Normally I write about issues related to the video game industry in particular, but with the clout and spectacle that is Devin Faraci I’m making an exception to that.
What people know about Devin Faraci is that he’s a highly known figure in the Film Critic community, and he was the voice of Badass Digest and Birth.Movies.Death since it was first established. If a movie had come out, you could be damn sure that Devin would find something to say about it. He published hundreds of film reviews, and was also a source of news and rumors or Hollywood gossip. His opinionated nature was best seen in his “Devin’s Advocate” series, which was a podium for his thoughts and opinions on current event matters. Devin Faraci thought he knew better than everyone else, and that confidence in himself was what people gravitated to the most. But it also made for a long list of enemies and rivals in his field of work.
Having over a decades worth of thoughts written on the internet is hard to keep track of. Such a balancing act is hard to maintain. Devin had shifted his outlook over that time — going from a verbose aficionado of cinema and provocative statements, to someone that was more progressive and mainstream in his beliefs. Same amount of enthusiasm. But still the same amount of leaving a poor taste in people’s mouths because of that.
For that reason, he was his own worst enemy. One day, these scales he worked hard to keep in check were tipped too far.
The spark that lit this powderkeg went off on October 9th at about 11:00 AM. Twitter user named @spacecrone asked Devin Faraci if he had remembered grabbing her “by the pussy and bragging to our friends about it, telling them to smell your fingers?” according to her tweet.
I followed up with Ms. Spacecrone and asked her for a recollection of that night.
“We were at a bar, dancing, and he repeatedly stuck his hand down my pants. I told him to stop, he kept grabbing. I actually let it go at the time but YEARS later I brought it up, he claimed he didn’t remember, but some mutual friends who were there told me he’d bragged about ‘fingerbanging me’ all night. There was no penetration that i remembered, just grabbing my vagina repeatedly even when I told him to stop.”
Faraci didn’t outright deny the claim in his reply. “I do not remember this. I can only believe you and beg forgiveness for having been so vile,” he stated.
The spectacle caught the attention of Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League, who reached out to spacecrone stating “I take this seriously and have taken Devin offline until we sort through this,” in response to the allegations.
Devin Faraci had then stepped down from his position as Editor-in-chief of Birth.Movies.Death. The move was formally announced in a statement obtained by Variety on October 11th.
“This weekend allegations were made about my past behavior. Because I take these types of claims seriously I feel my only honorable course of action is to step down from my position as Editor-in-Chief of Birth.Movies.Death. I will use the coming weeks and months to work on becoming a better person who is, I hope, worthy of the trust and loyalty of my friends and readers.”
This latest high profile scandal with Faraci had a ripple effect across the Internet, causing people who had past experiences with Devin to share their perspectives on the matter.
A second woman targeted by Devin Faraci was Julie Lauren Vick. She gave me permission to reference her tweets and talk about her story. Julie was apparently a close friend of Faraci for years, and had to suffer his bitter nature because she refused to have a romantic relationship with him.
this dude used to be a good friend of mine. we stopped being friends when he crossed some serious boundaries with me. he became enraged with me because i wouldn’t reciprocate his romantic feelings for me- one minute telling me he was in love with me and the next going out of his way to hurt me, humiliate me, spread gossip about my close friends, slut-shame me for the men i would sleep with when i wouldn’t sleep with a “nice guy” like him. classic behavior from dudes like him- basically every woman has a similar story about some dude throwing a tantrum when she wouldn’t submit to his will.
i found out he had repeatedly lied about the nature of our relationship, boasting in crude and dehumanizing terms to our mutual friends that we were sexual partners (we weren’t). i had trusted him as someone i could let stay over at my place after a long night of talking about movies and drinking many times. i loved our long conversations and truly thought he respected me as a human being (lol). this was over a decade ago but i remember the hurt and humiliation like it was yesterday.
i had always assumed everyone knew he had serious woman issues- as EVERYONE I KNOW WHO KNEW HIM KNEW THIS, but apparently he went on to thrive in the film criticism world with a “woke feminist” persona. the hubris of it all is thrilling.
dudes- watch your ass because you can’t hide anymore. your employers can’t feign ignorance anymore. your friends can’t pretend they’re shocked anymore. if you’re a shithead it will come out.
eta: please use this opportunity to discuss ways to make communities safe, inclusive, and representative. The attitudes about women devin internalized and acted on harm us all- regardless of gender. If he is truly attempting to get better, be accountable, make amends as he now claims I only wish him luck on that journey. The only thing we can do in this world is keep trying to be better, and the only thing served by treating him like an outlier is patriarchal business as usual.
Another person saw the news and took the time to speak up about their own situation with Faraci. Her name is Kat Arnett, and she had a brush-in with Faraci back in 2010. Living up in Vancouver, B.C. (Canada), she’s a freelance writer and columnist with an extensive career history in photography. Devin was visiting her city for a set visit and wanted to have Arnett show him around the area. In his attempt of arranging this to happen, he had made it clear that he had ulterior motives of a sexual kind.
I really hope there isn’t an outlet left willing to work with Devin Faraci. I don’t care how many blue checkmark friends he has. Not just writers, he said disgusting things to me trying to get me to meet him during a set visit to my city. Because of it, and his treatment of female writers, I stopped supporting almost all film criticism. I know some horror stories, but the women are still too afraid to come forward. That doesn’t even include the low key mansplaining and general dismissal of opinions. Or fan harassment. I’ve never forgotten what he said to me, or what he did to my friend. And we aren’t even the ones who spoke up. He tried to get me to show him around my city & said he couldn’t stop himself from fucking me. Among other unsolicited comments about my body. I refused to meet him. Then he turned rude & mean. I didn’t even know him. And had never ever EVER indicated I was interested.
So here we are at not 1, not 2, but 3 known stories of brush-ins with Devin Faraci that have some sort horror element to them.
Devin seems to agree there’s something wrong with that.
Devin Faraci is a man with authority who is able to efficiently articulate media criticism and arguments. Yet his words in a particular piece might not be consistent over longer periods of time, nor do they always line up with his actions. On the topic of women, Faraci was praised for his ways of pushing forward a progressive point of view. But as seen in the case of @spacecrone, he appears to have not always practiced what he preached. While he may have climbed to fame in the Film Critic community as a prolific writer, the dark side of how he interacted with others as surfaced this past week. We need to come to terms with the horrible reality of the controversy-laden past of Faraci himself.
