Penny Arcade’s Gabe Apologises For Being A “Bully”

Penny Arcade’s Gabe Apologises For Being A “Bully”
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Penny Arcade has taken its fair share of criticism over the past year, a lot of it stemming from the public comments of co-creator Mike Krahulik. As part of a lengthy and heartfelt post over on the comic’s main page, written as a form of new year’s resolution, he’s addressed that in a very direct manner, apologising for his conduct.

There’s all kinds of stuff going on, talk of his past and his feelings towards the site (and its spin-off convention, PAX), but perhaps most important is his realisation and admission that he’s acted like a bully.

“As a young person I imagined myself a sort of vengeful spirit”, he writes. “A schoolyard Robin Hood who attacked the strong and popular on behalf of the social outcasts. I’m 36 years old now though and I realise what I am is a bully.”

“I may have been the one who got beat up but I sent plenty of kids home in tears. I also realise that I carried those ridiculous insecurities into adulthood. I still see people who attack me as the enemy and I strike back with the same ferocity as that seventh grader I used to be. I’m ashamed of that and embarrassed. The crazy thing is I don’t even necessarily believe the stuff I say a lot of times. It would probably be more noble if I did. The truth is I just say them to be mean. I say them because I know they will hurt. It’s pretty fucked up.”

Like I said, it’s heartfelt stuff. A lot of the storm around Penny Arcade’s actions this year haven’t just been about Krahulik’s comments; they’ve been about the dismissive way in which those affected felt he behaved. Like he wasn’t saying sorry and seeing what was wrong with making rape jokes, he was just sorry that he’d been called out.

It’s hard to say that now. “I have every intention of taking the things I’ve learned this year to heart and changing”, he ends. “I’ve said I’m sorry for the things I’ve said but I’ve never apologized for who I am. I need to separate the busted kid from the man I am now. I guess that’s my new years resolution. Might be harder than losing 10 pounds.”

Resolutions [Penny Arcade]

Image: Adam Merrifield


  • I’m not sure how i enjoy what little defense anyone has against bullying if standing up to the prejudiced and aggressive is now bullying.

    • Hey, when I was in highschool I had bullies turn my defenses around onto me and get me in trouble for it (I was once suspended for a day because someone threw a rock at me) and with todays “happy to sue you” society I’m not surprised if some people view the victims as the antagonists.

      Hell, some people blame women for getting raped, but let’s not go into that one.

    • There’s a difference between taking a punch for someone else and giving one back.
      It’s a simplistic way of outlining the situation and for some individuals it will be far more complicated.
      Basically, it’s about the harm you do to other people, especially when you take personal justification out ofthe equation.

    • He’s reflecting also on his current behaviour, not his behaviour at school. The stuff that has probably triggered this self awareness certainly wasn’t him standing up to “the prejudiced and aggressive”

    • Standing up to those gays and transgenders and those people who were raped… Monsters, every single one.

    • Well I dunno, cause generally if you get bullied a lot, well trust me, you wanna lash out. But I’ve learned to keep it in because, its not defending yourself that’s the problem, Its what happens when you strike back too hard.

  • The only trouble i remember him getting into this year was something about a game that teaches women how to masturbate and then transsexuals and others started getting their knickers in a knot.

  • I’ve said I’m sorry for the things I’ve said but I’ve never apologized for who I am. I need to separate the busted kid from the man I am now.

    I know exactly where he’s coming from, I had to do this exact thing a few years ago myself. It’s a pretty heart rending thing to do and only those around you, genuinely those who know you best, will understand and appreciate most why you end up doing it. Those who see that you truly mean it finally, when you have, one day for some reason or other, an epiphany that you no longer want to be the person you were but want to be the person you can be, that you should be. Call it growing up, call it maturing, call it what you want, I looked at it as leaving my negatives behind and embracing my positives. It sounds exactly like this is what Mike is doing. To me it’s not individually the Fruit Fucker (I love that guy 🙂 ), it’s not the Dire Dickwolves, it’s not the beastiality, the rape jokes or whatnot individually, it’s everything equally and wholly.

    He’s taken a look at what spawned all of it, regardless of the turmoil it caused, he’s taken a look at part of the actual root cause, his part in it, how it stems back to him and his words, a character flaw and I genuinely applaud him for managing to look into himself, taking some very, very deep introspection and coming to this conclusion. Congratulations to Mike Krahaulick for this because it’s a moment of your life, when you have it, you never forget and you look back upon with deep appreciation.

    I know I do.

  • It’s been interesting to read Mike’s comments over the past year as various things have happened. His self-reflection and desire for change was pretty self-evident but for some reason, people seemed to misconstrue his apologies as disingenuous. I guess it’s part of the stigma of being such a high profile personality that your mistakes are always magnified 100x more than anyone else and you have to work 100x harder to build yourself up again in people’s eyes. Though I think a lot of the problem is that most people don’t read the news section of the PA site and miss all the important things that let you read between the lines and have a better grasp on the situation.

    That probably sounds a little self-righteous, like I am speaking for him, but what I’m really trying to say is: When you’re that guy, you want to have hope that if someone else can pull their life together, so can you.

    • Part of it is that apologies have diminishing returns, and short windows of usefulness. He’s had to do it so often now, and usually long after he should have, that they don’t carry the impact he may necessarily be feeling. It’s a very bitter pill once he gets to the actually apologizing point, and even then, they usually carry an edge of ‘But they totally deserved my reactions’.

  • Good on the guy. There’s a fine line between being an advocate and being the guy holding the sword. And those who’ve been the victim really fall in love with the sword when they find themselves in power; advocacy turns into retribution and retribution turns into revenge until you’re holding your latest victim responsible for every nasty thing ever uttered your way. Suddenly, even destroying someone’s livelihood can be justified. Us nerds can be quite venomous and precise at times.

  • “You’ll notice that it is no longer the Penny Arcade Expo. It’s outgrown us and it belongs to the gaming community at large now not just PA fans. ”

    One of the few comments I can wholeheartedly support from Gabe. His involvement and Generally Being A Dick have singlehandedly soured the events in the past; really PAX needs to belong to the community and be shaped by the community, by and for all gamers.

  • I’ll believe it when I see it. He’s said it before and gone on to continue to be a bully. He fails to address specific behaviour, indicating that he doesn’t really understand the issues at large.

    I’m hopeful it’s a positive step, but he’s burned too much goodwill to be given a pass at this stage. Hopefully his actions match his words.

    • I will never stop hoping he Really Means It This Time. But I also have a healthy skepticism about it. As I said above, diminishing returns. Famous quite by someone I can’t identify is ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result’ and the truth is, people who chronically push things to his level and have to apologize, often will do so again. I like him, I like his work, and I want him in my community… But I am not sure I .trust. him to be there.

  • I only read of a couple of the “controversies”. The dick wolves comic outrage was a total joke. I honestly wonder if people who were offended by that joke function normally in the outside world.

  • So he’s said he’s realised he’s been a bully. Found a reason why he’s a bully but doesn’t understand why people have taken offence to what’s he’s said in the past?

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