On Friday, May 27, Poker Life Podcast host Joey Ingram welcomed professional cash game poker player Dr. Jaclynn Moskow to his show for a live, 97-minute discussion on serious allegations that have caught the poker industry by storm.
The segment stemmed from a May 25 blog entry posted on the official Dr. Jaclynn Moskow website. In the open letter, Dr. Moskow outlines several instances of inappropriate behavior related to her dealings with Poker Night in America representatives dating back to November 2014.
The most serious of the accusations is tied to an alleged 2014 encounter between Moskow and then-PNiA Creative Director Nolan Dalla, in which Moskow claims that Dalla “thrust his head directly into my chest and cleavage and [shook] it back and forth.”
Dalla, whose position with PNiA was “eliminated” late last year according to Todd Brunson, outright denied all of Moskow’s claims in a TwoPlusTwo forum post. So by the time Ingram and his guest were set up to cast this past Friday, certain battle lines had been drawn on both sides of the dispute.
The Dr. Jaclynn Moskow Show
Friday’s program was like none other in the six-year career of YouTube personality Joey Ingram. With more than 800 viewers watching in real time, Moskow shared her version of events along with some text messages that indirectly corroborate her accusations.
No direct evidence of inappropriate behavior by PNiA was presented, yet there were some text messages that raised further questions surrounding the ongoing 20-month ordeal. More importantly, the debate has shifted in the past 24 hours and no longer focuses on concrete evidence. Instead, the authoritative voice has now passed to high profile poker players Cate Hall and Liv Boeree.
Evidence vs. Perception
Following Friday’s cast with guest Dr. Moskow, Cate Hall took to Twitter to retract a previous boycott of Poker Night in America. This retraction came after Hall learned that Dalla was no longer a part of the TV show. However, the key part of Hall’s tweet is the following: “Even accepting all of Jaclynn Moskow’s allegations as true — and I absolutely believe she is entitled to that presumption after her interview today…”
Saturday afternoon Eastern Time, Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree posted a statement directly on TwoPlusTwo.
“After watching [Dr. Moskow’s interview] yesterday, I was as close to satisfied as one can be that she is telling the truth about her experiences in Nov 2014, or very close to it. This was mostly due to the text message evidence she provided and also the consistency and relative comfort level she shows under tough questioning.”
You can read Liv Boeree’s statement in its entirety here.
By supporting Dr. Moskow’s claims, both Hall and Boeree are basing their stances on perception of the events rather than direct evidence that supports them. Now we reach a real crux within our industry… every single line of educational rhetoric on sexual harassment encourages me to support, praise and welcome the respective stances of Hall and Boeree. This in spite of a lack of concrete evidence related to the accusations.
This is admittedly difficult to accept, yet two high profile personalities in our industry who would know what it’s like to deal with inappropriate sexual behavior aimed towards them have publicly stated their perception of Moskow’s version of events. In a way it’s like “pulling rank.” Since Hall and Boeree are obviously much more informed on sexual harassment and the treatment of women in poker issues than I am — and because they are shedding light on the topic through their statements, I am urged by all general guidelines known to me to adamantly stand behind both.
But at the end of the day I am an editorial writer with self-publishing abilities on several websites. This means that every word in this article is directly submitted and posted by me personally, without any editing filter aside from my own. If I am to support the stances taken by Hall and Boeree, I must relay some reasonable justification to sell it to readers who have kept up with the TwoPlusTwo Thread commentary, and who aren’t keen on rigid positions without direct evidence to support them.
What Message Do Hall & Boeree Statements Convey?
One thing Hall and Boeree have NOT done through their statements is communicate a kick-ass-and-take-names hardline position. Both statements are mindful of innocent parties who have nothing to do with the allegations and convey a reluctance to place any blame where it does not belong.
Also — thankfully — neither gave a “tricycle races to this morning’s sewage” recount of their past experiences with the accuser in an effort to support her. Say what you want about having someone’s back, but an NVG environment truly requires an intro like, “I’d just as soon sell so-and-so down the river for a stake” if you want a character plea to gain any meaningful traction (shout out to “Fossilman” and “The Voice of Poker”).
So with both arguments striking a reasonable tone, what information can I relay to readers that will back up the positions of Hall and Boeree? I believe I can make a legitimate case for aligning with the high profile personalities without direct evidence and without compromising any personal value system — and best of all I don’t have to tug too hard on heart strings to do it.
The Double Standard on Character
If you remember back to a long time ago (roughly 48 hours), one of the first arguments brought forth to promote Rush Street Gaming’s proposed settlement to Dr. Moskow was that it “made sense.” Even if the accusations are untrue, logical calculations are necessary to determine whether one action — albeit an uncomfortable one — is more cost-effective than another, claim PNiA proponents.
And this point does make sense. Offering a certain amount in an attempt to get both parties past an unfortunate relationship and mitigate risk is something that many in the poker community can directly relate to. While that philosophy does not jive with “bringing the issue to light,” it does suggest an attempt to settle the matter in a Fair & Equitable manner. That doesn’t mean that the settlement is F&E, just that one side perceives it to be so.