To understand the severity of the situation, we first need to establish how exactly things got to this point.
I got a tip that Faraci was once involved with a social networking site called “makeoutclub,” that predated the start of the Facebook era.
I’ve known of Devin as an entity on the internet since 2001 or so… from Makeoutclub.
If you don’t know about Makeoutclub it was a forum for people all up and down the east coast had these semi-dating like profiles, and then there was a forum where people would gossip, talk, plan meet-ups and talk about music or whatever.
It was like all the social media we have today rolled into one, but with a very small community.
Anyway… Nobody really liked him then, but he kissed ass with some of the people who ran the site and had access. He had a small claim to fame working with chud but he hung out a lot of the NYC kids that were on the site.
He spent most of his time arguing with people, harassing girls who didn’t want anything to do with him, (both in real life and on the forums), and being a general worthless sack of shit. He E-bullied guys that he was jealous of, and stalked girls that wanted nothing to do with him.
You can ask any of the folks from MOC that were regulars and they will all tell you about this finger assault story. It was well known and documented. I bet the mods still have backups of threads of it. Of course, the climate was different back then and people weren’t called into account like they are now.
Anyway, he’s always been a toxic piece of shit and I’m enjoying my schadenfreude over all of these events. I never understood why people took his shitty opinions seriously, even back then, he knew nothing about films or culture. He openly mocked people who liked comics and nerd culture until it was popular.
The Daily Dot reported on Makeoutclub on July 25, 2016. It was a postmortem of sorts, given that the website had been shifted from their original servers to other formats.
I found his profile. However, I was two and a half years too late.
As stated earlier, it looks like the data from the website was shuffled around places. Either that, or Faraci came back and torched the place of anything too incriminating. The only bits of information that were left painted Devin’s early days as someone who was an internet lurker and a loner.
I was worried that I’d have to try and describe how the current online Film Industry scene came to exist. But then I stumbled on a blog post called The Changing Face of Movie Criticism, which does it better than I could hope to. If you’re someone who wants as much background information as possible, I recommend you take the time to read that and come back. For everyone else, I’ll give you a cliffsnotes version of what it talks about.
The digital age of Journalism forced a change in the traditional way things were done. Critics had to set up their own websites because big publications inevitably gave them the pink slip. Before they knew it, fan review sites like Ain’t It Cool News, Dark Horizons, and CHUD had some new neighbors to their corner of the internet. This birthed a heightened sense of competition, and the traditional ways of journalism had to be sacrificed for the sake of survival. While the old days of print demanded writers with qualifications (someone like Roger Ebert, for example), the widespread open access of the internet meant anyone with a computer could write a review. That led to a paradigm shift. It wasn’t primarily about your background or how you professionally carried yourself any longer, but instead about the knowledge of the writer and the reflection of their immediate work.
To put it simply — these “New Critics” invoked a connection to movie communities and fandoms, whereas “Old Critics” tended to analyze films in a more general sense of the definition of the art. People gravitated to these New Critics because of their (positive or negative) adrenaline and enthusiasm they displayed in their analysis. Over time, these New Critics attract enough of a following, that it matches the numbers and influence generated by Old Critics. Movie studios see this themselves, and let these New Critics have the same access to film stars and production staff that the Old Critics had been allowed.
The core reason as to how Devin Faraci was able to obtain a following is due to the focus on personality appeal when it comes to Film Critics. Whenever they assess a piece of content and media, they do it in a unique style and tone that makes up their perspective. To put it another way, eventually people want to see *his* take on a movie or TV show in part because of the reputation and image he makes of himself.
As the author of the blog puts it — there’s three ingredients involved in New Critics work that create this sense of a connection to readers: pop-culture references, informal speaking, and a sprinkle of personal experiences.
That’s the reason how Devin Faraci came to be in the position of authority that he is. It all started at CHUD.
Young Devin’s stomping ground was chud.com. A simple and modest Movie news site and discussion forum. It apparently featured content like set visits, leaks, trailers, and interviews. The type of thing people today use Hitfix for.
Records indicate that he came onto the site as a midday editor/updater back in June 2001. By April 2004 Devin had acquired the reputation of being “stapled firmly to everyone’s shit list,” however. September 28th 2004 to November 3rd 2010. That’s the extent of the current archives that have Devin’s first contribution to that website on a regular basis, until his last one. The positive impact of being provocative is that Devin was able to invoke people into defending their points of view, and having a debate or conversation about it. One of the best examples of that was from October 2005, when a CHUD forum user went to bat defending Serenity’s reputation. But such passionate ire had a cost. “The problem is, you read worse crap, with a dose of non-crap, yet feel unconflicted in attacking pseudo-crap. It’s unapologetic hypocrisy, and you get off on it. When you’re PMSing Devin, you can be summed up in two words; petulant rhetoric,” once said a CHUD user during an argument with him. People’s overall impression of him by December 2006 was that even though they didn’t agree with what he had to say all the time, Devin Faraci’s writing style and commentary in his work managed to outweigh him.
The best way to start going over Faraci’s CHUD career is by looking at something from the end of it. On August 27th 2010, he posted THE FINAL ADVOCATE: HELLO, I MUST BE GOING. In it, Devin outlines how he got started in the Film Industry for us. Reflecting on his first awkward steps into the scene and taking us through how he got his public momentum going. It’s a bit of a lengthy read, but for those of you who want this background information stuff it’s definitely a worthwhile one.
Devin Faraci worked hard at movie critique. The sheer volume of the articles he put out makes it an undeniable truth. Working hard doesn’t necessarily have to mean good work or bad work. But when someone pushes forward a community into the future, they have to take care what direction that goes in.
But who’s to say that Devin gets to write his own history?
Some CHUD highlights. This is definitely not a complete list of Devin’s moments, but these definitely stand out from the rest.
