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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1.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:42
nin
 
1.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:42
Oct 5, 2015, 09:42
 nin
 

Streisand effect in full effect!

Pass the popcorn...

2.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:46
2.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:46
Oct 5, 2015, 09:46
 
Going after the press (even the gaming press) in the courts is a little bit like committing suicide. Especially if the author & editor are standing by their original assertions and sources.

The lawyers will like their paychecks though. They always do.
I have a nifty blue line!
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3.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:47
3.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:47
Oct 5, 2015, 09:47
 
To paraphrase Jaws:

We're going to need a bigger bucket of popcorn.
Using a steering wheel on a Burnout game is like using the Space Shuttle controls to fly a kite.
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4.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:47
4.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:47
Oct 5, 2015, 09:47
 
Maybe we'll finally get some good info, instead of the rantings of those with a grudge/agenda and CRs self-interested PR talk. We'll see.
5.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:48
nin
 
5.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:48
Oct 5, 2015, 09:48
 nin
 
The Half Elf wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 09:47:
To paraphrase Jaws:

We're going to need a bigger bucket of popcorn.

Well done!

6.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:49
Cutter
 
6.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:49
Oct 5, 2015, 09:49
 Cutter
 
SLAPP suits, ever the tool of the oppressor. To paraphrase Han Solo, they must have hit pretty close to the mark to get CIG all riled up like that, huh, kid?

What exactly are they going to get sued for? Libel? They're not making any claims, they're simply reporting what ex-employees have had to say.
"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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7.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:49
Darks
 
7.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:49
Oct 5, 2015, 09:49
 Darks
 
nin wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 09:42:
Streisand effect in full effect!

Pass the popcorn...


Popcorn Just for you nin. W00t

The last thing CR needs is to try and take anyone to court when his funds are in the toilet. Flush

Dont do it escapist, don't cave in to these asshats.
Creator of the Neverwnter Nights Eye of the Beholder Series of Mods.

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8.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:53
8.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:53
Oct 5, 2015, 09:53
 
InBlack wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 09:46:
Going after the press (even the gaming press) in the courts is a little bit like committing suicide. Especially if the author & editor are standing by their original assertions and sources.

The lawyers will like their paychecks though. They always do.

Not sure about how it would possibly go down in the UK, but a lawsuit of this nature would go absolutely nowhere in the US. Being able to prove sufficient malice aforethought to meet the standards of the Sullivan Test is very tricky indeed (unless Roberts tries subverting it by saying that he and his company are not public figures - good luck with that).

The reaction also invites further inquiry - it's like they've gotten their foot caught in a bear trap, pried the trap open, and then stuck their head in instead.
9.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:57
9.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:57
Oct 5, 2015, 09:57
 
killer_roach wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 09:53:
InBlack wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 09:46:
Going after the press (even the gaming press) in the courts is a little bit like committing suicide. Especially if the author & editor are standing by their original assertions and sources.

The lawyers will like their paychecks though. They always do.

Not sure about how it would possibly go down in the UK, but a lawsuit of this nature would go absolutely nowhere in the US. Being able to prove sufficient malice aforethought to meet the standards of the Sullivan Test is very tricky indeed (unless Roberts tries subverting it by saying that he and his company are not public figures - good luck with that).

The reaction also invites further inquiry - it's like they've gotten their foot caught in a bear trap, pried the trap open, and then stuck their head in instead.

Yep, it could be a bluff meant to appease their loyal fans who might be starting to wonder at this point. If Escapist calls it though, the shit's gonna really hit the fan at RSI.
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10.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:57
10.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:57
Oct 5, 2015, 09:57
 
The crowd funding for the suit begins in earnest this afternoon. At the $10, 000 tier, you will receive a digital gavel and powdered wig for your avatar!
11.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 09:58
11.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 09:58
Oct 5, 2015, 09:58
 
But you're assuming that The Escapist is considered a credible press organization protected under the law, which they have demonstrated on several occasions that they are not. Slander and bigotry allegations are quite serious and detrimental to whomever is associated with them. If CIG can prove slander to them or one of thier employees, freedom of the press will be meaningless.
12.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:00
12.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:00
Oct 5, 2015, 10:00
 
NasWulf wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 09:58:
But you're assuming that The Escapist is considered a credible press organization protected under the law, which they have demonstrated on several occasions that they are not. Slander and bigotry allegations are quite serious and detrimental to whomever is associated with them. If CIG can prove slander to them or one of thier employees, freedom of the press will be meaningless.

