The Zak Update


Categories: GeekStuff

So, just a followup, since people probably wonder:

Yeah, I saw the Zak thing, in which Mandy Morbid, his erstwhile girlfriend, accuses him of long-term abuse. Yes, I believe it. Ironically, I was told repeatedly during the drama that Mandy was a bad person and I shouldn’t believe her accusations, but you know what? Fuck those people. The accusations are credible.

During the whole thing, and thereafter, I talked to Zak a fair bit in email. My conclusion was that he was an arrogant asshole, who was pretty much straight up abusive towards people in publically observable ways, but I didn’t have any immediate reason to believe that it went much beyond the obvious public abuse. Obviously, I was wrong on that. In the years since then, I’ve gotten to be a lot more suspicious of people who say “oh, yes, I’m being cruel, but I have to be cruel, it’s the only way I can oppose this evil.” Because you know what? Every fucking time, it turns out that actually they just like being cruel.

I was called out on this by a person I used to think of as sort of a friend, whose rant included the phrase “sanctimonious, autistic, SHITSTAIN.” Which I think sort of summarizes how I got tricked – I fell into the same goddamn trap I always warn people about, assuming that if you can identify a clear abuser in a fight, you’re probably done. Some of the people attacking Zak were pretty clearly abusive. Some of them told falsehoods about things where I could claim real knowledge as to whether or not they were true. So I assumed that, probably, they were lying abusers, and he was their target. And sometimes that’s probably true. (Spoiler: Abusive narcissists do not usually bond over their shared experience.) But also, as other people have noticed, he actually does some really, really, fucking awful things. Which is not especially surprising.

If you missed it:

A link to Mandy Morbid’s post on Facebook (Let’s just go with “all the trigger warnings”.)

Another reaction to it from another person who used to defend Zak

Do I have regrets? Hell yeah. Do I think that this means that every allegation is true, even the ones which are chronologically impossible or contradict other allegations? No. Will I continue to be really distrustful when I see badly-written or badly-sourced claims, and the people pushing them refuse to engage with criticism or questions? Yes. Do you have to like this trait about me? No.

Thing that concerns me: Even if we grant that the death threats and rape threats were actually all overflow rage from Zak’s awful behavior online… It seems to me like more people should think it’s still a problem that Mandy got death threats and rape threats. They people sending those were also abusers. Maybe not so prolific, but they’re also still out there, and probably still doing it. Abusers switch targets a lot more often than they stop being abusers. And you could say “blah blah both sides”, or you could say “well, yeah, that is abuse” and fight abuse even when it targeted someone you didn’t like at the time when it happened. Up to you, really.

(This is a repost of a thing I dumped on tumblr when I found out about this, I figure it’s worth posting here so it’s findable when tumblr goes and does crazy stuff again.)