There is an element of hypocrisy in that line since “covering up” alleged incidents is the exact opposite of “exposing” them, yet if two competent parties want to work out an F&E solution to get things on the right track, who’s to criticize?
But during the negotiations, Dr. Jaclynn Moskow decided she wasn’t going to play ball. It seems that contrary to popular belief, $5/$10 female live cash game pros are indeed capable of defining F&E using their own monetary amount — and suddenly PNiA proponents label Dr. Moskow as having “character” issues.
For the record, let’s make it clear that Dr. Moskow asked Human Resources personnel for more money — not lawyers, but does it really matter if we’re judging the accuser’s EV-calculations by the same standards as PNiA’s “morality vs. money” number crunch?
Third Time’s A Charm
Criticism of both PNiA and Moskow is in order for not having the good sense to stay away from each other following alleged negative Pittsburgh experiences in November 2014. After apparently making each other’s lives effing miserable, somehow PNiA reps and Moskow opted for moar cowbell in an awkward waltz to Florida a few weeks later.
When Florida didn’t work out, the sides seriously flirted with a third and perhaps even indefinite future encounters throughout 2015. If we’re still relating this saga in an NVG setting, it’s a case of two parties begging to be made an example of — prioritizing some sicko need for drama over common sense.
But yet again, the hardline “outright rejection” of Moskow’s claims after private dealmaking came up Snake Eyes speaks towards a lack of motivation by PNiA representatives to “advance” the morality issue in the first place. Implicated individuals and their representatives moved initially to sweep the allegations under the rug — without bringing them to light immediately after Dr. Moskow communicated her displeasure. By my interpretation of the “industry standard” position on sexual harassment issues, Moskow’s communication should have been enough.
Nolan Dalla Spreads Awareness
Visualize the following, already confirmed, scenario…
PNiA and Dr. Moskow hadn’t gotten along for more than a year by the time March 2016 rolled around. The accused and their colleagues had the matter “hanging over” their heads for an entire calendar year and negotiations had deteriorated.
So, what does the only individual in the conflict accused of sexual harassment — Nolan Dalla — do during a 2016 visit to South Florida (Moskow’s stomping grounds)? Why… spread the word on misogyny and women in poker for fuck’s sake!
Now I hope you’re still with me and there’s a link to the YouTube video below if you want to skip ahead, but imagine Dr. Moskow watching that video for the first time.
I mean, let’s leave out the 1:56 freeze-frame where it’s hard to keep a straight face and just the overall bullshit factor the clip reeks of in retrospect. “You call it out!” Yeah… like Dalla had been calling it out since November 2014? And if you want a PostScript Easter Egg from way back on Friday, the video at its Best AND Worst is Prick of The Year material.
So I guess Dr. Moskow — who we’ve already established had enough wherewithal to finally escalate the seriousness of the situation — wouldn’t get the Extreme Ironing going on in that double-edged message?
Taken into context with the entire drama, it’s someone in a position of authority within the poker industry absolutely putting the screws to an adversary in a clear case of self-interest outweighing what’s best for “promoting women in poker.” And that just might be where Hall & Boeree decided the time had come to “call out” the nonsense and defend Dr. Moskow.
How Did Joey Do?
As readers of these recaps know, the aim of my editorials that summarize Poker Life Podcast episodes is to promote Joey’s show from a fan’s perspective — while inserting my own commentary on the issues brought forth on the program.
Minutes after Friday’s show had concluded, Ingram sent over an appreciated text my way, letting me know that the segment with Dr. Moskow was “intense.” If you watch the 97-minute dialogue again, you’ll see there’s one part where Papi is moderating chat messages, conversating with Moskow, adjusting his camera, and holding up a mobile phone to display text at the same time. There are also some morsels of data for Trivia lovers — as Friday’s cast was likely the first broadcast he’s allowed himself to be interrupted more than a dozen times on a single transmission.
But it’s not every day that such an important topic is advanced in the poker community — and Ingram, like the pro he is known for being, didn’t reference the extra multitasking, and didn’t insist on guiding Moskow along a predetermined path. Sometimes you’ve got to put in some extra consideration to ensure the guest has every opportunity to communicate with (10,000 and counting) viewers, and that’s what took place Friday.
And now… what gives?
Cate Hall and Liv Boeree have already stated that they believe the most important, damning details of Dr. Moskow’s recollection of events. More high profile female personalities in our industry may follow suit.
The latest from anything linked to the Poker Night in America side of this controversy outright rejects all allegations, including the ones that the duo have already decided aren’t BS.
Indeed… what gives?
pokerfuse: Nolan Dalla and PNiA Face Accusations of Racism and Sexual Harassment
* Hard-news summary of events published May 28, 2016 by Michael Gentile
Allegations of Sexual Harassment and Racism at Televised Poker Show
* A look into the inner workings of the PNiA televised poker show by Steve Ruddock