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Posted by patrickklepek (6833 posts) -
No Caption Provided

UPDATED: A small tweak made regarding this incident and GamerGate, based on comments made by Sarkeesian.

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It hasn't been an encouraging week for, well, anything. The latest is no better, but pretending it didn't happen won't work.

The Standard Examiner reports media critic Anita Sarkessian, long the subject of intense Internet harassment for her video series Tropes vs. Women, was forced to cancel a speech at Utah State University following an anonymous terror threat.

A number of staff members at Utah State University received an email from an individual claiming to be a student. If Sarkeesian went through with her talk, the individual promised "the deadliest school shooting in American history," as he has access to a "semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs."

The entire email is published below:

No Caption Provided

Sarkeesian intended to give her lecture, despite the threat, but was unable to find a suitable compromise with security officials. Utah has an open carry policy, which meant people could theoretically show up to Sarkeesian's lecture with a firearm, despite the known terror threat. Thus, the lecture was cancelled.

Though the above letter does not mention GamerGate, Sarkeesian said other threats did.

This comes in the wake of harassment targeted at other women in the industry recently, including Giant Spacekat's Brianna Wu and Depression Quest designer Zoe Quinn. Earlier this month, Sarkeesian's home address was used to threaten her, and she was forced to leave. Wu and Quinn experienced the same harassment tactics. Whatever legitimate concerns some members of GamerGate had concerning the industry have been drowned by threats of violence.

Overnight, thousands in the industry rallied with a currently-trending hashtag called StopGamerGate2014.

Me? I'm tired. I can't imagine what they feel like. Sarkeesian is just a woman making videos about games. Quinn and Wu are just women making games. The exaggerated, hyperbolic, and violent responses to their work has only emboldened them.

Avatar image for do_the_manta_ray
#2 Posted by Do_The_Manta_Ray (1628 posts) -

I strongly disagree with her methods, but it's hard not to respect her decision to keep fighting for what she believes in after such an ordeal.

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#4 Posted by slyspider (1827 posts) -

Disagreeing with someone with someone is fine. Threatening their safety is another. This continues to be fucked up from both sides.

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#5 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1053 posts) -

I'm from Montreal and him citing Marc Lépine is sickening to me. It's been twenty year and we obviously still have a lot of progress to do.

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#6 Edited by sammo21 (5958 posts) -

Harassment is never OK, no matter who it is directed towards and why. However, blaming GamerGate just because they don't like the movement doesn't help anything either. TotalBiscuit and Boogie have said similar things. Public figures get death threats when coming to universities to speak all the time. Unless the death threat is directly linked to the entire movement its not GamerGate's fault. Many of these people supported Occupy Wallstreet, and its similar movements, and wouldn't put down that entire movement because of some of the off putting things that happened there inside of a physical movement: actual rape, rape threats, "rape free zones", shitting on cop cars, vandalism, death threats, actual violence, actual terrorism.

Just too bad its getting branded that "GamerGate is ongoing, so this is OBVIOUSLY them."

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#7 Posted by izzygraze (947 posts) -

This is why we need feminism. This shit has got to stop.

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#8 Posted by DTS (67 posts) -

The exaggerated, hyperbolic, and violent responses to their work has only emboldened them.

These women love video games way more than I do. I'd have said "Screw it" and left for something else.

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#9 Edited by DevourerOfTime (703 posts) -

A) All the best wishes for support for Anita on this. The constant stream of abuse that comes her way is horrifying, yet she still continues on. Very inspirational.

B) I find it incredibly sad and depressing that state laws prevent victims and the public in this sort of situation situation from being properly protected.

I will never understand America.

C) The hate group that is GG has to be stopped.

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#10 Posted by BillyMaysRIP (702 posts) -
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#11 Posted by Charlie99993 (3 posts) -

The fact that someone would do this is really terrible, but in your own words this has no connection with GamerGate, they never discuss her because she hasn't actually been linked to any corruption in journalism, why write about it in the article?

