Games Critic Cancels Campus Talk After ‘Massacre’ Threat

Feminist games and media critic Anita Sarkeesian has cancelled a planned talk at Utah State University, following a threat of “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if she went ahead with the lecture.

The ‘Tropes v Women In Video Games‘ creator took the decision after local authorities declined to provide firearms searches at the threatened event.

An anonymous email sent to Utah State staff read that that “I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs. This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.”

“You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk … Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”

The author also compared his planned actions to the 1989 Montreal massacre, in which anti-feminist Marc Lépine murdered fourteen women.

Sarkeesian tweeted that she had been “Forced to cancel my talk at USU after receiving death threats because police wouldn’t take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event. Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah’s open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches.”

The full text of the email sent to Utah State university follows:

This came days after game developer Brianna Wu and her family fled their house, after being sent death and rape threats which included her home address, in response to her Twitter criticism of the GamerGate campaign. Warning – graphic language and descriptions of sexual violence at this link.

Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn also left her home in response to similar threats earlier this year, as did Sarkeesian, who reports a history of threats to venues she was speaking at. She speaks of some of her experiences of harassment and abuse in the video below.

RPS is staunchly opposed to any and all harassment, abuse and threats.


  1. Meat Circus says:

    It’s about ethics.

    • RedViv says:

      But where is the PROOF et cetera perge

      • Melody says:

        The feminist agenda is censoring free speech by closing the comments

        • Makariel says:

          I interpret free speech as my god given right to publicize my ill-informed opinion, people who disagree need to shut up because free speech and I can yell louder.

    • Godwhacker says:

      How? Beyond it being pretty damn unethical to threaten a mass killing simply because someone is expressing an opinion you disagree with.

      • Alec Meer says:

        He’s parodying the line that some anti-games-media types use to explain their campaign.

        • supermini says:

          “…but because of Utah’s open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches.”

          Wait, what?

          • newprince says:

            Think ut through. You do a search for firearms, but they’re legal to carry. So no reason to search for them.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:


          • Cinek says:

            Murcia at it’s finest.

          • SRTie4k says:

            Bravo to that police department! Glad someone actually cares about rights these days, and doesn’t declare Marshall Law every time someone makes a threat.

          • Imbecile says:

            But you agree that the threat is a bad thing, and the person who made it should probably be identified right? I mean this isnt a casual, throwaway kinda threat?

          • SRTie4k says:

            Of course I think the person who made the threat should be identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

            The route the police take to get there should not include trampling all over the rights of everybody else, however.

          • Christian Dannie Storgaard says:

            Yeah, we can’t have anyone trample on every decent human being’s right to kill someone at a campus. Is there some other purpose to guns that I don’t know about?

          • gi_ty says:

            @Christian Dannie Storgaard :
            As a long time resident of Salt Lake City, I can say that the majority of Utahns live in some kind of Clint Eastwood fantasy. They think the more guns in society the better, because then there are more “good guys” with guns. There was a mass shooting attempt here several years back that was stopped when an off duty cop shot the perpetrator before he could really get going. There are frequent mentions in the media of home invasions and robberies stopped by armed citizens. It is an ingrained part of the culture in most of the rural American west.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            So what you’re saying is you need guns because there are guns? Sounds kindof… circular.

          • gi_ty says:

            Indeed, but as it is relatively impossible to prove that more guns = less violence, or vice versa, given the amount of other variables that exists culture will prevail (often even in the face of well reasoned argument supported by evidence). It is supported by a heavy dose of biased media reporting and general fear and hate for the “feds”. It seems a leftover attitude from a time when central governmental control was almost non existent and people did need to rely on themselves for nearly everything. Given the paradigm shift has occurred only over 3-4 generations I imagine it will take a few more before this attitude is regarded as archaic as it is within a modern society.

          • Banyan says:

            That is simply not true. It’s relatively trivial to take national gun ownership and gun deaths, put them on a scatter plot, and see if it looks like there’s a trend line. Here’s some graphs investigating explanations proposed by gun enthusiasts. link to “Culture” determines how far away from the mean line you are. The US is just a little bit less violent that would be expected from the mean line, while Italy is much more violent, for example, but that doesn’t affect the underlying correlation.There’s a bunch of links at the bottom of link to for anyone who wants more graphs.

          • InnerPartisan says:

            It’s what the Founding Fathers would have wanted!

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            The only reason that “mean line” is even applicable though is purely due to the fact that in most countries where gun ownership is not widespread, guns are sought out purely by violent individuals far more willing to use them than your average US citizen who has one for home defence. In the UK if you have a gun, you are probably a violent criminal, so the graph is completely misleading and not a valid statistic in any way.

          • ChippyTea says:

            Hopefully this will post where I want it to.

            In the UK if you have a gun, you are probably a violent criminal, so the graph is completely misleading and not a valid statistic in any way.

            As some one who legally owns a gun, your totally mistaken.

            From Wikipedia number of crimes involving firearms “in the year Apr 2012 to Mar 2013 there were 11,227 recorded offences involving firearms, broken down as follows. By weapon type: Long-barrelled shotgun = 288, Sawn-off shotgun = 165, Handgun = 2,256, Rifle = 43, Imitation firearm = 1,225, Unidentified firearm = 725, Other firearm = 456 Air weapons = 2,977. This is total crimes reported so everything from homicide to armed robbery to walking down the street with an air gun not in the correct bag. It should be noted that a weapon is only classified when its type is proven, if not it was placed in the category it most closely resembled.

            There is currently about 1.8 million legally owned firearms, not including air rifles, in the UK.

          • NemesisZidar says:

            Are you taking such statistics serious? With just a quick look at it i can tell you, at best its a discussable thought, so far away from any proof possible it could be, marked as “This obvious set of facts”. *facepalm*
            One quick thing beside many others would be, that there are NO sources of any kind proving what you read there.
            In that way its not social science at all, that just number calling from somewhere.
            In the end you cant proof what you read to be correct.
            Other arguments were, that the graphs he/she is showing are just so bad and missing factors to consider. I just see wildly assuming numbers set in relation to factors that should be in relation to factors not existant.
            Instead the person sets connections between topics that are just slightly important and doesnt consider connections to other important factors that would be important.
            At the end its just a commentary not worth more than every other commentary around here.
            Besides that he claims that people considering the factor diversity as a possible role as racists, which is the weakest argument alltogether and if this person really would have skill in social science or science at all, he or she would know that. Every possible factor is to consider and just by the way, his claimed truth is NOT true at all.
            And we arent even talking about the problem of dark numbers here already, which would be the next big issue.
            I could go on more and more, ripping that blog part by part showing it is wrong and it doesnt matter if its a pro or con argument to weapon laws or related issues. That blog alone is just what it is called, a blog, a opinion with just a quick look, just worth a short laugh.
            Even more, when the person creating such a blog has no clue of scale when comparing nearly whole continents, with single countries.
            Violence in Europe is in most countries dominated by smaller weapons like knives or bare fists, and dont involve guns at all.
            We can discuss gun laws, but that would be too complex here i think. I dont think its any worth to throw in false graphs and sources though, btw wikipedia is no reliable source aswell and even more i think considering the issue mentioned in this article here on RPS, its not even worth to discuss if its good or not good. At least i hope so.
            I can ensure you what would happen here where i live, the person that wanted to speak at the school WOULD still speak at the school, we had top protection and i can ensure you they would hunt that person down brutally in any way possible.

          • darkhog says:

            Nemesis Zidar, your post is total bullshit. I’ll quote just one sentence from it to show how wrong you are:

            > Violence in Europe is in most countries dominated by smaller weapons like knives or bare fists,

            Knives or bare fists are less likely to end someone’s life than say few Glock rounds. They can still do this, yes, but it is less likely to happen and victim can be more often saved than from gun wounds. Unbeknown to you, you made antigun argument!

            Also think about this: In past 24 years, Europe had seen only Breivik’s massacre and only because he slipped through the cracks and wasn’t properly screened. How many, in the same period, mass shootings US had seen?

          • vagabond says:

            more importantly than any of that:
            “open carry” means displaying the gun openly on your person. Obvious gun = search pointless.

    • Gap Gen says:


    • Imbecile says:

      Yep. I might be being naive, but regardless of my opinion of Sarkessian or her work, the response to it should be reasoned debate, not threats of violence.

      Everyone disagrees with something, and what that something is says a lot about you. But the way that you disagree with something is often just as important.

      This (and gamergate) just makes me sad.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Unfortunately, when there was time to debate Anita run away from people who wanted to talk about it because she received hundreds comments from few little-censored (not that I blame her), and now if you want to debate, you’re called “oh, it’s one of those little-censored”…

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          There’s always time to debate. Well, until the Uprising occurs, of course.


          Yeah, damn that Anita for running away from reasonable debate just because people were threatening to rape and murder her. People today have no spine am I right?

          • pepperfez says:

            She just needs to toughen up and focus on some real problems, like mildly aggressive articles about games enthusiasts!

          • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

            I can’t help thinking that if the threat’s were of a racist nature and not of a misogynistic nature the police would not take it so lightly. I find it strange and a little worrisome that the internet has become this anti-feminist beast, of sorts, just because of a few outspoken individuals. Whatever happened to reason?

      • NemesisZidar says:

        The funny thing i see is, with getting that massacre threat out, that person hurted its own “argument” and point more than helping it. Because what this issue just shows of is, that those women simply seem to be right with what they say, when they even got deaththreats to stop them. To me its more proving the point of those women right, than showing me they are “poisoning” or “lying”. If that would be the case, that person would have been intelligent enough to let her speak and then ripp her arguments apart, that could have weakened her much more or show off how false or one sided her arguments possibly are. Instead he just takes away, the chance to speak, violently, showing there must be something right of what they are saying and feminists should maybe work even harder.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Aye, just like Islam is a religion of peace.

      Oh wait, that’s finally socially unacceptable to generalize and stereotype an entire group of people because of the extremists factions pretending to speak in their names. I guess it will take a few more decades for that to apply to Internet communities and movements.

      ps: I really hope the authorities will track down that homegrown terrorist, so we can refocus on peaceful disagreement and discussion of complex social and cultural issues.

      • Distec says:

        Was just about to post the same until I read your comment.

        Predictable that the first few responses were the usual “Oh GamerGate” backslapping.

      • JFS says:

        That “terrorist” sounds more like an underage desktop Tarzan with low self esteem who’s watched too many action and horror movies. I don’t see how anybody could take the threat seriously. It’s ridiculous. Unfortunately, of course, US society in general isn’t exactly sane, so most likely that crybaby actually *has* guns.

        • NemesisZidar says:

          he just sounds like….a common Steam User on the forum…i had no problem with such threats, i think i got used to that with using Steam.

  2. lorddon says:

    Yay, my wonderful state got a mention on RPS… :( I wanted to go show Anita my support, too.

    • Terribleperson says:

      Lorddon, does Utah have designated areas where concealed carry laws do not apply? In Illinois i know that libraries are exempt, and can maintain a ‘no firearms’ policy, and i believe there are exemptions for some schools as well.

      I ask as it seems like USU wanted to bail on the talk if there was no search for an alternate venue where firearms could be forbidden. Perhaps there was a search that went unmentioned, perhaps Utah has concealed carry everywhere. I thought i would ask and see if they had unexplored options. Thanks.

      • lorddon says:

        Quoted from below:

        College campuses here cannot prevent someone with a concealed carry license from bringing their guns with them. There’s some tiny clause about “hearing rooms” but it can’t be a place “normally accessible to the public”.

        I also need to mention that to get your concealed carry permit in Utah you only need to take a 4 hour class, and never actually demonstrate proficiency with a firearm on a shooting range.

        • Buuurr says:

          That’s odd. I have my Utah conceal and carry… I had to show my proficiency. It wasn’t any 4 hour deal either. Took me a half day during the week and all weekend.

          • lorddon says:


            How long is the class?

            We schedule our classes for a 4 hour period. Classes can often go as long as 4 1/2 hours. Class time can vary depending on the size of the class, number of questions, etc.

            Do I have to shoot a firearm for this class?

            Range Time firing of a weapon is NOT required for this permit. You still must demonstrate safe handling of the types of weapons you will carry.

        • Big Murray says:

          Parts of America are fuuuuuuuuucked …

          … up.

        • norl says:

          You also need to be register your fingerprints and photo with the state. You must pass a criminal background check that checks for any violent behavior as well as things like DUI etc.

          It is a bit more than just getting lectured for 4 hours.

          • lorddon says:

            I’m sure the fingerprints, pictures, and background checks would go far to assuage fears about speaking to an audience of potential concealed carriers after the mass shooting threats were sent.

          • norl says:

            Being flippant is fine, but i was specifically responding to your implication that all it takes is a 4 hour class to qualify for a ccw license, which is untrue. Further, the type of person that is willing to get fingerprinted and registered is not the type to go in and sboot up a school. That is easier to do if you dont tell the cops wbo you are and where you live. Most bad guys elect not to do that.

            I hooe they find the guy making the threats, and i hope he is held accountable.

          • lorddon says:

            Look a few posts above mine, I pulled that off the FAQ from

            Sure I may have been unnecessarily flip but I believe someone receiving death threats should be well within their rights to request a gun free zone at the venue where they’re speaking. I figured others may have been sympathetic to that request as well.

  3. Meat Circus says:

    So, it took a month from GrumbleGrunt to go from “A woman had sex and we don’t approve of that” to “let’s shoot up an entire university that’ll learn the FUCKING BITCHES”.

    Ladies and gentlemen: identity politics in the Internet era.

    • Joshua says:

      2 months, actually. 2 very shitty months.

    • slerbal says:

      “GrumbleGrunt” I couldn’t have put it better myself – much better.

    • ffordesoon says:

      To be fair, there’s no provable link between this and Gamergate as far as I can tell. Not that the fervor over Gamergate is necessarily helping things, but let’s not equate correlation with causation.

    • JFS says:

      They must be *really* sad that no one wants to have sex with them. Maybe they could go join ISIS or something. I hear they got lotsa virgins for losers.

  4. boo01 says:

    Since it seems relevant to this subject, here’s a list of what ‘GamerGate’ has “Accomplished”:
    link to
    (sorry for using double quotes as sarcasm, i couldn’t think of anything else).

    • RedViv says:

      It’s so bizarre that the constant repeating of the same lies and libel over and over and over again has kept this going for so long.

      • P.Funk says:

        Thats not bizarre, thats politics.

        You ever heard of a ‘push poll’? Basically the same thing in principle. Psychology is fucking stupid.

    • supermini says:

      What does that have to do with this?

      • Zunt says:

        OK, who had 16:52 in the sweepstake? Anyone?

      • Urthman says:

        GamerGaters have been actively fueling the hatred directed at Sarkeesian. They bear some of the responsibility for this.

        • Wisq says:

          And even the Gaters that adamantly say they’re against harassment (and genuinely think they’re calling for ethics in games journalism) are complicit, whether they realise it or not, in that they’re acting as a giant smokescreen for the real core of the movement. The whole “#NotYourShield” hashtag was patently ridiculous and laughable when you consider that the core of the GG movement was using the whole ethics thing — and the community that rose up around them — as their shield so they could continue their campaign of harassment.

          This is why it frustrates me so when people like Totalbiscuit continue to try to expose ethics issues in games journalism. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to expose the ridiculous deals that go on behind the scenes, and great that he’s actually been targeting the real corruption (AAA devs and PR companies) rather than focusing on indies like the Gaters. But not when he does it under the Gamergate banner! And even if he were doing it independently, it’s just not the time for this. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, it would be like trying to expose corruption in the Jewish community while Hitler’s next door doing the genocide thing — awkward and not especially helpful.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            I love the fact that TotalBiscuit, the guy who got chewed out on GamerSutra because he came out defending YouTube content creators rights to not have to be upfront about telling people when they were producing advertorials, his own practice of only putting that notice in the comments section and not at the beginning of the video because it was the bare minimum he was legally required to do and then claimed he was exempt from journalistic integrity concerns because he was not a “reviewer”, is the guy who’s fighting the fight for “journalistic ethics”.

            RPS won’t let me reply to the replies below me for some reason so far the accusations of me “talking shit”, here you go.
            This is the article in question;
            link to

            In response to the following question;
            “What I wonder is why there’s no apparent disclosure a video is sponsored during the video itself?

            Take this one:
            link to

            There’s nothing at the beginning or the end disclosing that it’s sponsored. The only mention is in the “about” text, which YouTube hides by default and which won’t be shown if the video is embedded elsewhere.”

            TotalBiscuit’s response is;

            Because there doesn’t need to be disclosure during the video itself. FTC regulations dictate that it must be disclaimed in written form, which can be found in the description “This video is part of a Guns of Icarus promotional campaign. Some of the content contained in this video and/or compensation for our participation has been provided by Muse Games.”

            To view the disclaimer for this video you have to specifically click on the ‘Show More’ option and then scroll to the bottom.

          • drewski says:

            Yeah. “I don’t have a duty of public disclosure because I say I don’t, but just look at this guy” isn’t exactly a strong argument.

            Paid Youtubers are doing infomercials, nothing else. The should disclose in writing and verbally at the start of the video that it is a paid presentation for X publisher, just as infomercials have to.

          • Dimonte says:

            The hell are you on about? In all of the TB’s sponsored videos that I’ve seen he says “this is a paid promotion for (x)” at the very beginning of the video. Now, I’m not that big of a fan to have seen all his videos, and I don’t watch streams, so I don’t dismiss the possibility that he repeatedly fails to disclose the conflict of interest, and I would appreciate it if you could point out such cases. But until then, I’d consider the ethics record of TB as quite good enough.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            That’s just completely wrong and you know. Stop spreading lies about people. When the whole Youtube disclosure thing became an issue TotalBiscuit was one of the first to call for more apparent disclosure and from that point on started explicitly stating it at the start of every video. Also there is the fact that he had never actually critiqued anything he was promoting, which is the main issue, giving positive reviews for something you have been paid to promote, he has never engaged in that so questioning his ethics is just baseless defamation. Stop talking out of your ass.

            He makes some very good points here. Points that this whole Gamergate/Anti-Gamergate nonsense seem to be completely missing in their crusade to sling mud at each other.
            link to

          • Wisq says:

            I’d just like to note the irony of how I made a post about games journalism ethics being a smokescreen for the core harassment issue … and now all the replies have been about games journalism ethics and not the core harassment issue. :)

          • Damien Stark says:

            Except your “now is not the time” argument is terrible. It’s like the nonsense during the Bush years in the US where it’s like “Don’t question the President right now, we’re at war! If you’re challenging our intelligence, ethics, or decision making process, you must want to support the terrorists!”

            Just because some really shitty people are attacking “group X” right now, that should NOT mean that “group X” is immune to criticism until the shitty people stop. It also does not mean that if you criticize “group X” that you are automatically one of those shitty people. Feel free to substitute

            Now if the question is “hey why won’t Anita respond to my Youtube comment right now”, then yes “now isn’t such a great time for her” is a pretty valid answer. But this “you’re not allowed to talk about corruption right now because the allegedly corrupt people are also being threatened” is bunk.

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      Quote from the link: OOPS! Another guy The Escapist interviewed is a guy who literally wrote an article called “In Defense of Rape”
      Wait, what? This is a thing people do? Defending rape? I’m kind of morbidly curious about how you could possibly defend that, but I’m too scared to look up the actual article. Not only because it will probably leave scars on my innocent and naive soul, but also because it’ll probably put me on a watchlist or ten.

