INTERVIEW: Who is Alison Prime?: Gamer Posts Family Plight, Fake Internet Persona Ousted

Source: Another Castle

Steve Polk, better known as Alison Prime in gaming circles, actively assumed his online “gamer girl” persona in September 2014. What started as a way for Polk to escape life swiftly came crashing down on November 5, 2015, as internet sleuths discovered he isn’t a twenty-something cancer and abuse surviving woman, but a thirty-something man.

No one enjoys being had, but after a bevy of bogus, self-serving ‘GoFundMe‘ campaigns, it seems like the gaming community has been affected more than others. Unfortunately for Polk, after being ousted online, he still has to face the reality of spending the next six months living in a hotel room with his relatively large family, as they wait for their lives to be rebuilt.

Another Castle: First and foremost, you lied. You lied to a massive audience of more than 6,000 followers on Twitter daily, only to further an agenda that the gaming community already struggles to find legitimacy in, and has, ultimately, pushed the cause several steps back again. Can you explain your line of thinking?

Steve Polk: Honestly, my Alison Prime persona was really who I am online. I am disappointed in myself. I feel ashamed that I lied to so many people and destroyed so many people’s trust.

After my father passed away in 2009, I assumed the online user name of Alison Prime as a way to escape reality. It was who I was online. I did as much as I could to keep my real life and online life separate. I’m a nobody in real life, and my online persona made me feel good about going through each day.

Another Castle: Online anonymity itself isn’t necessarily damning, but the fact that you assumed the role of a “survivor” is, in itself, disturbing. Millions of men and women suffer from abuse and struggle to live their day-to-day lives, not to mention that you included that you were a “cancer survivor”. Pardon my bluntness, but that’s pretty despicable. You not only took legitimacy away from the gaming journalism ethics cause — #GamerGate — but also from cancer and abuse survivors. How did claiming your online persona was a survivor further your attempted agenda?

Steve Polk: Alison Prime was pieced together by a real life friend of mine. Everything in that profile was about my friend, that includes being a survivor. She was thrown from a car by her abusive ex and survived cancer at age 9. She is someone I look up to. She’s brave and strong; she’s someone I wanted to be. So I adopted her as part of myself.

The photos are of another friend of mine who allowed me to use the images as long as I made her a “tit obsessed lesbian”. The cosplay photos were ones I found that looked exactly like her to aid in my persona’s legitimacy.

In that way, Alison Prime is real. She’s not someone you can meet in real life, but she’s bits and pieces of real people. The harassment that I was comfortable sharing is real. I stand behind Alison Prime’s views and opinions because not only do I firmly believe in them, but they came from hardcore gaming women I know in real life.

Both of those friends are aware of my account and the persona. Both encouraged me to put an end to it, and I planned on doing so when #GamerGate ended. However, a year later, it’s still going strong. On top of that, I was afraid of the SJW’s reaction; I was afraid for my family. They struggle to get by already, I didn’t want them involved with my activism.

Another Castle: It’s pretty hypocritical of you to start an entire online persona in an asinine effort to increase ethics in journalism, while you were being incredibly unethical.

Steve Polk: I understand that. I really fucked up. I lied to everyone when all I was trying to do was increase awareness of consumer unfriendly journalism. I was and am appalled at this false narrative they’ve built. My year within the #GamerGate community has been nothing but pleasant, despite the narrative they attempt.

Another Castle: Now that the cat’s out of the bag, so to say, how can you rebuild faith in the gaming community, in any way, that you’re not a terrible person? Where do you go from here?

Steve Polk: I can’t. I lied to people I’ve come to care about. I tried to cover those lies with more lies, and as a result, I ended up hurting my mother as she attempts to rebuild the family’s lives. I didn’t want any of that money and I didn’t want any handouts. I only wanted to help my family. But at this point, I can’t convince anyone otherwise. All the people I really loved are gone and I don’t blame them. I hope someday they can forgive me.

