Gamer social networking site NeoGAF has shut its doors following an accusation of sexual assault levelled against owner Tyler Malka, resulting in the reported departure of around half the site's moderation team in protest.
Founded as the Gaming-Age Forums in 1999 by Jim Cordeira, a community-driven forum for fans of the IGN Gaming-Age website, GAF received its 'Neo' prefix in 2006 - though had been known as such by long-time users since its 2004 relaunch - and under the moniker NeoGAF is known for heavy participation by gaming industry giants. The site is currently unavailable, however, following an accusation against owner Tyler Malka regarding an alleged sexual assault against film director Ima Leupp during a trip two years ago.
Per Kotaku's analysis of the situation Leupp, participating in the #MeToo movement for victims of sexual assault and abuse to share their stories and bust the myth that such things are rare, shared a story of an alleged assault in which someone she had considered a friend - later identified as Tyler Malka using his NeoGAF username 'Evilore' - stripped and entered the shower Leupp was taking in an attempt at recovering from a bout of sickness, despite knowing that she had a boyfriend at the time and was in no way interested in a sexual relationship.
The accusation stands in stark contrast to Malka's public persona, in which he has professed support for victims of abuse related to the GamerGate movement and has provided financial aid to organisations including the American Civil Liberties Union. That disconnect has not sat well with users or moderators at NeoGAF: Around half the site's moderation team has quit as a direct result of the alleged assault, while users have followed - some reporting of an obvious-in-hindsight trend for Malka to use his moderation powers to ban users who found his posts misogynistic or abusive.
The NeoGAF website is currently showing visitors a 503 Service Unavailable error message, claiming to be down for 'scheduled maintenance'. Neither Malka nor the company have issued a statement regarding the allegations, and at present it is not known when - or if - it will return.
February 17 2020 | 09:00