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For those of you who remain blissfully unaware of the goings on in the last week (I’m jealous of you, truly), the host of pinball’s meanest podcast, Kaneda’s Pinball Podcast, has been in full-blown meltdown mode.
Let me catch you up.
I’m attending Pinball Expo this year. It will be my first time. Genuinely I’m excited for it. Pinball Expo is a storied conference with a lot of great pinball history tied to it.
Over the last year that I’ve been running Kineticist, I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of wonderful interactions with members of the pinball community, particularly those that are in the content creation sub-set.
So I thought it’d be a great excuse to organize a happy hour and meet many of these people in person. Which I’ve done. It’s called the Pinball Media Mixer. We’re going to have some drinks, maybe some food, play some pinball. It’ll be a fun time!
In the course of planning the event it was made clear to me by several that Kaneda’s presence wouldn’t really be welcome, which I understood. He has a long history of attacking and harassing people in the pinball community, which understandably makes some uncomfortable, and that wasn’t the vibe I was going for with this event.
When Kaneda reached out to request an invite, I respectfully and politely declined his request.
Almost immediately, he responds via email, with a veiled threat to engage his audience if I didn’t speak with him over the phone by that afternoon.
At the same time he sends me a note on Facebook messenger, where the gist of the message is the same. Engage with me on my terms or I will use my audience against you.
At this point I'm still thinking that we can engage in a reasonable adult conversation, on the phone, as he requested. I don't know him personally so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and see if we could come to a peaceful resolution. But, I wanted to make it clear that I wouldn't tolerate threats, so that needed to be off the table first.
I thought at this time that we'd have a chat in the morning and work it out. Of course overnight I'm panic googling about consent laws and whether or not he would be able to record our conversation and use it towards some ill-conceived objective of his.
I wake up the next day, and barely had time to make my first cup of coffee when I received this.
Foolishly, I still think this is going to be a 1:1 phone call, because that's all we've ever discussed. He winds up being a couple minutes late for our scheduled chat, which triggers the spidey sense.
I pull up Facebook and see Kaneda on Facebook Live (already broadcasting to ~60-100 people), getting ready to call me. Which is not even close to what I agreed to and a bad faith ploy.
As he states in the video, "He doesn't know this, is I'm going to call the person who has banned me from the Pinball Media Mixer and we are going to ask who in the pinball media landscape doesn't want Kaneda to be there".
Watch it for yourself. He deleted the livestream from his page later.
To recap, in response to being told "no" to something he wanted, Kaneda,
- Threatens me with his audience
- Tries to trick me into a phone call on his Facebook live, which I was not aware of, and did not agree to
About 30 minutes into the stream, I decided to leave the chat, because I wasn't going to get anywhere with him in this format. At which point he turns his attention to another poor soul.
The weekend comes and goes without much incident, besides a few errant posts (now deleted) which reference the Media Mixer event.
I was still pretty incensed though. Repeatedly over the last year I had tried to engage Kaneda in a friendly way. In fact one of my very first posts on this site was an "In Defense of Kaneda" treatise (now pulled down). Since writing that post, however, I kept seeing a repeated pattern of behavior - Retrocengo, Don, Knapp, Meny, not to mention all the manufacturer employees and small business owners he repeatedly berates and belittles on his podcast under the guise of "holding people accountable".
I felt I needed to do something about it. Deep in my bones.
The first thing I did, admittedly, was a mistake. I designed some crude stickers and offered them up to folks on my personal Facebook page. That was dumb and isn't really what I want Kineticist to be about.
The second thing, though, I stand behind. I wrote a post about the Best Pinball Podcasts. He wasn't included in that list. The podcasts that I did include on the list I genuinely like and appreciate what they bring to the community, not to mention all the work and effort it takes to put them together. Those are all quality shows that you should spend some time with, if you don't already.
He did not like that at all.
He goes live again, and acts just completely unhinged.
Anyway his brand of bullying isn't one I want to support. The pinball community deserves better than Kaneda.
Plus his "army" of fans and followers are sort of toothless, from a pure numbers standpoint.
For perspective, Kineticist has done 203k visits this year and 315k pageviews. We have nearly 1,800 email subscribers and that's growing 30% a month. An average traffic month for us is about 25k visitors. The "Best Pinball Podcasts" post has done ~600 visits so far and is already dropping off its pace from yesterday, when it was shared by every other pinball podcast. The last update from "Mystery Pinball Company" did almost 1,000 visits on a Sunday, for more perspective.
Why write all this? Because Kaneda is a bully. And I hope that by documenting some of his behavior, and demonstrating his marginal impact to my business, others might be able to stand up to him too.
Chris Kooluris & Kaneda's Pinball Podcast - A History of Antics
Documenting some additional 3rd party resources for people who are interested in more Kaneda's pinball podcast history and background on his involvement in the pinball hobby.
- Slam Tilt Podcast Ep. 92, Night at the Museum (discussion recapping NYCPC incident starts around 1:30)
- The Pinball Show Ep 113: The Big James Bond 007 Episode (discussion starts around 1:35)
- One of Kaneda's deleted drunken live streams (hear kaneda in his own words)
- What's the history with the Kaneda controversy? (Pinside)
- A strongly worded message for Kaneda (Pinside)
- The poser spokesman (some background on his KLOV ban)