AUSTIN: Tech Executive Fired After Assaulting Wife

Photo: Engineering team of Austin-based tech company Rooster Teeth, with Vice President Michael Jonathan Quinn (pictured third from the left holding paper), who was recently arrested and charged with aggravated assault and fired from the company this month

By Serena Ayers

On November 24, Austin-based tech company Rooster Teeth announced that Vice President Michael Jonathan Quinn was no longer employed, following the revelation that he had been charged with second degree aggravated assault earlier this month.

On November 8, Quinn was taken into custody by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office after his wife filed a police report accusing him of brutally beating and strangling her. She claimed in her police report that Quinn had beaten her on a weekly basis and strangled her many times before.

Michael Jonathan Quinn’s mugshot from this month

In the final incident before going to the police, Quinn’s wife said he punched her repeatedly, slammed her hand in a door, struck her in the head with a three-hole-punch, and threatened to kill and bury her in their backyard. His wife told deputies that when Quinn was strangling her, “It was a death grip. I thought I was going to die.” Quinn has been released on a $100,000 bond.

Although Quinn has been fired from his position at Rooster Teeth, the tech industry as a whole has a history of misogyny. The tech industry is dominated by men, and a culture of sexism remains largely unchecked. Beyond gender bias and hiring disparities, women in tech-related fields have repeatedly reported being sexually harassed by bosses and coworkers, and their claims are regularly swept under the rug. Women are often forced to leave their jobs as the only recourse after continued harassment.

This sexist culture extends to the gaming consumer base as well. In 2014, the #GamerGate controversy involved male gamers claiming that there was a hidden, feminist political agenda being smuggled into video games, media, and gamer culture. Calls for inclusion and equality in media were followed by a backlash and harassment campaign on various social media platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and 4Chan.

In the fallout, women game developers were doxxed (having their personal information including legal names and addresses posted publicly) and received violent threats from gamers who believed the medium was and should be primarily for men. Since then, anti-women sentiments have only increased on message boards and chatrooms, with many former “Gamergaters” evolving into nihilistic Alt-Right and fascist elements, most notably internet personalities Milo Yiannopoulos and Ian Miles Cheong.

Many of the mass shooters in the last few years were young white men with strong ties to 4Chan, Gab, and r/pol, reactionary websites popular among socially isolated gamers, where violence against women and oppressed nations people is encouraged and celebrated.

The crimes of Michael Jonathan Quinn are just one example of the reality behind these reactionary fantasies. The misogynistic culture of the tech and video game industry feeds off the exploitative nature of capitalism. Quinn walks free today thanks to the immense wealth he accumulated as a capitalist. Sexism, misogyny, and violence against women must be combatted as part of the larger revolutionary movement to overthrow US imperialism.