      • Distec says:

        Maybe you should try, I dunno, reading the article.

        • Harlander says:

          If you want reasonable people to read your article, you probably shouldn’t call it In Defence of Rape.

          I’ve heard more details about the article in question, and though it’s not as terrible as it sounds, it’s still a bit terrible.

          • Distec says:

            That’s a fair point. Headlines and titles like that are designed to draw clicks and needlessly drum up controversy. It’s an ugly presentation and I think it’s emblematic of the biggest problems plaguing this cesspit of discourse.

            But if you’re not going to read it, maybe we don’t need to wring our hands over its imagined content.

        • Spoon Of Doom says:

          Yeah, no. If the article is not what the title suggests, then maybe give it a more fitting name? If it is, then it can piss right off. Either way, you can’t name an article like and expect everyone to read it and going in without any bias or opinion. A title is supposed to tell you what the text is about, so you can decide if you want to read it or not.
          What’s next? “Why it’s okay for men to beat their spouse and kids into hospital” – What do you mean ‘that sounds horrible’? I swear it’s not that bad, just read it first! How dare you avoid my article just because of my totally sane title! I should probably also read “The history of Christianity” – I mean, the title could be ironic or something and it’s actually about the mating habits of South American frogs.

          • Distec says:

            That’s fine if you don’t want to read something based on its title, I just don’t understand all your other suppositions.

            I would actually love to read an article called “Why it’s okay to beat your kids to death”.

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Not read it either, but saw the title come up in discussion of some of this 2-months-of-hate nonsense, and FWIW I believe it is a defence of rape in fiction, rather than for reals. In which case, I suppose there might be a case to be made (I would think it largely depends on how it is used in said fiction).

          • newprince says:

            This makes me sad that no one will read an article because of its title.

            “In Defence of Actually Reading Articles”

          • Amun says:

            link to

            “In defense of eating your children.” How shocking. >_>

  5. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    As ever the silliest thing about the outrageous levels of hatred towards Sarkeesian is that her videos are so mild. All she is doing is highlighting that sexist tropes are common in video games. She even repeatedly states that sexist tropes are not universally bad and that they can work well in the right context, it is just best to be aware they’re there. It’s like a doctor highlighting how much salt there is in food today and that you need to monitor how much you’re consuming.

    Yet for some reason pointing out the obvious leads some people to absurd levels of anger and hatred. Even if she were totally wrong she isn’t demanding any changes to games, just highlighting flaws we should be aware of. There is no reason to react so strongly to her.

    • unitled says:

      This boggles my mind too. Her videos are (and this is not a criticism) pretty basic feminist analyses of popular culture. That someone could watch them and be this outraged makes my head spin. Surely the WORST possible reaction a normal person would have would be ‘well, I don’t really agree with anything, so I’m going to ignore this and carry on playing my games’.

      But it’s a strange trend. I really enjoy Campster’s videos on YouTube which do some interesting analyses on various popular games, and he comes in for a large amount of straight-up hate in the comments (nothing tinged with misogyny or to anywhere near this scale). I think a large number of gamers simply are not able to see that for games to grow they need to be treated like other forms of media and be subject to intelligent critical analysis.

      • unitled says:

        I went and looked up one of the videos… Here is his video on Assassin’s Creed.

        link to

        Note that the video is titled “Assassin’s Creed and Emotionally Resonant Mechanics”

        Here are some example comments (I don’t know how the comment filtering works here, so this may get flagged up because of the comments):

        “You’re turning from a critical observer into a social justice warrior.”

        “Are you fucking kidding me/us? So should they add a freeing slaves mechanic in the game and not reward you in ANY fucking way for freeing the slaves? Who the fuck would spend hours upon hours in a game doing the same stuff over and over without any sort of incentive/compensation?”

        “Oh my god, you sound so ridiculous in this video. Ubisoft are treating black slaves as a premium personal gain? Just please stop talking.”

        “I don’t think gaming needs discussion of “social pressures” or “privilege”. That doesn’t only sound like empty feminist rhetoric but also boring as hell. Just present the world as it really was back then and trough that experience players can extract whatever they see in it. No preaching required.”

        And these kind of comments weren’t cherry picked, they where in the top 10-15. The last one I think is quite enlightening. This is someone who is basically personally annoyed that games should be looked at with any kind of critical eye. I find it amazing people would click on the video titled as mentioned, then be surprised/annoyed at what it depicted.

        Of course, Anita has the problem that not only is she analysing these games to an audience made up of these kind of people, she’s got the temerity to be doing it while FEMALE.

        • RedViv says:

          Kathy Sierra, possibly the chronologically first prominent example we have of this, has dubbed it The Koolaid Point. Women? Hmm. Yeah, ignore. Women who people LISTEN TO?

          • unitled says:

            Yeah, that is/was horrific (I wasn’t really aware of it until her recent blogpost on it). I think it’s definitely exacerbated by many gamers not understanding that critical analysis =/= condemning altogether. Rather ironic as most GGers are very keen to point out that the actions of a few in their movement should not be used to judge the whole!

          • P.Funk says:

            Kinda makes me think that the entire tech world is not particularly savvy (pun) when it comes to politics and sociological things and that the tech world brand of journalism is awfully weak. weev the hero as told by tech writers is pretty embarassing for the trade in that subcategory.

        • supermini says:

          Youtube comments make you lose faith in humanity.

          Gaming is not unique in that regard. Go to any video where evolution or climate change is mentioned and read the comments section.

          • drewski says:

            Any video ever, really. You go back and watch music videos from the 90s and there’s some twit there calling the latest popstar nasty names, because why not.

        • Horg says:

          That’s youtubes new comments section in a nutshell. Since they decided the posts that get the most attention should rise to the top, only the most antagonistic and controversial posts stand a chance of gaining visibility. Even if the majority of replies disagree with the post, every single person that contributes just increases visability. It’s an awful system and I wish more youtubers would follow TBs lead and disable comments to promote an overhaul.

          • KenTWOu says:

            Campster already did the same thing. He doesn’t allow people to post comments on his new videos.

      • subedii says:

        Big fan of Errant Signal. I really liked his video on politics in videogames.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yep. Absolutely agree. They are unbelievably mild to the point of being completely unexceptional. They’re sort of matter of fact, to the point where I can’t see outrage is possible. I mean they demonstrate a lot of work, and dedication, but the idea that they threaten anyone is absurd.

      • Burzmali says:

        It’s kind of like assuming the man that kill John Lennon hated him. Trolls love Anita, they don’t feel threatened by her in the least. Them using her as a target for their games is like having the 10 o’clock news reporting on the results of your last DOTA match, complete with replay and play-by-play analysis.

        • Zunt says:

          Your analogies are like drainpipes on lettuce.

          • Burzmali says:

            Fair enough, how about “Like CNN including a recap of your last FIF14 match during its daily roundup”?

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            I don’t know where you’re getting at, man. Tear down your metaphor and start again from the beginning.

            I love ridiculous, extended metaphors. I won’t let you give up on this one. You can do it! I trust you!

      • newprince says:

        They are definitely usually mild. The part about Hitman, though (she said that murdering strippers in a mission was put there to evoke sadistic pleasure from the player) did make some feel, perhaps (and most likely) wrongly, that were treading into Jack Thompson territory. Dunno ’bout that.

        • Matt_W says:

          No. No she didn’t. Please provide quotes to that effect; full transcripts of all her videos are available on the Feminist Frequency website.

          • newprince says:


            “Players are meant to derive a perverse pleasure from desecrating the bodies of unsuspecting virtual female characters.”

            “It’s a rush streaming from a carefully concocted mix of sexual arousal connected to the act of controlling and punishing representations of female sexuality.”

            It seems the way around this would be not including sexualized females in games in the first place, which I agree with. But not by the logic above. And not by her logic of, “Game systems have women in them that you can kill, therefore the developer purposely wants you to kill women.”

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Are we now arguing that the Hitman games never mixed sex and violence?

            In any case, those statements are just strong interpretations. Nothing factually wrong about that. And if you’re arguin that Hitman never was about titillation then you’re wrong.

            Edit: But hey, let’s say that the Hitman example is contrived. Fine. Does that invalidate the other fifty examples?

          • Muzman says:

            I forget if the video coinciding with those quotes tilted the meaning one way or another, but desecration doesn’t necessarily refer to murder.

            Even those quotes are fairly mild. There’s nothing about direct translation to acts in real life, for instance. But I know that’s not the point.
            If I recall, the outcry about the Hitman stuff particularly wasn’t about her critical reading (which can overreach) but that she was factually wrong about the game (or that’s my vague memory). But people always say that so I don’t know off hand.

          • newprince says:

            “Are we now arguing that the Hitman games never mixed sex and violence?”

            I agree with her thesis. I said I disagreed with a certain part, was asked to provide actual quotes from transcript, which I did. And I never made the statement above. So…

            “In any case, those statements are just strong interpretations. Nothing factually wrong about that. And if you’re arguin that Hitman never was about titillation then you’re wrong.”

            Again, I never made that argument. Her pointing out the Hitman posters with “Perfectly executed” with girls in lingerie were spot on. Everything about that bit vis a vis “women as background decoration” was brilliant. Doesn’t make her comments that I posted right, and you saying “There’s nothing factually wrong about that” is kind of silly.

            “Edit: But hey, let’s say that the Hitman example is contrived. Fine. Does that invalidate the other fifty examples?”

            See above. (No, it does not invalidate her other examples, which I say are well thought-out and I totally agree with the underlying premise)

            Sure, you can say I’m nitpicking. Fine. But hey, sometimes I like picking nits :)

          • Matt_W says:

            Ah. Those quotes are general, not referencing Hitman specifically. And she goes to great lengths to explain what she means by them: how female NPCs are specifically gendered and eroticized, how there’s rarely a penalty for violence against any NPC, and how game developers create situations where there are, in fact, in game incentives for brutalizing eroticized female NPCs. And she spends quite a bit of time explaining why violence toward male NPC characters is different.

          • newprince says:

            “Those quotes are general, not referencing Hitman specifically.”

            This isn’t clear from a text transcript, but she’s saying that while on screen the Hitman player is dragging the murdered stripper across the floor for over 10 seconds. If I’m mistaken that she’s talking about Hitman specifically, well, okay, but it seems to be talking specifically about this scenario in Hitman.

      • Matt_W says:

        Disagree. They’re exceptional because no one else is doing them. I mean they’re standard second-wave feminist criticism, yes. But no one, to my knowledge, systematically applied that critical framework to video games before her (or since). Which is sad. And it’s the number one reason why anyone whose primary criticism of her involves her methodology or delivery style or minor details in her presentation is full of shit. It might be worth having that discussion if one could say, “Regarding feminist video game critiques: while I think Anita’s presentation of evidence is overwhelming, I personally prefer so-and-so’s in-depth focus on single titles and so-and-other-so’s rapid-fire sarcasm.”

        • newprince says:

          I wouldn’t say no one else is doing feminist criticism of games.

          • Matt_W says:

            I can find a few criticisms directly specifically at Tomb Raider. And I’ll acknowledge that The Border House is out there doing great work. TBH is more focused on being a safe space than providing critical content, but when it does produce criticism, it’s generally excellent (c.f. the recent piece on Shadows of Mordor.) Who else?

          • newprince says:

            DIGRA and Critical Distance are good resources to find a lot of it.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Much of the pushback against Sarkeesian comes from the poor quality of her arguments. She, and her videos, are badly flawed. At best, she gets some basic facts wrong. At worst, she deliberately misrepresents some of the games she talks about. She is sex-negative. She condescends to sex-workers. She equates potential sexism (of varying degrees) as actual, widespread misogyny. She does not do an analysis of games and then develop a theory. She has a theory she then searches for examples of to support it. She is a poster-child for confirmation bias.

        That is the real problem of Sarkeesian.

        Mild though you claim she may be, she is nonetheless the figurehead of the social justice community in gaming (which may well be to its detriment). A prominence which she deliberately fosters, for both her likely strongly held beliefs as well as her personal cottage industry.

        It’s not that games don’t need critical analysis from a social justice perspective. They do. It’s that Sarkeesian’s are so poor. And what follows then is a circle-the-wagons, echo chamber effect amongst a large portion of the social justice community. They exercise little-to-no critical analysis of the arguments she presents. Anita said it, so it must be true. And anyone criticizing her is likely a misogynist, or has “internalized” the supposed patriarchal culture. And that: blanket accusations of yet-unproven, widespread misogyny, is the core fuel for the wideness of this conflagration. In my opinion.

        If the social justice community of gaming showed a far more sophisticated, mature understanding of the layered issues here, there would be far less push-back against it. When they can curb their proclivity towards wide nets and witch hunts, and evidence far more reasoned analysis without stooping to AC Unity-level non-issues, they will actually become (at least some of) the leaders of thought and change they wish to be. And the vast majority of us will be on the same general side of progress towards a more inclusive and diverse hobby/artform. Most of those left still fuming would be just the outright nutjobs and actual, unrepentant misogynists.

        None of that, of course, encompasses threats of violence. (Nor the insanity of the open and concealed carry laws in the U.S. And I say that as a ((sometimes)) proud ‘Murcan and an owner of multiple guns myself.) Nor the lack of response from the police, unless their hands are truly bound by the gun laws. It’s wrong. It should be countered by the authorities whenever they can. And it should be made a priority. More-so even for threats of mass violence.

        But over-the-top, anonymous internet threats are hardly limited to misogynists. It is gender-neutral. It is issue-neutral. It happens everywhere, to everyone of any sort of prominence on varying online forums and social media. It is a very unfortunate downside to the much stronger upside of the free exchange of information on the Internet. Which is a different debate entirely. Point being, such things will never stop so long as the internet continues to allow widespread freedom of action. Which it hopefully will allow forever. This particular downside is indeed awful. And hopefully never goes away. Because if it does, it’s likely not a sign of humanity-wide maturity, rationality and compassion. Much more likely it is a sign of the loss of an important and unique freedom.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          “She does not do an analysis of games and then develop a theory. She has a theory she then searches for examples of to support it. She is a poster-child for confirmation bias.”

          That’s not what the series is about, nor did it ever claim to be about that.

          It’s about tropes in games regarding women and listing them. That’s what she does. It’s not an analytical tool, it’s a reference work, so to speak. It’s a compilation of the tropes employed and the games employing them.

          The analysis is out of the scope of the body of work.

          • jonahcutter says:

            Yes. She has a pre-existing theory she then goes out searching for examples of. Confirmation bias.

            Sarkeesian is not about analyzing the existence and extant of social issues regarding women in gaming. She is about (attempting) to find whatever examples she can for her pre-existing theory, and cobbling them together to “prove” it.

            Which still doesn’t account for what she gets flat-out wrong, whether deliberately or accidentally.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Finding examples of tropes involving women is the entire point of this series!

            How hard is that to understand. That’s the point!

            This isn’t academical work. This is a bloody reference list compiled from a certain perspective. The perspective in this case being a feminist one.

          • newprince says:

            Agreed, If someone said “FPS games have an element of shooting people in the face”, then used a bunch of videos where FPS players shoot people in the face, I wouldn’t scream confirmation bias. I’d say “That is solid evidence for your theory that FPS players often shoot people in the face. I will go away now and form my own opinion”.

            Now if they wanted to take that theory further and make it more academic, fine, but this is pretty standard stuff and I don’t think Anita ever claimed this was academic, peer-reviewed stuff, more like an introduction to feminist theory applied to games.

          • jonahcutter says:

            @Stellar Duck

            We are in agreement it is not academic work. Progress for us! :)

            The problem is, she presents it as having such a basis.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            And when did she claim it was academical work?

            I’ll grant that I don’t hang on to her every work the same as hysterical detractors of her does, but I’ve genuinely never seen it marketed as academical work. It’s pretty standard critical stuff that other genres have been subjected to for yonks.

            It’s tedious to watch, generally, because it’s precisely that. It’s just a reference tool. It’s not supposed to be ground breaking.

            Anyways, just for your sake I went and looked at the original Kickstarter pitch. It was billed thusly:

            “This video project will explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games. The series will highlight the larger recurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry rather than just focusing on the worst offenders.[…]

            As a gamer, a pop culture critic and a fan, I’m always working to balance my enjoyment of media while simultaneously being critical of problematic gender representations. With my video web series Feminist Frequency, I look at the way women are portrayed in mass media and the impact they have on our culture and society.”

            That seems to indicate that it is indeed just a compiled list of examples meant to be used for further discussion and analysis or theories or anything. It’s reference material and resources meant to further discussion.

          • Matt_W says:

            “We are in agreement it is not academic work. Progress for us! :)

            The problem is, she presents it as having such a basis.”

            Appeal to authority much? She’s perfectly qualified (and credentialed, if you think that’s important) to present this material. Your argument is essentially the same as criticizing, say, Hawking’s A Brief History of Time for its lack of scientific rigor and peer review. The material is designed and formatted for a popular audience, not an audience of specialists.

            Regardless, if you’d direct me to your more “academic” critique, I would be more than happy to read it.

          • jonahcutter says:

            @ Stellar Duck


            “The series will highlight the larger recurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry rather than just focusing on the worst offenders.”

            This is where she goes from presenting isolated examples to extrapolating them into far wider trends (than she gives evidence for). That’s her stated intention, not my analysis of her intention. Though my analysis of her behavior would agree. She does take isolated examples that (arguably) agree with her theory and present them as evidence of wide-reaching trends. She just presents no evidence of the link between those isolated (arguable) examples and wider trends.

            I think we are in agreement her work does not have academic-level underpinnings. I do say she very much cultivates the image of such. She is the preeminent feminist critic in gaming today, and is presented as having a high-level of intellectual legitimacy to her work both by others and herself.

          • neffo says:

            “She has a pre-existing theory she then goes out searching for examples of. Confirmation bias.”

            That isn’t what confirmation bias is. What you are describing is actually the scientific method.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            “This isn’t academical work. This is a bloody reference list compiled from a certain perspective. The perspective in this case being a feminist one.”

            If it truly is a “list” as you say it is, she shouldn’t be coming out with statements such as
            “Players are meant to derive a perverse pleasure from desecrating the bodies of unsuspecting virtual female characters.”

            There is absolutely zero evidence or basis to support claims such as this, no statistical evidence from the player base that this is true, no evidence from the developer that this was what they intended, purely her making things up to make her point come across as impactful as possible. If it really is a list, garbage statements like this have no place amongst it.

          • battles_atlas says:

            @ jonahcutter

            “She has a pre-existing theory she then goes out searching for examples of. Confirmation bias.”

            Jonah, the problem with being an intelligent person educated through internet message boards is that such people tend to rely on the same small set of tools without really understanding what they are talking about. Which is ironic given you accuse the “social justice community” (and my, as an outsider to this nasty squabble, let me just say what a revealingly hateful tag that is) of living in an echo chamber.

            For your information, your description of Sarkeesian’s method in the quote above is actually how the vast majority of science proceeds. Most science would be really rather difficult if you didn’t know what you were looking for or have a notion of how you might get there. Unless you are a hardcore ethnomethodologist, or disavow science generally, your critique is, in non-academic terms, bullshit.

            Of course, confirmation bias is a danger in any science that proceeds from theory to method, but it is not an a priori outcome as your critique of Sarkeesian lazily assumes. I don’t know her work, but given your ignorance of the very terms you are relying on I’m not particularly concerned to invest in your argument.

          • Jdopus says:

            The vast majority of science absolutely does not proceed in that way, that’s exactly the kind of thing the scientific method tries to discourage because of confirmation bias, as Jonah said.

