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    1. This was posted on Twitter by Alec's sister. She's protected her account now (probably because of how disgusting the replies to it were), but I've re-typed the statement here: Alec Holowka, my...

      This was posted on Twitter by Alec's sister. She's protected her account now (probably because of how disgusting the replies to it were), but I've re-typed the statement here:

      Alec Holowka, my brother and best friend, passed away this morning.

      Those who know me will know that I believe survivors and I have always done everything I can to support survivors, those suffering from mental illnesses, and those with chronic illnesses. Alec was a victim of abuse and he also spent a lifetime battling mood and personality disorders. I will not pretend that he was not also responsible for causing harm, but deep down he was a person who wanted only to offer people care and kindness. It took him a while to figure out how.

      Over the last few years, with therapy and medication, Alec became a new person—the same person he'd always been but without any of the darkness. He was calm and happy, positive and loving. Obviously, change is a slow process and it wasn't perfect, but he was working towards rehabilitation and a better life.

      In the last few days, he was supported by many Manitoba crisis services, and I want to thank everyone there for their support. I want to thank Adam Saltsman for staying up late talking with us and reminding Alec that there was a future.

      My family has and always will be the most important thing to me. Please give us time to heal. We tried our best to support Alec, but in the end he felt he had lost too much.

      I currently do not see a place for myself in games or on Twitter. I will not be looking at the responses to this post. I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me over the last few days. For anyone who is in a time of darkness, I encourage you to reach out for support. There are always people who will be there for you.

      As backstory, he was accused of abuse (and sexual abuse) last week by Zoe Quinn with several others corroborating past abusive behavior (a bit more detail in this article). As a result, the other Night in the Woods creators cut ties with him. I'm going to re-post their statements below inside a collapsed block since they're fairly long, but you can expand it if you want to read them:

      Statements from Scott Benson

      From Scott Benson's personal account:

      Allegations of past abuse have come to light this week regarding Alec Holowka, who we have worked with in the past. We take such allegations seriously, and applaud those speaking out about their experiences with abuse in the industry and elsewhere.

      As a result, we won't be working with Alec in the future. What this means for Night in the Woods going forward is something we will have to work out. These things take time, longer than a couple days at least.

      Night in the Woods is a very personal game for Bethany and I. Our parts of the game - the writing, world, characters, art, etc - are pulled from our own lives, sometimes very directly.

      We know it has connected with thousands of people in a very deep manner. And whatever your reaction is, that's valid. Know that we are just as heartbroken right now. We'll have more info in the future about how we're moving forward. Thanks.

      On a more personal note, this has all been devastating. And people will ask for details that we as collaborators on a project simply do not have. They’ll want essays and interviews as if we have some secret info. But we don’t. We’re just very sad right now.

      And on the Night in the Woods account

      This week, allegations of past abuse have come to light regarding Alec Holowka, who was coder, composer, and co-designer on Night In The Woods. We take such allegations seriously as a team. As a result and after some agonizing consideration, we are cutting ties with Alec.

      We are cancelling a current project and postponing the Limited Run physical release. The iOS port is being handled by an outside company and supervised by Finji and will remain in development.

      We’ve received a lot of emails and messages in the past few days, often very hurt and angry. That’s also how we feel. This has been very, very tough.

      I should say that I’m Scott. Hello. I run this account. I was the artist, lead animator, co-designer, co-writer, and the guy who wrote almost all of that dialogue in the game. Bethany’s here too, she was co-writer and researcher.

      Much of Night In The Woods is pulled pretty directly from our lives. Bethany is from a tiny valley in central PA. I’ve lived out here in Western PA for about 20 years. The characters are us, and people we’ve known. The places are ones we know.

      Thousands of people have connected with Night In The Woods in a very personal way. We can’t tell you how to feel about any of this. Whatever you’re feeling is valid. Your experience with art is yours. What it means to you is yours, regardless of anything else.

