This post is about the Gamergate controversy (read about it here), and specifically about Zoe Quinn. I identify as a gamer, but I have not previously weighed in on the subject. Today I will, to republish the account that photographer Mallorie Nasrallah posted to her Facebook page yesterday. While I ordinarily eschew the impulse to “call out” supposed moral transgressors because the tactic is abused by crass new media / blogger narcissists, it is sometimes appropriate, particularly when there is hard evidence in hand. I think that gamers and the gaming press should know all the relevant information available about the person
responsible for Gamergate now widely known due to Gamergate [edited for clarity]. Mallorie’s allegations are her own and not those of myself or Skeptic Ink. Republished with permission. Link to original. Full disclosure: Mallorie Nasrallah is a friend of mine.
[Edit] To add, as some have pointed out, the Gamergate controversy itself is complex and currently centers around issues of journalistic propriety, general problems of sexism and harassment as covered in the wiki link provided above, and not around Quinn.
Alright, story time. I’ve been basically silent on this issue, I am not sure my contributions are relevant, and I have feared being ostracized and ridiculed. I can accept the latter, but I really hate to waste people’s time.
In 2007 I lived in New Hampshire, and was working as a photographer with a number of soft core “alt” erotica / porn sites. I traveled frequently to work with models affiliated with the websites I was affiliated with. A model working under the name Locke Valentine – this is the woman currently known as Zoe Quinn – modeled for two websites I was affiliated with – she as a model, I as a photographer. One of those websites is still in business, the other – unfortunately the one we communicated via – is no more.
Locke / Zoe was living in Albany, NY at the time. We expressed a desire to collaborate, and set a date for three photoshoots.
In fall of 2007 (according to my EXIF data 10/25/2007) I packed up my equipment and drove the 220 miles to Albany, for a weekend of work with Zoe.
By time I arrived in Albany, Zoe had cancelled one of the three shoots we had planned. She lived in a tiny apartment with her boyfriend / spouse / lover (I did not ask personal questions) and her roommate. I had been assured I could over night with them, and that they had room to accommodate a guest, and room to shoot in. They had neither. We ended up doing an impromptu shoot in the extremely crowded apartment, in the middle of the night, to try to save the shoot. I was not proud of it, but I knew with a bit of editing, it had potential.
While we tried to plan a shoot for the next day Zoe, and Co. chatted with me. She claimed to have stabbed a man – attempted rapist – in the face, who had grabbed her [Edit: Zoe claimed to have killed the man as well, see email screencap below]. She relayed to me no less than three other accounts of alleged violent assault. I will not share the details here, I feel that would be fundamentally indecent. I was alarmed at this, and I admit, by the time she made the claim that she stabbed a man in the face with a knife* and ran away, I was skeptical as well. Two claims involved alleged workplace incidents, and were her prime explanation for why she could not hold a job. I was mildly disconcerted, because true or false, these stories have good cause to make one uneasy. She also claimed to have reported nothing to police, or management at her work.
out of common decency I have never said a word about how cold, hungry and miserable that weekend was for me, about your reasons for declining the set and how unfair I felt that was, about how disturbed I was that you told me you killed a man, which I must say is a lot more disturbing than talking philosophy and joking about plastic surgery. I am not asking you to talk about our shoot, Im saying that if you are unwilling to tell the whole story what you end up telling is twisted and dishonest. -Mallorie
That is a bit different from killing someone in self defense while he’s raping you and probably going to kill you when he’s done. I’m sorry you think that’s somehow terribly disturbing, but I am not going to let someone murder me if there’s something that I can do about it, and what I did was completely legal. It’s fucked up that you’re giving me a hard time for it, but I guess it’s my fault for opening up to someone in the first place.
I’m finding it hard to care anymore when you seem to be disregarding what I’m telling you and giving me shit for defending myself on the worst night of my…. That’s really rather low. I’m giving you enough credit to think that you might actually try and understand what I’m saying rather than just getting pissed off and telling me I’m a horrible person for not letting someone kill and finish raping me. I really thought you were better than that. Otherwise I would’ve just ignored your e-mail.