            The extremely important distinction is science “Tests a hypothesis” and the distinction between doing that and actively searching for evidence is the thing that separates rigorous scientific analysis from pseudo-science. If you want to prove something to yourself and people who already believe it, you can do so very easily by (Consciously or subconsciously) looking only at areas which are likely to support your hypothesis while neglecting controls to your study or evidence which does not support it or alternatively by continuing to search indefinitely until you find something which appears to support your hypothesis.

            A common problem that leads to apparently legitimate papers being disregarded is if the researchers have analyzed their data in a large number of ways until they finally find a methodology which produces statistically significant results. This has nothing to do with Anita, it’s just an example of why precisely the distinction between looking for evidence and testing a hypothesis is important – you’re always struggling against researcher bias.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            Firstly, there’s is no reason for artistic criticism to be scientific endeavors. I sure as hell doubt *you* are approaching Anita’s work in a scientific basis. The purpose of artistic criticism is to make you think. It’s not a demography.

            Secondly, no, actually depending on the hypothesis, Anita’s method is very reasonable. It’s reasonable because her hypothesis is not that >50% (or whatever number) of games have misogynist content, but that misogyny is present, to varying degrees in a variety of games. Going out looking for misogynist content is no more unreasonable than the LHC people going out looking for the Higgs Boson, or people hunting for some kind of bird in the amazon rainforest. Unless you claim they should have, what, taken a random sampling of particles and classified them as to whether they are Higgs or not? Or the bird they are looking for?

          • battles_atlas says:

            @ Jdopus

            The ‘extremely important distinction’ you give isn’t in what jonah wrote, which was the point.

            ““She has a pre-existing theory she then goes out searching for examples of.”

            This describes any theory-led science. This is actually completely of topic, as far as I am aware Sarkeesian doesn’t claim to be an ‘academic’ or doing ‘science’, but given that jonah thought it excused the witch hunt (and I use that in the historical sense where its really pretty apt) against her it was worth pointing out.

          • JFS says:

            Actually, jdopus is right. There is no “theory-led science”. You have observations, make hypotheses from them, and if you find them to be supported you assemble them into a theory. What he said. THAT is how science works. You don’t go the other way around, because finding evidence “in support” of your theory is useless, as a theory can never be confirmed, but only falsified.

            The actual scientific practice might be different because people want money and fame, but as jdopus said that’s not how it should be done. I don’t know if you guys discussing this actually have academic education, but if so, I strongly suggest you get out your Science Theory (or whatever it was called at your place) binders and start reviewing them.

          • Jdopus says:

            She doesn’t need to be an Academic in the most strict sense of the word and obviously what she’s doing isn’t science, but to be honest I see that as a very valid criticism of what she’s trying to do – draw generalized conclusions about a wide ranging variety of different artistic works by cherry picking examples.

            If you can’t do this in a scientific manner (And I’d argue you can’t), then you shouldn’t do it using a method completely open to confirmation bias and cherry picking, you should just admit that it isn’t a useful way of looking at things and reevaluate the methodology you’re using.

            Now, I fully accept that her methodology would be fine if, as you say, she merely intended tropes v women in video games to be a catalog of references in a manner such as Tvtropes, but I’d argue that’s not what they’re intended to be at all and that she is explicitly using the videos to draw generalizations about the entire medium – and that’s the point where her series breaks down.

            To back that up, here’s a copy paste of the very first paragraph of the very first video of the TvWiVG series.

            “This video explores how the Damsel in Distress became one of the most widely used gendered cliché in the history of gaming and why the trope has been core to the popularization and development of the medium itself.”

            The very first line explicitly states that she intends the series to be representative of the medium as a whole – that she’s arguing that the examples she presents are representative and absolutely core to video games as a whole rather than just a reference of where these tropes exist.

            Here’s an about as well:
            “The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. ”

            The series is supposed to be used to draw wider, big picture conclusions and since it is intended to do this, it’s entirely open to criticism that her samples are unrepresentative and picked specifically to support a theory she already wholeheartedly believed in.

          • Geebs says:

            OK, so this thread is old and all but, just on the basis that it took a rather surreal turn, which made me curious: are you guys arguing that A.S’ work is valid because she’s incompetent? That’s kind of patronising.

            (actively looking for, or only including, data that fits your theory is cherry picking, not confirmation bias and no it is not “exactly the scientific method” unless you’re a liberal arts or psychoanalytical sort of person)

        • Matt_W says:

          “She is sex-negative.”
          I’ve actually never heard this one before. I’ve never gotten this impression from her videos. Where does this show up?

          “She condescends to sex-workers.”
          Again, examples please. She does point out very many games where players are permitted to brutalize prostitutes. I’m not sure how this equates to condescension. There’s no point in any of her videos where she condemns prostitution in general.

          “She equates potential sexism (of varying degrees) as actual misogyny.”
          Where? She uses misogyny to refer to actual instances of men demeaning women in games. I couldn’t find any examples where uses misogyny for a situation where a male character expresses concern that a women might not be capable of some task. Transcripts for all of her videos are available on her site. Feel free to point out what I’m missing.

          “She does not do an analysis of games and then develop a theory. She has a theory she then searches for examples of to support it.”
          Uh, yes. That’s the nature of her project. She’s identifying tropes by observing what happens in games, then finding examples of them. This is precisely similar to someone who notices that FPS’s seem to always have a melee weapon, hand-gun, shotgun, and rifle, then searching for examples to demonstrate that. I mean, of course she’s cherry picking; you wouldn’t go looking for shotguns in Tetris.

          Anyway. I would actually be very interested to hear/view/read your feminist critique of the genre, or even of individual games. Do you have a link I can refer to?

          • jonahcutter says:

            She received a lot of flak from sex-workers over her language regarding them in one of her latest videos. Which would present evidence of her attitudes toward them and sex. At least, according to some feminist thought.

            Yes, she does as you say. She has a pre-existing theory about the tropes, and goes out in search of whatever examples she can find for it. She does not analyze the situation and find the actual systemic issues that exist regardless of her biases.

            And still which does not account for what she gets wrong through ignorance, or deliberately misrepresenting.

            Regarding her equation of sexism and misogyny, it’s a common error she makes. One many people commonly make. Sometimes without intention, sometimes with. Go back and watch her videos and whenever she uses the word “misogyny” ask yourself if what she just showed actually was an example of hatred, dislike or fear of women. Because that is the definition of misogyny I find most accurate. Debate over the dividing line between sexism (though ignorance or intent) and misogyny could be a much larger one than to have here, perhaps.

            Google for critical responses and analysis of her videos. It’s what I did. It’s not hard, and there are many. I don’t have links saved. Search function is your friend. :)

          • Muzman says:

            Sexism and misogyny are interchangeable terms in certain contexts. Misogyny has become a kind of shorthand for Misogynistic Culture. While harsh sounding it doesn’t necessarily refer to individual behaviour or thoughts.
            It’s a tad wooly sometimes and tends to be inflammatory to some, so it could perhaps be used with more care. But reaching for the dictionary doesn’t counter the point.

          • Matt_W says:

            And you’ve provided zero supporting evidence for your assertions. Not saying there isn’t any, but all you’ve done here is throw up a bunch of words. I’m am most certainly not going to wade into the myriad criticisms out there trying to figure out which are in good faith and which are misogynist rambling. I did a good faith search through the primary source (her video transcripts) and couldn’t find any evidence of your complaints. I figure that’s above and beyond already, since I shouldn’t have to provide my own counter-evidence.

          • jonahcutter says:


            As you will.

          • jonahcutter says:


            And I say that that “interchangeability” is the source of a large portion of the inflammatory nature (though most certainly not all) of the current feud.

            Sexism is not misogyny. It is a very important, vital distinction.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Perhaps the main criticism you have there is that her research is not entirely original or groundbreaking. Well to me that’s ok. She’s collated a lot of arguments I wasn’t previously aware of and presented them for me in the context of videogames, which is great because I know all about those. Sure, she would struggle to present her video series as a PhD thesis but I don’t think that’s why she’s doing it. I did a research project at highschool about architecture and social housing in Glasgow since the 19th century – it wasn’t original research but it was still research.

          Moreover, the videos are limited to an examination of the use of sexist tropes in games, not to judge them on whether they are sexist or not, or whether there is any other quality to them. So how can the series be misrepresenting games? Does this game contain some sexism? “Yes, let’s talk about it”, or, “no, let’s not talk about it”. There is no need to discuss any other aspect of a game if all you have set out to do is explain a sexist trope by use of the game as a reference.

          The whole thing is also subjective. What’s sex-negative to you does not have to be to others. I never felt as though the makers or consumers of games were ever accused of misogyny in any of the videos, I also thought the focus was on stereotypes that are already present in society, not an accusation that games are in any way responsible for creating sexism itself. no idea where the sex-workers thing comes from, it seems fairly clear yet again that the videos just point out where games are utilizing pre-existing stereotypes in society about sex-workers.

          • Cinek says:

            “Perhaps the main criticism you have there is that her research is not entirely original or groundbreaking” – that’s not what I read. As far as I see – the main criticism is that she first manufactures a thesis and then tries to cherry-pick reality in order to prove it – sometimes going as far as straight on twisting facts when they don’t fit the thesis. AKA If the facts do not fit to the theory, the worse for the facts.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            I don’t think so, there’s no overarching theory. Unless the theory is “There exist tropes and these tropes can be found in videogames” Nowhere is there an attempt at proving anything more than that. There’s no statement or conclusion of “games are sexist” or “games are sexist and therefore bad”. Examples are picked to demonstrate the tropes.

            If I wanted to show you that there are some really nice cherries on my cherry tree, I would pick the really nice cherries and show them to you. I wouldn’t, however, try to claim that all the cherries on my tree were as good as those ones, or that my tree was a magic tree. Cherry picking is only a bad thing if you’re claiming the cherries you’ve picked prove something other than that the fact that nice cherries exist.

        • Muzman says:

          “If the social justice community of gaming showed a far more sophisticated, mature understanding of the layered issues here, there would be far less push-back against it. When they can curb their proclivity towards wide nets and witch hunts, and evidence far more reasoned analysis without stooping to AC Unity-level non-issues, they will actually become (at least some of) the leaders of thought and change they wish to be. ”

          A nice bit of Hannity-esque editorial, but of course the mature and reasonable arguments people have put forward have generally caused developers and companies alike to speak out in support of the, ostensibly, ‘social justice’ side. So your tutting seems unnecessary.

          I’ve seen several addendums and critiques to some of Sarkeesian’s work and they were mostly unremarked as worthy additions to the discourse.
          The most praised and shared detractors, however, seem more interested in ignoring what she had to say and/or attempting to slur and defame her personally.
          I mean, if you think the change sought is broadly valid, what kind of counter argument is “Yeah but Anita Sarkeesian doesn’t get all of her facts right in my opinion” anyway?

          • jonahcutter says:

            Jim essentially professed a confusion as to why Sarkeesian receives so much pushback. My lengthy post was an attempt to present some of the actual reasoning behind that pushback, outside of the standard claims of sexism and/or misogyny.

            So that Anita gets facts wrong (through accident or worse, intent) is very relevant.

            Also… Hannity? Funny that I sometimes think the social justice community has something of a Fox News-type echo chamber effect going on, in regards to their openness to criticism. So, yeah… Maybe referencing conservative blowhards/Fox News as a base argumentative tactic/insult is a new, burgeoning Godwin’s Law.

            Can’t say as I would lament an association between the two. Serve the fuckers right. ;)

            (Just reread this, and to be clear, the “two” I’m referring to in those last couple sentences are conservative blowhards/Fox News and the Nazis of Godwin’s Law.)

          • Muzman says:

            You’ll forgive me if I see a parallel in a style of argument that’s superficial agreement and broad dismissal of the others point of view included with a kind of paternalistic “You won’t get your way until you learn to behave properly however” that’s used in these instances with that of the right wing conservative media in the US. But it’s because it’s a valid comparison.

            That so many use this style of argument and that so many ‘gaters’ adopt tactics used in things like climategate and other conservative driven scandals is worthy of attention. That some of them either disavow such notions or, if they are to be believed, are repeating these patterns unwittingly and resent the association is even more fascinating!

            If your assertion is that the pushback against AS is because she is factually incorrect, I think that’s garbage frankly. It seems either dishonest or willfully ignorant. All of the fact checking was thoroughly post-hoc to the tsunami of abuse she has been getting since the start and they are more often than not nitpicks over substantial criticisms. You couldn’t look at the amount of consternation her work produces and not look for some other explanation. It might be a tempting mistake to leap to some sociological explanation too early, but there being other details that might alter the interpretation of her examples doesn’t really cut it as an answer to why this goes on.

          • neffo says:

            “Jim essentially professed a confusion as to why Sarkeesian receives so much pushback.”

            The phrase “so much” is critical. He’s not suggesting that her arguments weren’t disagreeable, just that they aren’t the sort of arguments that are inviting of death threats. Saying “I don’t agree with her” is the expected result to someone saying things which are generally innocous. We are talking about video games here.

          • battles_atlas says:

            Is there a Tropes of Internet Message Boards critique somewhere? I actually LOL’d when @jonahcutter mentioned Godwin’s Law, because the moment he wrote “confirmation bias” above i was waiting for it. If I scroll down further will I find him accusing someone of an “ad hominem argument”? Could make a game of bingo out of this.

        • mpk says:

          You come across as the outreach worker for the GG movement. I thought this site was to be boycotted?

          Much of the pushback against Sarkeesian comes from the poor quality of her arguments.

          So if her arguments were of greater quality, would she receive fewer death threats? If her videos had higher production values, would there be any fewer attempts to silence her views? People are allowed to make flawed arguments, are allowed to offer opinions that you, personally, don’t agree with. Sometimes those opinions are not socially acceptable, sometimes those arguments can be so flawed as to make the person offering them look ridiculous. That’s no excuse for someone to threaten to kill that person, let alone the threat of mass murder reported above.

          That is the real problem of Sarkeesian.

          This is the point where you lose me – that you view Anita Sarkeesian as a “problem”. She’s a games critic whose critique would probably have never have made it far outside of its niche had there not been such a vile and abusive reaction to her Kickstarter. The “problem” started before her videos did, and the “problem” was never her. The “problem” was created by those who decided to hurl rape and death threats towards her – without the widespread coverage of that, many of the readers of this site wouldn’t know her name and the article currently being commented on would never have been written.

          “If the social justice community of gaming showed a far more sophisticated, mature understanding of the layered issues here, there would be far less push-back against it. When they can curb their proclivity towards wide nets and witch hunts, and evidence far more reasoned analysis without stooping to AC Unity-level non-issues, they will actually become (at least some of) the leaders of thought and change they wish to be. And the vast majority of us will be on the same general side of progress towards a more inclusive and diverse hobby/artform. Most of those left still fuming would be just the outright nutjobs and actual, unrepentant misogynists.”

          The layered issues include a games critic receiving death threats amounting to mass murder because she said a thing some people didn’t like. That didn’t come from the so-called “social justice community”, so, please, dismount your high horse.

        • toshiro says:

          It’s not gender neutral. It’s not issue neutral. One can write whatever, it does not make it any more true. And your words are among the least true I ever had the misfortune to read.


          Saying that Sarkeesian is the figurehead of social justice criticism in gaming is like saying Michael Moore is the figurehead of liberals in American politics.

      • suibhne says:

        They’re really unexceptional, in part, because they represent THE EXACT SAME MANNER OF CRITICISM to which PRETTY MUCH EVERY OTHER MAINSTREAM CULTURAL FIELD has been subjected, for decades or even hundreds of years. The fact that gaming finally gets mature, even popularized feminist criticism should be cause for celebration – it’s like a mark of cultural adulthood! – rather than histrionics.

        • drewski says:

          Her videos are basically TV Tropes in video format about tropes relating to women in games.

          I really, really, really don’t get the big deal (I mean histrionically wise, not that I think her videos are without value).

          • Rizlar says:

            It’s marked that Feminist Frequency actually started out talking about all sorts of stuff, I remember watching ones analysing TV shows. The unexpected level of hatred only appeared with this series on computer games!

            edit: Not that I think games necessarily provoke this level of hatred. Perhaps it is more telling that her kickstarter was so successful and over-funded. Clearly this area of discussion and analysis has been so sorely lacking for games that it provoked such a response, so much support. And the level of visibility and support online may have gone some way to provoke such bile on the internet.

      • Vin_Howard says:

        Meh, if you even make a sound that could be sorta of contrived as an “opinion,” you’ll immediately get slammed as a “bigot”; on the plus side, at least you can find the irony hilarious (I can’t remember the last time I haven’t seen the term “bigot” used incorrectly, the person apparently unawares of the irony of them using that word in that way)

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        I would say that fabricating “evidence” to support her claims as well as taking footage from others without credit probably doesn’t help her though and is something she should stop doing. I don’t understand why she needs to, she has a valid overall point and there is lots of rational discussion to be had around the subject. However, when people can point to things you’ve said and provably debunk them in a few seconds it weakens everything else you say though and sure it kinda ticks me off that she feels the need to lie about things in those videos, also it does make it feel like an attack on video gaming when someone will make things up in order to strengthen their point because it goes beyond the realms of simple critique at that point.

        As a rational person though the amount it ticks me off is no more than to make the decision to ignore everything else she says on the basis that it is suspect. However, someone threatening to shoot up a school isn’t a rational person and that’s where the problem lies, we can never have rational discussion because every time something like this happens, the discourse is completely derailed by the extremes from all sides slinging mud at each other.

        It’s also like a game to these twisted individuals, every time Sarkeesian’s name appears in a positive way there is someone planning to be the next one to create headlines like we see here, that is their goal and sadly most of the time they get their way because threatening a shooting is not something you can take lightly.

        Similar to those guys that got a whole flight re-routed because they targeted SOE’s CEO, they got what they wanted. I’d just like to hope that authorities are trying to improve their methods for finding these people because that is what is required, punish these deranged idiots hard and people will stop doing it. At the moment they can do it with impunity because nothing is happening to them, that is the issue. If people could almost certainly get away with stealing, theft would rise by magnitudes over night, that is fact.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Agreed on the Sarkeesian hate ReV_VAdAUL. I may not agree with absolutely everything she says in the videos but the amount of evidence she stacks up in each one makes it seem like you couldn’t ignore that there are massive issues.

      I feel like I had a stronger disagreement with Leigh Alexander’s recent article on gamer identity. She is a great writer so I gave the article some thought, didn’t agree with everything and it ended there. Why is that so difficult for people?

      Apologies if this is off-topic. My mind is just a little destroyed by how far this stuff is going.

      • Baines says:

        I admit that I largely stopped watching Sarkeesian’s videos, but from what I recall of the ones that I have watched, she was able to stack up so much evidence in part because she ignored things that would weaken or risk countering her arguments.

        Some claim that such a tactic is fair, but even in a best case scenario it opens your claims to debate. In a worst case scenario, when taken to an extreme you can pretty much twist anything to support anything. (Except people weren’t really allowed to disagree with Sarkeesian. Anyone trying was dismissed or labeled a misogynist/part-of-the-problem, because there were extremists who attacked her for being a woman. Way to go, extremists.)

        • KingMob says:

          There’s no requirement when building a critical analysis to include all details which might disprove one’s case.
          Stating Sarkeesian “ignored things that would weaken or risk countering her arguments” seems to suggest she should have included every video game in her discussion of tropes in video games.

