GameSpot, Gerstmann Fiasco Remains Unsolved
It seems we just can't get a straight answer: why was Jeff Gerstmann fired from GameSpot? The world may never know. Both Gerstmann and GameSpot have responded to this massive news (although Eidos remains silent), and it appears we're still very much in the dark. In an e-mail to Joystiq about his experience, Gerstmann said, "Losing a job you've held for over 11 years in an abrupt manner is shocking," but he didn't provide any details.
Gerstmann stands behind his controversial Kane & Lynch: Dead Men review, but according to "legal reason," he can't say exactly why he was canned.
"I stand behind my work, regardless of where I do it," Gerstmann wrote in the e-mail. "If there was content that I felt I couldn't support, it wouldn't see the light of day. If factual errors are made, I have no problem owning up to that error, correcting it, noting that a correction has been made, and feeling like an idiot for making the mistake in the first place."
Gerstmann isn't sure what he plans to do now, but he doesn't believe video game writing is "ethically bankrupt," and he's not necessarily done with editorial or game journalism. He's "leaving his options open" for now, and that's all he'd say. CNET Networks (which owns GameSpot) says the details of Gerstmann's firing can't be released to the public, and that was reinforced with the site's official statement:
"Neither CNET Networks nor GameSpot has ever allowed its advertising business to affect its editorial content," said Greg Brannan, CNET Networks Entertainment's vice president of programming. "The accusations in the media that it has done so are unsubstantiated and untrue. Jeff's departure stemmed from internal reasons unrelated to any buyer of advertising on GameSpot."
"Though he will be missed by his colleagues, Jeff's leaving does not affect GameSpot's core mission of delivering the most timely news, video content, in-depth previews, and unbiased reviews in games journalism," said Ryan MacDonald, executive producer of GameSpot Live. "GameSpot is an institution, and its code of ethics and duty to its users remains unchanged."
It looks like this whole mystery will have to go down in history as "unsolved." But no matter what anyone says, the event has most certainly led to a lot of questions...questions that can't possibly help either GameSpot or Eidos. But only time will tell how big of an impact this whole fiasco has had.
12/3/2007 Ben Dutka