@OceanStratagy, Paul Christoforo himself, speaks
Everyone knows the case against him. We wanted to give the guy a chance to make a case for himself, for better or for worse.
What happened in that e-mail conversation between you and an N-Control customer, Dave, posted up on Penny Arcade? How did things get so out-of-hand?
He got a little nippy at me. And then I just went off a little bit. I probably shouldn't have done it. My job isn't customer service – I'll tell you right now, I'm not a customer service person. You put me with a product, and you give it to me to sell, and I'll sell it. I don't do customer service. So, with everything that was going on [Note: Christoforo says he had a friend overdose recently, putting him on edge], and with him just snipping back at me, I snipped back at him.
What he did was forward the e-mail to Kotaku, and then he forwarded the e-mail to Penny Arcade. I didn't know who the dude was at Penny Arcade – I really didn't do anything wrong, and my reputation is ruined forever. There's nothing I can do to repair it. If you googled me on Sunday, you would have found nothing but good things about me.
So, I had an e-mail come in, and the e-mail was like “That's fucked up shit, you're banned from PAX.” I didn't know who he was when he sent me that. So, of course, I send an e-mail right back, and I'm like “Who the fuck are you? What do you mean I'm banned from PAX?” So I got into it with him.
I don't know the mayor of Boston. But I do know a lot of people. I was born and raised there – my whole life. I can walk into any club that I want, anywhere I want, anywhere in the city, drinks are free, I don't have to wait in line, do anything I want. Because I have a lot of connections – the city itself is my roots. So, I probably have some connections that I could make a call, get me into the convention center if I wanted to attend the show, whether he wants me there or not. Doesn't make any difference – I could probably get in.
So, I said that to him, and he says “Well, I'm gonna post this up on my blog.” And I still didn't know who he was. I was like “Who the hell is Penny Arcade?” So, I looked at his website, and I was like “Oh, whatever, my son could build this website,” and I said that. Then after he posted it, he said “Google my name.” So, I googled his name and I figured out who he was. But I still didn't really know that he had 10 million viewers on that site.
You don't seem like a guy who does well in customer service – you don't put up well with complaints. How did you end up with the job of handling customer service for N-Control? Isn't that typically out of the scope of someone who does PR?
Just for the record, I'm not a PR guy, either. I'm not a PR or Marketing guy. I did a little bit of marketing for them back after I met them at CES. They didn't have a customer service call center. The owner doesn't do customer service because he's not a phone person. There wasn't anybody else to do it, so they asked me to handle it for them, and I did the best I can. I mean, I took 4000 calls. I had one bad call out of 4000 calls, and they put me on a cross and crucify me?
I had to deal with all the customers, and I was doing a favor for the owner. That's how I ended up doing customer service. I didn't ask to do it – I didn't want to do it, but he didn't have anybody else to do it. He had no call center in place – there was no structure. So, I was like “I'll help out.” So, that's what I did.
In an article we ran on Gameranx, we found that you and David Kotkin (CEO of N-Control) ran a business in Miami called Afternoon Artists. Is that true?
No. Me and David, we registered a domain name probably like 6 or 7 months ago. It was gonna be for a charity organization that we wanted to do. We registered the domain name, and we never did anything with it. Basically, nothing ever happened.
So, that was Afternoon Artists?
Yeah, yeah. That was just something that we did, and we did it through Legal Zoom, and that's it. It's just sitting there. We didn't use it, we're not pursuing anything with it.
Do you remember Nate Stansell?
Yeah, Nathan. Yeah.
Did anyone at N-Control say something to you after you had a run-in with him last June?
No. In the end I got it taken care of. I got him his free controller and just did what I could to handle the situation. No, nobody said anything. He went on a rant, they knew about it. It was just another bad situation. He was just real adamant. I don't remember the whole entire e-mails [SIC] that transpired between the two of us. I know that they're on the internet somewhere. Nobody said anything. I let them know what happened. I said “We gotta send this guy a free controller. He's pretty upset.” So, we got it out to him.
So, they knew about that?
They knew about it after it happened, yeah. That's why he got the free controller.
You caught a lot of flak for this yesterday, but why did you change your twitter account from “OceanMarketting” to “OceanStratagy”? Did you talk to anyone else about that, or did you do it on your own?
No, I did it on my own because I thought I was gonna be able to hide it. I was just getting spammed, man. This is really what's bothering me – the spam, the e-mail, the twitter rants – all the stuff that's coming through. So, I was just like “let me see if I can hide it.” So, I changed it to OceanStratagy. Yeah, I didn't spell it right. They all crucified me for that too, like I'm a dummy. Now, it's actually OceanDeepSea. They figured that out too, but I'm not gonna change it anymore.
Yesterday Kotaku tried to contact N-Control about what happened with Dave from the Penny Arcade news update. They received a message back from someone they thought was Brandon Leidel [a former PR contact for N-Control], but Brandon says he never sent that message, and that it was you who did. Why pretend to be Brandon Leidel? Why not tell Kotaku who you were, and use a quick interview with one of the biggest gaming sites on the web to clear the air about what happened?
