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Adobe simply stands against bullying: you got a problem with that?

Just like Intel, Adobe has now had to clarify their position, and have posted "When anti-bullying efforts backfire" to their blog. You see, when they made their anti-bullying statement on twitter, people read that as if Adobe had decided to align themselves with trolls & freaks who send death threats and arrange swatting for kicks.

A quick recap, in case you haven’t followed it: A Gawker reporter posted a series of tweets that appeared to condone bullying of gamers.

We were mistakenly listed as an advertiser on the Gawker website (which we are not), so we asked Gawker to remove our logo (which they did). However, as a result of our logo having appeared on the Gawker website, we received tweets that accused us of condoning bullying. One of our employees innocently responded to one of these tweets saying we don’t advertise on Gawker, that we asked them to remove our logo and that we don’t condone bullying. Unfortunately, that tweet was perceived to support Gamergaters and created a firestorm on twitter.

Later that day we tried to clarify our position but clearly we were not explicit enough.

Let me translate that last bit from PR terms into layman's terms: "Bro, do you even read?"

There was absolutely nothing wrong with how Adobe expressed themselves on Twitter, it was clear as a bell. The issue lies with those who decided to read between the lines and project their own ideas onto the statement, which I have heard described as both "flaccid" and "cowardly".

BoingBoing described Adobe as confused and blundering, which may be the closest to the truth even if PR is not just a fire-extinguisher. AdAge simply describes that the "actions were seen as siding with the vile elements of Gamergate", which is an understated way of putting it, while hundreds of tweeters and Tumblr's painted targets on Adobe's logo and swore they'd never update flash, use photoshop or Acrobat ever again.

I haven't seen "Gimp" mentioned that often in a day since the 90s.

When I tweeted out that "Gawker is Toxic", the ensuing twitter discussion focused mainly on Adobe. It did not focus on the website that doesn't pay its interns. The website that "doxxed" every gun owner in New York city, revealing the home & number of stalker victims who "thanked" Gawker for this idiocy already in the comments.

Gawker media who has a preoccupation with sports celebrities' hacked phone nudes, who likes leaking other people's movie scripts, and who like to thumb their noses at Judges who order them to remove leaked sex tapes. Nobody likes Gawker, guys.

They've literally turned bullying into a media empire. Yet somehow, Adobe was the main topic.

Adobe simply asked to have their logo removed. Gawker was showing logos of brands they were not partnered with. Brands like Jaguar and Adobe aren't your "flair", Gawker. You're supposed to have an actual partnership with brands before displaying their logos like that.

I'm frankly fascinated that Gawker isn't getting called out for that. They must have an impressive collection of yet unreleased celebrity nudes, sex tapes, and salacious silicon valley donation scandals.

Want to delve deeper into the rabbit hole? Yellowbox advertising collected links and backstory to Gamergate and why it matters to advertisers part one and part two. They quote a few of my posts as well as Adage and Slate articles. If you are the number crunching type who loves pretty green and purple graphs and a lot of data, you might find that the "72 hours of Gamergate" is the most interesting post of the day. Here the tweet factions of gamergate look like tribbles spitting blue links at each other, as if in a constant war-dance. If you squint it looks like cell division, and that may be the truest summary of Gamergate yet.

Previous related posts Gawker is toxic to brands that partner with them Oct 26 Adobe stands against bullying. Are bullied on twitter. Oct 21 #Gamergate moral panic resembles the 90s, which directly affects women's career choices Oct 17 Mercedes pulls advertising from Gawker network Oct 17 INTEL clarifies: We are not "anti woman" Oct 4 Intel has gamers inside - pulls advertising from Gamasutra Oct 1 Insulting consumers shrinks the market. Sept 19

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David's picture

Been reading your articles. Just want to say they've been great.

It's insane to think that tens of thousands of gamers/consumers who were fed up with the unethical gaming media came together just to harass women. Journalists, in an effort to deflect from criticism and dodge responsibility, painted gamers as misogynists who hate women. They've repeated this story for so long that people are now acting in very extremist ways. I couldn't believe Adobe got so much crap for simply saying they didn't advertise on a website. It didn't matter to people. They just attacked Adobe and threatened boycotting them. That is not a normal reaction or normal behavior. I wonder if Adobe can take legal action on Gawker for this mess.

On the subject of the journalists' actions, I'm reminded of Joseph Goebbels, "Repeat a lie long enough and people will believe it." I watched this story unfold from the beginning and I've learned how extreme people can be on the internet and how difficult it is to change people's mind after they hear a story even if it is a lie. This has also led to a lot of bullying and denigrating of gamers for simply asking for better ethical policies, to adhere to them and to respect them as consumers. Now that this story is leaking into the mainstream media, it's making all gamers look bad, and surely will lead to more bullying in the future.

Anna's picture

The whole thing is ridiculous. Suddenly, we came to realization, that large portion of Internet users have a serious problems with reading and comprehensive skills.

anon's picture

You've got the horribly low standards of education to thank for that

Anno's picture

The mob was like: "Why won't you Adobe let Gawker use your logo in illegal ways; you misogynists!" It was insane for crying out loud. Some people need to evaluate their reading and comprehensive skills.

Pisthetaerus's picture

Same shit happened with intel when they pulled a campaign targeted at gamers from Gamasutra. The fact that they were reported by a bunch of assholes on the internet doesn't change the fact that they fucked up.

Dabitch's picture

I'd callback to my "Bro, do you even read" line here, but it seems too easy. The Intel situation is linked in the first three words of this article.

Andreas-Udd's picture

This exposes a huge problem in the media industry. If new media portals are willing to plain lie about who has sponsored or worked with them, in a "fake it until you make it" way, and advertising and media companies still work with them... How much of our clients money are we simply throwing away?

I'm surprised that isn't a bigger part of this news. So far, it seems, you're the only on to write about it, but I guess others might tag along. So thank you for kicking off this snowball.