      Going forward, Night In The Woods will be handled by Bethany and I. We’re not sure what that all means yet. This stuff takes time.

      Thanks for your support over the years. We’re sorry to even have to say any of this. That’s all I can say at the moment. Thank you for your patience.

      (Edit: since Zoe Quinn has deleted her Twitter account now, I'm going to re-type her statement as well)

      Zoe Quinn's statement

      I want to say upfront that I'm not saying this for anyone but me and the other people that I know have been hurt by him, and might in the future be hurt. I read Nathalie Lawhead's post about her rapist being an industry legend who took advantage of her and poisoned her career and it shook me to my core. Her waning health, her fear, the way she described all of it feeling like drowning... and my heart broke for her. Beyond that, I felt *ashamed*. So many of the little details, down to the timing, had been things I've gone through too, just a few months into my time as an indie game developer. And it's haunted me ever since. It's why I don't go to GDC anymore. I'm drowning too.

      A few months into making games, I was sexually assaulted. My visa status was threatened if I told anyone, and he went out of his way to tell the community that I'd been falsely accusing him of rape when I hadn't said anything to anyone (but a third party who saw it happen firsthand confronted him about it the next day). This story isn't about him - after years of therapy and working on himself, he reached out and apologized for everything, and I've forgiven him. But that's the background to this story.

      One month after the assault, I wanted to leave Toronto. I was scared, I couldn't sleep, and I almost killed myself over it. I had a suicide note and everything ready to go but I just didn't want to do that to my roommate.

      Enter Alec Holowka. Yeah, the one from Aquaria and Night in the Woods. He was one person who I felt like, in my newly chosen field, had my back.

      He talked about how great and cheap Winnipeg was and we flirted and talked on skype for hours. He knew I was in an incredibly vulnerable place and he asked me to come visit him in Winnipeg to see if I'd want to start an indie house there with the 3 friends I'd been talking about the idea with, and to see if the thing between us was as cool as it seemed at a distance. Two weeks. I'd buy the plane ticket there, he'd buy my plane ticket back. He knew i couldn't afford it otherwise so that was the deal.

      I wouldn't get home for a month, and only then it was because my roommate used his miles to get me out of his apartment that he had physically confined me to.

      While I was in Winnipeg he slowly isolated me from everyone else in my life while absolutely degrading me whenever we were alone. 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. He screamed at me for over an hour once because of the tone in my voice when I said hello. He wouldn't let me leave the apartment without him and refused to give me the code to get in.

      About the sexual assault, he blamed me. He said he was jealous of me, to be wanted like that. He'd bring it up during sex, where he'd regularly be mean and violent. He told me he loved me, in a way no one else would, because he could see that I was terrible and he loved me anyway. And I bought it, because that's how you feel when you're recovering from being sexually assaulted.

      I spent a lot of that month hiding from him in the bathroom. His moods would shift and he'd 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.

      I was scared to leave. I was scared to tell anyone. He'd act normal when other people were around and lay into me as soon as we were alone, then apologize and say how much he needed and loved me. I got even more scared when the two weeks had passed and he kept putting off the agreed plane ticket home. I spent a lot of that time hiding in the bathroom from him. My roommate started to get scared and asked me if I needed help getting out. I said yes, and Alec barely looked at me as I left.

      When I got home, I sent a cordial and friendly break up email. 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. He made sure to blacklist me at important industry events. He tried to ruin the career I'd barely started. To a degree it worked.

      The night GG started I vaguebooked about it without specifying which ex and two other women in games immediately messaged me to ask if it was Alec. He'd done similar things to them. They knew he'd been fixated on me and were also too afraid to speak up about an industry legend.

      It's been the better part of a decade and I'm still afraid of him. Too afraid to speak out, especially because I've gone through so much publicly, like people will just roll their eyes and ignore me as if there's some karmic limit on how much bad shit can happen to someone before people stop listening. I'm afraid that people will care more about their love of Night in the Woods than they will about the safety and truths of women and non-binary people in games.