If they can prove it is key. I'm not going to be sad to see Escapist pay if they made up that story, but those are two pretty big ifs...
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13.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:06
13.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:06
Oct 5, 2015, 10:06
 
NasWulf wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 09:58:
But you're assuming that The Escapist is considered a credible press organization protected under the law, which they have demonstrated on several occasions that they are not. Slander and bigotry allegations are quite serious and detrimental to whomever is associated with them. If CIG can prove slander to them or one of thier employees, freedom of the press will be meaningless.

"the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones ... except when statements are made with actual malice (with knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity)."
- Justice William J. Brennan Jr., The New York Times Company vs. L. B. Sullivan, 1964

Mind you, since CIG is not a government entity, the test they would have to clear is a bit different, laid out by Curtis Publishing Co. vs. Butts in 1967, which indicates the standard being for protection being that the information was checked and not "recklessly gathered".
14.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:08
14.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:08
Oct 5, 2015, 10:08
 
If The Escapist was someone like the New York Times than I could agree with that statement but seeing how the xscape is probably has a legal team of one guy who was also the editor I would be very afraid if I was them with the financial backing that CIG could bring to a legal situation
15.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:10
15.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:10
Oct 5, 2015, 10:10
 
There's no way they can prove slander, at most they can prove incompetence.
"Pants! Pants! Pants!"
16.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:14
NKD
16.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:14
Oct 5, 2015, 10:14
NKD
 
No real chance of success in the US for a lawsuit like this. I doubt they'd even go beyond this saber rattling. They'd have a better chance suing the ex employees or whoever it was Escapist spoke to, but the Escapist is basically in the clear. The law doesn't require you to have infallible knowledge that something is true.
Thou art an artless, greasy tallow-catch.
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17.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:16
17.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:16
Oct 5, 2015, 10:16
 
NasWulf wrote on Oct 5, 2015, 10:08:
If The Escapist was someone like the New York Times than I could agree with that statement but seeing how the xscape is probably has a legal team of one guy who was also the editor I would be very afraid if I was them with the financial backing that CIG could bring to a legal situation

Really, the question would be how it would play out in the UK, as their protections are quite a bit weaker as it pertains to libel. Supreme Court jurisprudence in the US has been pretty clear about extending Sullivan protections as far down the food chain as mere bloggers, and the recklessness standard that has to be overcome (in this case, at least) is significant. It's exceptionally rare to get allegations of recklessness to stick against a piece of long-form journalism, even if the entity publishing has a bit of a troubled reputation when it comes to due diligence.
18.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:21
18.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:21
Oct 5, 2015, 10:21
 
That 90 million bucks goes away REALLLLLLY quickly once lawyers get involved.

$91M stretch goal: CIG hires more lawyers!
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19.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:25
19.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:25
Oct 5, 2015, 10:25
 
You're correct but you're also assuming that The Escapist could handle a financial drain of a lawsuit. CIG might not get a positive outcome from a lawsuit but in turn they may just put the Escapist bankrupt from a sustained financial drain of a lawsuit, that's what they got to be asking themselves. Will the revenue from a few ads clicks on a sensationalized article be able to match the outcome from a slanderous lawsuit against them.

Or do they take the humiliation of a public apology and retract the article but save face and also save money and move on.

This comment was edited on Oct 5, 2015, 10:31.
20.
 
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit
Oct 5, 2015, 10:32
20.
Re: CIG Demands Escapist Retraction; Threatens Lawsuit Oct 5, 2015, 10:32
Oct 5, 2015, 10:32
 
Where there is smoke, there is fire. Escapist needs to call their bluff. The last thing CIG wants is for this to go to court. Real facts will come out in depositions, and I don't think they can handle the exposure.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
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