          • Diatribe says:

            @ Kingmob

            “There’s no requirement when building a critical analysis to include all details which might disprove one’s case.”

            That’s true, but an analysis is more persuasive when it anticipates and addresses counter arguments. If you ignore likely or obvious counterarguments, it tends to reflect knowledge that your argument is weak. For example, if your argument is “X happens in the following games, therefore, games are sexist.” A counter argument would be “X DOESN’T happen in the following games, therefore, most games are not sexist.” Or perhaps “X is followed by Y, and Y turns on it’s head the perceived sexist event X, so some of the very games you included as an example do not support your argument (and you don’t know what you’re talking about).”

            In terms of persuasion, a good argument will address opposing viewpoints. Otherwise it is pretty much just preaching to the choir.

          • aepervius says:

            “There’s no requirement when building a critical analysis to include all details which might disprove one’s case.”

            You just twisted “critical analysis” until it is meaningless. A critical analysis is not something for which you take all that fit your opinion and ignore the rest. A critical analysis would check both side, see which is more supported by evidence , (by presenting BOTH evidence to the reader or watcher) and finally conclude from those evidence.

            What she does is not critical analysis, it is having an opinion that she bias by only showing part of the evidence. This is exactly the type of stuff which irks people, especially because we are already drowned from such bias loaded propaganda due to politic. We don’t need another political bias masking as analysis. Got enough of those already.

            That said, I rather than this being some real threat, I think some troll found the golden mine , probably somebody which does not care either way about her, but found out that he or she could troll her by sending lot of threat. She reacted once by apparently fleeing her home, and now this. She is obviously seemingly taking all sort of threat, no matter how many evidence there is for them.

            That remind me of that study of trash talk (was it in tweeter?) where they found out men were 3 times as likely to get trash talked, but far less likely to even react on any taunt. Match my experience.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            I don’t know what you think critical analysis is, but a piece in which you present a theory about a certain work, then explain the arguments as to why you believe that theory is correct, certainly sounds like critical analysis to me.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            This is true but I also believe that “once a liar always a liar” and when I can 100%, from my own experiences, disprove some of the things she comes up with, I am no longer interested in anything else she has to say because at that point it is all suspect to me. How can I rationally analyse anything she says that I have no knowledge of when I am unsure if it is complete fabrication or not?

            Aepervius is right. It cannot be classes as critical analysis because it is obvious that she had her conclusion from the start. She set out to prove, when she first posted that kickstarter, that video games were sexist, she was going to do it no matter what it involved, the fact she has provably falsified evidence just highlights this.

          • battles_atlas says:

            No, it’s critical analysis. It’s analysing something critically. It might or might not be bad critical analysis, but it is critical analysis.

            The problem with you GG guys is that even those of you taking the care to sound thoughtful still have no problem allying with really quite gobsmacking misogyny. @Smoky states “aepervirus is right”, just after this charming fellow has written “She reacted once by apparently fleeing her home, and now this. She is obviously seemingly taking all sort of threat, no matter how many evidence there is for them.” This is a man turning the female victim of death threats into the wrongdoer, and you want to side with him?

            It seems, based on those attacking Sarkeesian here, that no greater evidence of sexism in games culture is needed than they themselves.

          • Jdopus says:

            Well for a start, it’s pretty unfair for you to start calling them GG guys since they’ve given absolutely no indication whatsoever that they have any opinion on the GamerGate stuff.

            Secondly, I agree with him too, every single public figure on the internet gets death threats and Hate-mail. Dawkins gets mountains of it, Penn and Teller get mountains of it, the South Park guys get it, politicians get it, Guardian columnists get it, SGU get it – every single person who campaigns for any cause at all receives death threats. The idea that someone receiving hate-mail automatically validates their position is not an accurate one to me and citing the existence of it doesn’t make me any more likely to believe someone’s argument.

            And I shouldn’t have to make this clear since it should be obvious – but I’m not defending people who write hate mail, I’m merely pointing out that when you’re making a point that reaches an audience of multiple millions of people, it’s statistically inevitable that you will receive death threats, no matter how apparently fair your points are.

            Anita is quite evidently not the wrong-doer when she publicizes death threats, but it doesn’t present a compelling argument for her position either.

    • Dingbatwhirr says:

      Agreed. That people respond so violently and unreasonably to videos which are mostly descriptive is, to my mind, overwhelmingly strong evidence to support the claim that their cause does not have its basis in ethical outrage, as they claim, but rather in misogyny. Much as I think that word can be over-used, here I think it is justified. I cannot see another reason for such a violent reaction to Sarkeesian’s videos.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Absolutely true. I also agree that the word misogyny is so overused at this point it has lost all meaning.
        The small number of individuals perpetrating this harassment of Anita are doing it because she is a woman and they are misogynists. People need to stop using it as a reflex comeback any time somebody disagrees with them in a discussion about feminist issues.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Except in one or two cases, she focuses on games that are mostly good. Games you would have a very hard time convincing somebody are bad in terms of gameplay, fun, and production quality. She also introduces every topic with a reminder that it’s possible to enjoy something while at the same time being critical of some of its aspects.

      As a developer I get two things out of this: 1) It’s interesting and possibly significant that so many games employ sexist tropes, as defined by feminist thought on media. Maybe it’s a limiting factor to how great games can be? 2) There are some interesting suggestions to present and future developers to consider in terms of avoiding unwittingly reinforcing gender stereotypes or deliberately doing more to empower female gamers. Maybe using these as design references can help make better games?

      • pepperfez says:

        And as a game player with an emotional age >12, I really appreciate a wide range of criticism and analysis of games. I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed The Shining nearly as much if I’d thought it was a horror movie instead of a Freudian exploration of the Holocaust and colonialism [No sarcasm here].

    • Orpho says:

      Mild videos, and incredibly necessary.

      It’s okay. Every time something completely awful comes out of #Gamergate, I make another donation to one of the affected sites/projects. Stupid shit on Sunday? Welp, time to sub to RPS. Oh, some more on Wednesday? Guess Feminist Frequency is getting a donation.

      At least the #Gamergate folks have been very helpful in providing a list of people they hate. You just start at the top…

        • Rizlar says:

          It doesn’t even need the text, so good!

          Also: absolutely what the OP said.

      • Distec says:

        Please explain #GamerGate’s involvement here.

        Or are you just pulling a convenient punching bag from your ass so you can you can preen on the internet?

        • Wisq says:

          Please explain why you think it’s unlikely that GamerGate is involved here, since the 4channers and 8channers at the core of the movement are a) known for making specific, highly-tuned death threats and b) celebrating their victory at getting her talk cancelled.

          • Distec says:

            Because the person who made the threat made no reference to their involvement, didn’t even mention video games, and the object of his disgruntled focus appears to be feminism itself. Because feminism has had enemies long before GamerGate or even games themselves.

            I fully understand the temptation to assume GG’s involved here, just as I understand the temptation from some people to link Al Qaeda to any act of violence carried out by a Muslim. But regardless of one’s low opinion of GG, it is not reasonable to assume their guilt just because you don’t like them.

            I’ve long been seeing people label this as a “gamer problem” or a “4chan problem”, but this issue is older and bigger than either of those groups, and crazies come from all walks of life.

  6. supermini says:

    “…but because of Utah’s open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches.”

    Wait, what?

    • lorddon says:

      I looked up our state laws and it’s true. College campuses here cannot prevent someone with a concealed carry license from bringing their guns with them. There’s some tiny clause about “hearing rooms” but it can’t be a place “normally accessible to the public”.

      I also need to mention that to get your concealed carry permit in Utah you only need to take a 4 hour class, and never actually demonstrate proficiency with a firearm on a shooting range.

      • pepperfez says:

        Merka! Freedom!

      • Graves says:

        This isn’t the general rule around the country, though. If I recall correctly, most states delegate the authority to make on campus firearms regulations to the university board of regents (or similar group). In most cases, the end result is that firearms are banned on campus, both open and concealed, based on the same legal doctrine that forbids carry on elementary school campuses. This presents its own set of issues, but there you go.

        As for the concealed carry statute, as a attorney who got a concealed carry permit in Arizona before they made it even easier than Utah, I couldn’t care less whether they have to demonstrate proficiency with a weapon. Its far more important that they show understanding of the law of weapon use in your jurisdiction, when it is appropriate to use the weapon they carry, and how they must change their own behavior when you carry a weapon. Knowing how to shoot is far less important than those things.

        As an aside, my opinion is partially based on my own experience. I was once in a violent crime incident that was averted by a concealed weapon, and not a shot was fired. I don’t have statistics for how common this is, but I imagine it is more common than one might think.

        • derbefrier says:

          yes it is. Major Media outlets don’t generally report that stuff because it flies directly in the face of their liberal buddies claiming open carry would result in “wild west shootouts in broad daylight” and other such nonsense they were spouting at the time.

          Generally though the type of person that will go through the background checks, classes, and pay the money to get a concealed carry permit is not the type of person thats gonna open fire in a crowded building and the statistics and studies on it since open and concealed carry made a comeback tend to show that that’s a pretty true assumption. but enough about gun rights this isnt what this is really about. I knew some of our foreign friends here would get hung up on that though :).

        • Horg says:

          Proficiency and safety go hand in hand with guns. If you pull a gun you can’t use properly and fire it, then the person behind and just off to the side of whatever you are aiming at is going to have a very bad time.

          • Graves says:

            True, but while proficiency leads to safety, proficiency does necessarily not mean you know the law and the responsibility of carrying a weapon. I know a lot of people who own guns and a few who carry concealed on a regular basis, and all of them have both the proficiency and the knowledge, and had it to some degree before classes based on their common sense and previous experience. But, if we are going to have a metric for handing out these permits, if I can’t have both, I would rather have a few hours of education than an hour on the shooting range.

      • wengart says:

        I feel that if they had really wanted to they could have gotten a “no carry” zone based on the threat. Although that would probably require jumping through quite a few legal hoops.

        • Diatribe says:

          They could put it right next to the “no speech zone.” Fortunately or unfortunately, in ‘Merica both free speech and firearm possession are constitutional rights. (See link to, although we’re talking about Utah here law so it’s more complicated than that.)

          • Felix says:

            Allow me to direct your attention to this, something perhaps even more egregious than a no-speech zone.

      • Slouch says:

        On campuses in Texas you cannot carry guns, concealed or otherwise, unless involved unless you have explicit permission from the institution.

        How did you guys manage to be more gun crazy than my beloved Texas?

  7. Skeletor68 says:

    I can’t help but wonder if this is a genuine threat from a mentally ill/deranged person (terrifying) or some idiot who thinks it is funny and a legitimately warranted tactic against those ‘damn women and their notions’ (also terrifying).

    What can be done to change the way we, as an online society, deal with disagreements?

    • supermini says:

      Take away anonimity.

      The answer is somewhat terrifying, no?

      • Everblue says:

        I think that it’s only a matter of time before internet anonymity goes. Making sites such as Twitter require a valid credit card number is something that would end anonymity for all but the most determined criminals and eliminate the vast majority of online abuse at a stroke. It would also make it easier for businesses to sell you things.


          Internet anonymity is on its way out because Facebook and its cousins are pushing you to use one name, one account on every site. Children being born today just might reach adulthood while being proficient with the internet but also having never registered an account that was not intrinsically connected to their real identity.

          Oh God. Was that an old man rant? It was an old man rant. WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME RPS

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          That would go some of the way to doing it but there will always be 4-chan style cesspits on the internet that these individuals seek out specifically because it does give them anonymity.

      • Slaadfax says:

        Sadly, anonymity is only one small portion of it. Every article or post that includes some akin to facebook comments, where plenty of people use their real names with real pictures of themselves: with real accounts that give real home addresses, places of employment, and so on, spew the same kind of hate-filled vitriol.

        Well, not mass-murder threats, so maybe there’s something there.

        However, it is the imposition of consequences that could finally cause the internet’s bubble of stupidity, hatred, and hyperbole to burst. Anonymity assists people in disconnecting themselves from taking actions that they would never do or consider in an in-person environment, but without directly viewing the consequences of their actions (not just “hearing about it;” that isn’t the same thing), it still doesn’t have a true impact.

        • Mezmorki says:

          In my own reflections on this whole issue and series of recent events, I keep coming back to the notion that until these acts/threats conducted over the internet are handled in the same way as they (ought) to be in the real-world, it’s going to be a hard nut to crack.

          Hate crimes, while often challenging to prosecute, are criminal offenses and involve the same sort of threats, acts of violence, etc. as these online harassment cases – yet there is no official legal resource for people to take.

          Like so much about America (and elsewhere to) nothing changes until catastrophe hits. This turn of events gets us closer and closer to a catastrophe – yet still nothing the legal system is being advocated to address it.

          • pepperfez says:

            In America nothing changes even after catastrophe hits, at least when it comes to mass shootings.

          • newprince says:

            Wow, I cannot actually believe you believe these things. I can’t.

            This is digital. Meaning different than meatspace. Meaning, you can probably only be prosecuted for making credible threats. And that’s it really. Because… you’re not actually doing the things! You’re writing things!

            These people making death threats are committing crimes. People getting mad on the Internet aren’t.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Considering the things people post under their real names, say on Facebook, I don’t think it’d make much difference.

        • drewski says:

          Yeah, read the comments on any news article with embedded Facebook comments and you quickly realise that anonymity has little to do with toxicity in online discussion.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      The anonymity point is a valid one to answer the OPs question. The other one realistically is stop responding in any way to the deranged loony tunes that seem to end up dominating and overriding any discourse.

      The overwhelming majority of people don’t harass others and are decent people, this is not a community wide problem, it is an incredibly small minority acting the way they do, however, every time RPS posts an article like this, they are getting what they want, they are creating drama whilst sat behind a keyboard giggling that they made Anita cancel an appearance. If they didn’t get a reaction there would be no point to what they do and would stop.

      I never see a positive article about Sarkeesian on a gaming website, only ever when something like this happens is she written about. Why? The answer, this is clickbait and makes them more money, however it is also harmful in the long run because it is facilitating future behaviour by giving it prominence.

      Of course it is difficult when people are feeling threatened and intimidated but I do wish we could at least have these sorts of discussions without people instantly bringing this harassment, which is the behaviour of a small number of individuals, to the forefront all the time and completely derailing any other talking points completely. Making the discussion less extreme from both sides would enable more rational thinking and reduce this “us and them” mentality that is dominating any form of feminist or social justice topic that is brought up.

  8. Orija says:

    How is this related to video games, why should we be hearing about this? I mean, didn’t you guys give that excuse when you declined to give coverage to Rab Florence’s departure from Eurogamer and the ensuing shitstorm?

    • Alec Meer says:

      Because there’s a pattern that when women speak out in games, they’re threatened and harassed – almost as a matter of course now. We would like there to be lots of women in games, not less, because that means new ideas and experiences. It could not possibly be more relevant to games.

      • Graves says:

        Hear hear.

      • maxi0 says:


        There’s a pattern that when anyone speaks negatively about something individuals or groups of people care about – such as their hobbies or favourite artists – they’re threatened and harassed – almost as a matter of course. This obnoxious behaviour is an equal opportunity offender with no set agenda other than to rage against, well, just about anything.

        Assuming that this is a real threat, from a real person with real intent to follow through, it is a disturbed individual who is clearly representing only his(her?)self and is hardly indicative or representative of a wider group or narrative, however much it might suit a particular agenda.

        • pepperfez says:

          I’m getting seriously Poed by this comment.

        • Premium User Badge

          Buzko says:


          it is a disturbed individual who is clearly representing only his(her?)self and is hardly indicative or representative of a wider group or narrative, however much it might suit a particular agenda.

          If this was the only time Ms Sarkeesian (or indeed, any number of feminist or female videogame pundits) had been threatened with violence, that might be true. We both know that’s not the case.

          • maxi0 says:

            Are you arguing that collaboration exists between issuers of multiple death threats, that all death threats include promises of terrorist massacres or that prominent women receive more threats, harassment or personal attacks than prominent men? You’re either claiming at least one of the above, or not refuting my post. I’d appreciate some clarity.


            Was that meant to be a pun or was it mere happenstance?

          • pepperfez says:

            No pun intended, I just really couldn’t figure out if your post was completely sarcastic or completely unmoored from reality. I guess the latter?

          • maxi0 says:

            Ah, I see. People must be either sarcastic or delusional to not share your views. Now, did you have an actual point to make or should I just dismiss you as a troll?

    • killias2 says:

      Sorry for any confusion, but maybe you missed the connection. The first two words in the title were “Games Critic”. I understand that the beginning of the title is pretty hard to read sometimes. After all, who reads the titles to these things anyway?

      Seriously though, if Alec Meer couldn’t speak in public because his VIDJAGAEMZ opinions resulted in mass shooting threats, I’d hope a few sites would cover it.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        I’m thinking you missed their point and are getting a little confused.

        In quite a few cases RPS has chosen to not cover certain stories because they are a games website, not a gaming website and do not cover industry items that aren’t directly connected to a game.

        This story is treading a fine line because this news piece is not related to a game, it’s related to the industry. Anita is a game critic just like Rab was so readers can rightfully ask why RPS’s stance differs between the two.

        • pepperfez says:

          In quite a few cases RPS has chosen to not cover certain stories because they are a games website, not a gaming website and do not cover industry items that aren’t directly connected to a game.
          This just isn’t even kind of true, though.

      • chargen says:

        But she speaks out in public all the time. The university didn’t find the threat credible.

  9. nojan says:

    tldr: not going to go to utah! stupid gun laws!

    • SRTie4k says:

      Despite the fact that, statistically, Utah has some of the lowest gun violence per capita in the country (#8, behind Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, etc, all of whom have as or more lax gun laws).

      Sorry to interrupt the knee-jerk reactions and lack of context. Carry on!

      • nojan says:

        your reasoning is invalid , so if you’re into statistics , utah actually is one of the less populated states (inhabitants per square mile :34.30 hawaii is 216!!) and is actually ranked 33 in population , THAT is why there is less gun violence, do your home work first;)

        • SRTie4k says:

          I guess you don’t quite understand what “per capita” means. Look it up.

          • pepperfez says:

            Utah is 41st in population density. Density is positively correlated with violence, all else being equal.

          • SRTie4k says:

            That doesn’t change the fact that Utah is one of the safest states in the US, despite the gun laws.

          • Matt_W says:

            “Utah is 41st in population density. Density is positively correlated with violence, all else being equal.”

            No. Let’s be clear. There’s no obvious correlation between gun ownership, population density, or total population and deaths due to gun violence.

          • pepperfez says:

            no obvious correlation
            link to
            link to
            link to

            I’m not going to push this too hard — those studies found moderate correlations at most — but there is highly suggestive evidence that population density is positively correlated with violent crime to one degree or another.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Just to be really clear… are you saying there’s no correlation between gun ownership and gun violence? O.o

          • Matt_W says:

            Yes, that’s true on a state-to-state level. There may be correlation historically (e.g. gun violence increases in a state when gun ownership increases) or a more robust correlation when you drill down to counties or municipalities, but when comparing one state to another, there is no correlation. Wyoming has the highest gun ownership percentage and Hawaii has the lowest. Both are in the bottom 10 for per-capita gun-related homicides. Additionally, nation-wide in the United States, gun ownership is increasing slightly, when gun violence is currently at its lowest levels ever. If there is a correlation, it’s not as obvious as it may seem it should be. Note that I’m in favor of gun control legislation and I own no guns myself nor do I ever plan to; I’m not a gun aficionado. I think Utah’s gun laws are insane. I’m just pointing out that no one’s cause is helped by promulgated unsupported assertions.

