- E3 apologized for leaking the names, phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses of more than 2,000 YouTubers, journalists, and analysts who received press passes for the 2019 E3 conference.
- The data was temporarily accessible in a downloadable Excel sheet on the E3 website.
- Those who had their information leaked say they have fallen victim to prank texts and calls, with several reporting threats involving references to their homes.
- Some are calling for a class-action lawsuit, and lawyers say the severity of the threats could provide substantial grounds for a case against the Entertainment Software Association.
Data Leaked on E3 Website
The private information of 2,025 YouTubers, journalists, and Wall Street analysts was leaked after E3 posted a downloadable link with that data to its website.
The link was titled “Registered Media List” and could be found on the “Helpful Links” page. Information within it included names, phone numbers, email addresses, and even the home addresses of those who received press badges to attend this year’s June convention.
“[Entertainment Software Association] was made aware of a website vulnerability that led to the contact list of registered journalists attending E3 being made public,” the association said in a written statement released Saturday. “Once notified, we immediately took steps to protect that data and shut down the site, which is no longer available. We regret this occurrence and have put measures in place to ensure it will not occur again.”
Even after ESA deleted the “Helpful Links” page on Friday, anyone using a Google cached version of the page could have still accessed the confidential Excel spreadsheet. The original file has since been completely deleted, but a copy has already been distributed in online forums.
On Saturday, the ESA also began reaching out to those affected.
“We provide ESA members and exhibitors a media list on a password-protected exhibitor site so they can invite you to E3 press events, connect with you for interviews, and let you know what they are showcasing,” the ESA said in its message. “For more than 20 years there has never been an issue. When we found out, we took down the E3 exhibitor portal and ensured the media list was no longer available on the E3 website.”
As of Monday, visiting the page results in a 404 Error.
So far, the ESA has not commented on how the dox occurred.
YouTuber Sophia Narwitz first broke the story on Friday and claims to have reached out to the ESA within 30 minutes of learning of the leak.
“In an era of swatting and much worse, it is a colossal fuck-up that the ESA would mishandle data in this capacity,” Narwitz said in a YouTube video.
Several YouTubers said they have already fallen victim to spam calls and texts. Many worry that the leak — particularly of private addresses — could lead to more dangerous consequences.
A few journalists have indicated that they have personally received threatening emails with their home addresses or photos of their homes.
“That [the ESA] would put people at risk in this capacity is beyond my understanding,” Narwitz said.
Narwitz cited incidents involving a journalist’s assault by an Antifa group, mass shootings by individuals with far-right ideologies, and general toxic culture spurred by internet trolls.
Many have been critical of the ESA over the information breach.
Several gamers have even called for a class-action lawsuit against the ESA for leaking their private information, with many criticizing the ESA’s use of the phrase “website vulnerability” when the file was uploaded to the website rather than obtained through hacking.
Stephen McArthur, who uses the moniker “The Video Game Lawyer,” told Game Daily the ESA will “almost certainly” face a lawsuit by the end of August for failure to exercise reasonable care with the information.
Though lawyers have said the case could gain traction in court because of the threats journalists have experienced, attorney Sarah Wesley Wheaton said the ESA is not likely to lose a case involving password protection and lack of security.
“There has never been a successful case against a company for failing to impose strict enough login credentials and I assume similar reasoning will apply [here],” she told Game Daily. “While there weren’t any login credentials in ESA’s case, because the personal information seems mostly limited to names and addresses and did not include social security information or other embarrassing personal information, the lack of encrypted spreadsheets would likely not be considered unfair by the FTC.”
The ESA will need to report the dox to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has the power to launch an investigation.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (PCMag) (Kotaku)
PewDiePie Banned in China After President Xi Jinping Memes
- PewDiePie posted a meme review on Oct. 16 where he discussed the pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong and shared memes about China, including several that compared President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh.
- Three days later, PewDiePie posted a YouTube video saying his content was banned in China.
- Many on Twitter said this ban was an “honor,” as China tries to silence the voices that criticize it and its censorship tactics.
