Frosk Opens Up: Is Almost Everything We Thought About G4TV Wrong?

 

Last Sunday I got the surprise of a lifetime when Indiana Froskurinn Black, the great white whale of games journalism, also of League of Legends “too white” and “not as bangable” X-Play fame agreed to sit down for a long-form, no holds barred interview.

 

For those who have been living under small-to-medium sized rocks, “Frosk” is the woman that set the internet ablaze in January of 2022 when she gave a speech about sexism in gaming. She prior to this been setup as the face of the new Comcast Spectacor e-sports themed revival of the long-dead but once beloved G4TV brand. A revival that roughly only 2,000 humans on planet earth were aware of; and when she gave that rant, she brought the rest of the population’s attention to G4 in a very preachy social justice hipster sort of way.

 

According to Frosk at the time she gave that speech as a rebuttal to specific comments she had seen on their YouTube and Twitch channels.  At first, with prominent media outlets defending her against those awful bigoted gamers, it seemed like maybe she and G4 would win the war of public opinion; but the interest of the politically inclined in games journalism had waned and those angry at her remained. That July G4 had a new CEO, and by October Frosk had been fired and the company left for dead.

 

The dark joke that was the G4TV collapse is that G4TV did generate millions of dollars in engagement, attention and traffic; just not for Comcast Spectacor. Instead, those clicks had gone to the mainly popular YouTubers and influencers; to comedians and journalists. Even now, after a year has passed, three months a ghost town; and two tweets from Frosk this month is all it took to generate massive traffic for the nerd social media cottage industry. For whatever reason, that speech, that singular moment really matters to people.

 

 

It matters to me as well, which is why I wrote a pretty thorough investigation with Bleeding Fool and would follow it up at ClownFish TV, the Federalist, and others. I too suffer from G4 nostalgia. The original X-Play inspired me to consider game journalism and the whole concept of game development in the first place. Adam Sessler was a fantastic presenter in his day. And while I wasn’t that offended by her speech on principle; when the gaming media; in particular Kotaku; decided this speech meant a justified crusade on all gamers; that’s when I became invested as everyone else.

 

But the thing is, ever since that original rant; something didn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it was my own experiences working in media. I used to write much more for conservative media; that is until a particular site I worked for threw me to the wolves; that whole experience was incredibly painful and it taught me about the perfidy of the people in the media game. That problem isn’t unique to any outlet on the political spectrum; it’s a problem of human nature and though I am probably naïve, I will always fight for the journalist abandoned.

 

With that in mind, I couldn’t help but wonder if Frosk had been shafted; certain things never added up; for instance; that whole segment is incredibly produced but there are certain tells it’s been highly edited in post production; which is weird beccause that video was recorded for a throwaway segment on their Twitch stream. For another, in all the many articles about the speech; there were no quotes or interviews with Frosk; which is weird because it is industry standard that when you go viral you milk the attention for all it’s worth. So why hadn’t she taken up those offers to go on the Quartering or Joe Rogan or Tim Pool or Vito Gesualdi or even a softball conversation with a friendly outlet like Kotaku?

 

So after I published my first article in January 2021, I reached out to her agent and offered her the chance to do an interview. For a little while the agent and I sent emails to each other; but after it came out that she had canceled the interview with The Quartering; the agent said she they were uninterested in interviews at that time.

 

However, for whatever reason, I kept sending emails; here and there; every so often; and when a few weeks ago my friend Vito did his interview with Adam Sessler I decided I’d try again. I put things honestly and bluntly. I wrote her agent that while I had criticisms of the speech and come from a different place culturally I understood if she had been treated badly; and that I had a record of treating people fairly and would allow her to say her peace if she so chooses.

 

 

So last Sunday she replied, “Thanks for reaching out to me. What type of format did you have in mind and what sort of timeline? Anything I should prepare for specifically?”

 

Yes, I was flabbergasted but I wasn’t going to let this oppurtunity get a way from me. From there I discussed formats with her and told her that like all my interviews, if she said anything that she felt should be removed -typically for safety reasons- or would like to have a retake for something she said so as to say it better, I would oblige. Additionally I also tried to reassure her that security and respect were a top priority. To my surprise she not only reaffirmed her commitment for the interview, but said that what questions should be asked would be left to my discretion.