      I'm still afraid of him. I'm afraid of telling anyone about him. I'm afraid of how many indies have seen this behavior and given him a pass. I'm afraid of being in the same room as him because I'm afraid he'll hurt me again. I'm afraid of all the developers who watched this happen, and watched him scream abuse at another woman out front of Moscone during GDC.

      But being silent for years has been worse than the fear. I skipped the last 2 GDCs because I couldn't risk being around him or seeing everyone clap for him on stage. Especially not people who know.

      I don't wish any ill will on anyone. I know Alec is likely not well and I will always believe in rehabilitation over punishment. I don't want anything bad to come of this to his collaborators who may not know any of this. But I've watched enough of the big names in the indie community know about him - so much so that the reaction to his first meltdown about me was "oh well that's Alec what can you do" - and I've seen enough to know nothings going to happen about this particular broken stair unless someone says something. But we're all scared. I'm scared. A big childish part of me has been hoping people would somehow start caring or figure it out on their own.

      But feeling like a coward in the face of Nathalie's strength, feeling like I have to hide from my own life because it's not safe and I can't tell anyone *why* I'm hiding, of knowing I wasn't the first or last, of drowning, that's too much for me to keep carrying with me. I just want the other boot to drop so I can breathe again. I don't want another new dev to get hurt and hear the same "oh that's just how he is" after the fact that I did. I want to breathe again.

      30 votes
    2. bűnös & fáj

      i intended to actually post these like three days ago but that didn't happen because it has to be super fucking late for me to even want to post these and unfortunately they've now aged...

      i intended to actually post these like three days ago but that didn't happen because it has to be super fucking late for me to even want to post these and unfortunately they've now aged sufficiently that i categorize them firmly in the "intensely mediocre" column with everything i ever do. unfortunate, tbh. anyways here's stuff:

      bűnös

      UP AGAINST THE WALL, MOTHERFUCKER—
      or i'll shatter your bones
      and crush your heart—
      to dance with me is to dance
      a fine line that wrenches two worlds apart

      for on one side there is a hall of saints—
      on the other
      the brimstone of hell—
      and to stay on the side of the hall of saints
      is something you'd best do well.

      and brave souls that dare toe the line—
      that cross it
      are mighty thin—
      and their ranks are made of anarchists
      who commit most grievous sin.

      UP AGAINST THE WALL, MOTHERFUCKER—
      state your allegiance
      to the vaunted line—
      or soon you too shall join the ranks
      of those who deserve malign.


      fáj

      when i was seventeen
      the panic attacks began.
      the nightmares.
      the violence. the violence. the violence.

      violence is a funny little thing—
      insidious, slithering in through one grate
      and out the other.
      it always begins with little things,
      little fantasies in one ear and out the other.
      dreams here and there, manufacturing terror and hurt.
      invasive thoughts, marching to an intensifying drumbeat.
      one offs.

      it's not normal to
      want to hurt so bad.
      it's not normal to
      want to cut yourself everywhere,
      is it?
      to feel those feelings,
      to bear them like a cross shackled on your back?
      to wish some days you could cut to the bone
      even though you're afraid of blood?
      to mutilate yourself until you can't feel anymore
      even though you know those feelings are irrational?
      to wish you could die violently, publicly
      even though you're afraid of death?

      violence isn't a very funny little thing—
      terrifying, inescapable and ever recurring
      one night after the other.
      it was the little things once,
      the little fantasies that used to be but now
      consume the dreams, the
      waking thoughts, becoming a great crescendo.
      every day.

      when i was nineteen
      the panic attacks were normal.
      the nightmares.
      the violence.

