationship. She would pay for her flight there, and he promised to pay for her flight home after two weeks—a promise he did not fulfill.
“While I was in Winnipeg he slowly isolated me from everyone else in my life while absolutely degrading me whenever we were alone,” she wrote. “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. [Holowka] screamed at me for over an hour once because of the tone in my voice when I said hello.”
She also claims he refused to let her leave his apartment.
From Bad to Worse
If all that wasn’t disgusting enough, Quinn also writes that Holowka blamed her for her sexual assault. He said he was actually jealous that someone “wanted [Quinn] like that.”
“He’d bring it up during sex, where he’d regularly be mean and violent,” she wrote. He said he loved her uniquely because he saw how “terrible” she was and loved her anyway. Further abuse.
Things became physical as well during the month he had her trapped in his apartment. Quinn wrote that she spent a lot of time hiding from him in the bathroom because he would “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.”
She finally returned home a month later. Her friend used his airline miles to help. Holowka apparently could hardly look at her when she left.
When Quinn was home, she broke up with Holowka via email. It didn’t go well.
“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,” she wrote.
He also blacklisted her from industry events. His animosity took a toll on her budding career. She posted about it online—without naming him—and a few other women reached out to ask if she was referring to Alec Holowka. Apparently, they had received similar treatment from him. Quinn says she fears him to this day, and skips certain industry events to avoid seeing him.
So far, Holowka has not publicly responded to the allegations. Quinn stated she came forward in support of Natalie Lawhead, who opened up about her rapist in the industry as well.
If you or someone you know is going through emotional abuse and/or sexual assault, you are not alone.
For emotional abuse:
You can text CONNECT to 741741 from anywhere in the US to contact a Crisis Counselor.
For sexual assault:
Contact RAINN at 800-656-HOPE (4673) to speak to a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.