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Sweet Baby Inc: When Grifting Goes Wrong

Grifting has been a part of human nature since the dawn of man. We have had ambulance chasing lawyers, people faking illnesses for money or clout, snake oil salesmen, fad diets and every other conceivable scheme to transfer a rube’s money to a huckster’s bank account. The latest trend to emerge in the world of grifting has been that of a sensitivity reader. This is where the recently maligned consultant firm, Sweet Baby Inc factors into this story.

Kim Belair, Sweet Baby Inc’s CEO Has Used Bully Tactics To Shoehorn The Consulting Firm Into The Development Process Of High Profile Video Games.

Kim Belair, the company’s CEO openly calls for bullying tactics. This ensures that Sweet Baby Inc’s ideology makes it into whatever game the company happens to be consulting on. She has also referred to the video game industry’s core demographic as “picky babies.”

After some high profile misfires, the company is fighting to stay out the spotlight. Combine this with a series of hostile interactions with gamers and Sweet Baby Inc remains a permanent fixture in the geek news circuit.

The Foundation Was Laid Down Years Ago

The concept of a consulting firm is nothing new. Whether you’re a law firm, a restaurant or any other type of business that can fall victim to changing times; there will always be somebody to offer their services to get you back on track. John Taffer has built an empire off of this business model.

Consulting in the entertainment industry, as we know it now is a completely different story. Firms like Sweet Baby Inc are NOT consultants. They are sensitivity readers that call themselves consultants.

Sweet Baby Inc Presents Themselves As A Consulting Firm. In Reality, They Are Sensitivity Readers.

For those not familiar with the term; a sensitivity reader is somebody who is hired to be offended. You hire this person to come in and read your articles and watch your media and said person scours every word and every action searching for a reason to be offended. The practice has taken off in England, with¬†Mary Poppins no longer being considered suitable for all ages.¬† ¬†The shameful attempted censorship of Roald Dahl’s work was also the work of sensitivity readers.

The term “sensitivity reader” isn’t exactly friendly to patrons in the United States. We tend to respect art and take the good with the bad. People have the right to express themselves without hindrance. Henceforth, instead of sensitivity readers, we have “consultants”.¬†

Consultants Are A Product Of Gamergate

Good things came out of the Gamergate debacle. It brought awareness to online harassment and really did level the playing field for female gamers. Before the harassment was exposed, the video game community could tend to be hostile to women. It was important to make the video game industry a welcome and safe place for everyone.

However, no good deed goes unpunished and the opportunistic grifters started to see dollar signs in their eyes. The problem with Gamergate was that the whole movement was hinged on blaming the hostilities in the video game industry on the alt-right. Yet, when you pulled back the curtain, polls consistently show no sign of the alt-right. In fact, an overwhelming majority of gamers and game developers exhibit progressive values.

Queen of the Grift: Anita Sarkeesian Started This Current Generation of Sensitivity Readers That Have Hindered Game Developers.

This puts the activists in a pickle. They need to save face and without the alt-right bogeyman to blame, something needs to take their place.

The grift begins at this point.

Anita Sarkeesian led the charge with her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. Despite admitting to not being a gamer and knowing nothing about video games, Sarkeesian inserted herself into a situation she had no business being in. The grift worked. Between Tropes vs. Women and the recently deceased Feminist Frequency, Sarkeesian has earned herself a cool million dollars.

Side note to any developers reading this: I am desperate for cash and will pretend to be offended for half of what Sarkeesian, or Sweet Baby Inc charges you.

Sweet Baby Inc’s Checkered Reputation

Before I go any further, please allow me to be fair. Sweet Baby Inc does have their name attached to some well received titles. Their entire resume isn’t completely made up of duds.¬†God of War: Ragnarok, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla,¬†and¬†Spider-Man 2¬†are all solid titles. Although, fans did criticize the inclusivity in¬†Spider-Man 2¬†calling it disingenuous. Giving Mary Jane Watson a chin that resembled former¬†Tonight Show¬†host Jay Leno didn’t help either.

However, I am of the opinion and am willing to allege that these games are participation trophies awarded to Sweet Baby Inc. Meaning; Sony and Ubisoft were required under DEI guidelines to retain a consultant. They did just that, wrote a check and went about their business.

“God Of War: Ragnarok” Is One of the More Impressive Games On Sweet Baby Inc’s Resume.

Of course, I have no proof of this, so you can’t take it as gospel. That being said, these properties seem to be the exception and not the rule when you look at Sweet Baby Inc’s full body of work.

Gotham Knights was criticized heavily for its not-so-subtle take on social justice issues. As a result, the game has averaged a 70/100 on Metacritic. This is an unheard of rating for a Batman game. When ranking the games based upon ratings at the end of 2023; Gotham Knights  barely made it into to top 100, peaking at 95 on the list.

Don’t worry, it gets worse. WB games is still in business. Other studios who have worked with Sweet Baby Inc have not been as fortunate.

Studios Have Closed After Doing Business With Sweet Baby Inc

While Bethesda Studios didn’t fold, they took a hit in the brand confidence department with Starfield. Fans were divided on the game. YouTuber Az, a passionate gamer better known as HeelvsBabyface even went on a lengthy, expletive filled rant on the matter (NSFW, Language). Bethesda themselves didn’t help matters when they responded to criticism of the game with bizarre and out of touch responses to gamers.

The 2022 Reboot of “Saints Row” was Highly Anticipated At First. After Poor Reception, Deep Silver Volition LLC Closed Their Doors For Good.

Other studios have suffered a more gruesome fate.

