The Two Faces of Zoe
"Good" and "great" are seldom the same man.
I've actually just heard of all of this, so I had to go through the text messages and some of the commentaries concerning Zoe.
In terms of how she handled her personal and professional life I am actually kind of torn in how to criticize her actions.
Obviously Zoe was not the ideal mate (or spouse, since in one of her posts she inferred that she was married). Zoe was not a person I would ever want to be in a relationship with because of her proclivity towards unfaithfulness and lying. Her lack of moral character belies her "innocent victim" persona often employed by many who seek to hide behind a cloak of intelligently-spun tales to save face in the light of truth: for this, she ought to be ashamed. In her right mind, she should apologize to everyone she hurt: not only to her boyfriend/husband, a number of girlfriends which includes least one wife that were betrayed by their husbands/boyfriends because of her indiscretion, but to thousands of fans and followers who looked up to her and believed in her.
Zoe's business acumen, however, shows the ruthless resolve and the caste-like and isolated desperation of a Dickensian socialite. With this facet of Zoe's personality in consideration, you see that she elegantly wears a public personae that is strategically causing the current "uproar" regarding criticisms towards her. Basically, her public face is a construct cleverly crafted by a social tactician: if you attack her newly-manifested private face, you will draw the ire of netizens viewing her socially-acceptable and innocent public face. The duality here is that the formation of her public life of being a well though of and "buzzworthy" game developer came at the cost and destruction of her private life. Many things she has done to assure the upward mobility of her career has basically undermined and sabotaged every relationship away from her career, with significant ramifications, as we have all seen.
Although I am a fervent advocate for a level playing field, sexism (as well as a lot of other "isms") and the propaganda to continue such things will not go away. As long as people can use it to oppress other people you pretty much have to accept how certain people will react to being under such constrictions.
Although some of the relationship chatter is going above my head, what Zoe Quinn has done isn't new at all; for example, the "casting couch" concept is in everything from acting (where the term came from) to getting good grades in school to getting that promotion. Even heterosexuals do it to other heterosexuals, males or females, in the form we commonly call "sucking up", to be kind. What Zoe did there is not new at all, not even to gaming.
Even though other companies didn't do things as drastic as what she has done, no one can say that companies didn't (please excuse the term in light of the respective subject) whore themselves out to get good ratings. We all know that an early copy for review or a well-placed gift basket given or not given will sway the opinion of a game critic one way or another.
What she has done is deplorable but the sad part is that she, in her own mind, may feel justified in doing so being an indie with a great game, but no way to display what could be her one big shot. Unlike, let's say, a big company that can give out gift baskets, she could only operate with what she has: and that "tool" has been used to put people in high places since time immemorial.
As a matter of fact, if you compare her actions to keeping her game (and by extension her company) afloat, she didn't do much different when Cleopatra made "concessions" with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony to keep Egypt from being a conquered empire. Through her feminine wiles, she was able to keep herself sovereign much longer than it would have been possible b herself. On the more self-serving side, Zoe's actions drew parallels to why Herod Antipas beheaded John The Baptist: Salome's mother in law had Salome dance in front the ruler and he was "swayed" to execute an innocent man.
Although the stakes are much lower in Zoe's case, the cause and effect are the same. People in desperate situations will use what they have to keep themselves in positions of perceived power; even if it means relegating themselves to deplorable circumstances and will be justified in their own eyes because of barriers they perceive as insurmountable.
What I believe she was trying to do was trying to accelerate her connections with the gaming industry to give her game some publicity, and by doing what she did, she exchanged her integrity for notability; and just like in the days of Caesar, she permanently altered, if not destroyed, her personal life as part of this Faustian arrangement to uplift what she valued above all else: her game. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of people who will not pass up an offer to either take advantage of remarkable individuals in a vulnerable position or people's willingness to sleep with people of "power" for their own advancement.
As it is written: There is nothing new under the sun.
Cleopatra: she is as beautiful as she is cunning.