Billy Mitchell’s libel case over Donkey Kong cheating scandal set for July


In brief: According to newly discovered court records, Billy “The King of Kong” Mitchell has had a defamation case against Twin Galaxies moving quietly through the judicial system for over a year. The case stems from the ousting of Mitchell and the scrubbing of his records from the Twin Galaxies website in 2018. A judge will hear the case this July.

In February 2018, Billy Mitchell’s Donkey Kong scores were brought into question when he was accused of using emulation software to achieve them rather than original arcade PCB. After a two-month investigation into the matter, Twin Galaxies concluded in April 2018 that the video records of Mitchell’s record runs were not possible on original hardware.

As a result, the company decided to remove his scores from its registry and banned him from future leaderboard listings for any game. Just days later, Mitchell issued a video statement vowing to clear his name and have his scores reinstated.

Nothing more was heard of the matter until September 2019 when his legal team suggested they might take the case to court. However, unknown to everyone except perhaps Mitchell and Twin Galaxies, the lawsuit had already been filed earlier that year in April.

Mitchell told Ars Technica that the claim had to be filed by April 2019 because the case only has a one-year statute of limitations in Califonia. The suit had already been delayed, as it was previously misfiled as “William James Mitchell vs. Twin Galexies, LLC [sic].” Despite the delays and getting the suit in just under the deadline, the former King said he believes his team has a winning case.

“My law firm and I are fully confident that we will establish a prima face [sic] case for all parts of the lawsuit,” said Mitchell.

His lawyers claim Twin Galaxies committed libel by implying Mitchell was a cheater in its 2018 statement regarding the results of its investigation.

“The statement is libelous in its face: it asserts that Mitchell did not achieve his record scores legitimately,” the amended filing reads. His lawyers also insist that Twin Galaxies refused to consider any evidence supporting that Mitchell used arcade hardware.

The scorekeeper’s argument is that it did not call Mitchell a cheater, and in fact, was very careful not to comment on his character or conduct. Instead, it focused on what it saw in the video, which “demonstrated [the] impossibility of original unmodified Donkey Kong arcade hardware to produce specific board transition images shown in the videotaped recordings of those adjudicated performances.”

Furthermore, TG contends that it was only stating its opinion in that statement and points to the fact that it begins with, “We now believe…” It also did not issue the ruling of its own volition but rather at the prompting from the community.

“Instead, it was asked by the community as the final adjudicator of video game scores appearing on its website to consider [the] evidence and render its opinion,” Twin Galaxies anti-SLAPP motion reads.

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on July 6, 2020. Mitchell, who loves the spotlight, is likely to be very vocal no matter what the courts decide.


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