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#12 Edited by coma1138 (44 posts) -

Disturbing situation and she should respond to it however she's comfortable, but I'd imagine the cross-section of people with legal concealed carry permits that are also 13 year old Internet trolls isn't particularly high.

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#13 Posted by Flappy (2415 posts) -

I'm still trying to figure out the end goal for the people making the threats. It's never a good thing when folks send out death threats, but this is all caused by video games? Really?

That's some bull.

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#14 Edited by DevourerOfTime (703 posts) -
@dts said:

The exaggerated, hyperbolic, and violent responses to their work has only emboldened them.

These women love video games way more than I do. I'd have said "Screw it" and left for something else.

It's a pretty no-brainer right now that the two people who love video games the most in this world are Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkessian.

You don't stay in this industry after all they've endured for the money or the fame or the challenge or the creativity or any other reason than undying love. A love they surely at times hate that they have, but keeps them going still the same.

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#15 Posted by CrunksMcgee (75 posts) -

That email made me feel physically ill.

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#16 Posted by brandondryrock (890 posts) -

So when does this end? Some say the end goal is to achieve more transparency in games writing. Why are these threats necessary when the goal is transparency? Also, if games writers start being "more transparent," do these threats end over night? I would bet no. It is clear that there is a group of people that do not like having women in the gaming industry, and their end goal is to get them out of the industry.

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#18 Edited by logikk (33 posts) -

This whole thing has just gotten out of control. I understand that video game journalists should have ethics (shoot, everyone should), but threatening people isn't the way to voice your opinion. And for the record, as a 29-year-old male, I agree that there should maybe be some more interesting story lines focused on women in video games. However, it is like any other art-form, hard to balance social pressures and artistic vision, but seems like not enough people are understanding and sympathetic to this fact.

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#19 Posted by rmanthorp (4630 posts) -

God. It's just upsetting no matter where you stand...

Moderator
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#20 Posted by sh00rs1gn (30 posts) -

Y'know? If people don't agree with what she has to say, fine. Everyone has a right to express their opinion and it's even better if they back it up with reliable supporting evidence and a logical line of thought.

But what the actual fuck is up with people who decide to threaten to shoot up a school because they believe they were wronged by feminists? This isn't someone who's mentally stable and most certainly isn't someone who can hold a normal logical dialogue with anyone when they believe a suitable course of action is to kill people for simply discussing the point of womens role in gaming.

The insane thing about this is that even if she continued to do the talk and there was an incident then it'd do nothing but highlight the issue of equality yet higher. It would paint men in an even darker light and would do nothing to support this rambling of a madman.

I'm not angry, I'm just so, so disappointed that even now people think this is acceptable in the western world.

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#21 Edited by Mento (4202 posts) -

Guys, you know the drill:

  • No coming in here to insult Ms. Sarkeesian (and while civil criticism of her work is fine, it's perhaps not the best time for that either).
  • No coming in here to say "this isn't news" or "stop giving this attention" or "video games!" or anything else equally dismissive. Patrick is reporting on news that occurred within the games industry to an outspoken video games critic. That is his job.
  • Civil debate is fine. If you want to continue posting the same polite pro-GG arguments you had yesterday on the Brianna Wu article, you are free to do so. (Just... I dunno, keep in mind that every new "death threat against a female industry figure while GamerGate just coincidentally happens to be a thing" article that goes up makes your platform a little less tenable.)

Comments in parentheses are my opinion, not necessarily shared by the other moderators or staff.

Moderator
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#22 Posted by DevourerOfTime (703 posts) -

Also thank you @patrickklepek for writing this article and talking about the newest chapter on the constant stream of abuse game developers and journalists (most of which have been female) have been receiving in the past three or so months.

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#23 Posted by Jumbs (307 posts) -

I strongly disagree with her methods, but it's hard not to respect her decision to keep fighting for what she believes in after such an ordeal.

