Arthur, Australia, social media...and that article.
The first thought that comes to mind when I think of Arthur Kotsopoulos is that he's got a surname that I can never spell correctly the first time; I always put that damn "u" in the wrong place. After that though, my next immediate thought is that he's a very decent guy.
Arthur and I have interacted many times over at various gaming industry events in Sydney. Moreover, he and I shared a hotel room and flights to and from this year's E3. He's even written an article for this very site.
Needless to say, I feel like I know him quite well.
Now, there's no getting around the obvious: Arthur said some stupid things on Twitter the other day. Things that were snapped up by the Sydney Morning Herald's Technology Editor, Asher Moses, and used to deliver a crushing character blow to the 21 year old (ex-)Vodafone employee. This won't be a piece about Arthur somehow being taken out of context, because he wasn't. The simple fact of the matter is that Arthur made a big, stupid mistake.
But, at 21, who hasn’t made a big, stupid mistake? Or two? Or three? As Alfred asks Bruce Wayne in one of Arthur's favourite movies (well, I'm assuming here, but he has seen the thing at least four times already), The Dark Knight Rises: "Why do we fall?"
So we can learn to pick ourselves up.
I don't know about you, but at 21 I thought I knew how this world worked, inside and out. I was arrogant. I was headstrong. Hell, I still am, but I've had to learn some hard lessons between then and 30 years old. As a result, I'd like to think I'm a bit more knowledgeable in how to conduct myself. From my mistakes, I learned to accept responsibility for what I'd done, and I also picked up on the fact that actions always have consequences.
Now, thankfully, I didn't learn any of those lessons because I had an article written about me that went out to an entire country. Asher Moses trawled through Arthur's Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts -- and probably more -- gathering bits of information that were used in a piece that didn't even look to Arthur for a rebuttal. When exposing a dodgy character to the nation, even A Current Affair has the decency to intrude upon the person's property, banging on their front door screaming, "So why did you do it?"
Okay, you probably wouldn't use that time to explain yourself, but at least A Current Affair goes through the motions and feigns an attempt to conduct some balanced reporting. That's more than you can say for Asher Moses.
Hell, when Asher made some stupid comments on Twitter himself, even Crikey gave him the opportunity to respond in turn.
When Arthur finally got a chance to respond to the article, thanks to MCV Pacific, here's what he had to say: "I understand the consequences now will be great and I have to face up to my actions one way or another. There's nothing that I can do right now apart from take it on the chin and handle it in a very adult manner."
Okay, so it's not an outright apology, but it's also not what I would have expected from Arthur based on the picture painted by Asher Moses. From that article, I'd have expected this punk from Twitter to carry on like he was wronged, that he was taken out of context and that people didn't understand. Or, more simply, that HE couldn’t understand why people were so upset.
You know, more like that dropkick Corey Worthington. Remember him?
Actually, based on one of Arthur's own quotes from his Facebook bio, probably written when he was closer to 18 than 21, you'd think he would have fought back with the "get over it!" defense. Back in the day, Arthur said this about the internet: "Seriously those who take the internet seriously without a pinch of salt…grow up and get over yourself it’s the internet…"
Instead, Arthur's already taking this experience to heart: clearly, despite what he's thought in the past, the internet is no longer a place where you can do and say whatever you'd like. As he's acknowledged now, he understands that what he's done is wrong and that there are consequences he'll have to face.
Look at that: we've got some personal growth there already.
To those who're attacking him on Facebook or Twitter right now, cut the guy some slack. Arthur deserves some of the punishment he's getting from this ordeal, but he doesn't need Joe Public getting high-and-mighty on him on top of that. And, when all is said and done, if Arthur doesn't have a volunteer-only position at a certain gaming site any longer, I know of one that would be happy to have him writing again.