Zoe Quinn Was the First Victim of Gamergate Which Resulted in an Avalanche of Threats — Where Is Zoe Now?

"I’m scared that what it’s going to take to stop this is the death of one of the women who’s been targeted," said Quinn.

Distractify Staff - Author

Apr. 5 2024, Published 6:31 p.m. ET

Both Gamergate and the Civil War have something in common, and that thing is what people told themselves about why either of them came to be. Some folks believe the Civil War was a battle over states' rights, while others say it was the moral issue of slavery and the desire to end it in America. How could the only war fought on American soil have anything in common with video games? It's all about perception and branding.

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Gamergate started in 2014, and the reasons vary depending on who you ask. It involved an alarming amount of targeted harassment aimed at women in the gaming world, all of which was rooted in misogyny. Many of these women received death threats and some left the gaming world altogether. However, far too many men claim the battle was really over ethics in gaming. Zoe Quinn was a video game developer who was the first victim of Gamergate. Where is Zoe now? Here's what we know.

Screenshots of GamerGate Tweets; Zoe Quinn Zoe Quinn at The First Amendment Resistance panel during the BookExpo 2017
Source: YouTube/XOXO Festival (video still); Getty Images

Tweets about Zoe Quinn; Zoe Quinn at BookExpo in 2017

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Where is Zoe Quinn now?

Since Gamergate began in August 2014, Quinn has been very busy. In November 2015 they spoke about their experience at the XOXO Festival. During the talk, they touched on what happened to them and demanded that we as a digital society stop using the word "trolls." What happened to them, and what many do behind the safety of their screens, is abuse.

They also theorized that the motivation behind the attacks went beyond misogyny and began with shame and power. The social-media hate mobs felt that their targets had more power and privilege, and felt it was their duty to take them down a peg. It didn't matter whether or not the person in question was good or bad. That was irrelevant. They had something the digital rage army wanted.

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Much of the points made at XOXO Festival would show up in the book Quinn wrote in September 2017. Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destoryed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate is an "up-close look inside the controversy, threats, and social and cultural battles that started in the far corners of the internet and have since permeated our online lives." The name is not only a nod to the movie Hackers, but it's also Quinn's nonprofit organization.

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Crash Override Network is an advocacy organization committed to helping those who have been victims of online abuse such as doxing, revenge porn, swatting, and online hate groups. It's unclear if they are still up and running as the Facebook page hasn't had any updates since 2016, which is the same year their helpline was shut down. Thankfully there are still resources on the website for anyone who needs help.

Quinn also partnered with Vertigo Comics, an imprint of DC Entertainment, in 2018. With them, they penned eight comics titled Goddess Mode, which were illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez and Ricco Renzi. As of the time of this writing, Zoe's last Instagram post is dated Aug. 8, 2023, and features a 3D-printed sword. Judging by their other posts, they've been experimenting with 3D-printing while spending time with their dog Crunchwrap. They are far more active on TikTok, where they proudly displays their 3D printing skills.

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What happened to Zoe Quinn during Gamergate?

According to a 2014 profile in The Guardian, Quinn began working on an interactive novel named Depression Quest after they were living in Toronto for a year. It was meant to be a helpful tool for them and anyone else suffering from depression. "The game puts players into the role of a depression sufferer, trying to keep hold of a job and a relationship, seeking therapy, taking medication," said the outlet. It was released in February 2013 and put on Steam twice.

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They removed it the first time after receiving some threats but Quinn was determined to not let the bullies push them out of the gaming world they loved so much. Unfortunately that was a hint of what would come later. In August 2014 Eron Gjoni, their ex-boyfriend, wrote a blog about their relationship where he accused Quinn of cheating and claimed they had a relationship with a Kotaku writer named Nathan Grayson. This was linked to 4Chan, a popular hangout for misogynists.

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"I fully believe it was there to ruin my life. As soon as it hit 4Chan, they went into ‘get this b----’ mode," Quinn told The Guardian. "They started doxing me immediately, asking who had hacking skills." It was alleged that Quinn had been intimate with Grayson in order to get a good review for Depression Quest — when in reality, Grayson never even reviewed the game at all. This is when people began the ethics in journalism argument.

Soon they were receiving horrendous threats that involved rape and murder. People told Quinn they should take their on life, which caused them to leave their home. "I’m scared that what it’s going to take to stop this is the death of one of the women who’s been targeted," they told The Guardian at the time. While it was obviously terrifying, it lit a fire under Quinn which is why they fought back and chose to help others. The bullying didn't work. The abusive trolls did not win.

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