- 1.) March 4th, 2005: The time Devin Faraci pissed off Don Murphy, a producer on the Transformers movie. This is from a time period before Twitter, but CHUD’s forums managed to record what went down back then. Devin ran an article slamming the Transformers movie. Nick Nunziata tried to run a positive counterargument, but he takes the flack from Don Murphy at the end of the day for trying to smooth things over. Devin provokes him even further by writing a July 2004 attack piece (which later turned out to be inaccurate) about Murphy somehow ruining an Alan Moore related property. Don reaches a boiling point of anger where he’s about ready to go to war with the film critic community, and he ends up crusading across many of their websites. It takes Guillermo del Toro yelling at both sides of this argument for things to calm down a bit. But in the end, Don Murphy would end up holding a grudge about the whole ordeal for months after.
- 2.) June 14th 2007: After Last Night’s Wild ‘Silver Surfer’ Screening, Tiffany Chen Responds to Chud.com Slams Through Cinematical Devin accuses someone of being rude and unprofessional. When Fox Publicist Tiffany Chen doesn’t give Faraci a “reserved seat” in the front row of the theater, he writes an angry blog post describing the tragic ordeal. What we learn from Tiffany Chen’s statement on the matter later (since Devin shared the private emails, including a portion of Chen’s phone number, directly in his rant), is that Faraci never bothered to follow-up with Chen after his initial communication with her. Devin started to really have his reputation starting at this point.
- 3.) January 25th, 2009: Faraci vs. Alex Billington. At an afterparty, Devin had too much to drink and got into a strongly worded argument with another Film Critic. Devin said he didn’t watch the video beforehand, and based his initial approval upon the drunken memories he had of the event. The feud Alex Billington (a writer at FirstShowing), had called The Dark Knight a Cinematic Revolution back in July 2008. Devin quickly fired back with a rebuttal, and that sparked a feud between the two that lasted long after that encounter. The forums had a discussion, started by Devin himself, titled I got drunk and had an argument with Alex Billington. A major part of the discussion was Faraci’s lack of professionalism on display that evening.
- 4.) October 21st, 2009: An article titled “The Deafening Silence of the Online Film Critic Community in Response to CHUD’S Advertorial” talks about a time when CHUD did an advertorial on SAW films, and David Chen writes about how the community reacted differently to CHUD’s advertorial, compared to when his website Slashfilm did them (it was some sort of Away We Go piece). Devin Faraci didn’t write the CHUD article, but he sure-as-hell had no issue making excuses when questioned. He washed his hands clean of any blame, and claimed it comes down to the difference between how each of them was marked. But that has no bearing on Faraci’s argument at the time, which was “Anomaly or the start of a disturbing new trend? Focus Features is paying Slashfilm for articles,” according to his tweet. That doesn’t exactly refer to disclosure concerns at all, rather it’s painted as a slant at the fact that Slashfilm was paid for it. When commenting on the CHUD piece, Faraci admitted “This is something we need to do to stay afloat,” according to him. Archives of the whole incident can be found here.
- 5.) August 4th, 2010: Movie Bloggers Accuse Colleague of ‘Blackmailing’ Universal at Comic-Con, was the time that Devin Faraci and his friends smeared Alex Billington’s movie critic reputation by accusing him of blackmail. Drew McWeeny of Hitfix.com wrote it, and Faraci plus almost 20 other members signed it in support. The story is that apparently Universal Studios was going to have some sort of secret screening for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at Comic-Con. These critic bloggers allege that Billington blackmailed Universal into getting him in the select group of media personnel that were invited to this world premiere.
The letter, sent Tuesday to Universal and all the major Hollywood film studio publicity departments, calls Billington’s actions “the most clear-cut case of blackmail that I have ever seen.” It calls upon the studios to “sever professional ties to Alex Billington and First Showing. There is no other way to impress upon him that professional adults do not blackmail one another to get what they want.”
Faraci went from drunkenly arguing with Billington at a Hollywood After-party, to joining in an attack that charged Alex with extreme unprofessionalism that was apparently worthy of alienating him from the Industry forever.
If Devin doesn’t make the business decisions at CHUD, as he was more than happy to claim during the Advertorial incident, who did?
Nick Nunziata was Devin’s mentor during this time in his life, and he was the admin and owner of CHUD. Nick stuck by Devin’s side as he spewed toxicity throughout the website’s community. He believed their articles were what mattered the most at the end of the day, so he let Devin’s persona go unchecked. By May 2010, Nick had given Devin administrative privileges over CHUD because Nick’s attention was focused on a site redesign project at the time. Just a few days later, Devin had set down a somewhat stricter set of forum ground rules. It definitely sent a message that nobody should get in his way.
This progressed to the point where Devin was making more money than Nick himself ($3200 a month), and he went as far as to help Faraci move out West. To maintain this, Nick had to sell half the company to a “group overseas” (which I should probably find the name of, note to self). the point is Nick sacrificed a fair chunk of his life in order to keep Devin pleased.
And that’s exactly when Devin dumped Nick. “I won’t be competing with you or doing a movie site,” Faraci said as he went off to work with Tim League and Alamo Drafthouse.
Devin makes this big fuss about something called Fantastic Fest. He went to the event and was tentatively planning to write one last round of reviews for CHUD, but because of a payment dispute Devin elected to put them on Ain’t It Cool News instead.
This incident caused the bitter tensions between Faraci and Nick/CHUD. Devin shared the private situation publicly in the forum thread.
I knew the only way to get to the bottom was asking Nick what happened with Fantastic Fest.
So, my mother handled my books. She had just gotten diagnosed with a Cancer. So she was occupied. In other news she has had it six more times and is in hospice at my house right now with less than a month left. When Devin left he was booked to cover Fantastic Fest. I agreed to pay him for the travel. Mom mailed the check. It never got there. He was furious. She mailed another. It got returned.
Devin Faraci was given a job at CHUD, and he was able to both perfect his craft and grow his career’s reputation thanks to the opportunity Nick Nunziata gave him. Throughout those formative years, he stuck by Faraci as he stirred up controversy and fuss on many occasions. What ended up happening was Devin’s sense of self-importance and ego grew too large to stay any longer.
By October 2010, Badass Digest was revealed, according to this Bloody Disgusting article from the 21st. It’s under the ownership of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and Tim League, a theater chain headquartered in Texas. They’ve got 22 locations throughout various places in the United States.
