Bully Hunters: Did I not say it wasn’t going to end well?


Holy fucken shit just put me in a white robe and call me a prophet! Did I not say that this entire thing wasn’t going to end well for them? Just a few hours after posting my article the entire Bully Hunters live stream event turned into one massive dumpster fire, and I so do love me a good dumpster fire. So let’s unpack what has happened since the whole thing went viral so the chain of events I am detailing will happen in chronological order as they unfolded on social media. The kick-off point for this entire shit show was a discussion between Angelheartnight:

And myself:

So 30 minutes after myself and “Angelheartnight” had our “discussion” with Nati Casanova aka “ZombiUnicorn” on Twitter a user by the name of PlatinumParagon” who seems to be a mental health researcher and statistician asked Nati the following question:

And as you can imagine, the question did not go down very well with Nati and was ignored. No surprise there, as we have already seen Nati being intellectually dishonest when it comes to discussing the topic, by blocking and avoiding all questions regarding the statistics Bully Hunters used to claim that 3 million women stopped playing video games. But the “fun” does not stop there, shortly after Nati began blocking people like crazy for questioning her and the event. Evidence emerged that Nati herself is a rather foul-mouthed Bully herself:

And this does not seem to be a one-off case for her as other users came forward including “Syrencove” stating that they have been bullied in the past by Nati, she as also called people “faggots” multiple times during one of her live streams:

Well shit, Nati is both dishonest and a liar, who would have thought! If you think this is where it ends you are sorely mistaken because right after these facts came to light a rather enterprising user by the name of “BigTimStrange” discovered that the entire event was one big viral marketing scheme by Steelseries, a PC peripheral company:

He also expanded on his original Tweet:

Another user by the name of “KatsBits” took it a step further, detailing how the entire thing was a viral marketing ploy:

Not only is Nati being dishonest and a bully but taking part in one big viral marketing scheme, but like those television, adverts always say before trying to sell you crap: “BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE!” the entire scheme was run by venture capitalists as the user “Chad Strongjaw” pointed out:

And these people could care a flying fuck about online bullying all they care about is making a return on their investment. And guess where all the money being raised for this event is going according to SteelSeries?:

I asked the Official Steelseries Twitter account for clarity but they have yet to reply to my Tweets:

They are actually giving money to the one group of people who don’t need it a single cent, they are donating all their money to a Hollywood movement. What a fucken train wreck. But it does not stop there when signing up for Bullyhunters.org through your Steam account you are told that anything not set to private on your account is fair game to be used to “data mine” for information:

And right before the stream went live and Nati realized that this was going south quickly she decided to threaten anyone who dares make a video on YouTube about this entire event:

Aint she a “charmer” so when the live stream event kicked off the first thing people noticed was the “expert” and “gaming psychologist”  they had on during the stream wasn’t really an expert in the field. With these credentials, I am more than qualified to talk about gaming more so than he is. Kevin Lanham who was talking about how “all male gamers see women as objects” seems to have spent most his career helping people with diabetes.

But the hilarity did not stop there oh no it turns out that the Bully Hunters where faking all of their matches. The very first person being bullied was “therosethorn” and they called in “Bully Hunter_77”. They are the same person:

And here’s even more proof that it is not fake: the steam account name changes were all done 9 days ago so no one could  have faked these during the stream:

They also bragged about the entire group being an “elite squad” of female gamers yet their online stats for these bully hunters seem to tell a completely different story:

And unsurprisingly it seems the footage used in their matches was pre-recorded. During the match and the live stream event, they say “That’s her. Lets cut to her feed”. But you can clearly see it’s not the same person or the same gameplay. If you look at the video and the person running in front of her when they shift feeds the person running front of them just vanished. It was not even the same person playing or even the same location on the map…

And predictably the games media jumped on this like a vulture on a rotting carcass:

I think everyone can agree that making rape threats and harassing women while playing online is a garbage thing to do. There is a thin line between trash talking and being an asshole online, and I am not sure how creating a fake event and selling overpriced headsets is going to solve anyone’s problems. In fact, this event did more damage than good. Not to mention there is no requirement for evidence that someone was even bullied in the first place. And if Bully Hunters was real they literally take the “burden of proof” out of the equation and casts a guilty verdict without reviewing any evidence whatsoever. This is the very definition of a witch hunt.