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            @Matt_W: “…at its lowest level ever” really? Holy shitballs there must have been a lot of people getting shot before then. Or is it just the schoolchildren-as-targets bit that has changed, meaning we non USians are more likely to hear about them?

          • Damien Stark says:

            “at its lowest level ever” really?”

            Yes, really. Well no, not “ever” – I can’t imagine there was a lot of gun violence in 1231 AD.
            But lowest level since 1993 at least:
            link to

            The problem is that people tend to inflate the significance of dramatic scary stuff they see on the news (OMG school shooting!) and rarely look at actual data.

      • X_kot says:

        Having been born in SLC and lived in the area for much of my life, I can offer many other reasons to avoid visiting Utah other than its gun laws.

        But about those guns, you can concealed carry in the state capitol building (but not in churches where posted! Plus, you don’t need a permit to keep a gun in your home or place of employment.

  10. Horg says:

    Sad to see her capitulating to the will of what is very probably a 4chan troll with no ability to back up his / her threats, but you have to respect her decision to put public safety first. I hope this is not a sign of the times, where any asshat with an agenda can shut down a public gathering through anonymous threats of violence. Hopefully this threat is taken seriously enough that the authorities will track down those responsible.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Don’t know if you could call it capitulation man. If the police can’t offer protection it would probably be irresponsible to continue as weird as that sounds.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      The problem is that it is impossible to tell for sure if it is a legitimate, plausible threat or just a “troll” . Odds are, the threat would not have been carried through, but there is a chance it could happen.

      And this steps beyond the boundary of internet trolling to legitimately illegal behavior.

      • pepperfez says:

        One of the weird issues brought to the fore by this is the idea that death threats are ever “just trolling.” Like the Gameghazi image going around recently purporting to give advice on responding to threats (Spoiler: They want you to shut up, for your own safety), it still treats the internet as some kind of imaginary world.

        A death threat that will never be carried out is a death threat.

        • RedViv says:

          I wonder where that belief even comes from. One of these “suck it up, [generic female-gendered slur insinuating weakness]” things? Actual legal advice on repeated death threats and harassment is to TELL PEOPLE. Tell friends that it is happening, tell close people, tell the authorities. Certainly the majority of online threats are coming from people who would be too scared to even look you in the eye if you met them, purely hiding behind online anonymity, but that is in no way a reason to not play it safe.

          • supermini says:

            Tell close friends and the authorities, yes, but don’t broadcast it in public because if you demonstrate that the threats have been effective, you are encouraging more of the same behavior.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            “Don’t broadcast it in public”, and then the public aren’t even aware that it’s going on. You’re still being threatened, the threats are, in all honesty, still effective, and now the people sending the threats have the added advantage of people not even being aware that there’s a problem.

          • dahauns says:

            Whoa, there. Of course, tell the authorities, tell your friends.
            But other than that: police standard advice is actually DON’T GO PUBLIC.

            Edit: Don’t mean to be snarky, but: Twitter counts as public.

        • newprince says:

          That comes from Twitter’s actual advice on receiving threats, though. Read it.

          • pepperfez says:

            Take threats seriously

            If you believe you are in physical danger, contact the local law enforcement authorities who have the tools to address the issue.

          • newprince says:

            Did you skip the parts where it said not to retweet threats?

      • Baines says:

        It could also be an attempt to shut down the lecture specifically. Not for trolling purposes, but also not a threat that the issuer intended to go through with if the lecture was still held.

        • Horg says:

          Real violent criminals tend not to phone ahead and let the police know they are coming.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Modern cars are also safe enough that victims of accidents tend not to die; that doesn’t mean you should drive on the wrong side of the road.

        • drewski says:

          That’s not the sort of risk you want to be taking if you can’t sufficiently mitigate it, though.

    • Gotem says:

      I just hope one of these trolls find their asses in jail for a while so they learn that they have to take responsibility for what they write.

  11. BlackLabel says:

    welp…someone dident understand 4chan.


    the system dosent care….

    noone should care….value well formed opinions and ideas…even tricksters if they put some thought into it…

    at the least…its all just a mirror…..meh…agenda pushing people are the worst anways…

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      Everyone has an agenda and everyone pushes it.

      Those that don’t think they have an agenda just have an agenda to maintain the status quo.

      When there is an issue and you choose not to take a side, you are automatically taking the side of whichever side is favouring the status quo.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Really stupid point. Nothing is as black and white as you make it out to be and there are rarely 2 discreet sides to anything. You are advocating that people either become extreme left or extreme right and anybody in the middle is automatically moved to whichever extreme has control at that point.
        That sounds…….absolutely bonkers to me.

  12. TrinTragula says:

    Oh god you left the comments open.
    Now there will be a internet discussion about feminism and equality of gender…
    I hate when that happens.

  13. Deano2099 says:

    Can we not tar this with the GamerGate brush?

    You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone more opposed to that ‘movement’ than me, but this guy doesn’t reference them at all in his threat, is quite blatant that this about not liking the woman and having problems with her brand of feminism, and has nothing to do with games journalism or ethics. This is just a straight up extension of the abuse Anita was getting before GG kicked off and seems entirely unrelated.

    • Alec Meer says:

      We haven’t linked the Utah threat to GG anywhere in the post. However, the threats to Wu were directly linked to her comments about GG on Twitter, so that’s the only place it’s mentioned.

      • PaladinGunn says:

        Anita also tweeted that at least one of the threats was claiming direct affilation ton GG.
        Also to note, the #StopGamerGate2014 tag has been trending on tweeter since last night.
        Considering what happened top Briannu Wu a few days ago, and that, even if it wasn’t directly related to GG (and I honestly doubt it wasn’t considering what they’ve been posting on the 8chan cesspit they call home), they’ve finally gathered enough attention for people to get organised against them.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Alec – sorry, I was referring to some of the commenters rather than your article.

    • MashPotato says:

      I’m not sure if you’re speaking rhetorically, but Alec doesn’t say the letter writer is associated with GG. GG is just mentioned as examples of the general pattern of harassment/threats that’s been depressingly prevalent lately.

    • Zunt says:

      So you’re suggesting that this misogyny directed at a woman making videos about video games is unrelated to the misogyny directed at other women working in industries related to video games? That’s a very … particular view of things.

      • Bull0 says:

        Society’s full of groups that have common views and goals but use different methods and prefer not to be associated with one another. There’s nothing unusual about that. Using the actions of one to criticize another is patently unfair, even if both parties are objectionable to you.

    • Urthman says:

      Sorry. GamerGaters have very much been fueling the hatred directed at Sarkeesian, so most people are going to hold them partially responsible for this. Spewing hatred has real-world consequences whether you realize it or not.

      • Deano2099 says:

        I think this would have happened regardless, she was getting this stuff before GG too. But you try and link the two and GG will just use it to fuel their own publicity and get to play the victim.

        I have no doubt some of the same people are involved, but I think there’s danger in ascribing everything like this to a single ‘movement’ in gaming. It gives them far too much credibility.

    • pepperfez says:

      In an unintentionally accurate twist, you refer to tarring, i.e. slandering by association, a threat to carry out mass murder by associating it with Gameghazi.

  14. basilisk says:

    The most depressing thing about this tornado of hatred and insanity is seeing it supported by people who aren’t at all stupid, but are somehow completely blind to reality. Those shouting: “That’s not us! We do not condone this!” and actually meaning it. Still thinking that the mob can be controlled. And for some reason still clinging to the lofty ideals vaguely thrown around in way of explanation or perhaps defence, refusing to recognise their irredeemably awful bedfellows in this for what they are.

    Mobs are ugly, and anonymous mobs are even uglier. The fact that this has been going on for months is incredibly sad.

    • Distec says:

      What bedfellows? Is there an identified organization or movement that this person has claimed association with?

      I don’t understand. Why does everybody who might subscribe to a #GG tag or have disagreements with Anita (regardless of the quality of their reasons) need to feel guilty because some disturbed individual made a death threat?

  15. CaesarBritannicus says:

    I really appreciate RPS covering a story which a significant portion of gamers would prefer to dismiss.

    • Morte66 says:

      I would rather just ignore all this. Gotta give RPS some credit then, I guess.

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        You know you still can, right? Or are you strapped in a chair with matchsticks propping your eyes open being forced to read this?

  16. Prolar Bear says:

    This is borderline surreal. Unbelievable.

  17. Polifemo says:

    Theres many many things I want to say about this and similar situations but I lack the motivation and energy to care enough about adressing every little thing that is wrong with all this along with trying to adress every point of view.

    Instead Ill say universally: “Good grief humans are stupid animals.” and “I wish people talked with each other instead of talking at each other more”. Those statements go to everyone of course.

    I hope this dumb conflict gets resolved in my lifetime so we can start talking more about games instead of the politics of games. Politics are stupid. Games are awesome.

  18. mvar says:

    still can’t get what’s all the fuzz with this “gamergate” (lolwot?) is about.. it seems as the most non-story ever to hit the internet..Yet it still pops up in sites every now and then like if anyone should be giving a fuck about who fucked who or if someone insulted someone else over his “gamer identity” (lollolwotwot?!?). Really, aren’t there any other 1st world problems left to talk about?

    • Zunt says:

      You might have a point if the Slimergait folk stopped at giving fucks. But they go on to make death threats, spread slander and seek to ‘destroy’ businesses. And when someone makes a death threat, however ludicrous, if they’re doing it in a US state where members of your audience might be carrying firearms then, as you would no doubt say, lollwotwatloltwat, nope.

    • Dingbatwhirr says:

      Thank you. I should have realised that ‘an individual threatening to commit a mass murder just because a woman who makes videos about women in video games is giving a talk’ is just a ‘1st world problem’. Why is that even worth reporting? I mean it isn’t as if it’s even related to video games. It’s just a ‘1st world problem’ and a lot of fuss over nothing.

      • mvar says:

        Perhaps i didn’t express myself clearly so let me clarify, I wasn’t referring to the death threats which obviously should be investigated and the offender(s) prosecuted, but to this whole “gamergate scandal” circus. If someone really gives a shit about some developer fucking some reporter AND he’s willing to go on nerd-rage creating or joining groups for this reason then he has to get a life, a job or at least something more worthy of his free time ASAP.
        (Now look what you’ve done, this is my second post on this matter and i already feel bad :) )

        • Dingbatwhirr says:

          Apologies. My level of sarcasm was unmerited. This whole issue bring out the worst in many people, myself included.

    • Matt_W says:

      Kyle Wagner, at DeadSpin (which note, is a sports news website) has probably the best summary of the whole business. It’s obviously relevant to people who play video games and, in an ancillary way, to other parts of geek culture. (Atheism, for instance, has been experiencing its own version of this controversy for the last few years.) Wagner’s article suggests why it’s relevant to larger culture: specifically it’s a natural extension of the tools reactionary forces in culture have been developing and deploying for the last half-decade or so. You can draw a straight line, for instance, from the Moral Majority to the Tea Party to MRAs to #gamergate to whatever politics of grievance will emerge next month. Welcome to the culture wars of tomorrow, today.

      link to

  19. CDWard says:

    Thanks for posting this Alec and shining a light on the gamersgate terrorists.

    • sassy says:

      Poor Gamersgate, getting associated to crap like this all the time.

      If you don’t know Gamersgate is a digital games retailer (like steam without the client but not drm free like gog). Gamergate is what you are thinking of.

      • slerbal says:

        “Why are we being labelled terrorists? We just sell reasonably priced games…”

        Poor :(

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          I got Doom 2 for like £3 from them. I feel legitimately terrible when I think that some people believe they’re the same folks…

    • Thurgret says:

      GamersGate does appear to be running a sale on some past Crusader Kings 2 DLC following today’s release of Charlemagne, but I don’t think that quite warrants labelling them as terrorists.

    • Dingbatwhirr says:


      • pepperfez says:

        It’s true! Some of the very best things are gates, like Heaven’s Gate.


        • Dingbatwhirr says:

          Oh. Maybe that’s a bad example… Or maybe all gates really are inherently bad?

          Hang on, Stargate is pretty good. Isn’t it? Stargate isn’t bad, is it? But then I thought Gamersgate was good: they had such great deals.

          Gosh I really don’t know any more.

  20. sassy says:

    This is just disgusting.

    I don’t care if this is a troll or serious. I hope the law catches up with this individual and comes down heavily. This is straight up a terrorist action and should be treated as such

    • BlackLabel says:

      one mans terrorist is the others mans feedom fighter.

      • Turkey says:

        Fighting for the freedom to suppress freedom of speech?

        • Baines says:

          Well, obviously a freedom fighter is fighting for his or her own personal brand of freedom, and not the freedom of the person that he or she is fighting.

      • mpk says:

        Freedom fighter or terrorist, they’re both just different flavours of arsehole.

    • newprince says:

      Well, hold on. It’s not an action, it’s a threat of action. There’s an important difference there.

      • Jimbo says:

        Making the threat was still an action taken with the intent to terrorise.

        • newprince says:

          Yes. In other words, a threat of action. A death threat. Not an act of terrorism.

          Still a crime.

          • Jimbo says:

            The threat alone is enough to be considered an act of terrorism. It’s actually the ‘threat’ aspect of it which makes terrorism terrorism.

            I take your point though: threatening murder obviously isn’t as bad as actually murdering someone.

          • lordfrikk says:

            You’re a moron.

      • sassy says:

        The letter was wrote to intimidate Anita and anyone wishing to attend her seminar, that is in itself an act of terrorism. Whether a plan was ever made to go through with it or not doesn’t change that.

        • newprince says:

          It’s still two separate things, though.

          • horus_lupercal says:

            It’s not, under Utah law threats are classed as terrorism –

            A person commits a threat of terrorism if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and acts with intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence or affect the conduct of a government or a unit of government or prevent or interrupt the occupation of a building or a portion of the building, a place to which the public has access, or a facility or vehicle of public transportation operated by a common carrier (Utah Law Title 76 Chapter 5 Section 107.3)

            Also the FBI view threats as terrorism – link to

            Also, not that it’s really relevant but in UK law such actions are classed as terrorism –

            “The use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological
            cause.” (Terrorism Act 2000)

          • newprince says:

            This might shock you, but I don’t agree with the FBI’s definition of terrorism (!)

            Edit: Especially considering equating threats with terrorism is used to justify, let’s say, drone striking an American citizen abroad with no due process. Because terrorism, right? It’s all the same?

          • drewski says:

            The fact the US government fails to use due process in authorising the killing of anyone deemed to be related to a terrorist threat doesn’t really change (or, to be honest, have anything to do with) the fact that threatening to use violence to create fear to achieve a political end is the very definition of terrorism.

            If doing something would be terrorism, threatening to do that act is also terrorism, because they have the same purpose and means of effect.

            And whilst you are, of course, entitled to disagree with whoever you like about whatever you like, the reality is that terrorism is a crime defined by the state and therefore the state’s definition of the scope of that crime is pretty authoritative when it comes to determining what the criminal act is.

          • newprince says:

            “The fact the US government fails to use due process in authorising the killing of anyone deemed to be related to a terrorist threat doesn’t really change (or, to be honest, have anything to do with) the fact that threatening to use violence to create fear to achieve a political end is the very definition of terrorism.”

            No. In that, the government is (wrongly) conflating terrorism with terrorist threats. Some threats are credible, some aren’t, and if not credible or if coerced, should not be punished the same as terrorist acts. You are refusing to acknowledge nuance where it is clearly demanded! And using a tautology. Please watch “The Newburgh Sting.”

            “If doing something would be terrorism, threatening to do that act is also terrorism, because they have the same purpose and means of effect.”

            That doesn’t mean they are the same thing, though.

            “And whilst you are, of course, entitled to disagree with whoever you like about whatever you like, the reality is that terrorism is a crime defined by the state and therefore the state’s definition of the scope of that crime is pretty authoritative when it comes to determining what the criminal act is.”

            Well yes, the very definition of an argument from authority. I don’t care what the government says on a certain subject. Oftentimes, they are wrong, especially when it comes to terrorism.

    • Thrippy says:

      I feel with intuitive certaintude this guy now has his own personal FBI task force. He tried to invoke Marc Levine, but I’m sure the FBI has Seung-Hi Cho on their minds tonight, in what will be a long, sleepless night for them. They will find him. His motivations are irrelevant. Because of its specificity, his threat is actionable.

      Written from Virginia, still grieving over Virginia Tech, site of the deadlist single gunman shooting in American history. It was and is a real place full of living, breathing people and not a political football. And home to Quantico. Go, go, FBI.

      Discussing Sarkeesian is like debating the merits of Jodie Foster’s acting ability. And if you think not, consider how would you feel if a weapons cache is eventually found in this guy’s off campus apartment.

  21. Freud says:

    I don’t find her videos all that interesting since they they are so selective and myopic, that they paint a distorted picture of how things are. There are a lot of silly things in video games that play on many stereotypes. That’s part of the culture it came from and something that should be appreciated more than anything. There are extremes that goes too far, of course.

    With that said, what a piece of garbage human being writes an email like that? Anyone that’s hates Anita Sarkeesian and tries to silence her through threats should be hunted down by the authorities.

  22. Malfeas says:

    I very much dislike Sarkeesian for a lot of reasons. That being said, the appropriate response to someone being annoying and dishonest is not violence, not even to the smallest degree. Let alone to the utterly insane degree threatened towards her and people even the most hate-filled opponent of her work must consider innocent bystanders.

    While I don’t wish her especially well, I certainly hope whoever did that crap gets caught.

  23. Lucid says:

    What if she made up the threat? I can bet you that next to nobody in America has heard of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre, isn’t it convenient that Anita is Canadian?

    • Charles de Goal says:

      For reference : link to

      Good luck Anita with all the idiots out there.

      • Lucid says:

        Yeah, good luck Anita with creating a mountain out of what was originally a non-existent mole hill.

        • tormos says:

          So your claim is that Anita has managed to somehow fake a terror threat against herself that’s sophisticated enough that THE FBI couldn’t figure it out and that’s more likely than an anti-feminist being able to cite one of the most prominent past actions of anti-feminists?

        • Synesthesia says:

          Fuck you. No, really. Just go fuck yourself.

        • Kinjiro says:

          She’s the one making a mountain out of a molehill? You’re out to lunch.

        • lordfrikk says:

          You’re an incredible moron.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I hesitate to ask, seeing as I’m sure I’ll get some tormented logic as a reply, but how is her nationality relevant?

      • mattevansc3 says:

        Well because link to

      • Lucid says:

        Because the massacre occurred in Canada?

        • bleeters says:

          I will never cease to be amazed by the elaborate conspiracy theories woven by those desperate to pin the blame on anyone other than the person responsible, as if a random woman with internet access is somehow capable of manipulation so vast and forgery so convincing that even the federal government is fooled.

          • Nogo says:

            The insistence that tragedies don’t cross borders is pretty insulting too.

    • Wisq says:

      Yes, because I’m sure Anita would rather fake a death threat and cancel her talk than actually give it.

      Heck, why not go all the way and hire an already-suicidal person to go through with the threat? I bet that would really further her cause.

      Internet personalities get death threats all the time. Multiply that by many times over if they’re a woman. The hard reality is that it’s a lot more likely that someone is going to pull a threat like this (whether they intend to carry through or not) than that someone would call death threats on themselves just to become a living martyr and a news snippet. A lot of these people just want to be left alone.