On the 24th, Edward Champion, a journalist in Brooklyn, had posted Why Devin Faraci is Unfit to Practice Journalism. The blog post analyzes his behavior, and even takes us through the flawed logic of a day’s worth of Faraci’s movie industry articles. The main message that Champion is trying to get across is that Devin Faraci doesn’t conduct himself like a professional journalist, yet demands to be treated with the same respect as such. That, along with a consistent hypocritical double-think mentality, is the beating heart of how things are conducted by him.
The closing quote from the author hits the point home.
“I shudder to think how many additional embarrassments I could find, should I decide to waste my life poring through this sad excuse for a website any longer. In one day, Faraci managed to misinform his readers, mangle the English language, fudge the facts, express casual misogyny, wiggle his sycophantic tongue in response to information he didn’t bother to investigate, get movie titles wrong, encourage his readers to blindly consume concept art that a studio fed him, wallow in nostalgia, and epitomize conformist opportunism at nearly every moment.”
It’s one thing to say these things about an individual. Sure, we could say Edward Champion is “just saying words” here that might not mean anything.
But then Devin Faraci responded in a manner that proved those concerns, down to the letter. A flurry of angry tweets and name-calling that doesn’t do anything to disprove the point that Ed was trying to make in his piece.
The recurring idea that’s worth keeping in mind throughout all this is assessing Faraci’s words versus his actions. There’s no better way to illustrate this point then showing the September 23rd 2012 Fantastic Fest Debate/Boxing Match between Devin and filmmaker Joe Swanberg. The first part of the video is an actual verbal discussion between the two men over a topic, but the second leg of the event has them fighting in the ring.
The central topic of the written debate was over the quality of the Mumblecore film genre (which uses nonprofessional actors and improvisation), which Joe Swanberg focused on in the movies he released. Back in September 2011, Devin wrote a piece titled Joe Swanberg Wants You To Subscribe To His Unwatchable Movies that criticized his way of doing business and work portfolio. The argument that followed was what spurred Tim League into setting up the event that took place that next year.
Devin Faraci is someone who knows how to articulate his thoughts and present them in a formal debate of ideas. He was able to portray that ability in the discussion he had with Swanberg up there on the stage, where it appears he had prepared notes on hand. Providing the set-up to his opponent, Joe’s responses were improvised and off-the-cuff. Whatever Faraci said, he came up with a rebuttal on-the-spot. The transcript is worth a read. But when they step in the ring, the tides turn against Devin. Swanberg’s aptitude at improvisation made him an excellent fighter, and Faraci didn’t have the chance to plan for that.
Badass Digest eventually became BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. As it was explained in a post from May 2015, the reason behind changing the name of the website was because the vulgarity of the phrase “Badass” led to issues when the website was mentioned in other publications. The more well-known the site became, the more frequent this issue had come up. They took on the BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. moniker because it was the name of one of their print magazines, making it an easy fix to branding issues.
Speaking of brands, the editor-in-chief was Devin Faraci himself. “MAYBE HE COULD CHANGE?” You may ask.
With Badass Digest/Birth.Movies.Death, we get more of the same doublethink and hypocrisy. But all is forgiven because Devin was able to hop on whatever popular opinion would score him bonus points within that community.
We should take the time to address that as well. The problem presented this past week with the sexual assault accusations leveled at Devin Faraci was that his words were different than his actions. He initially shamed the Donald Trump tapes about “grabbing them by the pussy,” but he was stopped in his tracks the moment someone had tweeted at him of being guilty of actually doing that. If you take into account Faraci’s “I Am Biased” piece where he explains what he thinks his job is, you get to understand some of the defining principles behind the guy’s work.
This is the point of all film criticism. It isn’t to declare a movie good or bad. It isn’t to be right or wrong. It’s to describe a personal experience with a movie, and that personal experience is based on subjectivity or, in the words of the Batfans, bias.
His Fandom is Broken piece gets meta if you try and apply it back at the author. Devin wrote at the end of May 2016 that fanbases made too many demands on their creators. Faraci makes an attempt to put a huge blanket statement over all the goings-on of the internet, instead of considering the nuances between situations. What that results in, is highly remarkable. By approaching the issue with just the right amount of bluntness in it’s tone he’s able to invoke a spectrum of media responses that has their own take. The Mary Sue said that fandom goes beyond the angry Twitter arguments people have, and it’s what heals the broken things. Fusion said it wasn’t broken, but that there was a race problem. The Daily Dot called harassment more than a fandom problem — that it’s an internet problem.
Devin Faraci might’ve been wrong in his original piece, but he sure got people talking.
But if you want to understand how tone deaf to the public he had gotten at some points, read Faraci’s piece on The Revenant. The movie where Leonardo Di Caprio tortured himself on a regular basis just to get the thing filmed, meant nothing to Faraci. In “I Don’t Care How Hard It Was To Make THE REVENANT,” he calls the feat on par with “prestige episodes of JACKASS.”
- 1.) September 4th, 2012: FrightFest’s Amazingly Offensive ‘Turn Off Your Phones’ Bumper! (So NSFW). An occasion that serves to show Faraci’s glaring lack of situational judgement was when he praised a short amateur PSA video that depicted a man raping a woman’s eye-socket for texting in a movie theater. He directly embedded the video in his article, instead of hyperlinking it safely behind a warning (if you want to see this NSFW video, click here). The hypocrisy against what Devin says his beliefs about women are is one thing, but the amount of gratuitous snuff-film level of sexual violence on display is another. “I won’t even attempt to describe the depraved sickness on display but will simply say how much I love it. LOVE IT,” Faraci says in his piece. Why would Devin want to broadcast this to his audience? Because his friends were involved. The closing section of his article says “The PSA is by Can Evrenol, who is a Fantastic Fest alum,” an event/organization that Devin is also involved with. A colleague of Devin’s, Moviebob, criticized Faraci’s presentation of this.