[Editorial Note:] So to summarize the entire shit show:

  • Nati Casanova aka “ZombiUnicorn” is a known bully and harasser.
  • Failed to provide any statistics regarding her claims that 3 million woman where bullied out of gaming. Blocks anyone who attempts to clarify her position.
  • The entire event was one big viral event to sell merchandise and headsets by Steelseries and make money.
  • The:“expert” in female bullying they had on during the event, had no experience in the field and spent most his career helping people with diabetes.
  • They created fake steam accounts and faked bully accounts.
  • All the video footage shown during the event was pre-recorded.
  • The event was supposed to be an hour long but instead was just 35 minutes.

[Update 1:] Instead of making a completely new blog post about new developments in the Bully Hunters saga, I am going to amend this article and just add to it. I will also leave the original part of the article as is. So here we go:

It seems by appearance alone that SteelSeries has broken ties with Bullie Hunters because if you go to their YouTube channel all of the Steelseries branding has been removed from all of their content:

It also seems anyone who tried streaming the event on their own Twitch channels faced bans and suspensions but there was no abuse or violations of Twitch terms of service at Harmful Opinions found out. Could it be due to the earlier threats of DMCA’ing that were made by Nati Casanova?:

Which brings us to the next point, because in a rather weird turn of events Nati Casanova admitted after almost a day that the entire thing was scripted and not live. The question is why now all of a sudden? Or was this hastily slapped together to cover up their monumental fuckup during the event? Judging by their honest they displayed during the entire event I would say I have my doubts:

On a side note, PlatinumParagon” released an article debunking the fake stats that were provided and never verified by Bully Hunters or Nati Casanova. You can find it here, I highly recommend you read it!

[Update 2:] Removed the Steam link and screenshot of the group as it was a fake. Also removed the screenshot and link. Also removed the Diverse Gaming Coalition screenshot and links as I verified that it was indeed just a rumor.

In other news, it seems CyberPowerPC removed their support for Bully Hunters website:

upload_2018-4-13_20-49-15

They say they weren’t kept fully in the loop, the “deal” they had with Bully Hunters was supposed to be different, at least “in their minds” and that they were misled. “We endorsed a group, it didn’t go the way thought it was gonna go [sic] planned. We weren’t really informed, I guess, enough. That could be partially our fault as well. We think negatively on that kind of behavior”  Source a Twitch stream about round about the 42-minute mark.

Now you see it

Also, like clockwork Nati Casanova aka “ZombiUnicorn” did a few interviews for websites that would, of course, be sympathetic to their cause being our usual suspect’s Polygon and Kotaku:

DatDMG4XUAATjjP

She also released her “Official statement regarding the entire issue:

upload_2018-4-13_19-33-24

Also, this might seem inconsequential but the now infamous Mr Ryan Morrison aka “The Video Game Attorney” also got involved in some point, he gained popularity after doing a Podcast and being interviewed by TotalBiscuit after the FireWatch developers DMCA’d a video of PiewDiePie playing FireWatch after saying the “N word” in a live stream during PUBG. He most like saw the situation and comments that Nati Casanova made about DMCA’ing channels that use her content and offered his help:

But for some reason decided to back peddle on that offer and deleted his Tweet. And posted this questions on his Twitter account:

Could it be that he was not fully aware of the situation with Bully Hunters and Nati Casanova? Or could it be he smelled a rat and decided to bail the sinking ship? Who knows. And as a funny side note [And no this isn’t a personal attack on her.] she seemed to have done a video and photoshoot for Playboy Magazine but they “mysteriously” vanished round about the 9th of April right before the show started you can find the archive of the page here. Clicking on the link now just takes you to Playboy’s main page:

I am guessing the marketing people told her that she should remove it because it might hamper what they are trying to do with Bully Hunters.

[Update 3:] 

Remember how Nati Casanova said she had different interviews with different publications including Polygon, Kotaku, and vpesports? Well it seems running to the press has bit her in the ass, vpesports released their article regarding the entire thing and I think she isn’t going to expect this:

Also, it seems that VertaGear is  distancing themselves from The Bully Hunter mess:

This was their official press release on their Facebook page and much better response that wat SteelSeries attempted when the shit hit the fan.

[Update 4:]

They have now updated their website all the sponsors are now gone, only NOW and the Diverse Gaming Coalition is left.

[Update 5:]

Diverse Gaming Coalition has also jumped ship and released an official statement on their Facebook page.

