Game Developer Zoe Quinn’s Abuse Allegations Are Questionable Based on Her Own Tweets
On August 28, Zoe Quinn posted to Twitter about her experience in her relationship with fellow game developer Alec Holowka. She claimed he was emotionally abusive, that he kept her at his apartment against her will, and reacted vengefully when she broke up with him. After her Tweets, Holowka lost his job on the Night in the Woods team. Just 48 hours later, he took his own life. Quinn deleted her Twitter account, but has since re-joined the platform, but her Tweets are locked.
The Post Millennial ran an article on September 9, detailing the events of the time of the alleged abuse through Quinn’s own Tweets at the time (around April 2012), some of which don’t line up with the accusations she made.
The Discrepancies in Zoe Quinn’s Claims
One of the major aspects of the abuse Quinn allegedly endured while in Winnipeg with Holowka was him confining her to his apartment. Her Tweets show several times being out in public—picking up fabric at the store, working on her game in a coffee shop, and arranging meetups in the area.
Another point of contention was getting home from Winnipeg back to Toronto. In her claim, Zoe Quinn stated that Holowka refused to buy her a plane ticket that he had initially promised to pay for, further trapping her there with him for weeks longer than she intended to stay. However, her Tweets show that she had no firm plans for her stay in Winnipeg. In one, she wrote “I am heading to Winnipeg for ??? weeks…” She claimed a roommate had to use airline points to get her out of the situation. Once again, according to her Twitter, she knew exactly when she was leaving, even discussing her layover in Montreal and potentially meeting up with people there. Nothing is particularly revealing about who paid for this plane ticket, though.
A third major point she made in her accusation was that Holowka became controlling of her game she was working on at the time. However, during her stay in Winnipeg, she Tweeted multiple updates about her progress and her contributions to the game. She even talked about how hard they were working on it together.
Some Things to Consider
While in Winnipeg, Quinn and Holowka appeared on a podcast together, Indie(Function). The Post Millennial provides audio clips from that interview with them. They discussed their games and a bit about their relationship. The Post Millennial claims Quinn’s behavior is proof she was not being abused, but that’s not necessarily true. Many abuse victims behave “normally” while in their relationship. I don’t find that compelling at all.
Also, the Post Millennial is a pretty one-sided source. They have plenty of other articles that make their disdain for liberal or left ideas perfectly clear. All other sources discussing these Tweets link back to the Post Millennial, which did not reveal their source for the Tweets. They said only that it was someone with access to Quinn’s Twitter. They have a clear target audience and agenda.
Holowka’s sister and others who knew him have been open about his struggle with mental illness and personality disorders. His sister claimed Alec was making strides toward overcoming those aspects of himself, so he would not behave that way anymore. She also said Alec was a survivor of abuse himself, which may have played a role in his actions with Quinn during their time together. She did not deny Quinn’s allegations, and seemed to believe her brother capable of what Quinn described.
Honestly, this is messy. I’m not sure where the truth lies in all of it. I am all about believing women, and I stand fully with the #MeToo movement, but this is pretty compelling. In fairness to Quinn, it was over seven years ago, so the details were probably unclear in her memory. And social media is not an accurate reflection of what’s going on in someone’s personal life. In Holowka’s defense, he was clearly making a conscious effort to be better and take control of his emotions. And if Quinn isn’t being truthful, then it’s a huge setback for all women coming forward about their own cases of abuse. And a man is dead.
There’s obviously a lot to this issue. It’s complicated and tragic no matter how you look at it. Hopefully, there will be some clarity, but I’m not holding my breath.