Esports Journalist Richard Lewis Calls Out Kotaku, Polygon, and Waypoint for Bad Reporting, Gatekeeping

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ESports journalist Richard Lewis has condemned Kotaku, Polygon, Waypoint, and the mainstream gaming news press at large during his acceptance speech at the eSports Awards 2019.

After Lewis won the award for eSports Jounralist of the year, his acceptance speech showed gratitude to his peers.

“I just want to say that I don’t consider good journalism a competitive endeavor, I do consider- if you will accept it- I’m up here taking this award for everybody else in my field, there were some great names there [other nominees], I’m real sorry it wasn’t you guys. You will get your time. I’ve got two of these [speech note pages], I won’t get another one.”

The last sentence may suggest Lewis feels he was going to be blacklisted (or at least not receive awards in the future) for what he was about to do.

Lewis’ speech then turned to thanking senior Kotaku reporter Cecilia D’anastasio for her work, before turning into condemnation of Kotaku overall, along with other outlets Polygon and Waypoint, as well as the mainstream gaming news press at large.

“There was a name that should have been on the list though, Cecilia D’anastasio. I just want to know if your watching this stream your work is valued, your work is necessary, you could have just as easily stood here giving a better speech than mine.

So anyway, what I wanted to talk about is why this award’s important- not my award that I won, ‘cuz that’d be narcissistic- all our awards. ‘Cuz we have to look after ourselves. ‘Cuz there’s these external media companies that are looking at esports, and they want to write the history, and they want to tell the stories.

And you know who I’m talking about: Polygon, people like that. Waypoint. The Kotaku’s. Right? And their approach to writing about our thing is two-fold. They’ve consistently embarrassed themselves writing pieces that expose their complete ignorance about our scene, lack of sources, and unoriginal opinions on topics we have talked [about] to death for 20 years.

The second has been to write hit-piece and smears, mostly propagated on half-truths or out-and-out lies, and it’s about some of you in this room. Give ’em hell. And they write about it because they think if they get one or two or twelve of you out of the way, they can get their friends in, they can get their cronies in, takeover and gate-keep our industry.

So let’s compare and contrast. The reason I’m standing here is probably one story. I wrote a story about a great guy, one of the best ambassadors: Rick Fox. Who was receiving racial abuse while he was in Echo Fox. It’s a disgrace what happened to him, I love that guy, we owe him a great debt. That’s the kinda story I want to break, and that’s the kinda story I want to fight for.

Let’s have a look at some of their greatest hits, from the mainstream game’s press. Well, outside of Cecilia’s work, it’s not great. There were the lies they printed about a CSGo Major event being a Trump Rally because the journalist mis-read a sign. Great work. What about the time they all rallied around to stop abuse of a female Overwatch player that didn’t exist. Which they would have found if they did a cursory fact-check. And of course they’re the annual hit-piece they write, trying to cancel any one of you. Or what about that interview they did with the world’s most popular streamer- outside of a toilet. One throw-away quote, still haunting him today. It’s an outrage.

So anyway, despite this I want to welcome good journalists from a non e-sports background to the scene, ‘cuz there are hundreds of stories every year that must be told, to make our industry better. I stuck it out for 15 years ‘cuz I care, I care about this industry, I care about everyone in this room, and I care about everyone at home; and that’s why I want to make it as best as it can be. Thanks so much for this award, I love you all dearly. Thank you.”

Lewis speech earned standing ovations mid-way and at the end from those in the auditorium. Lewis comments about fears of the mainstream gaming press being incompetent and attempting to gate-keep also mirror those made by the GamerGate movement some years prior.

Lewis later took to Twitter [1, 2], further reinforcing his point.

“Hard to put out one tweet that encapsulates last night. Was great to spend time with so many of my esports family even briefly. Congratulations to all the people who were honoured at the awards. The winners tell me that esports is in a great place. Back to the hustle tomorrow.”

“Also, if you’re wondering why so many people stood up and applauded what I said, think how many of those people that did have been misrepresented and lied about by outlets like the ones I named. People are sick of it from top to bottom. Let’s see if the message has been received.”

As others expressed concern that “half of the mainstream games press are probably in a slack group producing their cesspool of garbage to try and discredit you again,” Lewis responded “Oh, it is coming Monday. Already been tipped off.”

We will keep you informed on industry news as it develops.

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Ryan Pearson


Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.