[Update 6:]

SteelSeries might be considering legal action against the creators of Bully Hunters as it was deemed damaging to their brand:

[Update 7:]

SteelSeries just release their official statement regarding Bully Hunters on their Facebook page distancing themselves as well and throwing everyone involved under the bus:

It also seems the website has now been taken down and cannot be accessed anymore:

[Update 8:]

Well, it seems Nati Casanova did a live stream earlier today on her Twitch channel basically throwing SteelSeries under the bus and claiming they knew about the entire event including how they were operating the supposed event. She also said that SteelSeries did play a role throughout Bully Hunters, much like her role as a consultant. SteelSeries was responsible for suggesting Natalie as the host for the event. This contradicts everything that SteelSeries said in their public statement. Which begs the question? Which one is doing the lying here? Considering Nati Casanova track record thus far I am pretty confident if I say I know which party us lying here. I still have questions though, who at SteelSeries thought this was a good idea and did seemingly zero research on The Bully Hunters? Everyone else saw the problems, but not a multi-million dollar company with years of experience?

[Update 9:]

By now we already know about Nati Casanova’s dirty mouth online, but it seems she has been making a habit of it for many years despite her instance that she has changed, Reddit compiled an entire list of incidents which you can find here. And trust me she has a long history of this:


And like predicted some of the first media outlets have started running the story before actually fact-checking the details behind the whole even most notably Good Morning America:

[Update 10:]

Sadly it seems I might have hit a roadblock with the Bully Hunters fiasco, according to Abby Sager from Diverse Gaming Company they are under an NDA and are under legal terms not allowed to talk about who started and financed this event.

Also, I have been taking a look at the co-host of the event, Tien Tran or @HankTina on Twitter sadly she has made her Tweets private:

But her Twitter Bio states that she is currently a member of The Second City a theater that specializes in the school of improvisation. Which makes sense when you consider the entire thing was staged from the start, so you would need someone with an acting and improvisation background.

[Update 11:]

The FCB released an official statement on the Polygon article basically stating that they were responsible for the entire thing:

“Brandon Cooke, FCB’s global chief communications officer, told Polygon via email today that the Bully Hunters program has come to an end.

“As this effort did not live up to our high standards, we decided to end this program, but hope the conversation it has raised around ending harassment in gaming continues,” Cooke said.

Cooke added that FCB is looking “forward to finding new, more effective ways in the future to fight bullying in gaming and will share details on those when we are ready.”

Cooke also cleared up a few unanswered questions about the campaign — mainly who was paid and whether the brand partners received any compensation for their role in the initiative.

“The sole creator of the campaign was FCB Chicago,” Cooke said. “All other organizations mentioned in the campaign did not provide any kind of financial or formal sponsorship. In most cases they were just supporting the cause. SteelSeries helped connect us with a few gamers and provided some headsets for the live event. That’s all. One [host was paid], but the other was not.”

Source

It also seems that the mainstream media has latched onto the story like vultures circling a rotting carcass:

Media

It does not matter that the entire premise was poorly executed, it does not matter that the entire event was built on lies and a narrative that was used to push a false agenda. It does not matter that none of the people involved wanted to take responsibility for their part in this. It does not matter that this damaged and set back the anti-bullying movement years. It does not matter that the sponsors did not do any research before supporting this initiative, what is the media and everyone who was involved takeaway on all of this: “AT LEAST IT STARTED A CONVERSATION”. I fucken kid you not I rolled my eyes so hard they almost popped out of their sockets.

So it looks like all the articles are ignoring Nati Casanova’s history when it comes to abusing other people online and using slurs. Going with her narrative that people were taking all of it out of context. And of course, the online harassment and abuse faced by her when the shit hit the fan was also a centerpiece of all the articles. No wonder Nati kept mentioning the Polygon and Kotaku articles throughout the stream, she knew if she ran to them that they would write fluff pieces about her and throw her a few softballs instead of asking the hard questions. It is rather disappointing that no one stood up and took responsibility, instead everyone played hot potato and passed the blame around…

[BIG Editorial Note:] I fucked up big time, as a blogger and amateur writer I should have checked my sources and properly researched rumors I received on social media. Which I did not in fact do, and I take full responsibly for this. I should have contacted Shannon Plante and verified the rumors I received first instead of going off half-cocked and just putting it in my article. And that I apologize for there was no ill or malicious intent on my behalf. I also incorrectly did not attribute a quote to her due to a publishing mistake on my side which I should have checked. I have made an archive of the original page so people can view what I did wrong and edited the original removing all mention of the rumor.  The archive version can be found here. You can find the Twitter thread here.

About larch

I am a cucumber in a fruit bowl.
This entry was posted in Gaming, Rants and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Bully Hunters: Did I not say it wasn’t going to end well?