  • Deep Silver Volition LLC closed its doors after the 2022 reboot of¬†Saints Row¬†was an abject failure. The game is referred to as a “watered down version of GTA.”
  • Forspoken¬†was not received well by critics or fans. Square Enix took a sizeable hit as a distributor of the game but remained solvent. However,¬†Forspoken’s¬†developer, Luminous productions would close in May of 2023.

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League¬†was marred by production issues. Rocksteady Studios founders Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker left their own studio mid-production to start a new company called Hundred Star Games. There are speculations that the game; which is now Rocksteady’s version of Fredo Corleone, is the death knell for a studio that was once seen as invincible with it’s¬†Arkham Knight¬†series.

Sweet Baby Inc’s Toxic Staff

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League proved to be the last straw for a lot of gamers and the mask has started to come off. The brand gained such a bad reputation overnight, it got to the point where a steam curator got involved. Sweet Baby Inc Detected is a steam account that catalogues games that Sweet Baby Inc has been involved with, seemingly as a warning to gamers.

Sweet Baby Inc threw a temper tantrum of epic proportions. They even launched a campaign to get the curator banned. It was a ridiculous ask. Mainly, because all the curator was doing was using Sweet Baby Inc’s own website as a resource. There was nothing inherently wrong with what the account was doing.

This did not deter the militant employees that make up this company. Chris Kindred went on an unhinged tirade on X/Twitter and Steam, mercilessly campaigning to get the curator site taken down and the creator of the site banned, It backfired in hilarious fashion as Kindred’s own X/Twitter account got her account limited for violating the site’s TOS policy.

Felix Kramer Has An Open Disdain For Gamers Who Are White Males.

Then there is Felix Kramer, who has an interesting twitter history. This person has a position on caucasian gamers. At best, the tweets are deeply disturbing. He fantasizes about committing acts of graphic violence against white gamers. He is even quoted as saying “Pay me to shoot down your white game male lead ideas.”

Ouch. Sounds like somebody needs a hug.

Kramer Has A History Of Inflammatory Behavior

Long before landing a job at Sweet Baby Inc, where he seems to be right at home, Felix Kramer had a history of hostile behavior. In 2014 an organization known as The Fine Young Capitalists (TFYC) launched a campaign called Game Jam. It was supposed to be a fun event aimed at helping young female entrepreneurs pitch their ideas for video games. The community would vote on which pitch had the best concept and the winner would get a chance to turn their vision into a real project. The rest of the money would go to charity.

The concept was well received. Even¬†Firefly and Chuck star Adam Baldwin backed the project. You would think that this would be a welcome event during an era in gaming where women weren’t being taken seriously.

The Fine Young Capitalists Are Feminist Entrepreneurs. Their Project Was Even Backed By Geek Community Mainstay Adam Baldwin.

You thought wrong.

Felix Kramer (Then known as Maya) is a protege of Zoe Quinn. As far as grifting goes, feminism is a fertile market that the likes of Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian want to corner. They certainly don’t want a pro-capitalist organization marching into territory that they declare to be theirs.

So TFYC suffered a series of digital attacks. Their Indiegogo was hacked. Weird things started to happen that were impeding the development of Game Jam. 

Allegations were made against Zoe Quinn. It is speculated that Quinn was intentionally sabotaging¬†Game Jam because she didn’t want it competing with¬†Rebel Jam,¬†her own feminist project designed to empower women in the gaming industry. We have to keep in mind that this is new wave feminism. These people don’t work together. It’s all about the grift and securing that bag.

Maya Kramer And The DDOS Attack

No malicious attacks on TFYC could be proven. However, the signs were clear. Zoe Quinn and her PR person Maya (now Felix) Kramer had it out for the rival feminist organization. Until the recent hostilities exhibited by Sweet Baby Inc were exposed, we would never really know exactly what happened. Luckily Matt Kerns, a veteran executive in the video game industry has come forward. Known as Grummz on X/Twitter, Kerns has come forward with receipts.

Kern lays out in great detail how Sweet Baby Inc infiltrates discord servers with sock accounts, purposely post TOS violations and mass report the manufactured violations with other sock accounts. He also points out how long running websites such as Kotaku have kept their lack of journalistic integrity alive by running interference for Sweet Baby Inc. One of the most damning (at least it should be) things that Kern posted was a correspondence between Kramer and Zoe Quinn seemingly bragging about taking down TFYC’s website with a well executed DDOS attack.

DDOS attacks are a federal crime. Quinn and Kramer seem to have taken a rival organization’s website down using one with impunity.

Zoe Quinn And Maya (now Felix) Kramer Candidly Discussing How They Allegedly Nuked The Fine Young Capitalists with a DDOS attack.

Sweet Baby Inc certainly knows how to pick their staff.

Final Takeaway

As the old saying goes; “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” There was nothing insidious, or inherently bad about the concept of Gamergate. The video game community should be a welcoming one. Video Games are a bridge between worlds. They are an olive branch to extend across society and if women were mistreated, then that is a problem that needed to be rectified.

Unfortunately, with the problem itself being rectified, this left the grifters and professional victims with a rapidly depleting bank account. Outrage needed to be manufactured in a fast and convincing manner. This gave birth to sensitivity readers disguised as consultants. They would tirelessly route through every project assigned to them, picking apart stories and becoming self-appointed Lords of problematic storytelling and hate speech.

The video game industry has suffered as a result. With consumers finally getting wise to these bully tactics and these useless bureaucrats, hopefully the industry can course correct and games can start to be fun to play again.

Maybe there is a silver lining in the release of Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League after all.

 

 

 

 

 

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