Unless you have been completely avoiding all forms of media lately, including Law & Order SVU, then you will have noticed that there has been a culture war going on in gaming over the past 6 months. Attacks, accusations and harassment have been flying around between all of those even marginally involved in the GamerGate controversy.
Stories of Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu have run rampant all over the media. Famously, Anita Sarkeesian decided to cancel a talk at Utah State university due to the state’s concealed weapons law. The university had received a bomb threat from an anonymous person, and while the police did not deem the threat substantial, it was enough to spook the feminist speaker. Recently Gawker jumped on the bandwagon after “Jace Connors” created a bizarre YouTube video showing him having crashed his car apparently on the way to Brianna Wu’s house, only for it to be revealed later as a comedic sketch and character.
The latest of these unfounded threats to make its way into the mainstream media originated from Brianna Wu canceling her team, GiantSpaceKat’s, appearance at PAX East following a number of threats, notably one from a ‘member of GamerGate’ who said they would release sarin gas at the event. Wu has since deleted the tweet, but The Boston Globe were quick to report on the case spreading fear that PAX East would not be safe for many and suggesting that Penny Arcade, who are running the event, had not adequately addressed security concerns.
When the threats were investigated, it was found that they were they made back in October and that the person issuing the threats was not only suggesting an attack against GamerGate, not Wu, but was also most likely a troll who has since protected their tweets. This is an unfortunate pattern in the media at the moment, where publications are reporting on these frightening events without taking the steps to discover if they are in fact credible. The Boston Globe has since hired Wu to write an editorial on the gaming industry.
Wu seems to keep changing her mind about whether she will attend the gaming convention, though as late as the 26th February she tweeted that she has received specific threats of violence and despite the fact that she does not believe them to be credible her team GiantSpaceKat will not be attending. Despite these, the next day she confirmed that she would personally still be attending panel despite these threats. In March, she also claimed a bomb threat which Twitter deemed did not break its terms of service. We reached out to Wu to confirm her attendance status, but have not yet received a reply.
TechRaptor would like to urge the press to investigate threats thoroughly in future before reporting on them to prevent perpetuating the myth that the world of gaming is a terrifying place for women. If we want more women in gaming then we should be showing them that those who are talented will be welcomed with open arms.
What do you think of the latest reporting on threats in the gaming industry?