Adam Baldwin’s scheduled appearance at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo in Sydney this June has prompted a call for fans to boycott the event. Conrunner Daniel Zachariou, who announced he is keeping Baldwin as guest, is trying to navigate through the protests.
Baldwin, tagged the “celebrity face” of #GamerGate, is an effusive source of trolling political tweets. Last October File 770 reported fanartist and #GamerGate target Brianna Wu leveled this accusation against him: “Actor @Adam Baldwin defamed my character, publicized a libelous video about me and sent an angry mob of 200k people after me.” They exchanged several verbal salvos through Twitter.
Apart from his profile in social media, Baldwin is best remembered from the TV series Firefly and its continuation film Serenity. He also has done voice work in many games. And lately he’s appeared in TNT’s post-apocalyptic drama The Last Ship. It’s for this work he was invited as a Supanova guest. But it’s Baldwin’s support of #GamerGate that has roused opposition to his appearance at Supanova.
Albert Santos started an online petition asking Supanova to revoke Baldwin’s membership, justifying it with these arguments:
Baldwin has a history of calling for aggressive action, including doxxings, on others. He has called people “dipshits” and “morons”, has aggrivated key GamerGate tagret Zoe Quinn directly, has threatened former Supanova guest Wil Wheaton, has called Thanksgiving “Victory over the Savages Day” and has suggested that antivaccination campaigners all be “doxxed and tortured”. These are all things that he has said and done, primarily through his twitter handle, which he regularly wipes clean. These go directly against the code of conduct of Supanova, which they kindly in the statement supporting him.
Over 6,000 have signed the petition at Communityrun.org. Brianna Wu tweeted her support: “This is very straightforward: Are you comfortable with bullies in geek culture? Because @AdamBaldwin is a sexist bully. He needs to go.”
Also, cosplayer Eve Beauregard claimed in a widely-quoted comment to a Kotaku.com writer that Baldwin’s appearance might lead someone to attend whose conduct would somehow jeopardize attendees’ personal safety:
“From my perspective, the moment a guest or their supporters makes a considerable portion of your attendees feel unsafe, you have a very cut-and- dried decision to make. You either remove that guest from your event or you send a very public message that you’re comfortable with your attendees fearing for their personal safety and in turn not attending out of fear.”
Zachariou offers two main reasons for sticking with Baldwin: Baldwin’s past track record as a guest, and their binding contract with him:
Zachariou defended his decision to allow Adam Baldwin to attend, stating that Baldwin had already previously attended a Supanova event (“Adam was previously our guest and as strident in his opinions then as he is now”). He also made mention of the fact that he had “no knowledge of Gamergate” when Baldwin was originally booked and Supanova has a contract that they’re “legally beholden to”.
The con is four months away but the decision to keep Baldwin is already having consequences. Supanova was dumped as a major sponsor of The Ledger Awards, an Australian award for excellence in comic arts and publishing. The awards team has returned Supanova’s sponsorship money.
Supanova’s Daniel Zachariou on February 12 posted a lengthy comment on Facebook in an attempt to mediate fans’ concerns. It says in part:
To exclude someone from Supanova for their views, even if we don’t share them, goes completely against the spirit of the expo that we’ve presented all these years as all our stars appear to discuss their work in pop culture, not their personal political or ideological viewpoints. We similarly embrace all our fans, whatever their various pop culture passions may be, and that inclusiveness is at our very heart.
And it includes a statement from Adam Baldwin:
The harassment and threats being made on both sides of the #?GamerGate debate shame the games industry and make it extremely difficult for casual observers to see the merits of arguments about corruption, ethics or journalism.
Threats of violence and/or “doxxing” should be reported to law enforcement and handled at their discretion. Such threats are reprehensible and have no place in any debate.
Obviously, I condemn harassment. The YouTube videos linked on Twitter at the outset last September contained no personal information of any individual. I had zero knowledge of what might be in their comments sections. No one can honestly be expected to check vast comment threads below articles or videos before linking to them.
