The owner of NeoGaf, a popular and influential online gaming forum, put the site back online last night and issued a statement denying allegations of sexual misconduct and to say that changes are coming to the site moving forward.
Over the weekend, NeoGaf went offline following allegations that site owner Tyler "Evillore" Malka removed his clothes and got into a shower with a woman he knew without her consent. The site listed an error and a note saying that it was down for site maintenance. Many of the site's moderators also left in protest following the allegations.
Monday night, the site went back online, along with a statement from Malka denying recent allegations.
"An allegation of sexual misconduct has been made against me by an ex," Malka wrote. "It's not true, the individual making the accusation isn't credible, the story doesn't reconcile logically with the facts, and there's plenty of evidence and witnesses to corroborate that. It'll be a process."
Glixel reached out to the woman who made the initial accusations for comment and will update this story when she responds.
Saturday night someone posted screen captures on NeoGaf of a Facebook post that detailed an incident in which a woman said that a man she was friends with had shocked her by getting into the shower with her completely naked. After friends asked her to name the man, she told them to "Google Evilore."
This isn't the first time Malka has faced allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2012, Malka wrote about a trip to Spain in which he grabbed a woman after buying her a drink.
"I laughed because drinks here were all of two Euros," he wrote at the time, as shown in a screen cap, "but consented and then grabbed her ass hard to show that I wasn't being taken advantage of, and she thought better of treating me as a mark and left without taking her drinks."
While not addressing the 2012 incident, Malka wrote last night that he considers all allegations “of this nature” to be serious and then walked through how he says he learned about the most recent allegations. He wrote that he first heard about the Facebook post on Wednesday when someone shared a screenshot of it with him, but that soon after it had been taken down.
"Friday morning, the screenshot made its way to NeoGAF and chaos ensued.”
Malka writes that he was in the process of writing a statement Friday, but that the turmoil on the site sidetracked him and that he didn’t post that statement until last night because he was “slow and weak.”
He also said that the site was taken offline for planed maintenance, repair and restructure and that he feels that the stories written about the accusations were “sensationalized, opportunist and unprofessional.”
After addressing the accusations against him, Malka went on to discuss NeoGaf's off-topic sections, areas in which people can talk about non-gaming things on the site, such as news, politics and social issues.
"We've all become increasingly stressed and weary this year in ways even I'm not accustomed to by now, and discussions on heated news, political issues, and social issues on the off-topic side of the site have become areas no one has wanted to moderate in the open for fear of backlash or just general exposure to the inevitable toxicity," he wrote. "I've gone in there myself to take the heat, since it's very much my responsibility to do so before anyone else's, but there's been little headway, mostly just more anger and resentment and a lot of bans. I don't think this necessarily reflects on our community; more so the tone of the entire Internet this year with regards to heated issues.
"That's all going to inform the way forward for NeoGAF as we refocus on what the main goals are supposed to be for the site. The mod team will talk about more specifics on what that will entail below."
Malka wrapped up his comments by asking sites users to be considerate of mods, though it remains unclear if NeoGaf has any moderators at this time.
The current state of the site's threads suggest that either the site has no moderators or doesn't have enough. Kotaku captured screenshots of the site's new discussions minutes after the site went up. You can see one below.
NeoGaf started in 2004 as a spin-off of the forums located on gaming site Gaming-Age, which was the original Gaf. Over time, it became home to a wide-variety of gaming discussions which often included participants who were game developers and journalists.