      A little Occam’s Razor goes a long way towards dispelling most conspiracy theories. The only thing that keeps said theories alive is the notion that all the compelling evidence against the conspiracy is all manufactured, because duhh, it’s a conspiracy. You can either subscribe to this circular logic, or you can break out of it and realise, yeah, that’s probably not really true.

  24. Buuurr says:

    What I love about all the comments that I have read so far is that everyone seems to be taking this as a normal issue that is debatable. Many of you seem to think that a lot of men in the U.S. are afraid or hate this lady for what she stands for.

    The irony lies in that this lunatic (and that’s what this one guy is) has you all talking about men who would never do anything like this or have any ill will toward a woman trying to lead a march into equal rights. No, you all stop and actually think that a lot of men are like the guy (lunatic) who made the threat. Its like you think the crazy person’s thoughts and feelings are relative to normal society.

    • ribby says:

      You have a point their buurrr

    • GardenOfSun says:

      That’s because they obviously are.

      First of, they would be even if this guy was just totally and completely crazy, to the point of not being recognizable as human anymore: even then, in fact, he’d still be human, and the surrounding society would most certainly be at least *one* factor contributing to his state. More generally, insanity is often charged with expressing in a distorted way whatever a society prohibits itself to see.

      All of this however would be of purely academic interest, if not for the fact that people spontaneously seem to think in that way that you find (or seem to find) so strange. But I understand them. And unlike many of them, I don’t need to nurture the hypocrisy of saying that I find the case unsettling, in one sense or in another, because of the death threat part (which is obviously the real problem, make no mistake, but which would not explain the majority of these “dialogical” reactions to the threater). Rather, I think that’s because the whole issue of “feminism vs chauvinism” has arranged itself along an axis no one can be *actually* completely aligned with. In other terms, men nowadays *do* suffer from problems that feminism tends to ignore, and men who are more susceptible to this kind of turmoil, if not strong and cultured enough, might very well stoop to sexism or mysoginy – OR they could marry wholeheartedly and without a critical mindset the feminist agenda of the day. Both reactions are equally knee-jerk, but both are also bred from a state of affairs that is at the moment woefully underrepresented, and which we could surmise as a crisis in the relationships and cultural identities of the genders.

      Now, until someone steps in and manages to finally portray the problem as something that, at its roots, concerns BOTH men and women and must be thus addressed by BOTH men and women talking about their own respective problems and starting to understand each other better, I fear we will see no end of this. On one end, a myopic moralistic and dogmatic mainstream feminism that refuses to understand the elementary fact that the mysoginistic male is a scared, hurt and alienated male; on the other end, a spectrum of chaos going from insult to crime.

      I won’t comment on Sarkeesian’s case because I have not followed her videos, finding (for the above reasons) the very idea boring or even misleading. But it’s clear she’s being subjected to this shitstorm because she herself, willing or not, has worked to become a posterchild for this contradiction.

      • GardenOfSun says:

        (Just to be sure, I’d also like to clarify more explicitly that of course Sarkeesian as a human being has got all my solidarity. Also, to be even more clear, I am not advocating that *all* kinds of feminism are myopic, moralistic and dogmatic, but just that that’s the way the popularized feminist discourse tends to behave. Lastly, I am not saying either that I am God, that I know everything or that I am perfect in any way, shape or form. Indeed, I may be wrong in anything that I said, and I actually already regret posting on the internet a phrase such as “Unlike many of them, I don’t nurture the hypocrisy…”

        It always pays to cover up all the bases when you post a complex opinion on the internet. :P )

    • GardenOfSun says:

      (Just to be sure, I’d also like to clarify more explicitly that of course Sarkeesian as a human being has got all my solidarity. Also, to be even more clear, I am not advocating that *all* kinds of feminism are myopic, moralistic and dogmatic, but just that that’s the way the popularized feminist discourse tends to behave. Lastly, I am not saying either that I am God, that I know everything or that I am perfect in any way, shape or form. Indeed, I may be wrong in anything that I said, and I actually already regret posting on the internet a phrase such as “Unlike many of them, I don’t nurture the hypocrisy…”

      It always pays to cover up all the bases when you post a complex opinion on the internet. :P )

  25. NotToBeLiked says:

    Although Sarkeesian makes some valid points, her arguments are utter bullshit and her work would never stand up to any coherent criticism.
    That being said, this would all stop if the police would stop being lazy and throw some of the assholes making these and other threats in prison. As soon as that happens the likeminded misogynists (because those people actually deserve to be called that, unlike people who dare to make a slightly sexualized virtual woman in their game) would stop threatening women instantly. Threatening to rape someone sounds far less funny when you can end up in a US prison as a result and have a pretty good chance of getting raped yourself.

    • Pieclone says:

      You wouldn’t happen to have a link to anyone who has been able to offer coherent criticism at all would you? I’ve yet to find anything other than incoherent criticism thus far and would love to see an alternate POV that doesn’t have a screeching man-child in a leather jacket/black t-shirt combo. Bonus points if it’s another female/feminist perspective offering said criticism. Double bonus points if they do the video in a Tweed jacket with leather elbow patches and horn rim glasses.

      • Melody says:

        I remember a few people linking to a feminist blog that criticized TVW in a reasonable manner, some time ago. Unfortunately I do not have the link or remember the name, but it does exist and it was fairly well done. Hopefully the hivemind can provide.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        Unfortunately that’s like trying to to find a golden coin in a lake full of poo. This whole thing has blown up so badly that trying to find reasonable discussion about the topic is nearly impossible. I know Total Biscuit has done some audio logs and texts on the topic for example.
        The biggest problem with her content imho is that she is pretending to research topics, but instead has always started with her “conclusion” as a certainty and then takes games footage completely out of context and misinterprets it as proof for her point of view. That’s pretty much the opposite of how research should be done.
        Although I agree with quite a few of her general ideas (women are almost always portrayed in the same way in most forms of media: something to protect or rescue for example) but she insists it is to blame on some imaginary hatred of women on the part of game developers.

        • Kinjiro says:

          I think you’re wrong on two levels.

          First, you’re mischaracterizing her work. She isn’t testing a theory, she’s demonstrating a claim. To do that, one makes a claim, then shows evidence that supports that claim. She’s claiming that tropes of a sexist nature exist in video games, and supports that claim by showing scenes from games that include those tropes. If I say some cars are blue, and point to a few blue cars as proof, I’ve supported my claim with evidence. You may say “not all cars are blue, though! Look, that one’s red!” That doesn’t make my claim that some cars are blue less true.

          Second, she’s not saying that devs or gamers hate women because X Y Z. She’s saying these tropes exist, be aware of them, understand them, and consider what they mean in the context of a game. She clearly states at the beginning of her videos that being critical of some parts of media doesn’t preclude finding other parts valuable or enjoyable.

      • dahauns says:

        While there’s indeed a load of knee-jerk crap out there, e.g. Kristin Bezio's critiques of WvT aren’t bad.

    • iucounu says:

      Just on this:

      “misogynists (because those people actually deserve to be called that, unlike people who dare to make a slightly sexualized virtual woman in their game)”

      It may be worth pointing out that I’ve never heard, say, Feminist Frequency allege that the kind of thing you describe is misogynist. It might be sexist, but that isn’t quite the same. Where the misogyny seems to come into the picture most often is in the response to criticism.

      I do not often, playing games, get the impression that they have been made with actual hatred of women in mind. I’m often aware of, to coin a phrase, tropes against women in them, but it seems like the kind of thing that gets better the more it’s discussed and criticised. When women criticise sexist games, though, even in very mild FF-like terms, I see a lot of actual hatred of women expressed in response. And, you know: frothing, obsessive madness.

      • derbefrier says:

        Its probably just overlap from some of the more militant feminist commentators around here and other parts of the internet who do exactly that. Its human nature I guess take the worst of something and apply it to the whole. you see it every where “All liberals are dirty commies who hate freedom” “All Tea Party members hate minorities, women, and old people and the mentally disabled” (these are real lines used by lots of people around the internet) Makes it easier to see things in black and white and to give your side its boogyman to fight.

        • iucounu says:

          I must apologise in advance for being intemperate, but who are these ‘more militant feminist commentators’? And what are they militantly commentating on? And what are they saying? And why is this relevant to Anita Sarkeesian and her very matter-of-fact cultural criticism of videogames?

          I see your point – there are extremist assholes with any ideology you care to name – but this is a moment to focus on the extremist asshole who called in a mass-murder threat to stifle speech he politically disagreed with. This is not the moment to be gesturing vaguely towards a radical feminist boogeyman who has, to date, done sod all to interest the police. Yeah, there are bad people on all sides, guilt by association, yada yada. If we’re not citing cases and arguing in good faith, we’re part of the problem, not the solution.

          • ffordesoon says:

            “who are these ‘more militant feminist commentators’?”

            Feminists who don’t respond well to sexist garbage, I assume.

          • derbefrier says:

            I guess its one of those things people like you are blind to since your side can do no wrong in your eyes. I mean everytime i see this mentioned it gets a similar reply. I guess its why Democrats can let their people call Conservative women sluts and you hear nothing out of the feminists ot turn that back around on republicans when they say bail out thier buddies using federal dollars than blast democcrats for bailing out unions and such.. People just see what they want i guess. Maybe since i think both sides are fucking insane both sides come of as a bit fucking crazy to me. Its all a matter perspective I suppose. Most people though are probably pretty moderate its just easy to get caught up in other people bullshit and before you know it, youve sunk to thier level.

          • iucounu says:

            What I’m saying is: if there are feminist commentators people think are extreme, they ought to cite them. Rather than gesturing vaguely at the notion of ‘extremist’ feminism to excuse death threats against Anita Sarkeesian as part of a narrative that goes, oh well, everyone’s at it! Tch!

            People can talk until they are blue in the face about ‘oh there are extremists on both sides, you’re blind to your own side’s excesses’ but until they can actually cite these excesses, I’m inclined to treat it as apologetic bloviation. Everything this toxic hashtag has cited so far is bullshit, and I have literally no idea what this terrifying feminist or SJW threat consists in other than the occasional sharply-worded blog post or mild-mannered You-Tube commentary.

          • NotToBeLiked says:

            Indeed. Some of the more extremist feminists just talk nonsense. The internet is full of people talking nonsense about all kinds of topics. Saying dumb things is every human beings birthright. The scumbags actually threatening to kill and rape all belong to the other side of the argument. They are even making the case that everyone who isn’t supporting Sarkeesian & co must be a monster, a more valuable argument.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        Some visitors & writers here (and on Polygon & Kotaku) get really angry when a game or other form of media shows women in a sexual way. In the same frothing way that some people get upset at Sarkeesian & friends. Showing a women with a lot of cleavage, comicly oversized breasts or in a situation that implies sexual aggression is being put on the same level as misogyny. According to them the people behind that game are called potential rapists and must hate women, and those games are obviously inciting violence against women. While it seems far more likely that games cause as much hatred against women as they cause school shootings.

        But the fact is as you say that most game developers don’t hate women, but they just are not keeping them in mind when making games, because they are only a small part of the demographic for their game (most AAA games are still bought by straight white males), just like they don’t think about non-white or gay buyers. It’s something that will change gradually as games become more mainstream. I personally think the Sarkeesian way of trying to change things (shoving it down people’s throat) is actually holding back an evolution that was already starting to gain ground.

        • maxi0 says:

          You know when people post something so moderately sane that it effectively ends a conversation because disagreement would be demonstrative of extremist, lunatic-fringe tendencies. I feel such posts require more recognition than they get.

          Like this one.

          Why does the conversation end here instead of starting here? The only answers I can offer betray my cynical disposition.


          Showing a women with a lot of cleavage, comicly oversized breasts or in a situation that implies sexual aggression is being put on the same level as misogyny.

          While I agree that none of those would be, by themselves, misogyny, I cannot think of an example of any of them, in games, that would not be misogyny. They are all situations in which women have their agency removed and are turned into objects whose sole important characteristic is the fact that one can have sex with this. Perhaps this has lead you to believe those writers hate these things when in fact they hate the underlying themes that usually take place through these things?

          • dahauns says:

            Sorry, but that’s a point I don’t get. Sexualization != sexism != misogyny.
            Leigh Alexander made a very good point about ithere using bayonetta as an example.

        • Kinjiro says:

          “Some visitors & writers here (and on Polygon & Kotaku) get really angry when a game or other form of media shows women in a sexual way. In the same frothing way that some people get upset at Sarkeesian & friends.” This is a false equivalence. You are trying to say both sides are equally bad, when that clearly isn’t true. I’ve never seen or heard about anyone threatening to shoot hundreds of people because they think the women in a game are too buxom.

          “According to them the people behind that game are called potential rapists and must hate women, and those games are obviously inciting violence against women.” Nobody thinks that, any nobody has said that. This is a textbook straw man – you’re arguing against a position that doesn’t exist.

          Sarkeesian isn’t shoving anything down anybody’s throat. I’m sorry for being glib, but she doesn’t have the leverage. By what means is she forcing you to, well, do anything?

          • El_Emmental says:

            “This is a false equivalence. You are trying to say both sides are equally bad, when that clearly isn’t true. I’ve never seen or heard about anyone threatening to shoot hundreds of people because they think the women in a game are too buxom.”

            This is not a debate regarding which sport team is better than the other using pro/cons columns, or here which group has the “moral high ground” – this is not playground, nobody has to be “right” and the other “wrong” ; we’re talking about the subject itself, which is sexism and/or misogyny in video games/gaming culture/gaming community/video game industry and how it’s covered by different media outlets.

            If you want to play a game of “your side is worse than mine, therefore I win”, just ask members of GG: they’ll find you these public tweets containing death threats targeting to minors (who used the GG hashtag on their public account) and claim their side is clearly better than your side – this will surely help everyone start a peaceful and interesting conversation.

            Such blaming contest is completely useless, nobody need that: “oh look, I found some horrible people sharing some of your views, case closed!”. Anyone with enough spare time can do that, on any political/cultural subject – you can find horrible people who really really like tea and insult people drinking coffee whenever they can, saying they’re pathetic mindless brown-piss drinkers – should a discussion about tea/coffee ends with that kind of “arguments”? “Your side is worse!” “no, YOUR side is worse!”?
            (nb: I drink both – tea for the cozy afternoons, coffee for the early morning of a long day)

            We’re not choosing between criticism of media sensationalism and our physical security: if we decide to criticize flawed analyses and coverage, we’re not forfeiting our right to safety, we’re not allowing terrorist threats at all.

            Neo-cons used that “you have to choose between security and criticism” tactic to shut down people protesting against the Iraq war (and how it was made: ruining the US citizens, maximizing the profits of Halliburton & PMCs, destroy any form of stability in the Middle-East), the Patriot Act, torture or mass surveillance.

            The idea that we have to choose one and forfeit the other is a fallacy at best, and often just a plain lie: you can have criticism and security – you SHOULD have criticism and security – you actually need criticism to have long-term security. Please put a stop to that misconception saying that we can’t have or don’t need both, they are both needed and both within reach.

            Back on the initial issue, when a media outlet spins a potentially-sexist element of a game (ex: cleavage, large breast size) into an outrageous misogynist scandal (ex: promoting rape culture and domestic violence against women) to increase its traffic and ads revenue (or the writer’s self-esteem), that doesn’t mean there is or isn’t some potentially-sexist elements (or plain outrageously misogynist elements) in video games, it doesn’t change a thing to the actual situation regarding sexism/misogyny existing in video games. It doesn’t make actual potentially-sexist/plain-sexist elements appear or disappear.

            Same with that nutjob announcing a terrorist attack because of A.S. speaking there: on its own, it does not change a thing to the actual situation regarding the sexism existing in video games – it doesn’t add or subtract sexism in video games – it only means that maybe, the combination of multiple factors, like the current mental healthcare coverage or lack thereof, easy access to weapons, social isolation, current political situation irl/online, lack of public debate regarding issues personally affecting a vulnerable group of people, and also maybe the currently existing sexism/misogyny in video games and in all other parts of our societies and cultures (that we need to analyze properly first) – may, all together, lead to threats of terrorists attacks.

            At best we have a correlation here (like there’s a correlation between divorce rates in Maine and consumption of margarine), nothing more: we had homegrown terrorism and attacks/threats against feminist activists long (entire decades!) before video games or the Internet existed – it really questions the direct causality between video games/Internet and the threats/attacks against feminist speakers that we currently being presented in so many comments and articles. Jumping directly to the conclusion that the existing gaming culture (and its own version of the sexism existing in the rest of society and all other cultures/subcultures too) is the main factor causing these threats, is skipping a massive investigation and analysis work that needs to be done before affirming such causality.

            These threats may very well be caused by a ‘persecution culture’ defending the idea of an ongoing war between the sexes (males being persecuted by feminists-who-are-all-extremists), spread by specific media (online and offline) external to the gaming culture – the gaming part only being a segment of the entire entertainment sector (along with movies, tv series, comics, etc) being “attacked” by “feminists” according to the war-between-the-sexes theory promoted by these outlets.

            The homegrown terrorist we have here is targeting all the people he’ll perceive as members of an opposing army in that war between the sexes – that includes politicians, campus militants, members of the local/state/federal administration, members of establishments and companies. He may have been recruited and started getting involved in these violent movements after the current “social justice” activism going on in gaming (with all its flaws) – like he may have been part of such movements long before it all started affecting gaming – it is still far from being established that the radicalization happened because of the current gaming culture.

            Assuming such thing “just in case” (a lot of people defend that idea of preemptive generalization/causality assumption) is not only morally wrong (generalizing about millions of people from specific cases of a minority – tried before with religions and ethnic origins, it didn’t worked), it is also extremely counter-productive: it’s pushing thousands of people who would have never listened to anti-feminist rants to actually listen and support such things.

            Thousands of people who identify as “gamers” and are pro-equality (between the 2 sexes) are being driven out of major public websites/communities, ending up on the less-regulated outskirts of the Internet/online communities, where the anti-feminists and misogynists set up their outposts and do everything they can to recruit these new people.

            Frighteningly enough, it’s working a bit: we’re seeing people who were previously only worried that some branches of feminism might bring inequality (through zealotism), now believing the entire feminism movement (historical and current) is rotten to the core and can’t be trusted at all – and for the most extreme ones, the movement must be fought and destroyed.

            Every single time I looked through the websites and communities (forums/chatrooms) using such violent rhetoric or calling to real-life actions, these platforms and communities were plagued with a global opposition to feminism (at least in its current form), always bringing it back to a global “cultural war” reaching far beyond the mere gaming culture, relying on publications/”facts”/out-of-context-stats regarding society as a whole.

            Every single time, it justified the “necessary” activism (and related “drastic” actions, from harassment to threats) by saying it wasn’t “just” video games and the video game culture, that something had to be done because it was a much larger/global “problem” (according to their views). Why? Simply because such activists realized (after trying so many times) that very little people will agree to their extreme views just for some video games: it’s not really something worth crossing moral barriers and getting involved in a political movement; when there’s a problem with video games people only boycott some publishers and websites (EA/Activision, IGN/Polygon, etc) and call it done.

            If you look at his announcement, the homegrown terrorist cites “America”, “Western masculinity”, “nation”, “every facet of our society” as the things he values and wants to defend from what he perceives as “feminism” – gaming isn’t mentioned once. He cites “Marc Lepine”, the Montreal shooter who killed 14 people and injured 14 more – in 1989, long before the gaming culture was even a thing large enough to be noticed by any social justice activism. That person is clearly in a culture war mindset, in a “masculinity vs feminism” conflict that has existed in these anti-feminism circles since the 50s (at the very least).

