I'm Will and thanks to Extra Credits I had to tell the internet I'm not a Nazi:
Hi, my name is Will Overgard and thanks to Extra Credits I had to tell the internet that I’m not a Nazi.
No doubt by this point you’ve seen Soraya’s statements about EC and the non-apology post on the EC site. I was at ground zero during the last few months of the whole mess, but I haven't spoken about my experience being let go from Extra Credits, or responded directly to their public statement about me, as currently they are withholding half of my back-pay until I sign very legally binding 'separation papers' which to my admittedly limited understanding appears to be Cronenberg-esque mashup of a non-disparagement, an NDA and a other stuff which would require me to get sign-off from James Portnow directly.
I do worry that I’m not the only one going through this, but frankly I'm done with the shroud of BS around it. So if you'll indulge me, let me tell you my story.
So Extra Credits fired me, then threw out a public statement saying only that my behavior "violated community guidelines" and left the internet to speculate on what that meant. They left me to speculate about it too. At the time of writing this I haven't received any more explanation than a template email from James Portnow. "You are not a good fit for the Extra Credits team. We will no longer be requiring your services."
By the end of the day, thanks to Extra Credits announcing my firing on every social media channel they could bring to bare, my feed started going off the chain. Extra Credits had posted my full name and their ‘violating community guidelines’ statement, and the internet being the creature it is latched onto this incredibly vague yet targeted statement. GG were talking about me, along with other groups, trying to work out if I was a white supremacist. This got so bad I had to issue a statement saying ‘YO, I'M NOT A NAZI’.
I suppose I should take it as a compliment that EC went to more trouble telling everyone about firing me than saying goodbye to Dan Prime. He left a few months after me, but he didn't even get his own Tumblr post. Yeah, mull over that one.
*pauses for a sip of tea*
Now on with the tale.
This all started back when I got a message from James Portnow one evening. He said that Extra Credits was re-starting their Twitch channel, and asked me to come run it. Heck. Yes. I flew from England on a week's notice, set up in Seattle and got to work. But no sooner had I arrived than James began to blame me for everything that went wrong. Comcast internet went out? My fault. James wanted to run a stream but forgot to schedule it with anyone? My fault also. Heck I ended up spending what little downtime I had dealing with drama caused by James, either directly or indirectly. I had to play emotional drama Tetris with the schedule because of whatever fresh-hot BS had just been thrown onto the fire.
Meanwhile I had been cut off from all work communication with Soraya, who for all intents and purposes ran the business side of EC. I didn't know about the harassment at the time, I found out about that later. I’d also learn that Twitch had been the trigger point: what should have been a simple discussion about Twitch content went nuclear, and Soraya was ordered not to communicate with me for anything work related. Even now I still can’t talk about Friendship Watch without spitting curses like an angry sea-captain.
So yeah, for all the smiles on camera, when stuff would go wrong James was brutal. During one dinner meeting, which got really heated, he told me “I could pay anyone eleven dollars an hour to stream, what do you bring?” and implied heavily that my so-called underperformance between my previous job in New Zealand and now was a pattern of failure on my part. The time that he was referencing? That was around the time I watched my mother die of cancer, so cheers for that one.
Actually still proud of myself for not breaking furniture in a crowded ramen joint over that one.
But after that meeting I was utterly crushed, so I just toed the line. I got to see in realtime how James manipulates and breaks down people because he played it all on me. I knew it was happening, sure, but I fell into it all the same.
Then came my firing. I can speculate about why. I had screwed up badly in my personal life and even privately offered to resign over it. But that offer was never acknowledged. My "community guidelines" violations were never discussed. I got that cold Monday morning email and then Extra Credits put my name on blast. The bastion of support and inclusivity in videogames had thrown me to the wolves without even so much as a warning.
The only other things I can add to all of this is that the HR investigation that was mentioned didn’t include me, but more importantly didn’t include Soraya. I also know it made some EC staff members uncomfortable (which I saw because they left me on the bloody email threads after firing me).
Also, I’d like to add an apology. We all knew what was going down was just plain wrong, but most of us thought we could fix it from the inside. At a point where I should have stood up for Soraya (and others), I did not. I chose to be a coward and try to keep my job. That, like a lot of other poor life choices, are mine and I own those.
I remain personally dedicated to the idea that Dan Floyd carved into stone all those years ago: “Because Games Matter”. Video games are the medium I built my life on and they’ll be the hill I die on, but in the same breath there are no Starks in Winterfell and there are no more Dans in EC.