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Since the harassment and death threats that were sent to Brianna Wu, GamerGate has reached exhaustive peaks. It seems that almost every big media outlet from The Guardian, The Washington Post, CNN, CBS and MSNBC did a piece regarding the harassment, many talking about Anita Sarkeesian or Zoe Quinn and many actually featuring Brianna Wu herself.
With the mass media all taking note of the consumer revolt that is GamerGate, many journalists and those who oppose it suggested that the GamerGate hashtag should be abandoned, the fight has been lost and they should all move on.
In opposition to these claims, however, are all the small and sometimes large achievements GamerGate has made so far. Amongst the cries of harassment and misogyny (which are prevalent on both sides) there have been real grounds gained in several areas. Here is a list of wins that GamerGate have experienced so far.
While user based content, on Youtube, Twitter and Tumblr etc, seems to have always been leaning in favour of GamerGate, the mainstream media has up until recently only given outright condemnation of the hashtag. The first big media outlet to reach out to the voices of GamerGate was Huff Post Live, which did an interview with Jennie Bharaj, Jemma Morgan and myself, on the female voices of GamerGate.
David Pakman also did an excellent job of interviewing Brianna Wu recently. Instead of letting her talk on the topics she wanted to, as she has done over dozens of other media outlets, Pakman thoroughly researched the topic as an outsider and asked her the questions on everyone’s lips. She then went on to accuse him of orchestrating a hit piece for asking tough questions.
And while Newsweek wrote a very damning piece on GamerGate, if you take note of the actual statistics then it is easy to form your own conclusions. 90-95% of the tweets examined by Newsweek using the GamerGate hashtag were neutral. Just 1.19% of these tweets were negative tweets towards non-journalistic figures Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu. While this might be 1.19% too many negative tweets it shows that in general #GamerGate tweets are about discussion and not harassment.
While some argue that the amounts raised by supporters of GamerGate for charity are simply a ploy to make the supporters look good, it could also be argued that if the result is money raised for charities does it really matter why they are doing so? The main point is that GamerGate has helped raise almost $100,000 for various charities, from almost $17,000 for bullying prevention, almost $6000 for suicide prevention and let’s not forget the over $70,000 raised for The Fine Young Capitalists to help women get into development.
For those arguing that TFYC are not a charity as only 74% of profits go to charity, I would point out that 8% goes towards the winner as payment for her idea, and that they are only 1% from the gold standard for charity. A company only need to donate 10% of profits to charity to name itself so.
Ever since Game Journos Pros and several damning relationships between developers and journalists who cover their work favourably were uncovered, there has been a demand for more clear disclosures in video gaming journalism. The Escapist was one of the first to reform their ethics policy, while several others have been including more disclosures of relationships which could affect journalistic integrity. Gamespot was one of the latest to include a disclosure on an article, and I was recently sent a long e-mail from another website I write for Gamesided asking for all Staff Writers to give their opinions on the new extremely transparent ethics policy.
Reviewing one’s ethics policy seems to now be the latest trend in gaming journalism, and while not all websites have completely jumped on board, there seems to be more transparency in gaming publications by the day.
Taking down Harassers and Bullies
Supporters of the GamerGate movement have been working together to uncover internet trolls who have been working to harass and bully those in the gaming industry. They recently uncovered a Brazilian Click-bait journalist who had been sending death threats to Anita Sarkeesian, and 8-chaners worked throughout the night to hide a doxxing of Zoe Quinn before admin could personally remove it.
These are just 2 major wins for GamerGate which has also been working to report several Twitter accounts of serial harassers from the website.
Supporters of GamerGate seem to have been working tirelessly to inform advertisers of gaming publications which have proven themselves to be unethical or corrupt. Supporters have been careful to point out to advertisers that they will no longer be visiting these websites and their marketing dollars could be better spent elsewhere.
When the first large advertiser Intel pulled out of Gamasutra following many readers displeasure at some of the articles being supported by the website, this was GamerGate’s first big win, however, this could not have prepared them for what was about to happen.
On October 16th, several tweets from Gawker Media staff, a key figure in journalistic corruption, suggested that Gawker supported bullying. Max Read claimed to have spent the day “fucking with” people who have autism. The editor of Jezebel claimed she would give $10,000 to a supporter of GamerGate she’d actually want to “fuck” and worst of all was Sam Biddle. Sam claimed that gamers should be “degraded into submission”, and that the previously mentioned Max Read had given him a pay rise for making gamers cry. Worse still members of Kotaku, Ars Technica, The Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, Time and Business Insider had all supported Biddle’s tweets.
Following this harassment several advertisers, such as BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar, pulled advertising from Gawker to show that they stand against bullying. Gawker sent around an e-mail warning staff to be careful of their tweets as they have been a “pain in the ass”. Sam Biddle must not have got the email.
He’s still employed by Gawker by the way.
While all of these wins by GamerGate may make supporters seem like the golden group of the gaming industry, I would be quick to point out that there have also been some shady activities and questionable remarks also made by some supporters of GamerGate. As always I’m the first to tell people to do their research and form their own conclusions. While any amount of harassment is bad, the 1.19% figure shows that it is the minority and not the majority of supporters that continue this behaviour, and that it is not representative of GamerGate as a whole. Gamers are not dead. GamerGate is not dead. It’s only just beginning.
EDIT: I originally said that Adobe advertised with Gawker, this was incorrect. Gawker claimed that they were partnered with Adobe which was untrue. Making this mistake is not a breach of ethics. It is human error. Sorry I humaned.