The Mittani calls for another player to be harassed into suicide – Blogger reactions

by on March 27, 2012


I honestly don’t know quite what to say about today’s news from EVE Online. During a drunken presentation at the EVE Fanfest, Alexander “The Mittani” Gianturco gave out in-game contact details for a player he knew to be depressed, and encouraged the EVE playerbase to harass him into suicide.

No, I’m not exaggerating. Massively has the full details, including Gianturco’s subsequent apology.

We’ve talked about harassment in MMOs before, but this is by far the most egregious example I’ve ever heard of – not least because Gianturco is one of the most powerful, respected and listened-to players in EVE.

Reactions from the blogosphere so far:

  • EctMMO talks about this incident in the context of a wider issue – that even if you’re playing a persona, your actions still have consequences“As the years go by, I see more and more of this type of behavior and it just seems so mainstream. Oh they didn’t mean it, they’re really a nice person in real life. How about taking responsibility and having some decency about yourself and others in the community that you play in, no matter what game it is?”
  • Multiplaying.net defends EVE Online and its players, and hopes that Gianturco will not be forced out of his position of power for his actions” People didn’t vote for The Mittani because he is an evil space emperor (well okay maybe some did). They voted for him because he legitimately wants to see EVE improve and become a better game. “
  • Muckbeast finds the entire community ethos of EVE Online fostered by CCP to be sickening“I’m consistently impressed by their open world, single server, high skill cap design, but depressed by their encouragement of a community based on harassment, abuse, and betrayal.”
  • Proving that the internet is home to a startling plurality of opinions, Syncaine would appear to support The Mitanni in his original actions (although he may be trolling) – “Killing off the weak is not always a bad thing. And in the right context, can be highly entertaining.”
  • Tobold discusses the situation as an example of the extent to which actions in virtual worlds cannot be consequence-free“There are jurisdictions in which cyber-bullying is a crime. If The Mittani succeeds in driving that player into suicide, with video proof of inciting that cyber-bullying available on the internet, he could well end up in jail.”
  • Out Of Beta writes a really excellent, lengthy and detailed analysis of the scandal“The Mittani made a mistake, unfortunate The Mittani also happens to be Mittens, and just because he had a different hat on, doesn’t mean he can get a pass. Doing so would set a dangerous precedent of people adopting “identities” with which to execute unwanted behavior with the expectation that they can avoid punishment for their primary identity.”

It must be said, this situation puts CCP in a very difficult situation. If they don’t censure Gianturco, they’re sending a very strong message about what is acceptable in EVE, and it’s not a good message to send. This incident could taint every game they produce for years to come.

On the other hand, if they do remove him from the EVE player council, he has enough influence to badly damage CCP’s business if he wants to. He may or may not – his apology sounds genuinely contrite, although it’s worth bearing in mind his position as a politician.

They’re in a catch-22 situation.

And all of this is further complicated by the fact that unless they’re completely asleep at the wheel (which is a possibility), I’d expect to see the usual anti-video-game suspects picking up on this news story within a few days. Apology or no, Gianturco has handed anyone who wants to beat on video gamers a truly massive stick, if they’re clued-in enough to realise.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: Eve Online

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaedia March 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I think he should learn to live with the damn consequences… that is.. I’m officially speechless.

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tink March 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm

This guy is a complete turd in the cesspool that is the public perception of the EVE community, and his “sincere” apology is ANYTHING but. In basically any other MMO, saying shit like that publicly would probably get you a perma-ban for out of game harassment.

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Anuillae March 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Here’s two more blog posts about Mittens’ drunken ramblings:
http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2012/03/hats.html – Jester, a well known EVE blogger, writes about why he doesn’t think The Mittani should be removed from his CSM chair position.
http://liangnuren.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-mittani-hero/ – Liang Nuren gives an account of the actual happenings.

I’d also note that CCP isn’t actually in /that/ bad a situation regarding whether or not to remove Mittens from the CSM council. He’s issued a full apology (both public and private), transferred all (as far as we know) of his ISK, and offered to resign from CSM on Twitter:

‘The Mittani: Just landed. Step one, apologize profusely. Step two, resign. Step three, send all my isk to the victim. Entirely my fault and unacceptable.’