Another Castle: In the end, you were forced out of hiding by a ‘GoFundMe’ campaign. This said campaign stated that your family of 9 have been displaced due to a devastating house fire, which, before it was removed, accumulated more than $9,000 in less than a day. Perhaps the most aggravating aspect of this entire situation is the fact that the community feels it can no longer trust you. How can you prove the legitimacy of your family’s plight?

Steve Polk: It’s not that the community doesn’t believe that Steve Polk’s house burned down, that’s not disputed. I wanted to keep my family away from my activism work, but I was desperate to get them some help. Two ‘GoFundMe’ campaigns were set-up, but neither were set-up by me. One was set-up by my brother’s friend and the other was set-up by my other brother’s high school. The campaign that I shared was pulled.

Another Castle: Flat out, your integrity is gone and the community has turned their backs on you. Still, you plan on attempting to make amends, mostly for your family’s sake.

Steve Polk: To everyone I’ve hurt: I know you think I’m a horrible person and I feel like one. I tried to cover a lie with more lies because I felt like Alison Prime was the only thing I had left. When they found out, I still tried to lie to those closest to me and I can’t fully express how ashamed I am. After my dad passed, Alison Prime helped me get back on my feet, and I needed that again after the fire. I needed an escape. I needed to stop being me for a while.

I thought that my persona would do some good, but all it did was hurt those closest to me. I didn’t want anything in return. I was prideful. It literally took losing everything for me to swallow my pride and ask for help. After my mom’s astonishment at everyone’s kindness with the campaign and gaining hope for the future, I still don’t know how I’m going to tell her. About the campaign. About Alison Prime.

Another Castle: Was it worth it?

Steve Polk: In regards to hurting people, no. But in regards to all the people that the hashtag has helped, yes. I never wanted to use my following to promote myself. I only wanted to use it to promote others. I know I’m never going to be able to rebuild any of these friendships and I hope #GamerGate won’t suffer for my mistakes.

 

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Categories: Interviews

Author:Jen

Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Another Castle | Twitter: @ComradeJen

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17 Comments on “INTERVIEW: Who is Alison Prime?: Gamer Posts Family Plight, Fake Internet Persona Ousted”

  1. Literallycheese
    11/05/2015 at 4:36 PM #

    “outed”

  2. 11/05/2015 at 4:37 PM #

    Steve, I’m glad you have finally come clean. I truly feel horrible about what happened to you and your family. Steve, you just need to own this, realize that it was very unhealthy and move on with your life. I don’t think you are the only person out there with a false online persona that has gotten out of control. It’s going to be a tough stretch, but just see it as a chance to better yourself, and focus on helping your family.

  3. lin
    11/05/2015 at 4:45 PM #

    Out of curiosity, can this story be updated with his real photo? His name and address are already out there so he can’t be doxed.

  4. Big Guy
    11/05/2015 at 4:45 PM #

    dark men tongue my behind

  5. 11/05/2015 at 4:53 PM #

    @lin — We discussed it and Steve forwarded an image to use, however, I didn’t feel comfortable about posting it. I think it would be best for Steve to do so on his own.

  6. Ben Dalton
    11/05/2015 at 5:06 PM #

    Did it ever for once occur to you that shouting “I AM A REAL GIRL” in a movement rife with gender politics was going to get you and your reputation as burned as your house now is?

    That being said, sorry to hear about the calamity. I hope, rather than begging for money with a false persona, you and your family can pick up the pieces and move on and make something positive come of this.

    Please sober up. Recessing into creating a fictional girl and having her “perform” for you is the weird crap that charlatans like McIntosh are running their mouths about all the time.

    Forgiven. But please don’t do it again.

  7. 11/05/2015 at 5:25 PM #

    I can handle the persona, but he needed to say something before it got this big. There is a lot of damage done, and not much is going to fix that.