      13 votes
    3. Wild Turkey 101

      i got fire in my blood Wild Turkey and the nicotine might just call my doctor have him put me on amphetamines driving past the memories i'm pushing on 100 speed crossing single-white lines with a...

      i got fire in my blood

      Wild Turkey and the nicotine

      might just call my doctor

      have him put me on amphetamines

      driving past the memories

      i'm pushing on 100 speed

      crossing single-white lines

      with a blade til my bones weak.

      cold-brew hipster

      gothboi fantasies

      hard to think straight when

      my thoughts are attacking me

      here i let the voices out

      inner demons writing rhapsodies

      before i go and swing from

      a noose and a dramatic tree

      .

      can't decide what i want between

      freedom and consistency

      i say i want it done

      but i think i want her missing me

      last week i bought a gun*

      this week i went to therapy

      when will i be free from all the

      thermo-manic tendencies?

      .

      drowning in my bed

      breathing wild turkey

      i couldn't feel if i were dead,

      but i like the way she hurts me

      i've come to know the pain

      it's like a second home to me

      liquor novocaine

      im falling from autonomy.

      if mecca was a bedroom

      girl you were a God to me

      and laying here alone is

      a wicked act of blasphemy.

      never knew you were a snake

      feeding hate from an apple tree

      I'll chop it down, and build a tomb

      so you can hold me,

      as an effigy

      (* didnt actually buy a gun. me no like. literally 0 plans to.)

      7 votes
    4. In the shadows Like a ghost you hide In the single most foreign Corners of my mind Therapy and pills still Can’t subside the angelic choir Of your pretty lies Promises you made, The bones I broke...

      In the shadows

      Like a ghost you hide

      In the single most foreign

      Corners of my mind

      Therapy and pills still

      Can’t subside the angelic choir

      Of your pretty lies

      Promises you made,

      The bones I broke

      You once took my breath

      And now I choke

      Jesus let me breathe

      Is there hope for me?

      .

      Now I desire

      The obscure

      All that reminds

      Of being yours

      Your oils, poison

      My waters, pure

      Your love is cancer

      There is no cure.

      .

      I watched my grandfather take his final breaths as he kissed my head and you held my hand. Not two months later you foresaw our end, and decided not to keep me, even as a friend.

      And now you’re off, marriage in the plans. I pray your time falls like the sand and hits the bottom of every glass as fast as it can.

      I have no home. I’m lost and cold. You promised me a home would grow. We got a dog, and had planned for more. Mouth of this world, a fish at shore you took my breath and killed me slow.

      I’m suicidal, I have no hope. I’ve not a gun, don’t have a rope. The only reason I’ve not a note, I’d end it all, I’d end it all.


      I just want to feel pretty.

      Pretty loved and pretty free

      But for now I keep to getting

      Pretty drunk, it isn’t cheap

      But I can afford it/‘s kinda sweet

      Too bad you’re not round

      To drink with me.

      I’d fill the bottle

      We’d watch the office

      Instead I scar

      Until I am solid

      An ugly rock

      A useless object

      I’ll break my stones

      And build a coffin

      And die in your name

      Die in your name.

      11 votes
    5. tw: self-harm; suicide; lost love. i hit my cigarette like an abuser hits her wife because i'm a fucking coward to afraid to take his life i've felt love before i beg it through the strife but i...

      tw: self-harm; suicide; lost love.

      i hit my cigarette

      like an abuser hits her wife

      because i'm a fucking coward

      to afraid to take his life

      i've felt love before

      i beg it through the strife

      but i only find a heart

      at the wrong side of a blunt and useless knife

      .

      and it's only mine

      at least there's proof

      that i can feel

      when blood protrudes.

      but that's not "work appropriate"

      so i get tattoos

      what a shame i can't get paid to die.

      12 votes
    6. i got a job i got on meds i got a car still wanting death. still here at night alone in my bed still hear her voice ring in my head “why do you look like i abused you?” . i bought a bottle i...

      i got a job

      i got on meds

      i got a car

      still wanting death.

      still here at night

      alone in my bed

      still hear her voice

      ring in my head

      “why do you look like i abused you?”

      .

      i bought a bottle

      i bought some cards

      can’t kill my thoughts

      my god it’s hard

      just make it stop

      “i don’t think i love you anymore.”