- 2.) April 4th, 2013: EVIL DEAD 2013 And The Politics Of Tree Rape is when Devin criticized his old boss at CHUD for a controversy involved with an Evil Dead screening. As you can see by the bulletpoint directly above this one, Devin Faraci had applauded a rape scene in a video made by his friends at Fantastic Fest. However when a tumblr post surfaces that criticizes Nick Nunziata’s response to a moviegoer at an Evil Dead screening, saying rape is bad and it shouldn’t be “ranked,” Faraci does an about-face and throws his boss under the bus. “My old boss, Nick Nunziata of CHUD, has already discovered that. He got into a small brouhaha after a free screening of the film — you can read about it here. Nick has said that his joke at the screening was taken out of context in the Tumblr post, and I don’t doubt it, but what he’s missing is that the context of the moviegoing world itself has changed,” he writes. This is coming from Devin Faraci. The same man who said “Made a prison rape joke on ATTACK OF THE SHOW. Feel fulfilled” before.
- 3.) September 17th, 2013: Stop the online film blogging community, I want to get off! is a website post by theshiznit.co.uk that describes two situations that happened in the film critic community within the same week. A WhatCulture! writer was apparently plagiarizing their work, and then a JoBlo writer posted “a feature comparing the breasts of two underage actresses,” according to the author. Both the question of accountability, and the tight-knit nature of this group of film critics, is revealed when the author explains that Devin Faraci brought it to their attention as the result of a Twitter argument. He had just happened to get in an argument with a colleague of the author, someone named Matt. Matt had written a piece for totalfilm.com that attracted the infamous Faraci’s ire, and the argument had quickly devolved into Devin saying Matt should be fired. If you want to see the scuffle between the two, you can find it over yonder. The main point as to why this is important is that everyone’s interactions online in this part of the net seem to have a way of rippling out through the community at large. Devin wasn’t even directly involved with the JoBlo incident or the WhatCulture! plagiarism, but his sphere of influence had expanded to the point where it had made it’s way into these places anyway.
- 4.) March 19th, 2014: Zachary Levi’s NERD HQ Raising $1Million To Throw Comic Con Parties was the time that Devin Faraci was bothered that Zachary Levi was raising money to put on an event. Levi’s Nerd HQ organization needed to raise one million dollars in order to pay for the show, and they turned to indiegogo to do it. Faraci’s argument that he tried to present was that the whole ordeal was “some sort of scam” because money from the indiegogo campaign was specifically for helping make the event happen, and not going directly to charity immediately. What Devin fails to properly express in his piece is that the show itself raises money that goes to charity. He does this by using selective quoting. This is what Faraci quotes from the indiegogo page — “This part is very important. We want to make it very clear that the money you are contributing for Nerd HQ is not going to charity. The funds raised here will pay for the production of Nerd HQ in San Diego this July.” But this is what Devin leaves out. “100% of the money raised by the “Conversations,” auction items, photos, and signings will continue to be donated to Operation Smile.” His tweets on the matter also avoid mentioning that point.
- 5.) May 17th/18th 2016: Ghostbusters. Despite Devin’s initial reluctance towards a third Ghostbusters movie, after the long hiatus between the first two films — he jumped right on board with the reboot project. Due to the fact that it was recasted with women in the lead roles, Devin was more than happy to write articles painting it as a sexism and misogyny issue. But he still managed to cross the line when he attacked The Angry Video Game Nerd, calling him a “limp dick loser” due to the fact James Rolfe refused to see the movie, or be a part of the romped-up controversy surrounding the film in the weeks leading up to it’s release. I highly recommend you check out the thread of replies to that tweet, as it shows that Devin’s ability to sway people to whatever argument he made, was wearing thin. He didn’t even care enough to use the guy’s real name in the piece he did.
Those are just a few of the biggest ordeals that happened with Devin Faraci over the years. However that’s certainly not the end to the amount of controversial things he’s said. We’re going to need a whole separate section when we take a tour of his Twitter meltdowns.
When Devin Faraci joined Twitter in July 2008, that was the first tweet he made. What do we learn in that one, single tweet? He sees himself as a sort of comedian who shouldn’t be taken seriously, even when it comes to important topics. Faraci also hungered for some sort of company and notoriety. He was the same guy that he was back in his makeoutclub days, and during his years at CHUD.
What changed was the setting. A social media network like Twitter wasn’t as niche as his old hangouts were. He didn’t just have movie buffs reading what he said anymore, Devin had the potential to reach the whole wide world. But in the end, Twitter was Ground Zero for Devin Faraci’s public behavior.
These are some of the most notorious cases of him going off the handle.
The case of Greg Cwik could’ve ended up looking like “just a troll” of Faraci, but there’s an actual recorded instance of them being civil to one another. Some sort of discussion about Hipster Christmas Ornaments in December 2014.
The feud between these two didn’t start until February 3rd of 2015. Cwik responded to a tweet by Faraci, debating the purpose of what a critic’s main focus should be. He keeps the discussion to a fair enough sounding tone. But Devin Faraci’s replies to the innocuous tweet turn sour real quick, praising Greg for “not killing himself,” judging Cwik as a person based solely on the interests of his Twitter account. That confrontation ended up tarnishing Greg’s disposition towards Devin Faraci forever.
On August 19th 2015, Faraci attacked John Gary on Twitter. With the apparent intent of “destroying” him, Faraci urged Gary to commit suicide and offered to financially support the man’s wife. He wasn’t exactly just some online troll either. Being both a screenwriter and having involvement in the Gaming Industry (wrote things for Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor), Gary deserves to be treated with a level of professional dignity for that alone.
If you were to question if Faraci and Gary had a known history, you’d be treated to some previous encounters the duo had. Back in May 2013 Gary had tweeted a polite quip/bit of feedback to Faraci in which the response was to call him a “useless asshole” and “failing filmmaker” in a reply to another guy. Faraci revved up his dogpile machine in December 2014, instructing his tens of thousands of followers to all “tell @johngary that an exec disliking a critic isn’t exactly a bad thing,” a tweet which no doubt led to an avalanche in Gary’s direction.
In comes feedback geared toward Faraci’s career, out comes Devin’s counterattack that goes below the belt.
The next day, he confesses that he had too much to drink, and appears unable to recall the incident. Devin brushes off the incident, saying there was “no damage done” as a result of his behavior (the tweets are shown in the picture below, but the full archives in case you wanted to see the whole discussion are here. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
He’s also denied the attack on John Gary in the first place, claiming it never occurred at all. But as you can see by this archive (and this one and that one and here too), that’s incorrect. It did happen.