Yeah, her methods of dissecting video games sure is bad!

I hope she's ok. Her videos are really neat, even though I don't agree with her views on sex workers.

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#24 Posted by Chaser324 (8623 posts) -

NO flaming, trolling, disruptive activity or posts which encourage such behavior: Includes but not limited to posting inflammatory comments with the intent of starting an argument or flame war, quoting inflammatory posts or comments made off-site, or attempting to derail conversations with dismissive or off-topic posts.

If you don't wish to actually engage in conversation relevant to the article, then you shouldn't be posting here. That includes the "lol click bait", "wut is this", and "video gamez, plz" sort of comments - they're dismissive, off-topic, not constructive, and they will be deleted. If you would like to provide constructive criticism on the subject matter of editorial content, feel free to PM the staff, contact them via Twitter or Tumblr, or send in an e-mail - this isn't the venue for that discussion.

Moderator
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#25 Posted by HybridMoment (38 posts) -

this is bigger than video games, and always has been.

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#26 Posted by TheBigAristotle (30 posts) -

This story is a real bummer. However, I think that the threats to these developers comes from the lowest form of internet anons, people who are not well, and clearly taking things too far. But this sort of nonsense occurs all the time on the internet. It's probably all bullshit anyway, nobody is acting on these threats, they're just basement-dwelling weirdos flexing their muscles behind IP proxy servers.

No reasonable person is endorsing these actions. But when people can access personal info on a computer and disseminate it instantly, there's really no way to stop that sort of behavior.

I disagree with this whole notion that a small percentage of wackjobs tarnishes the entire point of the "movement", if that's what you want to call it. It's not an organization, there's no leadership, so I don't see why these individuals making threats are grouped in with all the people who just think that the game coverage industry is too closely tied with the interests of the game makers.

I'm not gonna respond to anyone, because I'm not saying anything new. I'm sure I'll catch hell from some people, and it's not that important to me. I just think that the fact that people are receiving threats online doesn't invalidate legitimate claims by people using a hashtag. It just means the internet is full of assholes, some of which are extreme assholes. And that's not really news.

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#27 Posted by alfawolf04 (39 posts) -

While I disagree with a lot of Anita Sarkeesian's viewpoints, it's these death threats that are making me more and more ashamed to call myself a gamer.

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#28 Posted by whitegreyblack (1946 posts) -

This is just out of control.

To any man, ANY man, who feels threatened by people like Anita Sarkeesian or Brianna Wu who are talking about facets of videogames... MAN UP. Discussion is fine. Discussion is healthy. Even if you do not agree with them and feel it threatens something you hold dear, the discussion is a good thing. What is NOT okay, is threatening someone's well-being over it.

Physical threats are a coward's tool.

These are video games for Pete's sake. Someone will go on making video games for you to enjoy until the world burns out. Someone discussing the subject matter of these games will not make them go away forever. Relax.

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#29 Posted by Vasari (83 posts) -

I'm sure plenty of people are already typing up their manifesto on why Anita Sarkeesian is terrible and how she lies in youtube videos about Halo 3 or whatever, but please ask yourself if anything she's done justifies this level of vitriol and harassment. When people are being threatened with rape and death (as well as their families), we are so fucking far beyond videogames. This is not internet drama, this is not clickbait news articles, and this is not harmless pranking. At some point you have to admit the gravity of what this really is.

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#30 Edited by Coolarman (1398 posts) -

I don't agree with everything Miss Sarkeesian has said but that doesn't warrant fucking bomb threats.

Its hard to believe that we live in a world where people think that this is ok.

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#32 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1053 posts) -
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#34 Posted by Drazat (176 posts) -

I dont understand why are people getting death threats?