      .

      anxiety’s

      taken over me

      every interaction

      i worry

      did i act weird?

      what do they think?

      i guarantee

      they laugh at me

      can’t beat it all

      can’t bear it all.

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .
      .

      .

      don’t want to live

      don’t want to die

      i fantasize

      (that) it’ll be alright

      she’ll cuddle close

      and hold me night

      and pet my head

      and kill the fright

      i can’t escape

      don’t want to fight

      god let me die

      god let me die

      8 votes
    7. y'already know who it is bishop - little punk bitch. 's go. no need to comment or whatever. just yelling at the internet today. Xes On My Eyes For Life. tw: self-harm/suicide/alcohol/drugs startin...

      y'already know who it is
      bishop - little punk bitch.

      's go. no need to comment or whatever. just yelling at the internet today.

      Xes On My Eyes For Life.

      tw: self-harm/suicide/alcohol/drugs


      startin off the year all
      alone inside my bedroom
      lookin back in the past
      what i been through
      how you'd pet my hair,
      cuddle close in my bedroom
      now ain't nothin but depressive
      air in the bedroom
      look what i get up to
      xans and the mushrooms
      body don't have much room
      left for me to love you
      it pushes all the air out
      in case you maybe come thru
      you took all of my breath out
      and i can't even speak you

      name into the air
      with no fingers in my hair
      sippin whiskey in my chair
      i can see your shadows here
      you told me "lay it bare, give
      your heart and boy i swear"
      from now until the day you die
      i promise i'll be there."

      now i'm broken down
      and wearing out
      your voice in my head
      get it out
      i'm gettin up and pullin down
      the liquor off the shelf

      my empty bed is
      screaming out
      i'm praying that you'll
      hear me while
      i'm masturbating moaning out
      "I'm gonna kill myself."

      Прости меня,
      Пожалуйста
      now is my time
      убей меня
      princess - зайчик
      i can't take it
      baphometic
      angel - wrists slit

      cus i'm broken down
      and wearing out
      i know the truth you
      hate me now
      i'm gettin up and pullin down
      the liquor off the shelf

      my empty bed is
      screaming out
      i'm praying that you'll
      hear me while
      i'm masturbating moaning out
      "I'm gonna kill myself."

      7 votes
    8. Even just joking about it people get their panties in a bunch. Like, who's to disapprove of someone doing what THEY want with their OWN life? We can all co-exist when it comes to other big life...

      Even just joking about it people get their panties in a bunch. Like, who's to disapprove of someone doing what THEY want with their OWN life?

      We can all co-exist when it comes to other big life decisions like unhealthy eating, smoking, drinking, careers, marriage, kids, etc but god forbid someone mentioning suicide. Because that's fucked up.

      I just don't understand the audacity of someone to sit there and tell me "you can't talk like that" when ever I am feeling that way. Maybe the person could offer help? Or maybe instead of assuming I'm being a manipulative asshole take a second to think "hey, this person might actually kill them-self".

      I AM NOT SUICIDALE! I was and maybe somedays I am again but I am in the process of recovery and finding things that give life meaning. It just peeves me when somethings so unexpected it just gets shoved in the "we don't talk about that" category or "seek professional help" category. Like bitch 1) I think it's time we talk about it and 2) I've been seeking professional help for 2 years now.

      What if a person wants more info on possible ways to kill themselves? So what? Yeah but think about the loved ones! Well lets talk about that too! I think communication is key. Like, me saying I want to die to my parents and them being like "hey that's cool. We love you and support you in your decision to end your own life" would be absolutely fucking amazing. But noooooo.... say anything like that and it's all "go to the mental hospital" or "no I don't want you to die" like what? Are you telling me what to do with my life?

      I personally think sanctioned suicide should be legal. I legit think there should be centers you can check yourself into to get put down. There, I said it. I mean, if you believe in heaven why wouldn't you kill yourself and also if you don't believe in heaven why wouldn't you kill yourself? LOL.

