CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit

An update to the Chairman's Response to The Escapist on the Roberts Space Industries website has the latest on Cloud Imperium Games' reaction to the recent Escapist article alleging troubles at the developer of Star Citizen, the upcoming crowd-funded space game. The post has been modified to demand a retraction of the assertions in the article, threatening legal action if this doesn't happen by the end of today. They say the site has "violated the most basic rules and ethics in journalism by failing to properly vet [their] sources and providing the affected party with an opportunity to refute these ridiculous, highly slanderous, and easily disproven allegations," and also state this was not a legitimate piece of journalism, but rather a conspiracy between the author and "third parties" (who go unnamed, though we have a guess). They reproduce a lengthy letter they sent to the Escapist, and here is how this concludes:
If we have not received within a reasonable time your written confirmation (email being sufficient) that you agree to cooperate and comply with the above demands we will firstly publish this letter to our website. Based on the generous standards set by you, we believe that 24 hours should be sufficient to hear from you. Furthermore, if we have not received the aforementioned confirmation from you or your magazine and/or parent company by EOD Monday, we will turn this matter over to our litigators to prepare legal action in the US and the UK against the individuals and entities involved as listed herein.
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Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 11:35
Cutter
 
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Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 11:35
Oct 5, 2015, 11:35
 Cutter
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 10:45:
The letter mentions libel, in particular the unsubstantiated allegations that Sandi Gardiner - and by association, the company - is racist and operating in violation of employment law. The Escapist went after a specific employee and the company has an obligation to defend her. The mention of UK law is interesting, as the US has notoriously pathetic legislation for defamation.

That said, it seems pretty obvious the intention isn't to follow through with legal action but to resolve the matter out of court. They want the unsubstantiated claims removed, which is perfectly reasonable. Given the shockingly poor journalism in the article I can't see The Escapist wanting to fight this one. Investors aren't going to want to be involved with the company if it's attracting such negative attention.

It's worth pointing out that CIG didn't take any legal action against those who published details of the leak earlier this year. It didn't even issue YouTube copyright takedowns for the leaked content, which is still available now. Legal action is clearly a last resort and here it's only being threatened given the vicious nature of the allegations in the article.

The Escapist is merely relaying facts as they understand them submitted by ex-CIG employees. I don't see anywhere in the original article where they're making any kind of claim whatsoever. The article is populated with sentences such as the following....

According to several sources, being an employee of Cloud Imperium Games meant subjecting yourself to public insults, screaming, profanity, racism, and stress so powerful that some people would become physically ill.

There's nothing libelous in anything like that. Nowhere does the Escapist make any claim or assetion that these are facts. In fact they allow Roberts to answer in order to provide balance. Regarding his wife being a tyrant....

In response, Roberts wrote "All personnel and HR matters are obviously completely private and we can't comment on this as a matter of principle. As always, there are two sides to each story."

This is a SLAPP suit, plain and simple. CIG doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. I hope The Escapist tells them, in the words of Withnail, to shove it up their ass and fuckoff for nothing while doing it. If CIG wants to sue they'll just end up losing a pile of money here.

Personally I have little doubt about the claims about his wife. This is so common the only true wonder is how it's permitted to go on. I've worked for myself most of my life simply because I can't deal with the bullshit of working for other people. I've gone on interviews and worked for people who were just as bad, if not worse, than the claims made about her. The number of good owners and managers I've met over the years I can count on one hand. If it is true it would be so awesome if at least if one of those employees was smart enough and ballsy enough to have collected that evidence and make it public.

I've gotten into the habit of recording my conversations related to employment, police matters, etc. and everyone else should too.
"Well, he’s not a villain Summer, but he shouldn’t be your hero. He’s more like a demon, or a super fucked up god." - Morty Smith
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