"Homesick" Developer Attempts Suicide on Twitch.tv
Maybe you don't know who Chloe Sagal is. She is known best in the independent games community for two reasons--one for her free 2-d pixel-art side scrolling horror game Homesick and secondly for her attempts to use Indiegogo to fund a life-saving surgery to remove shrapnel from a car accident.
The second part of her fame is perhaps the most hotly contested. Chloe has been attempting to sell her game Homesick to, in her words, treat "metal poisoning" from a car accident. Some people have alleged that her life-threatening condition is a farce and that she's either scamming people for the money or to pay for a gender-reassignment surgery. The Indiegogo campaign has been taken down several times for being a scam, but has been alternatively verified by Indiegogo as not being a scam. The situation is, in it's entirety, very confusing.
What is perhaps the least confusing aspect of the whole story is that last night, Chloe Sagal attempted to take her own life. She did so in a very public, very internet way--by leaving her final thoughts and what amounts to be a suicide note on the site The Indie Stone and then setting up a Twitch stream for viewers to "watch my final moments." Twitch has taken down the video (though if you're interested in that sort of thing, you can evidently watch part of it on Youtube), but Chloe apparently took a bunch of pills and waited for the effects to take hold.
Sagal has been increasingly hounded for the "scam" of her Indiegogo account, and many are assuming that her apparent suicide attempt is due to these attacks. In her final post on Indie Stone, Sagal said "and I wanted to say fuck you to my family, everyone who felt the need to say something nasty to me in this last month, all those people who are so sure they know what's going on with me...the ones who antagonized me for my situation, and those who just turned me away...You can't hurt me anymore."
As the board she posted to was being actively monitored by fans, the response to save her life was pretty immediate and the police were called before she successfully committed suicide.
A friend of Ms. Sagal has reported that she is "alive and at the hospital...but she's okay right now."
There is a commentary buried somewhere in here. Maybe it is about internet bullying, and about the high cost of saying things in a seemingly anonymous environment with the intention of harm. Or maybe about how people tuned in to watch a woman kill herself and call it "boring." Or most optimistically, maybe it's a story about how fans immediately sought to give aid to a developer, like Indie Stone commenter Ontogenesis who wrote "I'll make myself available to chat over PM if you ever want to, or feel the need to talk to someone."
This story thankfully did not end in death. But there is a lesson to be learned here. We've just got to figure out what it is.