  1. Pingback: I should be better than this… | Suitably Bored

  2. StuffToLookAt says:

    Stuff for you to follow up on:

    Normally someone at Steelseries would absolutely sign off on every instance of their product and logo being used, their current statements about it just being a gift of 20 headsets that they had no further control over are not really credible – this was presented as a limited edition product run with a full suite of creative content produced around that theme (product mockups, even a video ad) – content that they almost certainly approved.

    Looks like the SteelSeries Marketing VP Tori Beebe is the person responsible at the SteelSeries end, event was likely cooked up by her + FCB and New Honor Society. Likely she was given some latitude by SteelSeries management to position them politically (this is what New Honor Society does – “People aren’t buying what you’re selling. They’re buying what you’re doing”). Most likely she will be fired come Monday.

    If you look at Nati’s previous streams on the topic her story about this being sold to her as the “Not a Game” initiative, with the “Bully Hunt” just being a launch promo event, seems credible.

    You should lay off Tien Tran, – she’s clearly not a gamer, just an actress with typical arts industry political views doing a paid gig as a talking head who can remember lines, she will suffer greatly for this poor choice of jobs.

    • larch says:

      Thanks for the reply, as for Tien Tran not being a gamer does not excuse her from this mess though. They were all adults and they knew what they were getting into, the fact that none of them questioned this is concerning…

      • StuffToLookAt says:

        She most likely didn’t have the background knowledge to know how stupid this was. If you’re a struggling normie actress, whose political opinions are basically “Women, yay!”, and your only exposure to this issue is the horrendously bad MSM coverage (and maybe the Law and Order gamergate episode), this would look like just another “woke corporate” gig.

        If you don’t have domain knowledge you’d assume a major ad agency with industry support isn’t likely to be running an event which will backfire at career-ending scale for the participants.

      • larch says:

        Problem is she most likely knew the entire event wasn’t a live stream event though apparently the script said it was not live. While she might not part of the industry she can still tell by what was happening around her to atleast make her bullshit censors go off.

      • StuffToLookAt says:

        (can’t reply to your other comment for some reason?)

        Re: the fakery of being live – the first demo was clearly meant to be seen as at least pre-recorded, as she calls for pauses, zooms, rewinds etc. But the later bit where the script calls for her to suddenly interrupt the talking heads in order to cut to a “Bully Hunt in progress” was definitely deceptive.

  3. G Mace says:

    What a total shit show. It makes me kind of happy to watch the chaos though lol

  4. Yes, bullying is a problem, but people like Nati only contribute to the issue, not only because they are childish, ignorant and lack the professionalism needed to be taken seriously. In her response on twitch she stated was concerned about the backlash and was against it, yet she went forward with it.

    She allowed herself to be part of a campaign that clearly had malicious intent, was ignorant of their message, didn’t stick up for her belief’s and allowed herself to be manipulated.

    I’ve always disliked her for her childish attitude, but twitch is only enforcing people like her to gain in popularity, especially with the allowance of IRL streams that are nothing but ASMR bullshit, women doing “body paint” cosplay and in general being “Thot’s”

  5. Andrés says:

    Great fucking job, my dude!
    These people are lunatics!

  6. Solmundr says:

    Fantastic work. Really thorough… and hilarious. I can’t believe the gaming press took these idiots seriously; from the first moment the premise was explained — or maybe even before that, from the moment I saw the stupid “elite all-female hit squad wowowow!!!” phrasing — I knew this would never work. There are too many reasons to even list, but number one has to be that you simply can’t choose your opponents in ranked MM!

  7. itsAMystery says:

    Discord had the common sense not to be involved with Bully Hunters, too bad a SteelSeries employee had a conversation to start. https://archive.li/WKKHm

  8. ruthy0nfire says:

    I am both a feminist and a gamer. In most circles those things are dangerous to admit! My experience has been quite interesting when reflected on in the light of recent events. I despise bullies but I believe we need to re-evaluate the term when it comes to online interactions. Simply spewing vulgarities and insults does not, in my opinion, constitute bullying. As a female gamer I have experienced my fair share of misogyny but I can laugh it off because I know I am a better player than most. Is it hurtful? It can be… I am fortunate that I have an amazing support network who helps me cope on days when my anxiety and depression are getting the better of me. In all honesty though, the toxicity and harassment doesn’t really have much impact within the actual games that I play. Where it does become most damaging is on social media… So if a woman says she doesn’t game anymore because of harassment I feel like there is a little dishonesty at play. Perhaps we need to unpack what all these women define as harassment, how much of it is taken out of context? Once we ascertain this we can actually define what it is we need to work on as a community!

    • Dear moderate Feminist. I’m wondering why you continue talking about online harassment as if it is a gendered issue?