Lastly, I believe that pop culture conventions are inappropriate venues for controversial topics, so I will respectfully not be discussing them at Supanova, or its related events.
Given that we have Adam’s statement above verifying he will not discuss #GamerGate while stating categorically that he does not condone harassment, bullying or doxxing under any circumstances; given we as Supanova will not allow questions regarding the subject from the floor; given we as Supanova as a professional organisation must fulfil our contractual obligations; given Supanova will be providing the highest level of enforcement of our Code of Conduct (a condition of entry to the event) to ensure our strong anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies are maintained; and given that so many fans continue to support Adam’s appearance as part of our ‘Serenity’ 10th Anniversary celebration, we will be proceeding with Adam’s attendance as planned.
As we’ve already mentioned, Supanova Expo has an incredibly inclusive array of fans who kindly share the space with each other, based on their mutual passions for imaginary worlds. Our programming crosses all demographics, celebrating diversity and a wide variety of genres. Supanova does not condone or allow bullying or harassment in any way, shape or form at our events which ensures a friendly, safe and welcoming environment. Both the Code of Conduct and the spirit of Supanova are agreements to treat with honour and respect every single fan and friend at the expo. You’ve always made us so very proud with the positive atmosphere you have created at every event.
The statement empathizes with the concerns fans have voiced, and sets concrete behavior guidelines for Baldwin and attendees.
This experience underlines three things conrunners should take responsibility to do:
- Know your guest’s act.
Adam Baldwin is a font of political opinion or an online troll, according to your tastes, but it’s inconceivable to me someone running a large pop culture convention would know nothing more than that he’s that guy from Firefly. (Inconceivable – yes, that word does mean what I think it means…)
- Vet your guest’s act periodically.
Various celebrities are the subjects of gossip, controversy and bad news every day. Maybe one of them will be a guest coming to your con. Google people every once in awhile so these things don’t blindside you.
- Decide at the outset whether you’re sticking with your guest.
A con committee should already have run its social media cost/benefit analysis before announcing a guest who has baggage or is controversial. Only choose people you’re prepared to stand by. In general, it should take something truly unexpected, like criminal behavior, or slandering one of your other guests, to reopen your decision.
That con response is disappointing. This is not a free speech issue; it’s a harassment issue. Baldwin hasn’t been condemned for his opinions but for his leadership in the harassment campaign underway against women in the gaming industry and beyond speaking out against sexism.
But even before that it was well known he was a rightwing loony, so whoever on the concom in charge of vetting guests, should’ve known to do the research to see if his behaviour had crossed the line into harassment, even if they didn’t know about GamerGate. And really, if you don’t know about it and you’re trying to run a media orientated convention, you’re in the wrong place.
Snort. 1) To a first approximation, Gamergaters attack women, not the other way around. “Both sides do it” is a misrepresentation. 2) Of course we can’t see the merit in the arguments about ethics; no ethics is involved. Using sexual slurs and threats to frighten women into silence is not a matter of ethics, and cannot reasonably be mistaken for one.
Ugh. What a mess. And it all could have been avoided if the concom had just *checked* before inviting him. Now people are going to be angry no matter what they do.
While I’d agree that he is a right wing loony he has always been an entertaining and courteous guest at conventions.
Being a guest at a media convention is a totally different thing from being a goh at an SF convention. What is being talked about here is denying someone a right to work based on their political oppinions.
At Loncon last year we had many fans from the Ukraine and Russia, two countries who are effectively at war and who go out of the way to humiliate each others POWs. There were no problems with any of them. They stuck to the fan tradition that, as far as we can, we “leave our guns at the door”. This has become unfashionable lately but for some of us it remains something that is part of the core of being a fan.
Some decisions are difficult, for instance I’ve personally suggested to a convention that they exclude Vox Day because I believe he has personally insulted another author to the point where she would be justified in punching him on the nose if she met him. I would not want to attend a convention that had Orson Scott Card as a goh but neither would I want to go to a convention that excluded him completely.
