As part of his acceptance speech at the eSports Awards 2019, eSports journalist Richard Lewis took the time to condemn the mainstream gaming news sites Kotaku, Polygon, and Waypoint for smears, hit-pieces, and gate-keeping.
Lewis was awarded the title of eSports Journalist Of The Year and expressed appreciation to fellow journalists and commentators, saying that “good journalism” isn’t a “competitive endeavor.”
“I’m up here taking this award for everybody else in my field. There were some great names there [the other nominees]. I’m real sorry it wasn’t you guys. You will get your time,” Lewis said.
“There was a name that should have been on the list though; Cecilia D’Anastasio. I just want you to know if you’re watching this stream your work is valued, your work is necessary, you could have just as easily stood here giving a better speech than mine,” Lewis’ said.
But, when it came to the overall Kotaku website, as well as other mainstream outlets, Lewis let rip and didn’t hold back on what he thought of the state of gaming journalism in 2019 – saying Kotaku, Polygon, and Waypoint have “embarrassed themselves writing pieces that expose their complete ignorance about our scene…”
“The second has been to write hit-piece and smears, mostly propagated on half-truths or out-and-out lies, and it’s about some of you in this room. Give ’em hell,” Lewis said.
“And they write about it because they think if they get one or two or twelve of you out of the way, they can get their friends in, they can get their cronies in, takeover and gate-keep our industry,” referencing the elitist nature that has infected the industry and many journalists’ attempts to control and dictate the narrative, smearing those that don’t conform.
Both during and after the speech, Lewis earned standing ovations from the audience as he echoed the voice of many.
Lewis later made two further comments on Twitter about the speech:
“Hard to put out one tweet that encapsulates last night. Was great to spend time with so many of my esports family even briefly. Congratulations to all the people who were honoured at the awards. The winners tell me that esports is in a great place. Back to the hustle tomorrow.”
“Also, if you’re wondering why so many people stood up and applauded what I said, think how many of those people that did have been misrepresented and lied about by outlets like the ones I named. People are sick of it from top to bottom. Let’s see if the message has been received.”
There hasn’t been much response from the clique of journalists who write for several of the mainstream outlets that Lewis criticized but it’s likely to be incoming.
In a reply to a comment saying, “Shame half of the mainstream games press are probably in a slack group producing their cesspool of garbage to try and discredit you again,” Lewis said, “Oh, it is coming on Monday. Already been tipped off,” indicating that journalists are already plotting their revenge and the next round of the “smears, mostly propagated on half-truths or out-and-out lies” Lewis warned about in his speech.