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Destructoid / IndieGoGo Scam Controversy

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Kev-O AWKTUHGAHN Since: Nov, 2009
#1: May 17th 2013 at 12:27:14 PM

Well, in yet another sordid controversy in the world of gaming journalism, Destructoid writer Allistair Pinsof has been put on suspension for outing an attempted fraud on the crowdfunding site Indie Go Go.

Essentially, what had happened was that a person named Chloe Sagal attempted to fund a game called Homesick on Indie Go Go. After a while, Chloe began claiming that the high goal for funding the project was actually because she was trying to fund surgery to remove a piece of metal that had been embedded into her body in a car accident, and that it was slowly poisoning her to death every day it was left in. Allistair decided to write a piece on her story that encouraged others to donate to her Indie Go Go.

Allistair kept up correspondence with Chloe Sagal and eventually Chloe considered him a friend. She then confided to him that the life-saving operation was actually false. She was in actuality attempting to gain funds for sexual reassignment surgery, and was a biological male. Sagal claimed that she would tell the truth about the fund, but never did.

Eventually, the fund was cancelled by Indie Go Go on grounds of the site rules not allowing charities. Chloe went into a depression and allegedly attempted to kill herself on a livestream via pill overdose. Allistair, feeling guilty about not telling the truth earlier, decided to reveal that the fund was for SRS and thus not a life-saving operation. This provoked the ire of the LGBT community, who claimed that it was wrong of Allistair to out Chloe to the world. After receiving many complaints from said people, Destructoid decided to place Allistair on suspension and is currently deciding on whether to fire him or not.

Now, I feel very sorry for Chloe and I wish she had been truthful from the start. After all, seeing as so many people have been upset by the fiasco, I'm sure that if she had been honest from the start, people would have gladly donated to help her out. But I believe that it was extremely wrong of her to take advantage of others, and that the Dtoid staff was wrong to keep it secret for so long. For whatever intentions she may have had, it was a violation of the trust of well-meaning people and a violation of the law and that she should face trial for this attempted fraud. I also feel that there was no way to reveal the truth that would not out her as a transperson due to the nature of the scam, and that therefore it is wrong to put Allistair on suspension for this.

So, what are your thoughts on this matter? Also, KEEP IT CIVIL.

SpookyMask Since: Jan, 2011
#2: May 17th 2013 at 12:29:39 PM

Well, this is extremely dark and depressing thread that is probably suited better for otc ._.;

Medinoc Chaotic Greedy from France Since: Jan, 2001 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Chaotic Greedy
#3: May 17th 2013 at 12:33:46 PM

Sounds like a Catch-22 between either being an asshole to one person by outing her, or being an asshole to many by keeping the hoax under wraps.

"And as long as a sack of shit is not a good thing to be, chivalry will never die."
Moth13 Since: Sep, 2010
#4: May 17th 2013 at 12:34:41 PM

Outing someone is a horrible horrible thing to do, especially when the whole thing had already been shut down, so there was no reason to do it.

Kev-O AWKTUHGAHN Since: Nov, 2009
#5: May 17th 2013 at 12:43:54 PM

[up]An attempted scam is an attempted scam. While it certainly would've been better to reveal this earlier and that his timing was beyond abysmal, it still stands that she attempted to trick others into giving her money, and that the law doesn't forgive frauds just because they fall through.

EDIT: Also, nice avatar. Ghost Trick is the best, man.

DOUBLE EDIT: Also, apparently she had outed herself as a transsexual earlier on the Indie Stone forums. So now I really don't get why they put him on suspension.

edited 17th May '13 12:47:52 PM by Kev-O

Nettacki Since: Jan, 2010
#6: May 17th 2013 at 12:58:19 PM

Basically, I dunno what's worse here: outing someone and pissing off an entire community, or hiding a scam and potentially pissing off an even larger community.

Moth13 Since: Sep, 2010
#7: May 17th 2013 at 1:02:02 PM

Well, outing someone could potentially ruin a life, hiding the scam hurts no one since the whole thing was rendered moot. Sometimes it is better to just keep quiet, or if you really have to expose it find a way to do that without outing her.

Nettacki Since: Jan, 2010
#8: May 17th 2013 at 1:04:10 PM

How can you do that when the very thing she's hiding is the sexual reconstruction thing? How can you not out someone going through that without inadvertently revealing her sexuality?