Well, I'm gonna call them. The reason why I did that, just so you know, Brandon Leidel was fired by N-Control. He didn't fire N-Control, which he said in a statement at Kotaku which is 100% false. Brandon Leidel ripped off the company for $35,000. He was fired from the company for his actions. He was disrespectful to [Avenger creator David Kotkin]. He left him at PAX East Boston. He left me at the show to clean up the mess. I had to bring back the televisions. He left David at the hotel and went to the airport without him. Brandon Leidel was fired from the company because he was robbing them. You can put that on the record, too. I don't give a shit what he says. Because that's the truth. I can get a confirmation on that from the owner if you want one.
I was getting forwarded e-mails from Brandon's account because when I was working for the company – anything that came into Brandon could come into my e-mail. So, when Kotaku sent that e-mail, it wasn't a big response back because they just asked one simple question. So, I just responded back whatever I responded back – it was just a real quick one-liner. I just sent it off from whatever e-mail it came into, I wasn't trying to hide.
I didn't even think, because there was so much stuff going on, as you can imagine – that I didn't even think to just write them back as myself. I was going through death threats, they were attacking my family, they were digging up dirt all over the internet on me – they were threatening my wife, my newborn baby boy is two years old, just really attacking me. I was getting spam e-mails by the thousands. 17,000 e-mails. Being subscribed to gay websites. It was just nonstop. There was so much going on, I didn't even think twice when the Kotaku e-mail came through.
In the same Kotaku article, it was alleged that you maintained an active account on Steroid.com, is that true?
Can I ask why you registered there?
My doctor prescribed me testosterone, because I have low testosterone levels. So I went into the forums to ask the advice of professional people that use steroids to make sure that I was doing the right thing. You know what I mean? I don't know about it. My doctor said my testosterone levels are low, and I need hormone replacement therapy – that's why I'm depressed, that's why I don't go to the gym, that's why I'm gaining weight, and I'm lazy – because my testosterone levels are low. So, I went into the forums and asked advice. What else are you going to do when you need advice? Just ask somebody on the street and say “Hey, my Doctor just prescribed me testosterone, what am I supposed to do about bitch-tits, or estrogen levels when I stop taking it?” So, I asked questions. That's what I went into the forums for.
That's why I was on the forums. I'm not trying to hide, I'm not ashamed of anything. It's not like I'm juicing up, and I've got biceps that can crush someone's head in. That's not who I am. I'm lucky if I make it to the gym two times a week, although I should be going more.
In November 2008, there were domestic violence charges filed against you by Catherine P. Sherman. What happened?
You guys can go to the county clerk in San Diego county and get the record – it was dismissed without prejudice. What happened was, I moved in with her – she was on all kinds of anti-psychotics. We went out drinking, she ran into somebody that she used to sleep with before she met me. I was with her for about three, maybe four weeks before I moved in – I was coming off a rebound with somebody from living in Miami.
I moved in with her on a Monday, and the Friday after, we were out, and she basically slept with another dude. She told me about it, whatever. I was like “Alright, I wasn't in love with her, I'm gonna move out”. Something else happened, it's really irrelevant, but the kid she slept with with punked me with a couple other dudes, and was like “You need to get out of the house.”
So, I was like I need to find a place to live. She was like “I want to live in my house too.” I said, “Just give me a couple of days to find another place”. She didn't. She went to the cops and she took out a restraining order on me.
There was no domestic battery there. I didn't get arrested. There's no jail record of me. You can find that, it's public information. I didn't get arrested for anything, They didn't charge me with anything. She took out a restraining order, that lasted 5 days, or a week, or whatever it was. The cops came to the house, they asked me to leave. I grabbed whatever I could, put it in my backpack, jumped on my motorcycle and I had found a place that day. It was funny because I was looking for an apartment that day that the cops kicked me out, so I went to the place I found, and I was “OK, I'll take the apartment”. S, I went there, and I had no clothes, so I was living in the same clothes for a week.
I went to the court, and I petitioned them to get into the house and get my belongings. They gave me permission to go into the house, because I was not threat to her – the judge gave me the OK.
The court day came for the restraining order renewal, she came to court, and the judge saw right through her BS. He heard my story about how I moved in, and was out four days later, so he dismissed the case without prejudice.
That was the end of the story. There was never any domestic violence, there was never any assault. That's totally 100% false. There's nothing true about that.
[Note: Gameranx is in the process of contacting the San Diego County Clerk's office to confirm Paul Christoforo's story. We'll have a follow-up posted soon.]
Do you think there's such a thing as bad press, now that you've experienced all of this?
Of course there's bad press. I had conversations with so many people today that – yes, there's bad press. A lot of people at the beginning were like “bad press is good press”. What I'm going through is nothing nice right now. Bad press is bad press. I don't want it. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I have to live through it right now.
I'm 38 years old. Thirty-eight years of being on the computer, playing video games, being in technology – I haven't had anything bad said about me by anybody, to this extent. So, obviously there is such a thing as bad press because I'm living it right now.
Is it the end of the world? No. If I go to a club tonight, is it going to make any difference – what happened on the internet? No. But do I care? Yeah, I do, because the internet community is my community. These are my people.
So, to clarify, yes, there's such a thing as bad press.
Just to clarify – is Ocean Marketing still working with N-control?
Are you still working with N-control, personally?