That was not all we discussed, we talked about modeling, the websites, and erotica/porn in general. It was what we both did for a living, and candid conversation on the subject was not unusual.
The next day I had to drive everyone to the location of our shoot, which was her roommate’s place of employment. An arcade. This is the location where the photo shown here was taken. I was irritated that after driving 220 miles, and having to carry all my equipment to a shoot, I was also deliberately given the false impression that Zoe, and Co. would have their own transport. I was also irritated that Zoe could provide neither her own wardrobe for the shoot – it is normal for the model to use her personal items in these sorts of shoots – nor her own food while on site. Keep in mind, we both are paid by a site, once the photos are sold, everything I spent came out of my own pocket. Otherwise the shoot was unremarkable, it went far better than the one the night before, and we all had a basically good time.
We tried for some more photos that afternoon in a forested area Zoe directed me to, but we had neither enough light, or privacy to shoot anything substantial or of value.
I returned home, spent countless hours editing hundreds of photos. It was a terrible experience, but so be it.
When I was ready to send the photos off to Deviant Nation – the site we worked for – I wrote to her to let her know. It was only a few days, a week at most, since I had left Albany, but I ALWAYS get a model’s final approval before I send photos off. As far as I know I am the only photographer working in that specific industry who had that strict policy.
Zoe informed me that her roommate, who had been involved in the shoots, either by being in the apartment, or smuggling us in to her place of work turned out to be a, ” mentally unbalanced cunt,” (her words not mine) among other things, and that it was unacceptable to use ANY of the photos we had taken that weekend. I was pretty upset about this, and sent her several messages asking if perhaps I could talk to the roommate, have her sign a waiver, or something, despite the fact that neither Zoe, nor I, had any legal obligation to ask the roommate’s permission for ANYTHING. Zoe insisted that she was a crazy, evil bitch, and refused to provide me with any sort of contact information.
Finally, weeks later, a handful of other models I had worked with on the site messaged me to inform me that Zoe had written them and told them that I forced her to look at, “mutilated vagina,” pictures, which she said, had horrified her, and she had basically sent me away then and there. The models she told this to knew me, and thankfully came to me with these nonsense claims. We had in fact discussed cosmetic surgery, while talking about modeling, and she had looked up Before/After Breast Implant images. The conversation moved on to Labiaplasty, and we looked at a few of those images as well. So, there is an inch of truth, in the really awful lie she told about me. There was never any force involved, and she was the one controlling the computer the whole time. This took place in her home, on her computer, with her boyfriend and roommate both in the room.
I decided it wasn’t worth the fight. I was eventually contacted by the roommate, who told me a very different story to the one Zoe had, and I let the issue drop.
I was never paid for the images, because I respected her wishes and never published them. I still have the images in archive on my computer, because I archive everything. I was never reimbursed for the gas, wardrobe, or food I purchased on the trip. To someone starting their career, that was quite a dig to my wallet.
7 years later, Zoe is still BY FAR the worst client I have ever had.
What does this story have to do with GamerGate? When I realized Locke was Zoe, I was disgusted to see she was still playing the same games. Stealing, cheating, lying and claiming to be victimized by anyone and everyone. Maybe she did stab some guy in the face, and maybe in the first week at every new job she had, some guy tried to extort sex from her. Maybe that doesn’t establish an MO on her part. But I know, I did nothing wrong to that woman, and I did not deserve to be lied about. I did not deserve to have my time and my money wasted, and even now, I wonder if opening my mouth about this means she will think of some new horse shit to spread about me to try to ruin my career. And that does seem to be her modus operandi.
If this were a courtroom, I would call myself some sort of character witness, and I’ll let you all make of this what you will. Share it if you feel like it, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and watch her try to stomp out all the fires she has started by shitting on any more people’s careers.
Upon reading though archived emails, I discovered I can confirm and prove that she claimed to have killed the man she stabbed. (screenshot of email, irrelevant details redacted.)