When the sex assault scandal came to light, he offered his own words. (mini archive)
Some people have reached out to me, asking if I feel vindicated or relieved about all the revelations about Devin and him stepping down. I don’t feel anything good. I feel awful for the women Devin has abused over the years. I feel sad that he was such a terrible bully. I feel terrible for the others at BMD, who have to pick up the pieces of his destruction. I feel bad for his family. But mostly I come back to the people Devin has physically assaulted over the years, and I feel for them.
This article would not paint a complete picture of Faraci’s online behavior if it did not take the time to mention GamerGate. What he decided to do was shake that beehive and get their attention by making obscene and extreme statements.
He made the choice to paint a portion of the gaming community as “terrorists” (claiming extreme comparisons to ISIS, KKK, and the mob), and later claimed stripping the identities of people’s online profiles was the best thing to do. But on other occasions, Devin Faraci trivializes the real-life identities of people. He insulted a disabled woman’s appearance and claimed she was really a man.
Over at Badass Digest, it was open season on GamerGate slamming. Not only did Devin publish pieces on it calling them “young angry white nerds,” and that by October 2014 they had “already lost” somehow. He also incorporated his Twitter hyperbole into it by writing about how Superman defeated the Ku Klux Clan (and why he should defeat GamerGate). When Devin wasn’t behind the pieces, he had others step in to take over the coverage. Andrew Todd connected a video game called Hatred to the movement, shoehorned the topic into things like Blizzard announcements, and kept tabs on wherever GamerGate happened to show up online.
Here’s the whole list of articles for anyone that’s curious about it. The furthest I’d be willing to ask is was it all necessary? Was it worth it for Faraci to throw his hat into that ring?
Whichever way you fall into the GamerGate controversy, Devin Faraci’s judgement is still questionable. Whatever legitimate points that the people who opposed GamerGate wanted to get across, the hyperbole did more harm than good. Devin publishing an email from a concerned reader, publicly mocking them and breaking any boundary of confidentiality, doesn’t reflect well either.
Jonathan Daniel Brown
Faraci’s exploits distracted people from the core issues of GamerGate. The drama he drummed up was a byproduct of his own reputation, and that’s proven by his public feud with Jonathan Daniel Brown. Brown is an actor who had roles on Project X and Kid Cannibis. When we take a step back to look at the context and bigger picture between these two, we get a better idea of what’s going on. Since mid 2013, Faraci and Brown have interacted on-and-off, discussing current events and making small talk. It’s clearly established that the two are familiar with each other, and aren’t strangers.
The last time Devin directly talked about Jonathan Daniel Brown was on May 26 2015. He discloses the fact that the actor is indeed his neighbor, and he labels him as a “snitch” in regards to something involving his upstairs neighbors.
Overall, the reaction by Devin fits the same pattern of how he deals with things. Despite what he claims in May 2015, Brown’s concerns about Faraci are justified based on the public humiliation that Devin unleashed on Brown in the months prior.
Is it any surprise that mentality drove Brown towards siding with GamerGate in June 2015? People like Devin Faraci didn’t do any favors for that.
Brown solidified his stance in 2016 in a speech that indicates his thoughts about the state of the Film Industry and their critics were. (archive of tweets).
The fact is, there’s a rotten clique of bloggers, failed filmmakers, & other bullies who spend their days making life hell for artists. They were exposed in the games industry when #Gamergate started last year, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for these creeps.
The blogging clique that’s ruining film: @DrewAtHitFix: Posts social justice screeds while trolling Ashley Madison, @DevinCF: Serial bully
Anyway, #Gamergate was right. @FINALLEVEL was right. The press is the enemy of artists worldwide. They do not have our backs. What the critics want and what the fans want are two entirely different things. The critics have an agenda. If you defy it, they attack.
Want to know what happened to him after he spoke up for what he believed in? Jonathan Daniel Brown’s family was threatened, and a series of emails indicates the level of intimidation he was receiving privately. If people in the Film Critic community like Drew McWeeny thought forcing Brown’s parents into an internet argument was appropriate, what lengths does he go to intimidate people into silence for other things?
This is what these people will do to cover their actions up.
So you made it through the GamerGate section in one piece. Remember, some people believe that GamerGate was about harassing women in the gaming industry. But what if Devin Faraci was seen doing the same thing in Film?
That’s what happened between him and Lexi Alexander. She came to Faraci’s attention since Punisher: War Zone back in 2008, but he managed to keep the flames of his spite alive for eight solid years. By November 2014, he had gotten into an argument with Lexi over her views on piracy. Devin called Lexi an unsuccessful filmmaker, and he ended up making a big scene about blocking her over a fat joke. You’d think that would’ve been the end of it, but blocking someone on Twitter doesn’t disqualify you from Devin’s spotlight of rabid fandom. When Lexi Alexander got a directing gig with the show Arrow, Devin openly advocated for the torrenting theft of her work, going on to call her a “legitimate lunatic” at one point. When Lexi Alexander was invited to the Academy, Devin wanted to sabotage her chances of being a part of that.
Full catalog of Devin tweets is available here for this one.
Kevin Smith is a highly respected member of the Film Industry. He got his footing and claim to fame through a series of independent films: Mallrats, Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Chasing Amy were movies that grew a cult-classic level of following. Taking things a step further, Kevin went on to found film distribution company SModcast Pictures and have a foundation to put out more of his content through that. Currently you can follow along with him on his AMC reality show Comic Book Men, which takes place in Smith’s comic book shop in New Jersey.
It’s one of the oldest feuds of Faraci’s whole career, spanning all the way back from his days at CHUD up through this year. In his articles alone, Devin calls Kevin “Anne Frank”, a “hypocrite”, and had a tendency to take the piss whenever he got the chance. That tune didn’t change when Faraci went to Badass Digest either.
The best place to see that tirade going on long term is by Devin’s tweets about him. The lack of professionalism that comes through in his tweets is nothing but overbearing on not just Kevin Smith, but the pot-shots taken at his fanbase as well. Most of the time, it was just aimed at making feel everyone involved bad in general. If Kevin makes one bad movie, Devin’s rule of thumb is that it must hang over Smith’s head for the rest of eternity. He apparently shouldn’t be allowed to have the opportunity to just enjoy what he does, and his fanbase should feel ashamed for supporting his work. Supposedly.