Firestorm Nudist Snake from Just Chillin Since: Jan, 2001 Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
Nudist Snake
#9: May 17th 2013 at 1:06:24 PM

Just mention that she lied about a surgery, you don't need to be specific. What she did was shitty, but so is outing her like that.

edited 17th May '13 1:06:36 PM by Firestorm

Sorastitch Eden from Last Seen in The Shadowlands Since: Dec, 2011
#10: May 17th 2013 at 1:07:39 PM

Wait, did the surgery already happen?

Nettacki Since: Jan, 2010
#11: May 17th 2013 at 1:17:40 PM

It's not clear if it had happened yet. It could have gone either way, with or without the funding of the campaign on Indiegogo.

Psyga315 Since: Jan, 2001
#12: May 17th 2013 at 1:21:42 PM

Going off the heels of another controversy involving a guy who said he was crippled but got up and walked just fine in the middle of a stream, I'm going to have to say hiding a scam is pretty bad.

Think of it like this: word gets out that there's a scam. This in turn causes suspicion against similar IndieGoGo pages which have legitimate causes to their drives, but because of this one little scam, might be thrown under the bus in accusation for being another scam. Not only that, it also jades the people who believed the scam to be what it said it'd do, and thus, might cause people not to contribute to any more crowdfunds to prevent further disappointment.

Sure, if the scam didn't get outed, if the whistle didn't get blown to begin with, then yes, this thing wouldn't be a controversial topic, since it hurts no one. But how long would the secret of it being a scam last? How long before someone looks at it and goes "Huh... something isn't right with this..."? It does send a message. If the scam was kept secret, it sends a message that it's okay to lie, cheat, and steal to get what you want. That it's okay to do these scams so long as you get what you want.

I'm sorry for siding with Alistair with this, but in this case, I'm gonna have to agree with him on this. Dude tells the truth about the funding, and he gets punished for it. He also felt guilty for harboring the lie when she was going through a rough time and was attempting suicide live, so in a way, he did it out of desperation.

I do feel a bit sorry for Chloe though, but she should at least be thankful that the reason IndieGoGo took down the drive was because they don't do charities rather than because it was a scam and that there's no investigation going on outside of the one Alistair apparently had. Forgive me for being biased here, but I'm only going off the info I am given in this thread alone and a past controversy involving a Twitch TV user faking disability to get money.

Just mention that she lied about a surgery, you don't need to be specific.

Problem with that is there will be people asking for specifics. I do agree with that though, but I just see a problem with it.

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Since: Jan, 2001 Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
Lost in Space
#13: May 17th 2013 at 1:22:47 PM

A person has no right to start a donation campaign under false pretenses and could be liable for fraud. That is entirely separate from the question of whether it was right of the reporter to "out" that person, but legally it's pure First Amendment; he can report facts as he sees fit. Hell, tabloids do that kind of shit all the time.

Frankly, if that person didn't want their sexual reassignment surgery to be known to the public, they shouldn't have started a public campaign to fund it. The reporter was doing his job.

edited 17th May '13 1:23:10 PM by Fighteer

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
daltar The Maid from the fantasy of green. Since: Jul, 2009 Relationship Status: All is for my lord
The Maid
#14: May 17th 2013 at 1:25:09 PM

It is a very bad situation all around. However, while not revealing the truth would have led to a lot less trouble and pain, this does not change the fact that Chloe did attempt, with full intention, to cheat people donating to her out of goodwill and the desire to see her proyect come to life.

Just because it is a touchy subject and a truth that can definitely change her life for the worse now that it is out doesn't change the fact that she lied and betrayed the goodwill of those trying to support her. While what Allistair did was certainly harmful and probably shortsighted, I don't think it is wrong in and off itself. He was given the knowledge of a fraud going on, a blatant betrayal of the goodwill of those casting their money for Chloe's sake. Him as a journalist, or indeed, a lawful citizen is within his right to report or denounce such a situation.

What happened is terrible all around, but the truth of Chloe as a transexual only came to light because of what she planned to do with the funds she lied to obtain.

