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TheStreet Open House

Critic Firing Sets Off Sparks for CNet

Video gamers united against CNet (CNET) on Monday, accusing the tech-info company of censoring editorials on its popular site, GameSpot, to please advertisers.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed to TheStreet.com that game reviewer Jeff Gerstmann was fired from the company after writing a negative review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, a violent action game published by Eidos Interactive.

The blogosphere is buzzing with allegations that Eidos threatened to pull a massive ad campaign off GameSpot unless the review was toned down and that Gerstmann was fired for not relenting to the editorial interference.

A spokeswoman for GameSpot did not return a phone call or an email seeking comment. Eidos Interactive, owned by Britain's SCi Entertainment, did not return an email seeking comment.

"It's not purely about what has been said," said the source. "It's not just a situation where it's about advertising pressure. It's not as clear-cut as that."

Still, a GameSpot user named Subrosian called on fellow gamers to boycott CNet on Monday in protest of Gerstmann's firing.

"A lot of GameSpot's more prominent posters will be taking this action to show solidarity with the staff (and Jeff) who have to fear their jobs being lost if they speak their mind," wrote Subrosian in a post on GameSpot dated Sunday evening. "So for their inability to speak on this issue, we'll show CNET our silence. This issue is bigger than you, it's bigger than me --it's bigger than GameSpot. This is about big business being able to buy public opinion."

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