There was a gamer meet up yesterday at Local 16 in Washington DC at 9:30 pm. The event was set up by well-known GamerGate supporters Milo Yiannopoulos and Christina Hoff Summers as a sort of meet and greet.
As the time of the event approached, social media unsurprisingly got heated up about it given the ongoing controversy surrounding GamerGate. Beyond the general vitriol that generally gets tossed between the various sides in the dispute, Local 16 began to receive numerous tweets, similar to the ones below in nature.
Users noticed that the Local 16 didn’t make heavy use of Twitter and other means of communication were utilized – reportedly including phone calls to the owner as well as an email from at least one person on the matter. Milo Yiannopoulos allegedly acquired a copy of the email which he posted on social media. It was supposedly sent by Arthur Chu to Local 6 at 4:26 PM.
If that was all there was to the story, we probably wouldn’t be discussing it. Twitter, as many have observed tends to have a magnifying effect on vitriolic speech, where when one person denounces something, others might take it another step or two. A bomb threat was posted onto Twitter at a little past 7:30 pm by an unknown Twitter user – a throw away account was created presumably just for this purpose.
The event began at 9:30 pm and the local bar appeared to be having a good time until approximately 11:30 pm when the local police received a report from an unknown source about a bomb threat at Local 16. The threat was made over Twitter according to the local police station. This led to an evacuation, which took place at approximately a quarter after midnight. Sources at the location that left prior to the evacuation say there was no knowledge of the threat prior to their departure at about 11:45 pm.
The whole affair was initially run as a fire drill, and everyone was able to get out without much issue, allowing the police to search the premises afterwards. By all accounts and video footage, the people were all calm about the events as it was on going.
After the investigation was done, everyone was allowed back into the bar and, according to people at the event, there were several free rounds.
There is no information on who made the threat, and anyone calling for investigations of particular people are being premature at this moment in time. In particular, there is absolutely no proof that Arthur Chu had anything to do with the events that went down later that evening despite some letter writing campaigns surfacing around Twitter today.
The moment has led to both sides of the Internet dispute agreeing on something at least – bomb threats are wrong no matter who they are on. That I think is something we can all agree with.
Note: We have reached out to Local 16 for their take. While there are numerous quotes on Twitter about what may have been said there, we are refraining from posting those until we have a response from them.