Thanks to the many STO players who informed Stormstrike that STO player Katic has changed his avatar.
As we noted in our last post, Katic was using a stolen image by photographer Kristina Tararina. The photograph was of a Russian model named Lubov. We contacted Tararina directly, who confirmed the image belonged to her, and that Lubov is neither American, nor an STO player.
Along with the very serious issue of Cryptic-approved copywrite infringement, Katic’s behavior became a concern to the STO community because he was using his status as an “attractive female gamer” and popular forum poster to use Cryptic’s community managers as a blunt instrument: Several players contacted us to say they have been banned or issued account warnings at Katic’s behest, and those players provided screen shots.
When players revealed the photo theft, Cryptic quickly moved to ban or warn those players, while allowing Katic to continue to use the stolen photograph, even after it had been conclusively proven that it was stolen.
In response to mounting pressure, Katic changed his avatar, which now features a photo of a different woman. While we remain disappointed in Cryptic and its CM staff for allowing the fiasco to go on, we are very pleased to see Katic drop the image he stole from Tararina. We consider that matter closed.
However, it’s worth pointing out that liars rarely ever admit deception, and this case is no exception: Katic continues to insist he is a woman, despite other players pointing out that the new image bears no similarity to the old, and to quote one forum poster, “you can’t change bone structure.” It’s clear that the new photograph Katic is using as his avatar belongs to another victimized woman, and it’s a shame that yet another woman has had her identity co-opted by a player for the purposes of currying favor, free epics and a spot on elite PvP squads.
Because the original stolen image was revealed by a player who used the TinEye reverse image search service, it’s reasonable to assume Katic checked TinEye to make sure the new photograph could not be traced to its source. Indeed, TinEye does not have a record of the new photograph.
UPDATE: A commenter in our previous post points out that, while Katic retroactively claimed he was Russian when the source of his original avatar was reveleaed, Katic’s “Russian” is nothing more than a Babelfish or Google Translate product, complete with awkward grammar.