Here’s an archive of the hits made against Kevin Smith.
One of the most damaging Twitter feuds of them all was with Damon Lindelof. He’s a notable writer and producer in the TV and Film industry, best known for being the co-creator of LOST. According to Hollywood Reporter, Devin Faraci is the reason Lindelof quit Twitter.
The name Devin Faraci may not be a household one, but the mere mention of it is enough to send Damon Lindelof into a full-blown anxiety attack.
Lindelof, one of Hollywood’s most successful film and television writer-producers, admitted in a 2015 podcast that Faraci, a 42-year-old film blogger, “has been trolling me incessantly for the majority of my career. This guy owes me, like, $40,000 in therapy bills.”
Lindelof was not exaggerating. In fact, it was Faraci’s relentless criticism of the Lost creator (“Devin. I get it. Please stop,” Lindelof once pleaded on Twitter) that eventually pushed the once-enthusiastic tweeter off of the social-media platform.
While we can’t see Lindelof’s tweets anymore, Devin’s side of the conversation still exists online. In that stack of tweets, we see Faraci held the ending of LOST over Lindelof’s head for three straight years. The show may have ended in 2010, but Devin was stilling harping on it in 2012 (and 2013). When that wore itself thin, he transitioned to steamrolling Damon’s work with Prometheus afterward.
If one were to guess as to the breaking point of Damon Lindelof’s tolerance of Faraci, it probably happened on May 20th, 2013.
Devin Faraci has accumulated 100,000 tweets over the past decade he’s had a Twitter account. The incidents depicted above are just a few of the many, many encounters people have had with him over that time.
Putting It Together.
What happens from here? Birth.Movies.Death. had people other than Devin working there, so they’re determined to keep themselves going forward as a website. According to their “State of Birth.Movies.Death.” statement post:
I’m sure many of you have heard that Devin has stepped down as Editor-in-Chief of Birth.Movies.Death. I’m here to assure you that the site and magazine will continue, with a team of smart, passionate writers dedicated to bringing you the best in pop culture news and conversation today. Devin built this site into something we’re proud to continue and grow in his absence.
We are a community, and you are a crucial part of that community. We’re eager to move forward, together, with all of you.
But the case of Devin Faraci stretched on for at least a decade, if not longer. It’ll take some time for the Film community to adapt to all this. This was a wake-up call to them that something wrong was going on in their neck of the woods.
Elisabeth Rappe left film writing entirely, and went into Animal Medicine afterward. She makes the reasoning for that in a series of tweets made around the time the Faraci assault allegations were coming out of the woodwork. (It’s safer for me to just directly quote what she said, but the archives of the tweets are here)
Oh, is Twitter a safe place to admit how rapey film blogger culture is? Let’s just say there was a reason I was labeled “difficult.” One reason was because I wanted decent pay and a measure of respect. The other was because I wouldn’t fuck various editors. It’s always fun, after you politely turn down fellow writers, even in the friendly intoxicated evenings, being shunned and snubbed forever. It got around that I “fucked” the guy I politely turned down. Everyone thought they had a fair shot then. Even now, I don’t even want to name names. It’s just going to be called sour grapes, or that I’m bitter. It’s done. Infer if you like. I can’t not be bitter. I ended up cleaning toilets after being labeled “difficult.” And enjoy a “Why did you quit?” convo once a week. I didn’t quit. Did I have some emotional problems at the time? Sure. I’m prickly, yes. But I never failed to *work.* I never threatened anyone with physical harm. Never sexually harassed or accosted. Men who did are still writing, and successfully so. And that’s what’s been hard. Seeing “oh poor [x], hope a site hires him!” when he’s someone who called you up saying “gimme a blowjob j/k!!” Protip — like Nice Guys, men don’t have to say they’re feminist. They show it. If they’re saying it, skeletons are swinging in the closet. So yeah. Anyway. It was a fun gig when it lasted. Luckily, I have brains and a lot of interests to remake myself in a new life.
But we need to address Devin’s insecurities of himself too. That’s what dictated his actions. He wanted to appease both his readers and the studios that gave him exclusive access to behind the scenes stuff at the same time, and Devin never picked one or the other to focus on. He decided to try and appease everyone, and that ended up with him making everyone dissatisfied eventually.
Someone on CHUD predicted this all the way back in February 2009, and he was somehow able to predict Devin Faraci’s future here.
I’m going to spend some time on this, so those interested in something more than a snarky response, I hope you follow along, because I want to have a serious discussion about what I consider to be hypocritical frivolity. I want to talk about what real issue is here, and why it isn’t being implicitly mentioned by Devin.
My entire professional and educational life has been involved in some form of journalism. Parallel to that, I have been a film geek for just as long if not longer. I walk along both rails, as I suspect more than a few in here also do.
For the record, I graduated with a B.A.J. in Journalism. Worked on newspaper staffs throughout my education. Decided that newspapers were not for me, I decided before graduation that I would hop over to the Dark Side, officially known as Public Relations/Advertising. From there, I was fortunate enough to get a job working for a medium, but well-respected PR/Ad Agency. It was here, I grew closely acquainted with THE EMBARGO.
On the other side of things, I have been tied to the internet since it’s inception as what we know as the World Wide Web. Like many with similar interests, I found Ain’t It Cool News in 1996, and I was instantly hooked. AICN was absolute CRACK for film geeks. In fact, I would go as far as to argue that the site changed the face of the film community, on both the fan and production side. The spy reports from Batman and Robin CHANGED THE GAME. I don’t need to rehash the story, because the only thing I am interested in within the context of this discussion are the principals of online film journalism.
What made AICN even remotely interesting were the spy reports. Giving geeks access to information that was previously hidden from them. The entire point was to stand up against “THE MAN” and give fans the insight into what it is that interested them most: All things film, and all things genre…before anyone else knew it.