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#35 Edited by extintor (1086 posts) -

Some fires can be put out by removing the fuel that keeps them burning but if you have no ability to do that then you've got to take action and use water. Giant Bomb are taking a stance in opposition to the inexcusable hatefulness, they are trying to throw water on this awful fire...I unequivocally support that.

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#36 Edited by Dudleyville (53 posts) -

How have the threats against Wu or Sarkeesian been linked to GamerGate at all? Of course harassment is terrible, but why link two incidents with GamerGate with no proof? What about the fact that people supporting GamerGate report any harassment that occurs when people try to take it over that have no place in GamerGate? Again, why not report on Milo Yiannopoulous being sent syringes in the mail? I've seen only short pieces in "Worth Reading" and separate news stories being cherry picked and not vetted for information and truth. Present all the information that happens if you decide to talk or write about the whole GamerGate situation so that readers can process the information. Only writing about specific things feels disingenuous.

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#37 Posted by colinjw (253 posts) -

I hope that somehow this guy gets found out and taken to task.

It is stuff like this that makes me think we should not have anonymity on the net.

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#38 Edited by kidIKD (56 posts) -

The fact that someone would do this is really terrible, but in your own words this has no connection with GamerGate, they never discuss her because she hasn't actually been linked to any corruption in journalism, why write about it in the article?

They frequently discuss her although she hasn't actually been linked to any corruption in journalism, why does GamerGate keep bringing her up?

Because GamerGate isn't about corruption in journalism.

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#39 Posted by Splodge (2730 posts) -

Man, these coincidences keep stacking up. First a blog about Zoe Quinns sex life shows up, then the GamerGate movement appears. Now female devs are getting continued death threats and being forced out of their homes, and the GG movement gets its own celebrity backers and an army of defenders.

Online
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#40 Posted by rmanthorp (4630 posts) -

Please take a second to read this tweet.


Moderator
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#41 Posted by AMyggen (7738 posts) -

Awful.

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#43 Posted by emfromthesea (2262 posts) -

Is a strict, non-anonymous internet what this is all leading to? The people harassing these women need to face consequences if we're ever going to deter other people from doing similar things. But I don't know how you enforce a punishment in an anonymous environment.

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#44 Posted by DevourerOfTime (703 posts) -
The insane thing about this is that even if she continued to do the talk and there was an incident then it'd do nothing but highlight the issue of equality yet higher. It would paint men in an even darker light and would do nothing to support this rambling of a madman.

I'm not angry, I'm just so, so disappointed that even now people think this is acceptable in the western world.

I think even having this threat to begin with shows a lot of people how bad the gender inequality is within the video game industry, tech industry, and North American society in general.

Ironically, she said more about gender inequality and sexism within the western world by getting these death threats and cancelling that talk than her talk ever could.

And that saddens and angers me to no end. And both of those are healthy, natural emotions in this situation. Because no one should have to live a life with that much abuse, harassment, and terrorizing in their life.

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#47 Posted by dudeglove (13659 posts) -

As someone wrote on Twitter, GamerGate can be visualized with the note "Actually, this is all about ethics" tied to a brick going through a woman's window.

Avatar image for sleepydoughnut
#48 Edited by SleepyDoughnut (1269 posts) -

I've been saying this multiple times, but reporting this is only keeping the ball rolling. All the anonymous assholes want is attention and perceived power. Report about it and you give them both. Don't report about it and you take it away from them.

This guy wasn't going to do anything. Who tells people they're going to bomb a school before they do it? This guy realized that a guy on twitter could make someone leave their house and then he realized he could change real life just by issuing a threatening letter, so he did.

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#49 Posted by billyok (613 posts) -

@sleepydoughnut: sorry, but no. Sweeping these stories under the rug is the absolute worst way to address them.

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#50 Posted by Darkecho117 (123 posts) -

I just don't see this slowing down when these assholes keep getting real world results with these threats. It's really fucking sad to see people treat each other like this and I honestly don't know what we can do to make this kind of behavior end.