14 7 / 2014
Max Temkin, one of Cards Against Humanity’s creators, posted a response to allegations that he sexually assaulted a classmate to his Tumblr.
Since then some very smart women have had a lot to say about it. I wanted to signal boost their posts:
1. Rapacity In Blue breaks down the places where Max’s statement gets problematic
Please, please, before you reblog this, read Max Temkin’s response. Read it again, and keep reading it until you see all the things he’s saying. Read it until you see all the things he’s not saying.
Here’s what I care about as a woman in games, as a woman in a community that does not exactly have a good track record when it comes to how it treats women: a woman came forward and accused a games industry person of sexual assault. He posted a response that was full of dismissiveness, condescension, and veiled threats. People rallied to his side because they like the game he made and/or like him.
It would be so gratifying if Temkin would come through all of this and just cleanly apologize. Instead of issuing a denial, it would be amazing to see him say that he was a young idiot and that he’s sorry. Because for all the pain and confusion he’s feeling from being accused of sexual assault, her pain is worse. This is bad for him, but nowhere near what it is for her. Even if this wouldn’t rise to the level of being legally prosecuted as a rape and we can rationalize it as mutual ignorance, sexual violations hurt in a deeply personal and intimate way. They threaten the survivor’s ability to trust and form positive relationships. There are no winners in this situation.
I don’t agree with everything in any of these three posts, but they’re definitely worth reading and together form a view of this that’s very close to my own.
I’ve only met Max once, he was incredibly nice to me. He organized a memorial for Ryan Davis at PAX, and I’m incredibly grateful. I consider several incredible people who either work for Cards Against Humanity or out of their office to be friends (even though I’ve never met some of them, the internet is great that way). Cards Against Humanity have done real good with their money, helping Wikipedia and DonorsChoose charities. But all of this can be true and Max could have sexually assaulted someone, and all of this can be true and he still could have written that blog post full of veiled threats.
As a leader in the games community, Max needs to do better. I hope he hears what people are saying*, looks back at that statement to see the places where he’s made some serious mistakes - how this statement and the way he’s framed it are menacing or silencing - and takes action to show the community that he’s a better and more educated person than whoever he was ten years ago.
* Though hopefully not all people - the craziest response from the internet has without a doubt the Men’s Rights Activists who accuse Max of being a “Social Justice Warrior” and who got what was coming by embracing feminism and championing progressive views. That has been surreal to watch, seeing people twist logic and reality to match their narrow view of the world.