            Immediately attributing such ages old extremist mindset to the gaming culture or gamers – exactly what triggered the GamerGate hashtag – rather than trying to investigate and understand how someone could go from A (I’m an average citizen who also play video games) to B (I’m a homegrown terrorist sending threats of massacre over a series of Youtube videos possibly misrepresenting gaming) is a major problem here: we’re never going to understand the dynamics going on with these violent militants if all we want to know is the closest common denominator (here: they play video games a lot – like millions of other people)(an element that might not even be there, ex: rarely plays video games and has been ‘fighting’ feminism for the last 30 years, seeing this as an opportunity to promote his anti-feminist views).

            That simplistic approach, shrinking down the problem to a single factor, is terribly counter-productive: we learn nothing from these incidents and tragedies, we do nothing to the roots of the problem, and we perpetuate the same group-thinking we initially had, that might even have played a major role in the current situation.

            It happens constantly in other social problems: when we hear about a terrorist attack: it’s a muslim person until proven otherwise. We hear about a robbery or home invasion in the US: it’s a black person until proven otherwise.

            Meanwhile, the reasons and dynamics behind these issues are left untouched:

            Why there is more/less home invasions/robberies in some areas? Why criminal statistics indicates some minorities in the US are indeed found guilty of physical crimes more often than others? Same with non-physical crimes/white-collar crimes, why there’s such a difference between ethnic groups? Is it cultural? Are these statistics biased by the racism in the police forces and justice system misrepresenting the actual criminality? How influential are the factors of poverty/misery and social integration/isolation when it comes to physical crimes or non-physical crimes? And that’s just for robberies/home invasions.

            If we start talking about terrorism, there are hundreds of different factors: macro and micro economic factors, culture wars, clash of different civilizations, widespread misery, refugees, political instability, geopolitics, natural resources, religious fanaticism, economic slavery, etc.

            Same goes with sexism in general and sexism in the gaming culture: sexism in general exists for several thousands of years, it has seen countless civilizations, societies, cultures and eras. Meanwhile, gaming is worldwide and now also online, it’s affecting hundreds of different cultures/societies, several millions of individuals (with each their own personal history and opinions), and has been going on for at least 25 years (which is the equivalent of a century when compared to Old History). Combining these two elements to obtain sexism in gaming (culture/community/industry) makes it even more complex to apprehend – it is far from being any simple and easy to decipher. Are we going to properly analyze that, or do we just want to tell people that sexism is bad because it’s bad?

            Relying on stereotypes built by hateful conservatives several decades ago (for gaming: gamers are asocial psychopath sexual deviant white male virgins living their parents’ basement; for physical criminality: POC/black people are uncivilized lazy thugs too stupid to get education; for foreign terrorism: muslim people are just anti-freedom extremists in disguise) and “it’s just the way they are” is only calling for a disaster, social tension and even riots. Using these social troubles to then retroactively justify the initial statement (“see? Told you they were savages! I was right all along”) is not just counter-productive, it’s awfully dishonest; the far-right wing politics have been doing that for centuries, it’s not even funny anymore.

            In the current case, what are we going to do, outlaw “gamers”? Ban that word until the problem of violent anti-feminism fixes itself for some reasons? Shutdown the public websites where “social justice” activism and modern feminism are criticized, so they join the underground ones ran by the extremists?

            Or, as I could read in the comments here, ask governments to track down what every citizen is doing online at any time, outlawing cryptography, proxies and VPN, turning the Internet into a mass-surveillance network? (not just for the industrial espionage and intelligence gathering, like it is at the moment)

            None of these will negatively affect the extremists: they’ll easily find backdoors and holes in the “security” system, they’ll recruit all the people frustrated by that global ban on the topic, and they’ll still issue threats and attacks through other methods and channels.

            You then might ask: So what do we do now? Are you saying we shouldn’t do anything? That these threats are inevitable (“c’est la vie”), or even that these threats are justified because the people targeted may have published questionable or flawed assumptions in the past?!

            No. no. NO. NO. NO. PLEASE NO. PLEASE NO. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING YOU MIGHT FIND TASTY, NO. Stop with the god damn flames-fueling assumptions and jumping to preconceived conclusions, this is really tiresome and extremely counter-productive, it’s turning every single discussion into a shitfest of angry rants achieving nothing.

            Again, criticism does NOT equal to forfeiting the fundamental right to security for every single citizens. No matter how questionable (according to your point of view) are the actions or words of someone, it is only the justice system and the police forces that are allowed to arrest (with forces if necessary) and imprison that person if the law was broken. Anyone who wants to have their own private “justice” revenge, through harassment, threats and attacks, can go directly to hell.

            All the assholes (of all sides, trolls included) who sent threats to anyone during the entirety of these controversies should be identified, arrested and brought to a court to face the law, BY THE POLICE FORCES AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.

            It does not mean we have to give up on criticism and discussions – this is exactly the primary goal of extremists (of all sides/factions, no matter what is the subject; especially tea vs coffee).

            Criticism of A.S. videos or the gaming press coverage of the sexism issue in gaming shouldn’t be set aside because some extremists are trying to prevent discussion from happening, just like criticism of the demands regarding gaming journalism ethics and standards shouldn’t be ignored (by members of the gamergate movement) simply because there is some worrying cases of conflicts of interest and hostile reactions by some members of the press.

            Non-exhaustive examples of perfectly valid criticism regarding the GG demands:

            – journos can’t completely isolate themselves from the PR teams of publishers/developers; they can’t burn every single bridge, that’s not possible. It’s a matter of finding a satisfying balance, not eliminating all interactions between the two.
            – members of the GG movement say they want ethics but are they ready to pay for it (with real hard cash paying the wages and bills), if the journos accept to move away from the ads revenue provided by the publishers? (to only accept ads of other entertainment sectors)

            – how far should conflicts of interest disclosures should go, where does it start infringing on the right to privacy, where do we draw the line? Again it’s not a black/white issue, it’s a balancing act.

            Reading through the comments here on that RPS article, I hopefully noticed some people being able to express genuine and valid criticism of A.S. work or regarding the gaming press coverage of the issue of sexism, without immediately being rejected and stereotyped, same with the few informed criticism regarding the GG demands being welcomed without immediate retaliation.

            It gives me hope for the future, however I wish the same progress could be achieved in the public media outlets, so the extremists (of all sides) can know they’re no longer at the center of the attention.

            I’ve also noticed that a RPS writer, who was previously completely closed to any discussion, showing genuine signs of openness and refusing to generalize and stereotype the people disagreeing with him. It sincerely filled me with joy and hope. Sadly, in the very same post, the same writer is falling back to the same unconstructive approach generalizing and stereotyping, which prevented any discussion in the past.

            It’s obviously a very difficult moment to live for journos and writers, having to deal with the extremists of all factions, having to face so many different forms of criticism that it becomes nearly impossible to know which ones are valid and which ones are completely bogus, having to be critical of your own friends and colleagues (at least secretly in your mind) while not abandoning them during difficult times.

            For what it’s worth, I’m starting to better understand the initial hostility to criticism and the wagon circling reflex – I’m not saying it is justified or morally right, but it is a context that can’t be ignored, no matter what you think about the issue.

            I simply hope that we’ll slowly move toward an isolation of the extremists, finally crawling our way toward fruitful discussion leading to small, iterative steps allowing a global improvement of the situation.

  26. Unknown says:

    I think Anita’s videos are pretty basic and honestly not very good as far as media analysis goes. There’s better feminist analysis of video games right here on RPS, especially Cara Ellison’s articles.

    I thought Leigh Alexander’s “Gamers are dead” article was a little harsh, and not her best writing, but I understand her anger after what happened to Zoe Quinn.

    Obviously, the person who wrote this email should be found and arrested. And overall, I think the games press should just ignore Gamergate and they’ll tire themselves out. Not that I don’t think RPS should have posted this article, since this is a newsworthy event, but in general I think the anti-Gamergate think-pieces are just fanning the flames. They’re trolls. Their attention span is short. They’ll move on.

    • P.Funk says:

      I think at this point she’s being given as much help by the trolls in making her well known at this point. They label her as dangerous, purveying dangerous ideas.

      I don’t think she’s particularly groundbreaking or insightful, in fact I think she’s full of crap about many things, but we’re in full blown war mode now, so for most people its gonna be a bland boring absolute dichotomy. I read a few comments here and there trying to criticize the quality of her critical analysis and people just don’t want to hear it.

      I guess she’s our man and we’ll have to stick with her for now til someone better shows up. As it is though this onslaught is going to make sure she’s a household name for a while, so I might have to find a way to critique her work that satisfies the absolutists around here or else I might go mad.

      • pepperfez says:

        I’m pretty sure being forced to cancel lectures is not helpful to a public intellectual.

  27. Jimbo says:

    Coverage only seems to be further fueling these incidents rather than doing anything whatsoever to prevent them. I don’t mean that as criticism for covering things like this, merely as a matter of fact statement. People do need to be informed of what is going on, but if anybody in the games press is writing these articles with the expectation that the combined weight of condemnation will eventually have a positive effect they are delusional. Pissing everybody off and causing drama is what these people live for.

    People are barking up the wrong tree if they think the internet can solve this in-house. We can’t, it’s completely beyond us. This isn’t just internet people being dicks anymore, they are breaking the law. The real issue here is why isn’t law enforcement stomping all over these idiots? You’d think threats of a shooting at a school would be given absolute top priority.

    That these stories aren’t being swiftly followed up with an ‘Idiot Arrested’ story means that law enforcement is failing to do its job, and right now the focus of the media (gaming and general) should be on asking why exactly that is. We can go back to hand-wringing about ‘gamer culture’ once the actually serious problem of people making death threats without repercussions has been addressed.

    • Mezmorki says:

      I’m increasingly flabbergasted that arrests aren’t being made. See the discussion above regarding what’s considered an act of Terrorism – which this particular threat/act falls within the bounds of. Curious whether or not America’s self-surveillance complex will help solve this one – I hope arrests are made.

      • newprince says:

        “Falls within the bounds of”, sure. But if/when they are arrested, the proper authorities will have to see whether the threat was credible, imminent, etc. It can’t just be “Yeah, you’re going to jail forever because this is terrorism”.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        I seem to remember that in at least some previous cases arrests were actually made. Any coverage of that would be a follow-up story, though, and those tend to end up on the back pages and not read as widely (or whatever the internet equivalent of such a thing is).

      • drewski says:

        The FBI are investigating the threats against Sarkeesian (not just these ones, all the threats she gets). But it’s hard to track this sort of thing and harder to build enough evidence to secure a charge, let alone a conviction.

        It took the FBI 17 years to catch the Unabomber and he was actually mailing bombs and killing people. And they only caught him after he released his manifesto and his brother dobbed him in. This kind of law enforcement is really, really hard.

  28. montorsi says:

    I would hope the FBI is looking into this. I don’t know that sending one of these pricks to prison will stem the tide of threats of violence but it surely couldn’t hurt any.

  29. Asrahn says:

    “Feminists ruined my life”.

    Fucking victimcomplex neckbeard assholes. This is how they want to do things; not through rational discussion, but through threats, ad hominems and just about anything to silence those they disagree with. What a pathetic fucking excuse for a human being. Fuck GamerGate and its poisonous, manchild followers – it’s over guys, it’s done. GG is since LONG tarnished beyond ANY redemption and those who sincerely want to have a discussion about gaming journalist ethics should just start a new movement free of the crowd that hates on feminists (and anyone who supports them). Get your goddamn act together.

    Feeling hit by this comment? Good, then I mean you. Yes, you. Get your fucking act together.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Amen brother. Fuck these children. For fucks sake.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Just so you know, you just advocated pedophilia on the internet. The police will be with you shortly.

        • pepperfez says:

          If the police were that efficient at investigating incitement to violence on the internet, this article wouldn’t be necessary.

  30. SpacemanSpliff says:

    No one should have to face a death threat for speaking their opinion in the 21st century, although, the longer this gamergate tantrum lasts the more impressed I become with women and men who have stood their ground in the face of this asinine onslaught.
    The only silver lining I see coming from this is maybe the powers that be in the gaming industry will begin to take a stand against this type of behavior, which i believe extends into every aspect of online gaming.

  31. rcguitarist says:

    Easy solution…her supporters should show up armed to the teeth. If that retard shows up, he’ll be lucky to get two shots off before he is killed.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      That strikes me as a massively complicated solution, completely aside from the amoral aspects of it.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        It’s a very ‘Merican solution, though. Which automatically makes it right and just. *picture of glitter eagle*

        • Slouch says:

          The English solution would be to murder your enemy only to decide it was not such a good idea after all and invite your enemy’s progeny to come lead you and be a particularly expensive benefits scrounger for the next 300+ years.

          ‘Inglin’ oh ‘Inglin’ a country so great, the land that’s so fair and true…

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            I thought the British solution would be to turn your enemy into your protectorate and then give them an extensive railroad system.

  32. burben says:

    Why would RPS report on this? You’re just giving this psycho the attention he wants. She should’ve just cancelled the talk without mentioning the death threats. That’s exactly what the people sending the threats want, to be recognized as scaring people.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      Why would RPS report on this?
      to show how crazy and unreasonable we are ofc.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t “we” imply that you’re on the side of the guy who threateded to shoot a bunch of people?

    • Horg says:

      If this had happened in another state then the talk would have continued with appropriate safety precautions. Getting Anita, and others like her, to change her behavior is what the trolls want, so it’s sad she felt pressured into cancelling. Keeping quiet about death threats is never a good idea. This needs publicity so that the authorities will start taking these incidents seriously. The trolls will never stop unless someone is arrested over this.

      • burben says:

        I didn’t mean keep quiet about the death threats completely. Of course she should notify the authorities. But don’t publicly announce receiving them and acknowledging that they were the reason she cancelled her talk. That gives the perpetrator the satisfaction. Notify the authorities so that they can protect her and seek out the nutcase who threatened her, but don’t give him any attention on the internet.

        • Big Murray says:

          See, then nobody knows that this shit is happening. And if nobody knows this shit is happening, nothing gets done about it in society.

          • burben says:

            People have been receiving death threats forever. How is publicizing it and giving the criminal attention going to change anything?

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            So if discussing a topic fails to solve the problem than the answer is obviously to… not discuss the topic?


        Actually, unless I’m wrong, it has happened in other states, and the talk did proceed as planned in those situations.

    • Monkeyshines says:

      Is this an actual request for a media blackout? There are things that the gaming audience, and, you know, general public, just shouldn’t know?

    • Wisq says:

      Cancelling the talks without saying why would be an even greater victory for the perpetrators. “We succeeded in making her cancel her talk and she’s too scared to even say why.” They’d avoid all the negative press and backlash, too.

      What we have here is a fear and harassment campaign, designed to drive women and other “undesirables” out of the industry. Quietly letting them succeed is just about the worst thing you can do.

      GamerGate (and I do think it’s extremely likely they’re behind the threat) is basically the Taliban of the gaming world. Ultra-conservative, don’t want change, want to put women in their place, willing to resort to (threats of) violence and terrorism to achieve it. They’re a thing you expose and fight, not ignore and hope they go away.

      • burben says:

        I don’t know where you get your information from, or how you can possibly compare GamerGate to the taliban. That is absolutely heinous.

        link to

        • bleeters says:

          You’ll have to forgive me for not really being swayed by that article. When even the first supposed ‘untruth’ it attempts to reject regards a person whose name I’ve literally seen included as a special thanks in pathetic military styled Gamergate ‘operations briefings’, I’m finding a counter argument that basically boils down to ‘nah’ a little unconvincing.

          One of the five doesn’t even have a counter argument. It just lists it as an untruth. Well, shucks. I’m convinced.

  33. Hex says:

    I miss when gamers were a fringe minority.

    Which isn’t to say that I don’t want women/LBGTQQ/jocks/aryans/what-have-you to play games. Just that I since people can’t behave like adults regarding a simple hobby…I miss the days when the only conversations I had to be subjected to about games were how to find the 7th dungeon in Zelda and such.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      I miss this too, for sentimental reasons. However we will always have our niches within gaming itself and like-minded developers will always aim for those niches and sometimes hit. With that said, I’m off to play Grimrock 2!

    • Jenks says:

      Roberta Williams was right.

  34. tormos says:

    A super chilling aspect of the story that I haven’t seen get much coverage: the police officer involved in the case said that ”They [the FBI] determined the threat seems to be consistent with ones (Sarkeesian) has received at other places around the nation … The threat we received is not out of the norm for (this woman).”

    This happens when Anita goes to give a talk. This happens MOST OF THE TIME when Anita goes to give a talk. Don’t worry though, gaming doesn’t have a misogyny problem

    • HadToLogin says:

      Not sure if it’s misogyny, or just attacking Anita.

      But then, same people from 4chan threatened Emma Watson for saying “women rights are great” – in this case they just found great cover as psychopathic gamers, as we all are…

      • Wulfram says:

        That was a fake done by some other attention seeking idiots. Or something. It’s confusing, but apparently not 4chan

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          A lot of this has been coming from 4Chan, though. So much that Moot had to actively intervene.

          • pepperfez says:

            It’s amazing to me that there’s any heed at all paid to a movement deemed too vile for 4chan.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            “Too vile for 4chan”… Damn. They should get that on a shirt.

          • pepperfez says:

            No one would take the printing job.

    • ribby says:

      Anita’s messages and arguments are pretty heavily flawed from what I remember. It’s not just an attack on feminism in the games industry.

      I’m all for games having more female characters, I don’t think all games should just include male heroes (although I would point out that it’s quite clear why more currently do- that is, most games are about combat. Most action films also feature predominately men in their leading roles). However, I get super irritated when I find people criticizing a SPECIFIC game for not having a female main character. When there’s character customization (and as long as it makes sense) then, yes, criticizing a game for not having something as basic as male and female characters is legitimate- but if not, and you’re playing a character named and created by the game developers, then it’s just stupid.

      • Wisq says:

        I hope this was an incorrectly targeted reply, because the empathetic and socially correct response to “Anita gets death threats pretty much EVERY time she gives a talk” is “oh, that’s horrible!”, not “well I think her arguments are flawed”.

        • ribby says:

          Yeah it is horrible- I will admit I got a little bit too focused on my argument- which was not directly relevant to the article, or even Anita for that matter.

          In my mind I was thinking of that assassin’s creed article several months ago. I posted a comment a little earlier which dealt with my personal feelings towards this event so I kind of felt like I had moved on from it.

          • Wisq says:

            Okay, yeah, cool. Sorry if I went off on you a bit there; I’ve just found that a whole lot of the Gamergate thing is a distinct lack of empathy (ironically, targeted at the gender that tends to have more of it) and was a bit put off by what seemed like casual dismissal-by-omission re: her threats. Plus, I was also worried it might be an attempt to change the subject — deliberately ignoring the fact that, regardless of her views, she shouldn’t be receiving death threats.

            It’s frustrating how these sorts of issues raise tensions all around and end up with people barking at each other even when they’re on the same side.

          • ribby says:

            No worries- your comment wasn’t unreasonable or mean, it was fine and I could see where you were coming from because without my previous comment or any kind of ‘this is horrible now onto my opinion’ type statement it did seem like I was trivializing the matter, perhaps even suggesting she deserved it.

    • P-Dizzle says:

      So because some psycho sends her threats, the whole of gaming has a misogyny problem? Interesting.

      • Wisq says:

        Yes. In the same way that when a single part of your body spawns a malignant tumour, your whole body now has a problem.

        • Bull0 says:

          But crucially when you have a brain tumour you don’t say it’s your brain that has cancer, you say you have cancer. Likewise, society has a problem with sexism, not just gaming/gamers.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            Literally Hitler.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            I like what your metaphor is saying, but, uh, people do say they have brain cancer when they have a tumor in their brains.

          • Bull0 says:

            @Crimsoneer what?

            @AXAXAS I know that, but it still works fine – if you get a brain tumour, you say “I have cancer”, not “My brain has cancer”. Yeah, it’s brain cancer, but you don’t say “My brain’s got cancer”. “What’s up with Dan?” “Well, his brain has cancer”.

  35. emperor_nero says:

    Oh games journalism,

    Why are you getting to the point where you are as bad or worse than mainstream journalism? I guess it isn’t that easy anymore. We aren’t video game players anymore, we have to be divvied up and labeled so that every Tom, Dick, Jane, Barbra, and anonymous kid in your class can be represented in some sort of abstract way lest the creators of the content be slammed. Rabble, rabble, rabble – so on and so forth. When has ceaselessly covering a single topic ever brought less attention to that topic, and worse ceaseless, biased coverage that is alarmist in nature. I guess that is what you get for becoming mainstream.

  36. Inverselaw says:

    I read about this yesterday and it makes me super angry. I am from montreal my Alma mater had its own different shooting spree. Ive sat on the benches that commemorate these victims.

    All i can think about is that my best friend is a woman engineer. That in a different life she would have been shot by that monster, for nothing more then whats between her legs. To think that there are people who hold him up as a hero is horrifying.

    Some people say its not important because its just on the internet. Its not, its here, its in my town, in my university. People get so angry about feminism that they kill, not on the internet, in real life. The first thing I ever read about gamergate was on reddit, one person commented that it didn’t seem like a big deal, like it was just a spat between ZQ and her ex-boyfriend that it seemed like something he should just stay out of. Another person replied “No we have to do something, we didnt do anything when Sarkeesian started and now shes out there putting feminism in our game” he then continued to rant. This is the bullshit out there now. This is how bad its getting. Plenty of people are saying that it wont get worse and I simply dont share their optimism (or dismissal).

    Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
    Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
    Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
    Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
    Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
    Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
    Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
    Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
    Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
    Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
    Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
    Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

    Never forget!

  37. HadToLogin says:

    Sooo, games don’t cause violence, right?

  38. ribby says:

    Wow… That’s horrible.

    From what I remember of Anita , I don’t agree with much of what she says, but that kind of threat is pretty scary.

  39. Ako says:

    What an egomaniac, that’s pathetic…

    • Bull0 says:

      Hugely sad. Hugely sad loser. It’s important to know that this is happening – I feel like I’m the only one in the thread that didn’t know this routinely happens to Anita – but we could probably do with not giving the guy the attention he obviously craves by reprinting his silly email

      • drewski says:

        No, we need to see this. We need to witness the kind of material that some people are assaulted with for daring to express an opinion. Maybe – it’s unlikely, but you never know – there’s something in that threat that identifies this person, that someone who knows him or her can use to pinpoint their identity.

        You can’t solve a problem by ignoring it.

        • Quiffle says:

          I’ll be glad when this all blows over and we stop giving a shit about the talking heads, the well trained skinner box rodents of either side of the argument, and the overarching idea of censorship and policing. Learning to think outside our the parameters of our particular online enclave will be the next step in human progression in gaming and otherwise, not empty representation and pandering.

        • Bull0 says:

          “It’s important to know this is happening but maybe we don’t need to reprint the email” really clearly isn’t the same as “Let’s ignore this”, and I obviously wasn’t suggesting we ignore it, just that little egomaniacs really love it when you act like their choice of words matters by reprinting their manifestos or whatever. In spite of that, yes, it’s really important to know this is happening, like I said.

          I like the idea that maybe we’ll identify him from his generic bullshit though, that’s cute. Remember those reddit boston bomber detectives? Internet vigilantism is a really great idea that never backfires spectacularly.

  40. fenriz says:

    ugh for god sake.

    I am completely against sex parity! We gave women hell for 2000 years, they barely survived, at times, poor dears! and that guy can’t accept 10 years of women superiority? I don’t WANT parity, i think us men should PAY for what we did at least for a century.

    • ribby says:

      That’s just about the worst idea I’ve ever heard… Just because the Germans once persecuted an entire race of people does that mean we should do the same to them now? The world I was born into was one where women and men were treated more or less with equality. Why should I pay and millions of other people pay for a crime we did not commit.

      Also there was never a point where women barely survived… That would mean the end of the human race.

      • fenriz says:

        oh? sure. I studied 2000 years of history for nothing so you just go “nono there’s no such a thing”.
        Please read Carolly Erickson “Elizabeth I”. Women couldn’t “breathe”.

        Germans? ok. they did crap for 10 years (nazis killed millions of innocent people, and probably germans should still pay for such a thing). MEN (we!) “ruled” for two THOUSAND years! They burned at the stake thousands of women because they were interested in science! And we can’t handle being treated as inferiors for 5 stinking years?

        i of course want parity too, but we’ve been assholes for just too long, my man!

        • Big Murray says:

          The only man who’s been around for 2000 years is Rory Williams, and he spent that 2000 years protecting Amy rather than oppressing women.

          (Point being … I am not all the men of the last 2000 years, and shouldn’t be held responsible for them.)

          • fenriz says:

            you’re not all the men? yes you are!
            if men could still enjoy ordering women around, you MIGHT want to do it too, and so would i, so i think maybe we should pay.

            “i didn’t do it so i’m not guilty” is not very acceptable, we’re all potentially guilty. That’s why we should accept some kinda penalty. Sure NOW that we’re threatened by it we want parity. It feels just too easy, in a way.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Fenriz, we get it, you want to be subjugated by women. It sounds like what you actually need is to find yourself a really good BDSM club.

          • joa says:

            fenriz have you tried Catholicism?

          • Diatribe says:

            So two wrongs DO make a right! I must have been really confused all these years…

        • Melody says:

          1) 2000 years? Try 4000 maybe, for a conservative estimate

          2) I fail to see women’s superiority…? Popularization of feminism, sure, not women’s superiority, nor women’s equality

          3) Oppression is not solved with more oppression. Besides, men today shouldn’t have to pay for the patriarchal culture they inherited (personal responsibility, maybe? Lumping half the population in one big category is always inappropriate), they should just try to fix it/not perpetuate it. Inequality sucks, more inequality on the other side doesn’t balance it.

        • joa says:

          You know, some historians and anthropologists are now saying that circumstances 2000 years ago were different from how they are today.

          • ribby says:

            I can’t see your logic. You think that people should be punished for something they have no control over- their gender or their nationality. That’s like saying that people should be punished for the colour of their skin or their sexuality. Guess what? White people have mistreated blacks for centuries too, Straight people have persecuted homosexuals for thousands of years. So I suppose we should now reverse those roles and punish the people belonging to these groups too? No of course we shouldn’t. That’s insane.

            Please read Carolly Erickson “Elizabeth I”. Women couldn’t “breathe”.

            What are you referring to here? Are you talking about corsets or something? Whatever you are referring to, it’s obvious you were exaggerating or not that I misunderstood you when you said that “they barely survived, at times, poor dears!” Do you mean individuals barely survived? I took it to mean all women… Either way saying “poor dears” makes this a patronizing statement…

            “oh? sure. I studied 2000 years of history for nothing so you just go “nono there’s no such a thing”.” Really now? That’s an awful lot of content to cover. There can’t have been a whole lot of depth if you were studying 2000 years of history. What I think is more likely is that you studied a wide range of periods in great detail or perhaps one specific theme (medicine for example) across 2000 years. Did you do a degree on the treatment of women throughout history? I can imagine that would be a really interesting thing to study.

            and joa, whilst you have a point, it’s one that will only cause a new line of debate and I am concerned that the original poster will argue against it to justify their view.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            pssst, he’s trolling. He just wants someone who he identifies as a social justice warrior to either reply with something denying that men have dominated women for thousands of years, or to agree with him that men should suffer for it… Either that or he’s an absolute fruitcake… Read his website and draw your own conclusions ;)

          • fenriz says:

            for god sake, what’s with my blog. What a cheap shot. And my god at least if someone DID read it, thanks for advertising it.

            I don’t “want” any reply, i don’t want to fight, i’m too old for that. I’m just saying history has its weight, we can’t just wipe it clean and go “ta-da we’re changed now we can be all happy”.

            yes i am trolling because i offered an evidently extremist opinion, but maybe that got someone to rethink history and our common conceptions about this matter and that can’t be wrong!

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            But- but- you said you are trolling-

            But if you believe what you’ve written, which you claim you do, you can’t be a troll in the traditional sense of ‘someone who pretends to hold a controversial position to get people in the internet to fight’

            And if you don’t, you calles yourself a troll, so you can’t be a troll in the more recent sense of ‘someone who has an opinion I disagree with’

            So you- aaaaah *head explodes*

    • Jimbo says:

      Hands down the craziest thing I’ve read on here since blocking Wulf.

      • Wisq says:

        TBH, after everything I’ve seen during this ridiculous campaign, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was a GG sockpuppet attempt to discredit the “other side”.

        • Distec says:

          “I mean, there’s just no way I can have any batshit crazy people on my side of the line over here. No way. They must be covert infiltrators.”

          You could be right. But I can’t help but notice how quickly people fall back on the “sockpuppet” assumption.

      • fenriz says:

        lol i know i’m trolling, but in a way i’m killing the “problem” by reversing the accusation.

        That freak’s so insecure and afraid that men are turning to wussies. Well i say we deserve it for what we did.

        Parity is absolute good. But justice must be done, first. The “punishment” wouldn’t raise questions about superiority or inferiority, we’re all equal. It’s just that, a punishment that should be accepted with joyous resignation, knowing all the time that we ARE equal.

        Eh? What’s a GG sockpuppet? And no i didn’t follow this campaign, i’m not american, i don’t know squat, i’m just a videogamer.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          You’re a bit of a loony, but I think you’re comfortable identifying yourself as an eccentric extremist and likely to take that as a compliment :) However your stuff could very easily be misinterpreted as someone from one school of thought who wants to discredit another school of thought by posing as one of it’s adherents and spouting extreme views. Read my last post, that’s what a sock-puppet does.

          • fenriz says:

            “misinterpreted as someone from one school of thought who wants to discredit another school of thought by posing as one of it’s adherents and spouting extreme views”

            Well tbh i am a bit of a loony, i’m an old C64 gaming troll, my typical videogaming argument is every videogame should have point&click puzzles, and yes everyone in the net hates me.
            so you mean that because i said “yes men SHOULD be punished” i sort of “confirmed” that bastard’s “reason to fear” feminism? And that’s why there should be parity? And in some twisted way i might be secretly conspiring for that side?
            is that the sockpuppet?

            Well you have a point, that’d be terrible, ofc it wasn’t my intention. But, c’mon, we BURNED the poor dears as witches, we can’t just go “yay, now parity”.

            and FINALLY! The awesome BDSM REMARK!

            no, i will not answer that, i’m already being backtrolled enuff.

          • pepperfez says:

            @fenriz: I for one appreciate your initial comment and find it endlessly fascinating what kinds of reactions it produces.

  41. Big Murray says:

    It staggers me how far away the debate has gone over the years from the days when we talking about the legitimate concerns about Anita Sarkeesian regarding her conduct, such as the fact she never disclosed what happened to the $150,000 she received from her Kickstarter and never even produced the videos she ran the Kickstarter for. Those were (and still are) genuine reasons to be wary and suspicious of Sarkeesian.

    Death threats like these are really the only time we get to properly see the underlying contempt which is really at the core of all these anti-feminist campaigns. I’m an anti-feminist myself (for very different reasons than the GamerGate brigade) and I can see it very clearly. Sarkeeisan, Quinn, etc are all victims of a frustrated and angry male populace who see the political landscape legitimising and supporting the struggles of women (which exist) and simultaneously dismissing their personal unhappiness and life struggles (which also exist). We saw it with Elliot Rodger; the raw anger and frustration at simply being a male who is not socially successful enough or attractive enough to be appealing to the female population in the manner which they’ve been led to believe by society is achievable.

    The misogyny of the young generation is borne of pain. Pain, frustration and depression. We simply don’t get to engage with it, because those experiencing it will hide and deny that pain from us all to attempt to appear strong. It’s only when incidents like this death threat occur that we see the mask drop.

    • GrassyGnoll says:

      @Big Murray. As far as I’m aware Anita Sarkeesian has just released the 7th part of the Tropes Vs Women in video games. Anita also hired somebody full time to help her with the series. So I’d say the constitutes use of the kick-starter money she raised. She has also expanded the series due to the extra money she raised as she only intended on raising $6000. So please feel free to be have your mind unstagered by these facts that are very easy to verify simply by going to the Fem Frequency home page and watching said episodes.

  42. Tuor says:

    Such a shame…

  43. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    What a fucked up thing to do. I hope that the person who made the threat is arrested, and that Ms. Sarkeesian can give her talk somewhere else soon, where the police can actually provide for her safety.

  44. cardboardartisan says:

    From Facebook:

    “Gamers, 1999: “People don’t shoot up schools because of video games!”
    Gamers, 2014: “We’re going to shoot up a school because of video games!”

    • derbefrier says:

      lmao thats a good one

    • El_Emmental says:


      It’s very likely that homegrown terrorist has a Facebook account, and use social networks to fuel his hate. I think we should ban social networks, since they’re obviously causing terrorism.

  45. Hebrind says:

    Goes to show that some people just don’t deal with cognitive dissonance very well, really. I mean, you have to have some properly deep-seated and serious issues to think along the lines of this terrorist. He’s the reason people who play video games get tarred with the same shitty brush every time a school shooting or massacre actually do happen. This clown is a shining example of fodder for the Daily Mail or The Sun or some other rag.

    I’m usually a wholesale believer in the fact that anonymity and privacy on the internet are valued things, I like having an internet persona! But it’s crap like this that really makes me question those beliefs. Really, I’d happily give my personal information so long as it roots out horrible cancers on our beloved hobby (and world!) like this.

    Threats like this leave me upset that people like this exist, and fill me with pity for them because as I said before, they must have incredibly turbulent personal lives and problems.

    I think Ms. Sarkeesian made the right decision, I wouldn’t want to roll that dice. I do hope they catch the bugger though and put him away for a long time.

    • supermini says:

      He doesn’t mention video games once. He mentions feminism a lot. If I was to make a guess, I’d say he’s one of those extreme MRM types, and not an angry gamer.

  46. BurningPet says:

    I can’t figure out how this doesn’t constitute as a terrorist act.

    And here i was thinking the americans were supposed to stand against terrorism, not submit to it and fulfill its twisted desires.

    • Cyphran says:

      You’re misunderstanding. Here in America, white people do not commit acts of terrorism. They commit “Acts of Freedom.”

      • Jenks says:

        Where in America are you that they say Tim McVeigh committed an “Act of Freedom?”

      • socrate says:

        “white people”…/facepalm

        this is why i know that racism will never go away

        cause if your not white you can say every damn racist thing you want basically and get away with it

        • maxi0 says:

          Yeah, this is clearly being racist rather than (just off the top of my head) pointing racism out.

        • MobiusTrobius says:

          oh no, a black guy called you a cracker, how tragic

          time to go to spine-mart and get kitted out

    • Lanfranc says:

      Of course it’s a terrorist act. One to fifteen years in prison right there.

  47. celticdr says:

    How crazy would you have to be to threaten a massacre over someone giving a lecture? That person has some deep seated psychological issues and needs to get help.

    Also watched that video, I had no idea that there was a widespread campaign of harassment and violent threats against women in the gaming industry, thank you RPS for posting this and there’s some male gamers out there that need to grow up and act like real men (i.e. have honour and respect for others).

  48. RARARA says:

    Amongst all this unpleasantness, I’m really glad to see the RPS commenters reacting with empathy. I just came back from the Escapist (which has been flooded recently by assholes who were shut down by Moot and reddit mods), and the comments there are just so… toxic. The Gaters there keep reiterating that they condemn all harassment, but every time a woman gets harassed, all most of them seem to do is try to cover their ass by saying it’s an empty threat (because the US never have school shootings), she’s crying wolf, she shouldn’t have backed out like a coward, men get harassed too, etc instead of actually, y’know, condemning the people who are doing the harassment.

    And don’t get me started on journalistic ethics. I guess such prominant pro-GG ‘gaming figures’ as Adam Balwin (who started the whole train), Davis Aurini, Yiannopoulos (who once called gamers “dorky loners in yellowing underpants”) and Ed Morrissey really were concerned about the ethics of video games journalism, and hadn’t perpetuated this hashtag as a vehicle for anti-feminist diatribe. No sirree.

    • supermini says:

      It’s a culture war that has been going on below the surface for years. It’s not something that just popped into existence, it’s an explosion of simmering grievances.

  49. cpt_freakout says:

    Holy crap, that is horrid. I always hoped we could have good discussions of FemFreq’s videos, and I used to take them as starting points for all the things that could be more profoundly delved into (before the idiocy of GG I thought that what she was saying was sheer common sense, so I used to take issue with the various simplifications of tropes and representations that she makes), but now I know that until this sort of shit stops happening that kind of discussion simply cannot take place. First things first, so FemFreq should have all of our support even in non-fundamental disagreements because her very existence is a threat to all the strains of abhorrent thought that course through the core of gaming as it is now. All the best to her, and everyone who is suffering from this: you are not alone.

    • Thrippy says:

      If moderate stances were presented more persuasively and forcefully, extremist opinions would meet more resistance when coalescing into prevailing opinions. As it is though, in this case, fence sitters are being exposed to flabbergasting mind sets and thinly veiled hatred emboldened to fester into open hatred. The fact that extremists already have well established talking points, over what is deemed obscure and unimportant to the mainstream, should be a warning sign that too many reasonable gamers have avoided unreasonable gamers for too long.

      There were no locked threads at the Constitutional Convention. Yet somehow we got a constitution out of it. There’s something to be said for typing yourself hoarse. When all sides are tolerant of the mess, messy discourse is productive.

  50. dare says:

    The whole damn GG-thing has made me so sick that I’ve been thinking of a resolution. During 2015 I will be buying or playing zero (0) games that might even conceivably be enjoyed by a misogynistic fucker who thinks women, social justice and intelligent, socially aware criticism have no place in video games. I don’t care how good I think it is, if I think it’s the kind of a game that a person like that might enjoy, it will not get my money, time or attention.

    I hope this still lets me play Alien: Isolation. Surely those kinds of creeps would and could never enjoy a game with a woman protagonist?

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Yeah I’m sure nobody who supports GG could possibly like a game based on a movie franchise where the protagonist is female and the main themes are rape and pregnancy. That would surely be far too feminist for them. I guess this is the sort of game they don’t like. I mean, it literally rams its feminist agenda down people’s throats (and then explodes it from their chests).

    • Distec says:

      …You will probably not buy any games in 2015. Yay?

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      That sounds like a very weird way of dealing with GG. It’s like saying that misogynists like video games and therefore all people who like videogames are misogynists. Perhaps some misogynists like some games that you also like, but for different reasons. If they like the game for the same reasons as you do it’s even worse, because then you have something in common, then you are basically a misogynist yourself (no, not really, but that’s what you sound like).