The Other McCain

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‘Monster People’: Were Alec Holowka’s Fears Paranoid — Or Prophetic?

Posted on | September 4, 2019 | Comments Off on ‘Monster People’: Were Alec Holowka’s Fears Paranoid — Or Prophetic?


Last week, independent videogame developer Alec Holowka committed suicide four days after being accused by Zoe Quinn of abusive behavior when Holowka and Quinn briefly lived together in 2009. Nearly three years before his suicide, Holowka wrote a Facebook post in which he said “monster people” in the gaming community were attempting to destroy his career in order to drive him to suicide. Diana Davison described Holowka’s 2016 message:

He discussed “cognitive distortion” and stated, “I believe that certain people in the indie game community want me dead.” He elaborated, saying that on a daily basis he lived with the fear “they are trying to covertly hurt me and my career to the point where I’m driven to suicide.”
Holowka said he had trouble attending conferences, knowing that these people who he believed wished to harm him would be at those events but had tried to engage in exposure therapy by forcing himself to attend. He doesn’t name any of the individuals who he felt held this animosity towards him and acknowledges that he was struggling with a psychological problem.

Holowka says his enemies in the indie game community “committed actions and created circumstances that lead me to suicidal ideation. They are smart people who are capable of predicting what results their actions would cause.” Holowka says these enemies are “sociopathic” in their hostility toward him. He discusses how he’s trying to deal with his “cognitive distortions” through therapy. Here’s the whole post:


The question is whether Holowka’s fears were paranoid — an irrational delusion — or whether the hostility he perceived was real. In the wake of last week’s events, it certainly would seem that Quinn, at least, harbored a deep grudge against Holowka and, after soaring to prominence in the wake of the 2014 #GamerGate controversy, Quinn gained enough influence that, when she went public Aug. 27 with her accusations against him, Holowka’s partners almost instantly dropped him from the development project he’d co-founded. Was Quinn one of the “monster people” he was talking about in that October 2016 Facebook post?

We don’t know. It could be that other of Holowka’s former associates had their own grudges against him, and that he perceived their animosity as dangerous to his career, even if he didn’t expect Quinn to be the agent of his destruction. What is clear is that Holowka felt that he had enemies who were “trying to covertly hurt me and my career,” and that he believed the intention of these enemies was to drive him to commit suicide.



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