So the gamergate spat has finally gone mainstream, and a good thing too since there are now two women in the gaming industry who have been driven from their homes over virulent on-line threats, and the posting of their personal information including their addresses. And Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel her talk in Utah.
What is infuriating me is how gamers keep making excuses for this inexcusable behavior, and how many of those excuses are just flat out lies. Let’s start with Zoe Quinn who got slut shamed by her ex-boyfriend who claimed she was giving sexual favors in exchange for positive reviews at Kotaku for her game. This was supposedly the reason this on-line outrage began — to protect journalistic integrity. Now it turns out that Kotaku never even reviewed the game. Here is the statement from Kotaku — (Kotaku & Zoe Quinn). Did Ms Quinn cheat on her boyfriend? I have no idea, and whether she did or not has nothing to do with her right to work in the gaming industry or her right not to be forced from her home by death threats.
Next up is Anita Sarkeesian. Her sin is apparently starting a kick-starter that ended up over funded. Lots of kick starters get over funded, and she has provided content. That’s all she promised. Basic contract law. She made an offer — fund me and I’ll make some videos about the role of women characters in gaming. People funded her. She made some videos. Contract met. Screaming that she didn’t make enough videos is irrelevant. I think her real sin was pointing out some depressingly sexist tendencies in video games. She hasn’t had to flee her home yet, but threats of a massacre at Utah State University. She has been accused of “making it up”, and that this is all just a “false flag”. One big problem, apologists — the threats were sent to the University not to Ms. Sarkeesian. She learned about them when she got off the plane in Utah, and then discovered that because of Utah’s “open carry” policy guns could be brought into the auditorium. In an abundance of caution and because the emails had threatened a massacre — meaning others were also at risk — Sarkeesian chose to cancel her talk. Here is a link to the Washington Post article. Utah & Sarkeesian.
Next up is Brianna Wu who had the temerity to mock gamergate, and for this she has been threatened with rape and murder and has fled her home. Like Anita Sarkeesian Wu has been accused of “making it up.” As she pointed out in an interview with CNN —
“At this point the FBI is involved. My local police department is involved, the Massachusetts cybercrime division is involved. If I made this up, I’ll be going to jail. I can think of no quicker way to destroy my career than doing something stupid like that.
“I think it shows a really disturbing mindset from people on the other side of this. They want to attack the person that’s the victim of a crime. It’s a terrible, destructive impulse.”
I love video games. I think it’s a fantastic new form of entertainment, very creative, and a new art form, but this shit gotta stop. To all the little boys out there who are threatening women in this industry — you profess to love games and want to protect the integrity of the industry. Here’s a tip — then don’t make violent threats against women in gaming with whom you disagree.
I’m going to go ahead and post this. So cue the threats.
Or maybe people are starting to wake up, and realize that if we don’t police ourselves we’re going to prove to the world that we are loser nerds who can’t get dates on Saturday night.