 

If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t think much of Frosk before we met. She came off to me as another overtly political, gate-keeping progressive finger-wagger that have dominated games journalism for the last decade. The type of person who would react -as in the case for me last year when I got almost to the finish line for a job at a major publication as a games journalist until the HR person discovered I wasn’t progressive; and so decided to treat me as if I was carrying the plague.

 

But then I got to meet the real human being. No, not Frosk that petulant blonde activist, but Indiana; a 30 something-year-old jrpg enthusiast with a British wife and way too many hours dedicated to Final Fantasy games. She sat down with me on Zoom with her wife just outside of screenshot, for almost 4 hours.  For the bulk of that time, we talked about G4TV, but we also discussed her time as a League of Legends caster; her love of role-playing games, and why she wrongly believes Yennifer is the best partner for Geralt in the game Witcher III.

 

Like many of you, I came into the interview assuming she would be haughty, probably angry, and fit the stereotype we’ve all seen on YouTube. But she kept her word and allowed me to ask any question I like, and instead of being angry she was apologetic. It genuinely surprised me when she repetatedly apologized throughout our conversation for how the G4TV situation went down. In particular, she felt really bad that she put her former coworkers in a bad way; and hated that her “I survived” lizard tweet was taken as an attack on them when she meant it as a snipe against her critics, and especially; Comcast Spectacor..

 

 

 

Among other things that surprised me, instead of defending the rant, she agreed it hurt the company and was not a good idea; but she also explained that this was, what felt like the 1000th throw-away segment she had worked on for her dedicated, but small Twitch audience and never intended for everyone to see. While I’m sure many readers won’t buy her explanation; I do believe it’s sincere.

 

It astonished me how much we had in common; our taste in games is incredibly similar; our love for stupid nerd stuff and hatred of fakery in games media. She never reviews a game she hasn’t played and never reviews a game she hasn’t at least played at the developer’s intended difficulty. We both had bad experiences in media and knew what it was like to give our very best and still have it blow up in our face. How could I still hate someone when she could talk with me for an hour about nuances of the Witcher series?

 

Does that mean I agree with her on everything or think she doesn’t bear responsibility for her actions; of course not? But it does mean that I could recognize a fellow nerd and human being and understand how she found herself in a very difficult situation. While as a journalist I must criticize and analyze; it does mean that I can see a good person beneath all that negative PR.

 

From what I can tell by reading the comments and messages sent my way in response to the interview, many readers are unhappy with me; that I wasn’t tough enough, that I didn’t grill her, and that as a journalist my job is to hold her feet to the fire. But Indiana was entirely open to me, she’s no longer in media and has no authority of any kind whatsoever nor will she ever likely to again. She was as vulnerable as much as any subject can be for an interviewer; she held nothing back. Why should I return that trust with yet another person kicking her while she’s down? If you want to see more of that it’s not like there is a shortage of it on YouTube or Twitter.

 

 

I hope readers would be able to put themselves in her shoes when examining the situation both then and now. Indiana gave information that could get her in big legal trouble if a certain angry son of Comcast’s CEO decides to deliver a mountain of pain with a frivolous lawsuit. What she revealed about how Comcast Spectacor operated not just negligently but potentially criminally; is a major scoop by itself.  I would say that information is a fair trade for a viral clip of me putting the screws to Frosk.

 

What I learned years ago when I got railroaded by my co-workers who until then I thought were my friends; is that there is little value in media for treating people kindly. But I didn’t want my heart to harden and make me cynical; instead, I vowed I would never treat others the way I had been treated. My journalism would be honest, true, and reflect not just the facts, but also, it’s spirit.

 

Watch for yourself: 

Frosk: What Happened at G4TV | Exclusive Interview!

 

Let me tell you, being fair; trying to treat subjects not just as adversaries but also as fellow children of God is not easy nor will it make you popular. I know I’m not the smartest guy around and others could probably do what I do better. But I think by trying to emphasize fairness it’s made my word valuable to my readers and to potential interview subjects. Even if it hadn’t, doing the right thing still matters. I must believe that fairness, treating people the way you would want to be treated still has not just professional value but eternal as well. If I don’t treat my worst enemies or opponents with fairness; then how can I say I stayed true to my principles? Isn’t there enough pain in this world?

 

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Peter Pischke

Peter Pischke is an independent journalist and podcast host. He runs the Happy Warrior Substack, and can usually be found manning the Happy Warrior Podcast & YouTube Channel; providing commentary on Conservatarian politics and nerd-culture news and ideas. You can find him on Twitter: @happywarriorp or visit his website at pvpischke.com.

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON