Sunday, 5 July 2020

ArchFall - The downward spiral of a demagogue.

WARNING: This blog is not the usual gaming blog. It contains discussion of a nature that may offend.

For those who are followers of YouTube, and in particular, the various 40k channels, the name 'Arch Warhammer' (or, as of this last week, merely 'Arch') will be synonymous with 40k lore videos and licensed game playthroughs.

Now, apart from the fact that some of these are poorly researched (his take on Krieg Engineers is... humorous and quite funny in its own way), he's amassed quite a following amongst certain sections of the fandom. I'm not going to denigrate the making of lore videos - for those who have reading difficulties, or where English isn't their first language, they can be a great way to get to grips with the somewhat convoluted story arcs.

However, where Arch has deviated from the standard, is his involvement in political stances that are at odds with many, and certainly at odds with how Games Workshop wish to run their business.

This can be seen in Arch's reaction to the news on June 4th. Games Workshop’s Warhammer Community Team published a statement on Twitter titled “Warhammer Is For Everyone”:

Within this they clearly state that Warhammer is for all people and they will create miniatures and lore to support this. This is the most liked and shared tweet in the history of wargaming (13K likes, 3.8K RTs, 965 comments as of 5.7.20). Our hobby grew out of groups of friends wanting to share a common passion with others. At no point was there an exclusion criteria for anyone put in place, based on skin colour, sexual orientation, religious belief, gender or disability. To now promote views that would be offensive to any one of those groups to give an advantage to others is abhorrent, this statement reaffirmed that belief and as such, I fail to see why anyone would take exception to it.

However, on June 5th Arch published a YouTube video response to the “Warhammer Is For Everyone” statement. He disagrees with the statement and expresses that it is targeting himself and fans of his content. Receiving 131K views, he is ratioed in the ratings with 52% disapproval or 9.3K dislikes vs. 8.6K likes (as of 5.7.20), which would suggest that his view is not the prevailing view he thinks it is. Of course, this stance is not new to those of us who have followed Arch with some concern for a few years - his videos expressing dismay on the covers of the Warhammer Adventures books (books aimed at a younger audience) showed his intolerance to others - claiming that they were 'virtue' signalling by having a character in a hijab (she was wearing a cloak) being a prime example:

It was at this point, that select contents of Arch’s Discord server are published on Twitter causing widespread shock and concern at the frequent use of racist language and celebration of extreme historical nationalism. One of the moderators had engaged in discussions that should have been the cause for the immediate involvement of local authorities on child protection issues. No evidence of any such action has been provided or that the moderator had been banned. 
Following the leak of the texts, and the subsequent outrage and complaints to Discord, Arch was forced to delete the entire contents of his Discord server as per his admission in the YouTube interview with Asmogan published on 7th June*. This is because he broke their terms of service on at least hate speech. Due to his complete lack of leadership oversight and the huge volume of violations this was his only way to avoid getting perma-banned. In the world of employment this is what's known as a final written warning. This was then followed by a blow to Arch's income generation. on June 21st Arch’s Teespring merchandising account is terminated for violating the terms of service on a partner website. Claiming this is for 'political reasons' Arch once again takes to YouTube to complain about his treatment at the hands of the rest of the world who don't share his views. Teespring however, claim in their response to Arch (as read out by him) that this is to do with suspected copyright infringements.

From what can be gleaned from the public information on his page, In the month following the his Discord server leaks, Arch lost around $200 per month in Patreon pledges from around $1880 to $1680. His monthly revenue on SubscribeStar is not publicly visible, so we can't comment on that.

This brings us to the last week or so in the increasingly unhinged life of Arch. on July 2nd Arch’s YouTube channel receives a community strike from Games Workshop Plc for causing damage to the reputation of their trademark "Warhammer". The notification demands that Arch removes “Warhammer” from his channel title and all associated products and services. Arch submits to this demand and becomes just “Arch”. Arch's entirely expected response to this is to claim he is a martyr, that he is 'taking one for the team' to avoid other YouTube channels from being affected in the same manner, when in fact, with the notable exception of one or two channels that share his worldview, the majority of channels remain silent and even distance themselves from Arch. In the reaction video he put out, it's apparent that Arch is rattled by this - his eyes are darting from point to point, his face flushed and blotchy, it's obvious his consternation is growing. This is only made worse when, on July 3rd Arch is forced by Wargaming (the creators of World of Warships) to take down a sponsored video he made promoting a World of Warships Warhammer 40,000 licensed product. This happened after concerned members of the public notified the Warhammer Community Team and Wargaming about the nature of Arch’s YouTube and other content. Following this, Wargaming posts a statement on Twitter disavowing their sponsorship with Arch and apologising for their lapse in judgement engaging with him. They state they are against any form of discrimination and this is why they terminated their relationship with Arch. 

The statement is positively received on Twitter.

Of course, the person who doesn't take this as well is Arch - claiming that GW were now 'harassing' him through their business dealings. In his video, the deterioration in Arch's cognitive state is now visibly concerning. Of course, English is not his first language, so the unnatural breaks in sentences could be down to that, but the small, forced laughs, the blotchy face and darting eyes once again become a cause for concern.

Since the take down by Wargaming, Arch had claimed to be going on vacation (I assume a staycation given the current COVID-19 situation) and that he wouldn't be posting as regularly. However, since making this comment, he has published 2 videos, continuing his rants against the world and his supposed harsh treatment.

Arch likes to see himself as a leader, and when that view is threatened he appears to react badly. I'd suspect that this situation started way before the events outlined in this blog - that his non-inclusion in the Warhammer Heroes programme dented his ego, and since then, he's been on a downward spiral, finding reasons to strike out.

It would be nice, in a perfect world, to see if Arch would take this situation as a salutary lesson, explore the aims and benefits of a diverse world, and in particular a diverse audience within the hobby I'm sure he loves, but I fear he's too far down a dark path to even recognise that as a path back.


Since the writing of this article, Arch[redacted] as he is now referred to has launched an absolute tirade of abuse and bullying against those who disagree with him, and has also instituted an email writing campaign against Games Workshop, calling for the redaction of the 'Warhammer is for everybody' message, claiming that it is discriminatory against him and his followers as it doesn't allow for their intolerance and bigotry. He has also claimed that due to this, the Customer Services page for GW was broken through so many of his supporters trying to access it.

The truth is a little more sensible. Sources have told me that rather than being down to Arch's campaign, it was a knock on effect of the incredible success of the release of Warhammer 40k: Indomitus, with a huge number of customers trying to access the Customer Services team to enquire on the availability of the box set.

However, Arch's campaign has taken a sinister turn. Out of all his vocal critics - myself included - Arch has decided to focus on one person - HobbyistGirl - in which can only be taken as a sexist attack. His highlighting of her twitter comments is both cowardly and wrong, her comments being at the more tame end of the spectrum than others. His only reason to pick on her is her gender - and nothing more. By doing this, all he has done is prove the point that he is nothing more than a bigoted bully who hides behind his YouTube channel where he can espouse his hatred for anything not like him with little recourse or right to reply.

*Asmogan: ”My Interview with Arch Warhammer about the Controversy”.

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