This is no longer the landscape of internet film journalism. Primarily because the film studios got smart…very smart. Instead of trying to combat this new phenomenon, they decided to include the peddlers into the process. Given that the people who ran the Web sites were just simple film geeks, most without any semblance of journalistic background, training or ethics, it was beyond simple to tempt these poor souls with engineered nuggets of information through set visits, junket invitations and other all-expenses paid gifts.
He tells you that this action will come back to haunt online journalists because flacks will blame them for breaking embargoes.
Here’s what he is NOT telling you: He’s afraid to lose access.
This is more about him than it is about serving you, the public. The reality is that if Devin is shut out of a screening or junket, you and I will still get our news. We will still get everything we want to know about everything we love about film…just from someone else.
And hey, if the studios shut out all the movie sites…then we’ll go back to the true spy network that made us love these sites in the first place.
Devin, you just want to stay relevant, I understand that. But just because you and the studios revel in the same hypocrisy, don’t think it extends to the readership.
Do your job and deliver the news by any means necessary. Do you think for one minute that any great investigative journalist has EVER bitched to their readership about an embargo? No, because IT’S NOT THEIR JOB.
Your job is to deliver content, we don’t care how you get it, and we don’t care how you do it, just so long as it is honest and timely.
It’s high time you figure out what your place in all of this is, and who your real master is: The studios or your readership.
Faraci failed to follow through with the responsibility that came with the power and authority that he had with critics. Possibly motivated by the guilt of his own behavior, he put on the altruistic feminist facade as a way of atonement for himself. But conversely, that motivation could’ve been selfish instead. By adapting to the changes in political climate and putting on a big show of bravado, he could bring in more readers and get more clicks.
Devin always thought he knew better than anyone else, but he also assigned himself different standards than the ones he held everyone else to.
Devin Faraci is an alcoholic. According to dictionary.com, the definition of that is:
a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, the development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing intake, morbidity that may include cirrhosis of the liver, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally.
If you wanted a catalyst for his judgement and behavior, look no further than Faraci’s tweets about booze. It goes back to the far back of Faraci’s Twitter account since 2008 and 2009. The records of his own tweets indicate when and where this would take place, and occur on a regular basis up through this year. Then it just keeps on coming up. Not only would he get drunk while on the job, it extended into his tweets online, and interactions he had with others for the rest of his day (parties and so forth). “I no longer wake up from a drunk night to find dodgy texts to girls. I wake up from drunk nights to find Amazon shipment notifications,” he once tweeted. Devin was aware of his problem and he felt the need to apologize for it, every so often. But it was just considered an aspect of who he was. It was all just a big joke to him.
If you want to see Devin intoxicated, he goes as far as to tweet photos of himself when he’s drunk. Whenever Faraci traveled places, there was always the chance he’d talk about how hammered he’d get when he was there.
It begs the question if Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse is accountable for the alcoholic antics of Devin Faraci. They met nearly a decade ago at Fantastic Fest, and League decided to formally recruit Devin for Badass Digest by 2010. In some of the content and video programming done for the website, Faraci is filmed in this state of inebriation (on more than one occasion). Devin goes as far as to tweet when Tim is drunk as well, if anyone wanted to guess why the issue was addressed for this long.
Some might think this alcoholic problem is a thing of the past, and Faraci was able to get his act together at some point. While the collection of tweets related to booze subsides a little in recent years, there’s still examples of it coming up. Like with John Gary’s situation. It was a known issue.
But I have the opportunity to let someone else’s commentary on Devin Faraci better address all this than I ever could.
Max Landis, and his observations and tweets about Faraci, give some great insight. This past July, Faraci had said he wanted to hire more women and POC writers to his website. In response, people decided to spotlight some of the hypocritical moments of his career. When it comes to explaining how that happened — Landis hits the nail on the head (full archive for context).
You’re getting spoofed brutally for expressing hypocritical and offensive opinions online. The facts are there. Sometimes it’s best to just acknowledge your faults instead of trying to make the people attacking you look like villains. they’re mad because you were extremely rude, condescending and dismissive to someone taking issue with something you’ve said. Don’t get me wrong, being rude and condescending is often my first kneejerk response too. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. But you standing by it and trying to change the conversation to turn them into sexist racists is making it worse. It helps to treat everyone like a person, even if you disagree with them. It sucks to get swarmed. But it’s funny, too.
That’s all there is to it.
Despite any amount of hard work that Devin was able to do, the way he acted online and the public opinion of him over time led to this result. The cost of being provacative and outrageous on a routine basis is that people tend to remember that negativity more easily. It’s not to say that such behavior is always a bad thing, but when it’s taken to the extent that someone is able to write a 10,000 word article analyzing that pattern of interaction (and then some), maybe Devin Faraci went a bit too far.
Devin Faraci started out as an online lurker and pop culture enthusiast. With a bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time, he planted his roots at the CHUD website and sprung his career up with the backing of that community behind him. People like seeing internet drama, but they don’t enjoy participating in it themselves. The mainstream media has been dependent on that to keep us engaged. It has led to an age of unprecedented fear and concern about ourselves. Being kind and polite to one another, even if you disagree on things it goes a long way. We’re all human. Seeing Devin clash his personality against others in the Film Industry served as a form of entertainment, and Mr. Faraci honed that skill alongside his abilities to articulate his arguments and critique.
But as we saw through his leaving of CHUD and the associated controversy within that, Devin had forgotten how to treat people as people. They became another topic to criticize. That set the stage for how he conducted himself on Twitter and at Badass Digest. His persona in his articles leaked into the rest of his traits, and it became a juggling act of trying to keep everyone pleased. The internet began to leave a paper trail. In a position of power and authority in the community, his own fanbase went to war with him whenever he did. His followers helped maintain his image so he could continue doing whatever he saw fit. They looked up to Devin Faraci as a role model, and emulated how he acted. But they didn’t understand the flaws of that nature. Devin had to continue putting on this abrasive tone and voice, because that’s what people wanted.
Devin Faraci’s downfall was himself. What happened last week was bound to happen eventually.
If you want to actually do something about violence against women and make the world a better place, donate to a local shelter (here’s one I found, if you don’t know where to look). We might not be able to stop people like Devin Faraci from their behaviors, but we can certainly help those that are affected.
Women are harassed & assaulted through any possible point in their life. They can’t always speak up.
Actions speak louder than any words.