Links:
https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&find=unread&t=86980 – the apology
https://twitter.com/#!/TheMittani/status/184412238218657792 – the tweet quoted earlier

My opinion? I’m completely with Jester here, in that I think that The Mittani, in his position as CEO of Goonswarm, should be punished. I don’t think that Mittens the beloved EVE CSM chair or Alex the real human should get any more punishment than he already has.

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Hugh Hancock March 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Interesting – thanks very much for those additional links.

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Michael Hartman March 28, 2012 at 3:13 am

Thanks for the shout out to my blog (Muckbeast).

The Mittani’s apology was a total joke. It was clearly made for no reason other than to save his position and reputation, and his lame “I was drunk” excuse is almost more disgusting than the initial behavior. That’s the most piss poor excuse ever, and the sooner people realize it doesn’t float the better.

Also, the degree to which the community hero worshipped him for his apology was just hilarious and sad.

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Anuillae March 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

‘There’s no excuse for what I did – while some might try to use my inebriation as a mitigating factor, I put myself in that compromised mental state, and the guilt of that is entirely mine.’

Doesn’t look like an excuse to me.

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Noizy March 28, 2012 at 4:26 am

Ignoring the whole morality of the situation, one thing that people are missing is that the whole episode is Eve metagaming at its finest. Knowing that The Mittani is pretty much undefeatable in CSM elections as long as he is CEO of the Goons, people used Mittens drunken performance to force his downfall via other means. The first effort involved trying to force out The Mittani because he was drunk and swearing at a CCP-run event. Once that failed someone actually took the effort to watch the whole presentation and found the offensive statement in the last few minutes of the video. Not only was a threadnaught started but the media (Eurogamer) was directly contacted.

He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. The Mittani gained his power and fame through the use of the metagame and exploiting weakness in others. Now it appears he will lose a lot, if not everything in-game, due to others exploiting his weakness.

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Skyreth March 29, 2012 at 6:06 am

My posting name is my EVE character name.
The Mittani does not represent myself, nor many others in EVE online. I find his behavior both distressing and reprehensible. Although EVE has a strong sense of “tough love” and allows people to commit things that in the real world would be massive crimes (theft, murder, piracy and so on) I always thought that all EVE players had that sense that there was a limit.

Now, knowing that not only The Mittani, but his Alliance “Goonswarm Federation” do not have that limit…I can’t help but think that CCP needs to place stronger rules in terms of how players interact with each other.

Also, I would like to point out, “Mittens” Alliance in EVE is backing him and even going so far as to continue the attacks on the depressed player. These actions I find sickening, and fully believe players like that need to either leave or grow up.

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Nano April 3, 2012 at 6:18 am
TXDSX July 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Not only is it morally reprehensible its a criminal offense. If someone encourages someone to commit suicide and they do out of duress then it is a crime. You will be prosecuted in a court of law. People need to understand the differences between virtual and real life. You do something stupid and out of season in the real world and there are repercussions.

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Adama August 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm

In no way does Mittani represent me as an Eve Online player. I found his actions to be disgusting and reprehensible. So what if he was drunk? The “I was drunk” defense doesn’t work when a drunk driver causes an accident and seriiously injures or kills someone, so why should Mittani have gotten away with just an apology and a temporary ban? I can guarantee that if a not so well known player did what Mittani did, they would be banned without question. What’s good for the goose is good for gander.

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Wayne October 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Funny as hell making fun of a nerd .
Maybe he shouldnt have done it but I got a good laugh out of it and people shouldnt be so serious…

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Thai-boxer March 8, 2013 at 6:11 am

If i was at that fan fest I would go up on that stage a knock that asshole out via roundhouse kick the his worthless head. Who does that piece of shit think he is? In my opinion he needs professional help as this fantasy world has somehow twisted him into a false sens of power that he does not actually posses, does he think he is beyond reproach? I would be happy to show him just how powerful he is in real life facing off against a real life marshal artist. I am usually not a violent man, but i believe in sticking up against those he are weaker and those who are being bullied.

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lol June 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

>Marshal Artist
>Marshal
>ohyou.jpg

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