GameSpot Responds to Gerstmann-gate; Fired Editor Defends Review

Home » Retro Gaming » GameSpot Responds to Gerstmann-gate; Fired Editor Defends Review

They often say in politics that when you are in a hole, stop digging. Evidently the folks at CNET never got the memo. Today, the parent company of GameSpot went into damage control over the firing of Jeff Gerstmann, which threatens the company’s credibility as a reliable source for gaming information.

As we reported last night in our Winners and Losers column, GameSpot fired their 11 year veteran over a review score that the management disagreed with. The game in question, Kane and Lynch, received a 6 out of 10 from Gerstmann, roughly in line with mainstream opinion of 6.8 according to CNET owned GameRankings. The only problem for GameSpot was that Eidos was paying for an advertising campaign on their site when they sacked Gerstmann for his overly critical review.

CNET responded to the accusations in the media today by denying any wrongdoing. “Due to legal constraints and the company policy of GameSpot parent CNET Networks, details of Gerstmann’s departure cannot be disclosed publicly. However, contrary to widespread and unproven reports, his exit was not a result of pressure from an advertiser,” they said.

“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.”

Without Gerstmann’s confirmation, it may never become known what exactly these “internal reasons” were. As we stated yesterday, the facts are clear. Gerstmann gave Kane and Lynch a 6 out of 10, Eidos was running an advertising campaign on GameSpot with full page banners, reports surfaced that he was fired over his review, his video review of the game was taken down, the text version was edited and both Gerstmann and GameSpot have confirmed that he is no longer employed by them.

Despite the lack of a firm response in regards to his firing, Gerstmann gave Joystiq an exclusive interview in which he defended his review. “Losing a job you’ve held for over 11 years in an abrupt manner is shocking, yes,” he said. “I stand behind my work, regardless of where I do it… I’m not really sure what I want to do next,” he said, leaving open the possibility of game development and returning to writing.

As for the review in question, GameSpot has since edited it and taken down the video review. Some sites have it uploaded, including YouTube, but I would not be surprised if GameSpot starts targeting them with legal threats. As for now, it is still up on DailyMotion.com where you can view it and judge for yourself. One thing is clear: this story will not go away for a while.


Leave a Reply