PewDiePie Discusses Chinese Censorship in Meme Review
PewDiePie announced his content was banned in China days after the YouTuber posted a video discussing the long-running Hong Kong protests, which featured memes about President Xi Jinping.
Felix Kjellberg, the platform’s biggest solo creator who is better known as PewDiePie, went over memes about the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in his Wednesday Meme Review. He mentioned that the gaming company Blizzard banned a Hearthstone player earlier this month after the user expressed support for the protestors on a live stream. He said Blizzard made this choice because “obviously China is like that one person on Twitter that can’t take any criticism and just blocks everyone.”
He also shared several memes about the protests, Chinese censorship, and President Xi. Specifically, he shared numerous memes comparing President Xi to Winnie the Pooh and joked that they do share a strong resemblance.
PewDiePie Gets Banned in China
On Saturday, just three days after this video went up, Kjellberg posted a new video titled “PewDiePie is BANNED in China.”
“Well boys, we did it. I’m banned from China,” Kjellberg said at the start of the video. “That’s right. After I spoke about the Hong Kong protests and showed their leader being mocked for looking like Winnie the Pooh, I got banned from China.”
The exact terms and extent of the ban are unclear. He said that if you search his name on Reddit or YouTube related platforms, the results are blank. YouTube is already blocked in China, so the creator was likely referring to other sites that share reuploads of his work.
“I’m laughing but yeah I’m sorry if you are in China and trying to watch my videos,” Kjellberg continued. “That kind of sucks. It’s just kind of funny. Like I knew it was gonna happen.”
After making the announcement, he then discussed creator Bart Baker, who used to make music parodies on YouTube but has recently pivoted to making content for Chinese sites and audiences.
Kjellberg announced the news to Twitter as well, claiming that China already took the copyright of PewDiePie back in 2017.
The news generated a lot of attention online. Many applauded the star for getting banned and thanked him for discussing Hong Kong.
It’s an honor to be blocked by China. Congratulations bro, you made it! pic.twitter.com/8SDphmlsRN— W😷B😷Yeats (@WBYeats1865) October 20, 2019
DJ and producer Zedd also chimed in. He was recently banned in China for liking a tweet from South Park’s account. South Park spoke out against Chinese censorship resulting in content pertaining to the show being censored.
Welcome to the club :/— Zedd (@Zedd) October 20, 2019
Others shared screenshots of what happened when they searched for PewDiePie.
Though some also shared screenshots saying they did find results. Still, however, the majority of users were sharing the error codes and blocked messages they were receiving.
Ace Family’s Austin McBroom and Team Accused of Rape
- YouTuber Cole Carrigan posted a video where he claimed his friend and another woman were sexually assaulted by Austin McBroom, his basketball player friend, and his father.
- McBroom is part of the Ace Family, which has over 17 million subscribers on YouTube.
- Carrigan’s video also included screenshots to show that the women had met with McBroom, along with a photo of blood on the bedsheets after alleged forced penetration, and an anonymous phone call with one of the alleged victims.
- The story prompted #AceFamilyisOverParty to trend on Twitter. McBroom addressed the situation himself online denying the allegations and claiming he is a victim of extortion, defamation, and slander.
Accusations in Video
Family vlogger and patriarch of the Ace Family Austin McBroom, his father, and other acquaintances, have been accused of sexual assault in a new video posted by YouTuber Cole Carrigan.
Carrigan uploaded a 15-minute video titled “The Truth About The Ace Family..” on Monday. He opened by discussing the recent rumors about McBroom cheating on his wife, Catherine Paiz, before saying the allegations go further than just infidelity.
Carrigan claimed that his friend and another woman were assaulted by McBroom and several people he knew. He claimed he was making the video on behalf of them because they signed an NDA and because it is difficult to bring allegations forward against a prominent man.
According to Carrigan, the two girls had been drinking when they went back to their room to change. McBroom, his security guard, father, and two friends followed them back.
