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Doug Polk Responds to Bullying Accusations in Group Chat


A watershed second

One week in the past, throughout a Twitter House hosted by Will Jaffe, poker had a watershed second of kinds when a passionate Charlie Carrel talked about how a lot Doug Polk’s movies had harm him each professionally and personally, however principally personally. It was an sudden confrontation, totally unrehearsed, a real and spontaneous outpouring of grief expressed by an individual who had been misunderstood.

weaponized to the purpose of cruelty

Carrel holds some controversial views on an array of topics, however when it got here to at least one particular matter, a poorly worded tweet took on a lifetime of its personal, amplified by the most important megaphone in poker, weaponized to the purpose of cruelty. Matt Berkey empathized with Carrel, but in addition made broader factors, suggesting that the remedy that he obtained was emblematic of Polk’s extra normal modus operandi.

That accusation clearly affected Polk, who was moved sufficient to apologize to Carrel and take away the offending video a few days later. From there, the flood gates opened with others feeling like they may put their heads above the parapet, sensing {that a} protected area had been created to criticize Polk, to problem him on what they deemed to be different indiscretions and unwarranted assaults.

The remedy ball was handed round

Spearheaded by Carrel, Polk’s feud and subsequent authorized case with Fernando “JNandez” Habegger was mentioned intimately throughout subsequent Twitter Areas. It’s clear that, whatever the final result within the courts, Polk genuinely appears like he was justified in going after Habegger on the grounds that his enterprise was being adversely affected. That did, nevertheless, beg the query: why, then, would Polk suppose that it was okay to undermine poker coach Matt Hunt’s enterprise?

In a video concentrating on Berkey and his Clear up For Why coaching website, Hunt caught a stray bullet as Polk used him because the butt of a lame joke, diminishing his wonderful and precious work locally.

Polk posted a video on Could 4 and hosted his personal Twitter House to debate the problems with him that members of the neighborhood had been elevating. The phrase “bully” was used again and again and to Polk’s credit score, he admitted to adopting aggressive postures versus those that he believed attacked him or his enterprise pursuits. He acknowledged how that response was probably a part of a protection mechanism cast in childhood when he himself was bullied.

Because the remedy ball was handed round, it felt as if totally different folks got the discussion board to talk their truths, uninterrupted and unhindered. There have been breakthroughs, massive and small, because the contributors in these discussions truly listened to at least one one other, empathized with each other and stopped seeing one another as different. The identical sentiment spilled over to Twitter.

Galfond’s Elephant

There could be no singing of kumbaya, nevertheless, as Phil Galfond added his voice to the dialog, suggesting bluntly in a prolonged piece entitled “The Elephant within the Poker Room” that Polk has all the time possessed a merciless streak and that he’s pushed to harm folks emotionally. He posited the notion that “the poker world is experiencing a shift within the Overton Window with regards to bullying, and particularly, with regards to Doug Polk.”

Polk responded angrily on one more Twitter House, calling Galfond a liar and closely disputing how he had been characterised. The article was highly effective and pulled no punches however it lacked steadiness at occasions, included some unbefitting historic comparisons and fell into the lure of treating Polk because the prime-mover in each battle. There was additionally generally the conflation of truthful criticism with bullying.

Polk’s movies and social media posts have definitely gone too far on a number of events and his toes needs to be held to the hearth for that, however there have additionally been loads of occasions when it was truthful recreation for Polk to lampoon an individual for one thing that they stated or did. Denunciation isn’t bullying. Disapproval isn’t persecution. Providing a opposite opinion isn’t erasing the opinion of the particular person with whom you disagree.

Circle-jerk of victimhood

Since that article’s launch, it feels as if the pendulum has swung too far the opposite approach with different members of the neighborhood clambering for a second of performative grief. Night time after night time, extra Twitter Areas have popped up and what started as an impromptu intervention, natural and maybe obligatory, just like the lancing of a boil, is now in peril of turning into an indulgent circle-jerk of victimhood.

Laughably, Daniel Negreanu has now thrown his hat into the ring, casting himself as Polk’s “OG” sufferer. Exhibiting as much as converse at these Areas, he has gone full Trump, crying in regards to the occasions when Polk rightly known as him out and castigated him for his horrible takes.

It was really pitiful to hearken to the “poor me” whines of a person who has all the time shilled for his firm in opposition to the perfect pursuits of gamers, had sexual harassment lawsuits settled for him by his employer, has tried to sabotage the careers of others within the trade, by no means apologized for black-facing, known as quieter and nittier gamers “a most cancers to poker,” stated that victims of abuse who’re nonetheless affected by that trauma years later are selecting to be victims, stated that adoption is “shopping for kids,” after which instructed an adopted man who was harm by these feedback that his dad and mom acquired a “hell of an excellent deal” on him.

Pricking consciences

Polk is a shrewd businessman, however he’s additionally an entertainer, a satirist, a critic, and an advocate for change and there’s a hazard that, within the present local weather, folks neglect that. Satire is the artwork of creating somebody or one thing look ridiculous, however there ought to all the time be an undercurrent of seriousness too, shedding mild on essential points and commenting on corruption, hypocrisy, and incompetence.

the highly effective have been challenged

Polk and his producer Thomas Keeling have all the time embraced that facet. By means of their model of comedy, consciences have been pricked, the highly effective have been challenged, and other people of standing have been knocked down a peg or two. It is usually essential to keep in mind that Polk was not the Polk of immediately for a lot of his content material. It has been a gradual journey to prominence and in contrast to the current low cost shot at Hunt, there have been loads of examples of him punching up alongside the way in which.

Polk deleted the video about Carrel. That was an excellent begin. He has additionally pledged to chop out the “backside 5 p.c” of his content material going ahead, alluding to his extra salacious, click-baity, tabloid-style movies which cross the road into cruelty. There’ll little question be a interval of atonement throughout which his each transfer shall be scrutinized. That shall be his penance, as is the lack of repute he has suffered in some quarters.

If Galfond is appropriate in regards to the shift within the Overton Window, then the poker neighborhood now has a decrease tolerance of bullying habits and that’s clearly an excellent factor. It could be a disgrace, although, if articulate and significant voices had been to remain silent for worry of being labeled as bullies and it could be a catastrophe if folks whose habits warrants criticism had been allowed to cry bully and by no means reply for his or her actions.

“Satire is a form of glass whereby beholders do usually uncover all people’s face however their very own; which is the chief purpose for that sort reception it meets with on this planet, and that so only a few are offended with it.”

– Jonathan Swift


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