In Avenger’s gaming controversy, major companies side with the customer

Avenger rep Paul Christoforo provided a free tutorial on how not to handle PR online.


Lauren Rae Orsini


Published Dec 27, 2011   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 11:25 pm CDT

When a dissatisfied customer named Dave wrote to a PR representative about poor service receiving an Avenger video-game controller, the email exchange could have gone in a few different directions.

The PR rep, Paul Christoforo, could have offered a discount. He could have apologized. Or he could have insulted Dave with racist, sexist, and homophobic tirades while claiming ties with video-game company bigwigs and the mayor of Boston.

Christoforo opted for door number three.

“We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im [sic] stupid hat on,” the PR representative wrote.

Frustrated, Dave forwarded the exchange to Mike Krahulik, one-half of the duo behind Penny Arcade, a Web comic with 3.5 million readers. Krahulik, who also heads national gaming conventions PAX and PAX East, joined in the exchange and published the response.

“LOL Thanks for the Free PR I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , IGN , Engadget I’ll be meeting them at [the Consumer Electronics Expo],” Christoforo replied.

However, editors at Kotaku, IGN, Engadget and G4 have not only said they do not support the PR rep, they’ve also spoken out about Christoforo’s “unprofessionalism.”

Krahulik said he joined in the conversation because his influence tends “to have a calming effect on these sorts of arguments.” But even though Christoforo claimed to know the biggest names in gaming, Krahulik’s didn’t ring a bell.

“OK Mike whatever you say lol,” Christoforo responded to the convention head. “I spoke to the person who ran [PAX East] in Boston last year.”

It’s the perfect storm of ignorance and insult to get the Internet’s blood boiling. A thread about the exchange is currently the first item on the front page of Reddit. Adding fuel to the fire is Christoforo’s insistence on feeding the trolls from his Twitter handle, @OceanMarketting.

For now, redditors are content to make popcorn and watch the drama unfold. Commenters have noted that Christoforo has hurt the Avenger brand more than trolling ever could.

“I can’t help but think this whole thing could’ve been avoided with a $10 coupon,” wrote linglingchi.

Update: According to interactive designer Michaelangelo Ilagan (@mikeyil), Christoforo has changed his Twitter handle to @OceanStratagy.

Share this article
*First Published: Dec 27, 2011, 3:59 pm CST