“Obviously I don’t have recordings of what went down in the room,” Carrigan said, “but my friend told me that she repeatedly said ‘no’ multiple times over and over to the point where she started crying and begging them to stop. That’s when they forced themselves in her and I will insert the photos of the blood all over the bedsheets in the hotel room right here.”
He included a photo that showed bloodstains on sheets as potential evidence that the intercourse was forced.
He also called his friend so she could tell her story, though she was not named and her voice was distorted to hide her identity. She also said that she and another woman had walked to their room and that the group had followed them there.
She claimed that the guys were being flirty, but she and the other girl were too under the influence to push them off.
She said that one of McBroom’s friends had sex with her without her consent and that McBroom’s father tried to force her to perform oral sex.
“But the next thing I remember is, unfortunately, being on the bed and his NBA player friend was having sex with me,” she said. “I don’t ever remember giving him consent to. The next thing I remember is looking up and Austin’s dad Allen is there and I am seeing him unbuckle his pants, pull down his pants, and pull out his penis in front of my face, basically wanting me to suck his penis.”
She went on to say that around then, the security guard walked in and she went to check in on her friend.
“All of a sudden I hear her yelling ‘no’ and screaming and crying,” she said. “And all of the guys start rushing around the room because my friend is literal hysterical crying and sobbing and she’s just sitting in the shower. Then after that we just got in bed and we were just crying for the rest of the night.”
Carrigan’s video also included several screenshots to show that his friends had met with McBroom. There were screenshots that show McBroom and his father in Miami on June 21, the night before the incident.
There were also screenshots of texts Carrigan claims were sent the following morning. The first was to one of McBroom’s friends, where the girls seemed disinterested in communicating. The video alleges that the two girls had been hiding in their room when they first received the messages.
Another showed one of the girls reaching out to her ex in Miami and beginning to explain the situation.
Carrigan also showed screenshots of his friend allegedly texting McBroom about what girls he wanted to be brought to Miami.
Another screenshot allegedly showed McBroom’s assistant telling Carrigan’s friend to not let the story out because there could be “serious consequences.”
There were also screenshots Carrigan said came from girls who told him they had their own inappropriate interactions with McBroom. In one, it appears someone is accusing McBroom of impregnating them. These allegations are unverified.
The video ended up generating a lot of online chatter, with #AceFamilyIsOverParty trending on Twitter. Many used the hashtag to express their disgust in the story.
More also shared screenshots of their alleged encounters with McBroom.
While some shared them online, others doubted their legitimacy. Paiz tweeted that she did not know who was worse: “The person who photoshops conversations OR the people who believe it?” She accompanied this tweet with what appears to be a fake interaction between her and Kanye West.
Another screenshot that, again, is unverified allegedly came from one of the girls in the story, Leslie. Users said she had posted her side of the story to Instagram before deleting it.
She posted a notes app message where she discusses Carrigan’s video, which she says was made with ill intent, and also identifies the other alleged victim in it as Amanda.
“I feel like this video was made for the wrong reasons and this wasn’t Cole’s story to tell,” she wrote. “Cole even texted me saying we could potentially get paid $100,000 from this following the claim that Drama alert was payed off $500k.”
This refers to Carrigan claiming that Drama Alert’s Keemstar was going to post a video on the topic but was paid $500,000 not to. Keemstar denies this and posted his own video on Tuesday.
Leslie went on to say that McBroom did not rape her and was not to blame.
“I wasn’t aware Amanda or Cole were in contact with drama alert to anonymously run our story,” the alleged post continued. “But I was aware of Cole’s video being made, and I only wanted it to be factual if it was ever going to be posted. I wanted to say that Austin McBroom is not to blame in the situation and did not rape me or anyone. I’m currently handling this situation in my own way. I brought this to social media to address false accusations. This isn’t what I wanted, there’s several sides to every story and this isn’t how I wanted to tell mine.”
The post also included a screenshot of what appears to be a text from Carrigan saying they could be paid $100,000 not to tell the story and that they could all split it.
