Attack On ABC: #Gamergate: Female gamers and developers threatened with rape, murder as online row rages


The whole GamerGate controversy is essentially a consumer revolt wherein gamers of all walks of life, be it nice guys, hardcore, casual, feminist, MRAs, minorities, majorities, aliens, women, trans, and everything else that we’ve missed, have taken to empowering themselves and Tweeting about their outrage through a hashtag called #GamerGate. The hashtag itself was coined by Adam Baldwin after the watergate incident after he came across some videos detailing sexual corruption within gaming journalism, which is an accurate allegory to watergate. Recently, as a part of their terrible coverage of this campaign, the ABC in Australia have published a news article where they talk to a video game developer of some kind about some of the harassment that they’ve received.

While it is tragic that some harassment is coming from supporters of both sides of the argument, and we’re not saying it doesn’t exist, what we are suggesting is that the ABC makes no effort to actually verify any of these claims that this alleged developer has made against supporters of the revolt. Even further, we strongly suggest that the ABC has either cherry-picked quotes from professionals, or has spoken to professionals willing to not engage in the full story. We also assert that the ABC makes no attempt at relaying any evidence as to what this developer is stating is true. This kind of reporting is largely consistent with their standards of reporting when it has come to this topic in the past.

Our first point of contention is this section –

Sydney-based independent video game developer and critic ‘Sarah’ said she had received threats as a part of the movement after she voiced her opinion on an online gaming forum.

“I was engaging in conversation about Anita Sarkeesian, who is a famous critic,” she said.

“I challenged someone on their opinions of her because I thought her arguments are actually pretty reasonable and … they ran to friends of theirs, got them together … and started tweeting threats at me.

“They were saying that they were going to rape me, they were going to kill me. Very nasty kind of stuff.”

As a publication following this phenomenon closely, we’d love to know which forum it was exactly that she was posting on. As the forum is unnamed, we’re not entirely sure we can verify this part of story ourselves, but generalisations are not too uncommon in news pieces, unfortunately. What’s also missing is how these posters got her information, but more than likely, she was posting under a handle, which would have been similar to her Twitter name. How do we even know that this happened on Twitter? It’s not like there was a screenshot of the threats. On the internet, pics, or it didn’t happen.

Our second area of concern is this section –

“They set up … multiple accounts which was terrifying at the time because you’d wake up and your feed would just be full of all these threats,” she said.

“One person had posted a picture that allowed me to figure out their name, because they’d screen capped [captured] it with their Facebook account in the background so I was able to find out his name, and … get a sense of who the other guys were.

“They were all guys and they were all quite young … there were some adults but they were from all over the US and Canada.

“That was almost a bit more terrifying – that they were this loose group of people that one of them could call up the others and they would attack.”

Because the accounts were based in the US, Sarah said she did not take up the matter with Australian police.

We have yet to establish if these threats actually happened in the first place, and now on top of that, we’ve got allegations of some serious hacking. Apparently someone built a system to create dummy accounts to attack this person. Why would anyone go through the effort of doing such a thing? Like, what a massive waste of time. Once again, no screenshots, or proof that this actually happened. Instead of contacting experts on crime, she instead opted to contact the ABC and get an article made-up. We would suggest that this is blatant profiteering, but we have no proof that money ever exchanged hands for this article, or who reached out to who first.

Next on our hitlist is this passage –

Earlier this month American feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian was attacked by people claiming to be from the gamergate movement shortly after posting an online video about the portrayal of women in games.

She was reportedly then forced to cancel a speech at the University of Utah, after an anonymous threat from somebody who said they were planning to carry out a mass shooting at the event.

We find this suspect for a lack of relevance. Is this about a local developer being threatened, or is this a smear campaign? They still don’t cite any evidence of this happening, however, even if we know that the claims were made and well publicised in the gaming press.

And lastly, our final problem is with this clearly uninformed expert –

Jessamy Gleeson, a PhD student focusing on online culture at Swinburne University, said the debate began with legitimate concerns, but had changed.

“The original debate was to do with ethics in journalism and particularly gaming journalism, and that was perfectly fine and it’s hard to lump all gamergates together,” she said.

“Certain sectors of the gaming community have been threatened, or their idea of what games are have been threatened or critiqued by people that they don’t see as belonging to their community.

“So women or people of different colours or genders have been standing up and saying we want more diversity in games, or we want women to take more of an active role in games, or we see sexism in games, and they see that as threatening what they view to be as their form of games.”

This is a PHD student studying online culture and, like heck, is this person lacking in research. Or her research and quotes were cherry-picked to fit a narrative. It almost sounds like this passage had more to it than the three cherry-picked quotes we have here. As Jessamy is suggesting, this is a complicated issue and it is “hard to lump all Gamergaters in together”. What she may be referring to here is that the majority of GamerGate supporters are fine people, but a small community of trolls and harrassers are using the tag to attack women for their own amusement (we suggest that it is the GNAA behind it, as this seems like their handiwork).

What’s interesting is the passage there about women and different colours standing up for diversity in games. Interestingly, this almost sounds like they could have been referring to #NotYourShield, which is composed of ‘minorities’ (what a terrible way to describe non-whites) standing against corruption in journalism. But then the narrative continues with the minorities being harassed. Once again, no evidence. This quote also reeks of lack of research, or has been grossly taken out of context. Supporters of #GamerGate and #NotYourShield fully funded a campaign to get women into video game development. #GamerGate supporters, it seems, are also fighting for women to work in the industry.

Converse to all of these allegation against #GamerGate supporters, we have actual evidence of #GamerGate supporters receiving abuse from anti-#gamergate supporters. Check out this link.

Overall, we’d strongly suggest that this piece that the ABC has pushed out is largely unresearched, biased and shows no evidence for any of its claims. The ABC does not take advertising revenue on its online content, so you can check out the original article here.

To be clear, we’re not attacking the person involved with the interview. We are firmly attacking the ABC for the absolutely terrible news reporting, blatant bias and lack of proper research. All journalistic outlets should be held to higher standards, especially the nations standard for journalism, and especially one handling a potentially volatile topic such as this.

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  • Red Lagoon

    This is the next “save the children” rhetoric the media is going to use for anything to deflect criticism!

    • Gaming Admiral

      They can deflect it all they want, the criticism will still be there.