      • ruthy0nfire says:

        One of the touted statistics specifically referred to women. Since this was one of the issues being disputed it was something I chose to comment on. I’m wondering why you felt the need to decide that I think it is a gendered issue? You will note that I actually said we need to define what constitutes harassment/bullying and that means looking at the issue as a whole. Of course harassment is not limited to women… it would be foolish to say so! But let us not pretend that there is no gender specific harassment out there.

    • Squid says:

      “I can laugh it off because I know I am a better player than most.” There’s not even any need to be a better player Ruth. We should all be able to laugh it off even simply because we’re better people, than the sad sort who resorts to childish toxicity in a game.

      And I agree with everything else you say here. Also, I think one key lesson to learn from this utter mess of an event, is that hiring a bully to bully paid bullies, and saturate the topic with artificial hate and vitriol, is absolutely not the way to address or curb antisocial behaviour online. Hopefully people can see the event for what it was, and not let it fuel any further partisan attitudes, or else scenes like this may just repeat themselves.

  9. Boops says:

    Amazing how this is coming on hot on the heels of the “teabagging debacle”, where a gamejourno either misinterpreted or lied about prerecorded footage of Wormhole Wars being “live footage” of journalists playing a match, and a female teammate getting teamkilled and harassed. The reality was that it was one dev teabagging another dev in recorded footage, and there were no teams or teamkilling in the footage. They strung together a series of nasty lies about footage they were completely uninvolved with, and the girl journo even took statements with the press as if she’d been harassed.

    The Wormhole devs, in light of the journos suddenly going silent when all this was pointed out, have since added “Teabagging Mode” where you oinly get points for t-bagging a kill.

  10. EVIL GUNNEY says:

    I AM AN ALPHA, ALL OF YOU ARE PISSANT PEASANT . SORRY BUT NO AMOUNT OF WHINING CAN CHANGE THE !FACT! MALE & FEMALE IS ALL THERE IS . MENTAL DISORDERS ARE NOT AN “IDENTITY”

  11. Shogun1x says:

    Thanks for writing this up. It’ll provide laughs for days. Wew lad, what a shitshow.

  12. OK says:

    It’s getting buried on twitter, but I’d be interested to see some investigation into the claims that accessing their website while logged into your facebook account sends them all of your data.
    Somebody uploaded the snipped allegedly showing this, which I’ve mirrored here:

    It seems it sends them your phone number, zip code, full name, sex, everything you’ve added to your facebook profile. This would be one reason why many users were outright denied when they attempted to sign up to be a hunter last night; they are not currently accepting male applicants.

  13. Igor says:

    Wow. Now events such as these most certainly don’t do any good, because I am sure that there are cases of sexual harassment, which won’t be noticed due to the batshit the Bully Hunters set free today.
    What a pity since the reason is a very serious one. However: problems are not solved by taking an eye for an eye (even if that was possible). Kinda unbelievable. Sexism against male people is as bad as sexism against women.

    • The Speaker of the House says:

      In addition, any and all attempts at moderating communication will be abused by someone to much greater effect than an open forum could ever allow.
      Just about every male who’s been bullied, such as in school, knows that the most effective bullies are always the ones who know how to get around the system and then use it against him if he responds.

    • Squid says:

      Agreed. This is most definitely one case of where “Fighting fire with fire” only causes the house to burn down faster. I can only pray that society someday learns that aggressive, narcissistic, self proclaimed experts are a terrible mouthpiece for almost any cause or movement. We really need to stop taking the loudest most self absorbed people and giving them a megaphone.

  14. Cirsova says:

    Dude, good work!

  15. Tom says:

    Not sure if you follow @WeWuzMetokur, this info is in there somewhere. The last name on BloodBlinks list spells Morgan Bates (backwards, last name first), who is the head marketing guy at FCBChicago. Who are they you ask? https://twitter.com/FluffehDarkness/status/984602371450908672

  16. Spam says:

    Unreal, absolutely unreal. Everything they could do wrong, they did do wrong.

  17. dabnis says:

    About the length of the stream, 35 minutes is the length of an hour long TV show once you take out the commercials. Really makes you think.

  18. Larath says:

    Nice read tbh I’ve just stumbled into the mess last night and another fun point I noticed was for how passionate she was and apparently involved in the campaign since November last year yet still got a bunch of tweets calling people cunt etc since late December last year so much for turning a leaf I guess. Thanks for a good writeup

  19. Pete Davison says:

    This was always going to be an absolute disaster. And you just know that the games media are either going to ignore the fact it was a disaster… or try and spin it as those nasty misogynist gamers ruining everything like they always do!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s