On Tuesday morning, McBroom responded to the allegations. He shared Leslie’s screenshots and released a statement claiming he was a “victim of extortion, defamation, and slander.”
“I knew this was a cold world but never did I foresee something this disturbing upon me,” he wrote. “Thank you to all of my Ace Family members for all of your concerns and thank you to those who know my character and my heart. I don’t wish this upon anyone and I can only hope that those responsible for this learn from their mistakes and become better people. My family and I dealing with this matter privately and taking legal action. Bullying, extortion, slander and defamation of charterer is something I will not stand for and I can promise that justice will be served.”
See what others are saying: (Newsweek) (Distractify) (Daily Dot)
Following Ninja Deal, Gamers Flock to Mixer but Viewership Falls, According to New Data
- Following Mixer’s exclusive acquisition of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a new report shows that the number of unique channels on the platform has nearly doubled, but viewership has fallen.
- In contrast, Blevins’ former platform Twitch has gained viewership but seen a decrease in channels and number of hours streamed.
- Last week, Blevins’ wife and manager, said he made the decision to move to Mixer because his chatroom on Twitch became “toxic” and because Twitch’s contract with him would have limited his licensing deals.
Mixer’s Growth Since Ninja Deal
A new report shows some of the contributions Ninja’s exclusive streaming deal with Mixer may have generated, including a major increase in the number of streamers and content on the platform, though overall views have decreased.
Ninja — whose real name is Tyler Blevins — joined the platform in August after leaving Twitch, a move that sent shockwaves through the gaming community, with many wondering how the switch would affect not only Blevins’ career but also Twitch and Mixer.
The report, published by Streamlabs and Newzoo, found that the number of unique channels on Mixer had doubled from 1.96 million in the second quarter to 3.92 million when Blevins joined in the third quarter.
Streamlabs attributed the massive gain to Blevins’s relocation to the platform, which it said likely encouraged other gamers to make a similar switch.
Because of the influx of new streamers, the number of hours users streamed on Mixer tripled from 11 million hours to just under 33 million.
Even though the number of streamers skyrocketed, Streamlabs actually reported that Mixer lost viewership in its third quarter, dropping from 100 million hours watched to 90 million hours watched.
Since 2018, Mixer has consistently risen in viewership, with this quarter tracking the only dropoff within the past two years. Nonetheless, the yearly growth for Mixer has more than doubled. Experts have also noted the third quarter is usually the weakest part of the year for streaming platforms.
Metrics for Twitch and YouTube Gaming
Conversely, the Streamlabs report found that Twitch suffered the opposite problem: gaining viewership but losing streamers and content.
Many have attributed Twitch’s loss of streamers in Q3 partially to those users moving to Mixer following its deal with Blevins; however, Twitch has been losing users for two quarters now. Since Q1, Twitch has actually lost about 2 million streamers and now sits below Mixer at 3.77 million users.
Twitch currently still dominates the streaming community, however, logging 2,551 million hours viewed for Q3.
Regarding users and hours streamed, YouTube Gaming has also seen a dropoff since Mixer’s acquisition of Blevins, but the number of hours viewed on the platform remained relatively unaffected between quarters.
The Mixer-Ninja Deal
While the report indicates Blevins may not have had a substantial impact on bringing viewers to Mixer, it is unlikely his deal with the platform will change because of that.
In an interview with Business Insider last week, Ninja’s wife and manager — Jessica Blevins — discussed why he decided to move to Mixer. She said part of his decision stemmed from toxicity in Blevins’ chatroom while streaming.
“I could tell, as his wife, the last few months on Twitch, he just didn’t seem like the Ninja that I knew,” she told the news agency, “He didn’t seem as enthusiastic, as loud, as hyped-up about wins and motivated to stream. It really seemed like he was kind of losing himself and his love for streaming.”
She also said they had tried to make a deal with Twitch but said they felt like they weren’t being listened to. She specifically pointed to the fact that Twitch’s contract would have limited Ninja’s licensing deals.
She then went on to say that Microsoft aligned with their ideals, calling it a warm and friendly environment.