Kotaku: Animated Video Game Porn article 'Badly Failed to Meet Our Own Standards' - iMediaEthics

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Kotaku, a gaming news site owned by Gizmodo Media Group, made “an uncharacteristically bad call” when it published an article on “animated video game porn.”

The article reported on animated porn videos featuring characters from “well-known gaming and geek franchises,” Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo wrote.

In a Sept. 26 apology, Totilo explained, “It’s a piece we immediately regretted and that I wanted to talk to you, the readers, about.” According to Totilo, after publication, Kotaku deleted some screenshots from the article and later added an editor’s note commenting readers were “uncomfortable” with the images since many characters are teenagers.

The editor’s note said:

Editor’s Note – 5:25pm: This story, part of our regular coverage of the intersection of sex and games, originally included screenshots from several porn parodies with a note that they were Not Safe For Work. We’ve since removed those images. While the intent of this article was to provide a snapshot of the kind of gaming and geek porn that’s out there now, it’s clear in retrospect that, in terms of the images and the analysis you expect from us, we made a mistake. Readers are understandably uncomfortable about these kinds of depictions of characters who are often depicted as or thought of as teenagers. I am, too and apologize. We can do better, and we will. – Stephen Totilo, Editor-in-Chief

Totilo listed some questions and issues the article should have considered and added the article needed a “more rigorous approach.”

“We needed more of that level of scrutiny and nuance far more than we needed any explicit screenshots,” he wrote. “Those images of fictional characters from Harry Potter and the other series having sex were not just shocking but repulsive to readers. The text of the article begged for a different framing than what people clicking on it got. That’s ultimately on us as editors to have ensured. We did not. “

iMediaEthics has written to Totilo for more information including what changes, if any, were made to the story beyond removing screenshots, and if Kotaku will continue to report on this issue to explore questions he flagged.

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Kotaku: Animated Video Game Porn article ‘Badly Failed to Meet Our Own Standards’

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