If I'm sure of something it's that I'm not sure of anything.
Psyga315 Since: Jan, 2001
#15: May 17th 2013 at 1:29:18 PM

Yeah, after remembering another controversy involving a guy faking cancer so that he can get people to play his game, it only furthers my side in this controversy. Lying about a life-threatening condition is not good by any means, and like Daltar said, this chicken of her being outed as a transexual couldn't have come without the egg known as the scam.

metaphysician Since: Oct, 2010
#16: May 17th 2013 at 1:40:04 PM

I'll side with the "he 100% should have exposed the scam." If she(?) didn't want her sexuality revealed, she shouldn't have started a fraudulent crowdsourcing related to it.

Home of CBR Rumbles-in-Exile:
Firestorm Nudist Snake from Just Chillin Since: Jan, 2001 Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
Nudist Snake
#17: May 17th 2013 at 1:46:19 PM

I'm not defending Chloe here, she did a really shitty thing and deserved to be called out for it, Alistair did the right thing there. But, including that specific information about her being trans felt irresponsible, outing someone is a HUGE deal, and even if she were already outed somewhere else, it doesn't make it okay for someone else to do that.

This whole thing is just a tragic mess though. A scared, suicidal girl's life is ruined due to making a very stupid decision and a writer's career is probably over.

edited 17th May '13 1:48:03 PM by Firestorm

Adannor from effin' belarus Since: May, 2010 Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
#18: May 17th 2013 at 1:50:03 PM

>How can you do that when the very thing she's hiding is the sexual reconstruction thing?

Call it "cosmetic surgery"?

Nettacki Since: Jan, 2010
#19: May 17th 2013 at 2:00:27 PM

Then again, since the Indiegogo campaign as was originally written was taken down in the first place, doesn't that make the whole "it's a scam and thus should be revealed to the world" thing kinda moot? At least, that's what some other people say. Since the campaign never came through in the first place, there's no reason to call it out as a scam because it never came through and the money was never taken. (note: not necessarily my views)

Psyga315 Since: Jan, 2001
#20: May 17th 2013 at 2:03:21 PM

[up] Yeah, for reasons not revolving around the scam even.

It's just that it crossed the Despair Event Horizon for Chloe and that the resulting actions escalated.

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Since: Jan, 2001 Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
Lost in Space
#21: May 17th 2013 at 2:03:57 PM

I have sympathy for the plight of someone struggling with depression and gender identity disorder, but that doesn't give them the right to attempt fraud. Period.

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Nettacki Since: Jan, 2010
#22: May 17th 2013 at 2:11:44 PM

[up]That much I can agree with.

OdieFromTheOz KING OF EXPLODO KILLS from Shadow Mosses Since: Apr, 2013 Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
#23: May 17th 2013 at 2:24:18 PM

Chloe went over the line by pulling the wool over the eyes of those trying to be charitable. She should've either terminated the project and refunding the dosh, or coming out herself. Maybe Allistar's actions were a bit unneeded, but at that point he was doing his journalistic duty by revealing the scam for what it was.

nyo ho ho
Irene Siiiiiiiiiiiip from Digital World Since: Aug, 2012 Relationship Status: The Skitty to my Wailord
#24: May 17th 2013 at 2:32:08 PM

I'm sad that she couldn't have gotten money through telling the truth. But that's due to problems in society being often bigoted against Transexualism.

Anyway, the Journalist did the right thing.

I feel bad for both, regardless. But there was no good reason to lie about it. She could've found another way to get money, via another job, things as silly as Lemonade Stands(or something similar, to note). Taking out a loan and paying it back... there were very legal non-lying ways to do it, honestly.

Also, keep in mind the Journalist didn't lie because that's his job, to tell the exact truth. That doesn't always end well, but I can't blame him for it either.

...It's weird having so many websites and no way to properly display now, lol.
Nettacki Since: Jan, 2010
#25: May 17th 2013 at 3:07:35 PM

I read somewhere that Chloe being trans was pretty much no secret because she herself said it in her Indiegogo page. If that's true, and if someone can put up an image capture of the page as it was originally written before being taken down, then why are people up in arms in the first place? She already outed herself, so what? Are they pissed because someone else outed her after the fact? Or did people simply not know that she outed herself in the first place?


>How can you do that when the very thing she's hiding is the sexual reconstruction thing?

Call it "cosmetic surgery"?

Apparently, that would be even more offensive to people who already know of her trans status, because transgender surgery is not cosmetic for the person undertaking it.

edited 17th May '13 3:22:04 PM by Nettacki

Total posts: 113