  8. 11/05/2015 at 5:33 PM #

    Steve, if you’re reading these comments, I have some questions. Why did you choose to make your fake online persona a woman? I know you say you wanted to escape from reality, but you could have escaped reality by pretending to be a different guy. You specifically chose to be a woman, though. I’m curious why that is. Is it that you felt you got certain privileges as a woman that you wouldn’t have gotten as a man, or is it a transgendered thing, or is it something else?

    Also, you said that the reason you kept the facade going for so long is that you didn’t want to make GamerGate look bad. Why couldn’t you have just stopped using the account and made “Alison Prime” quietly go away without ever bringing any attention to the fact that she was never real in the first place? That way you could have ended the lie without hurting GamerGate’s reputation. Why did you need to continue posting under your fake persona and misleading people in order to not make GamerGate look bad?

  9. Firecross
    11/05/2015 at 7:02 PM #

    Gynocentrism at its finest. Knew they could get more sympathy and legitimacy if they posed as a woman. If this was a guy who opened a gofundme campaign he would probably have 10 donations and get told to man up and carry his family back to their feet.

    Claiming to be a woman grants you special privileges from men who are thirsty and you become apart of the female collective(girl power and YOU GO GRRL) cliques that come with female ingroup preference.

  10. No Harm Done
    11/05/2015 at 7:52 PM #

    Don’t worry, GamerGate never had any legitimacy to begin with, so none was taken away. He’s as pure and ethical as Milo and the rest.

  11. 11/05/2015 at 8:00 PM #

    I have to give a thumbs up for coming clean; you’re obviously an intelligent empathetic person, but I think Twitter is not the therapy you need.

  12. Tom Raft
    11/05/2015 at 9:41 PM #

    What you did was extremely selfish and hurts the many real women who support GamerGate and wanted to remain anonymous, people will not trust them and you have given ammunition to idiots who claim women who support GG are all sockpuppets. People will doubt the authenticity of real women who support the movement thanks to your actions.

    You are right, that is unforgivable.

  13. Vom
    11/06/2015 at 12:58 AM #

    what a hilarious story.. you just can’t make this stuff up. This person was an actual #GamerGate sock-puppet. Looks like Tim Schafer…was right

  14. oxayotl
    11/06/2015 at 4:41 AM #

    It is both funny and sad to see people here commenting on how the horrible thing he did was made Gamergate look bad. They do not care about his house being burned, or him in general, they care about the legitimacy of a movement that had none to begin with. Will they actually apologize to Tim Schafer who was right all along? Nope. They will just stay in denial and pretend he was the only one ever. He was just the only one for which the outing was so open, because he became a GamerGate e-celeb.

    Tim Schafer was right!

  15. 11/06/2015 at 6:26 AM #

    At this point, we cant even be sure that Steven Polk is his real identity. I mean, would you believe a proven liar?

    Also: No mention of the damage this could have potentially done to #NotYourShield and Christina Hoff-Sommers, who quoted “Alison Prime” during the SPJ Airplay. I dont want Stevens head on a platter because seriously, the thing i believe about him is that he has serious issues. But still; Very weak article, Jen.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why I Don't Care About the Alison Prime Debacle - 11/06/2015

    […] came clean in an interview on This is Another Castle, and apologised to Ashley Riot for stealing her Cosplay […]

  2. A Follow Up, and a Note About Anonymity | Zen Of Design - 11/06/2015

    […] Welp, it turns out that pretty much everything this particular person said is in question, due to this person turning out to be not who she says she is. After spending a year as one of GamerGate’s most fiercely loyal NotYourShield denizens, proclaiming frequently and loudly her lesbian bonafides and her love for the oversized bosoms found in games (even being cited by noted antifeminist hack Christina Sommers as such), she made the mistake of posting a picture of someone else’s cosplay as her own. This led to a full-on shitshow, which involved both her initial evasion, allegations of fraud, and an eventual apology. […]

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