      I am just merely asking why is it taboo?

      /rant

      Sorry if this isn't the right place to post. Seriously hoping for actual discussion here vs on reddit you just get a lot of people commenting help line numbers like can we just TALK ABOUT IT?

      28 votes
    9. Last night before bed, I was posting about some books that I really liked. One of them is called Stay: A History of Suicide & The Philosophies Against It. Another person noted that it sounded...

      Last night before bed, I was posting about some books that I really liked. One of them is called Stay: A History of Suicide & The Philosophies Against It. Another person noted that it sounded interesting, and I started to reply to that user. I got about a paragraph in before stepping back and thinking, "this isn't something I should write here," and deleting everything.

      This morning, I rolled over and checked my phone. Anthony Bourdain, died by suicide at 61.. This hurts. I loved Bourdain, his work for years was to broaden our cultural awareness and open us up to new worlds. He was, in many ways, a tangible Star Trek. His death will be mourned by thousands, and that he was taken by suicide will be considered by many, many, other people with suicidal thoughts.

      Suicide spreads as a contagion - it can be looked on almost epidemiologically. The way that we talk about suicide is... Telling. It's something that we try to avoid talking about, despite us almost all knowing someone who has died by suicide.

      I have worked in mental health for several years and in high acuity settings the past year. I work with people experiencing suicidal ideation every single day. It is often my job to talk around what I consider to be a monster that lives in our heads. To try and convince or guide people away from their monster and take the day for themselves. Some of the people I've worked with have ideation only, sometimes they have had as many as two dozen hospital-resulting attempts in their history. This work is stressful, it's draining. It's very meaningful, especially when change or at least the flash of change is present. It hurts, too, when it isn't enough.

      A big part of our education attempts is to be able to talk about the monster. It isn't easy for someone experiencing suicidal ideation to talk about it. There are fears that they will be seen as attention seeking - they are! It is a just thing to seek attention when you feel that you're losing the battle. There are fears that they won't be taken seriously - and often they are not. We minimize our problems to bad days or bad weeks or bad years. We say, "Just get over it," and sometimes people simply do not have the capacity to do it by themselves.

      We would never, ever, tell someone with a broken arm to get over it without treatment. We would never, ever, tell someone with a bone protruding from their leg that they were just looking for some attention. And yet, this is how we approach mental health.

      I have been suicidal myself, somewhere in the haze of depression that clung to me for about five years. Even as I write this, I feel the urge to minimize it and say, "but never to the severity of those I've worked with." Simultaneously minimizing my own experience and serving to stigmatize those that I serve. The monster's power lies in its language. The more we refuse to talk about it, the more we isolate, the more control it has.

      I went to counseling for sixteen weeks, and was only minimally invested. It took me another two years after having left counseling to start using the tools. A big part of my own ability to hold on was the book, Stay, because of its humanistic approach to prevention, one that does not rely on religion. An unfortunate thing about working in mental health is that I now understand what it is to plant a seed and not know if it will grow or not.

      Anyway, I wanted to write something about this when I saw the news this morning. One of the major themes of Stay is that suicide is theft not just from your friends and family, but from yourself. I have not felt suicidal or depressed for several years, and I can say that this theft would have been true. Except it doesn't include just my friends or family, but the people that I've interacted with and helped with similar thinking styles along the way.

      I encourage you, if you think a friend or colleague is struggling, ask the questions. "How are you feeling today?" You never know how this might help. Do you feel like someone you know might be suicidal? Ask the question. Asking someone if they are feeling suicidal is not a significant trigger that may cause them to commit - though this fear often stops us from asking. Consider, they live with the monster every day, how welcome it must be to have someone else recognize it?

      I will leave off with Hamlet's Soliloquy. I have never been huge on Shakespeare, lacking time to read. I read this as well in Stay, and now I listen to it frequently. I even had the opportunity to use it in a Group I lead the other day.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYZHb2xo0OI

      20 votes