I remain angry at the treatment Keen Macleod got on usenet which led to him leaving. The IRA made a very determined attempt to kill my aunt once but I still opposed censoring their spokesmen on British TV. I think this is a very bad tactic whichever side uses it.
Seriously do not do this. Whatever political point you are trying to make is going to get completely derailed by people’s personal feelings about those involved and the principles of others who strongly believe in allowing people the right to speak,
Martin Wisse wrote, “… it was well known he was a rightwing loony, so whoever on the concom in charge of vetting guests, should’ve known to do the research to see if his behaviour had crossed the line into harassment …”
That’s a fascinating standard you’re proposing there. It does not at all sound like excluding people based on their political beliefs, no sir: merely subjecting them to heightened scrutiny. This is so obviously reasonable that the conference organizers must be castigated for not thinking of it themselves.
Only those with rightthink should be allowed within the community.
Those with wrongthink should be shunned and driven forth from the community.
When will you have wrongthink?
You can be affable but still be a cloaca.
And once again, we see that whenever you scratch the paint on a progressive, a fascist comes peeping coyly out.
Another one of those arch dismissals that adds nothing to this discussion.
But it’s occasionally interesting to see a live reminder of Godwin’s Law.
‘Another one of those arch dismissals that adds nothing to this discussion.’
Because nothing says objectivity like:
‘Baldwin, tagged the “celebrity face” of #GamerGate, is an effusive source of trolling political tweets.’
When you make a substantial challenge to a statement you disagree with then we’ll have something to talk about. Drive-by poo-flinging is not an argument.
First, I just quoted 2 different people. Second, I am challenging the fact that you introduced this article with a huge degree of bias. I can attest, from reading a huge variety of tweets from both Baldwin and the people with whom he regularly disagrees, that he is far more polite and factual than the vast majority.
But he’s an outspoken right-libertarian, so you call him a troll. Like I said, wonderful display of objectivity.
This isn’t going to end any better than the rest of these discussions.
Let me ask a question based on two possible thought experiments. Those who want to can ban Adam Baldwin if they want. The right get to ban a person of their choice from an event of their choice. Are we all happier and better people?
Alternatively we allow this sort if banning but to stop people using it capriciously we say you have to pay some amount of money which is not easy to raise in order to do it. The ‘other side’ get to donate it to a non political charity of their choice. In this case I’d guess it would be between a quarter and a half million dollars. Is this issue really that important to people if it comes down to real effort, not just arguing online?
Think up your own method if you like but remember that your opponents get to use the same rulebook.
We can’t go on doing this. It has just about destroyed the gaming community and it could do the same to the SF community. The politics don’t matter. The same situation will crop up sooner or later with different politics. The problem is that neither side respects the process. Whoever amasses the most angry tweets wins but nobody believes that is either just or fair. Nobody has their thinking chaged, simply reinforced. The losers just retreat to reorganise and swear to be more vicious next time.
S1AL: This is a fan blog, and I write as a fan who is actively participating in the culture I report about. I have interests and opinions, and they come into play. My goal is fairness, not objectivity. What do I think is fair to Baldwin? Last October Baldwin teed off on someone I’m acquainted with as a contributing artist to my fanzine, right after she and her husband fled their home in response to some of the handiwork of #GamerGate participants. Based on that sample I formed the opinion that he’s abusive and kicks people when they are down, mainly for the sake of getting attention. I see him as a troll. I consider that an accurate description of his modus operandi. Judging by the number of people who signed that petition I may not be the only one. However, those who feel otherwise can argue in comments here as long as they are not abusive.
What the Wus have been subjected to is beyond the pale. On the other hand, Mr. Baldwin has specifically, it is reported, issued a condemnation of abusing private information and breaking the law with physically threatening and violent behavior and will not be speaking about #GamerGate.
It’s also worth noting that “Adam Baldwin” does not equal “Jayne Cobb” or the representative of Wolfram & Hart he portrayed in the fifth season of Angel. He’ll not be bringing his “favorite” long-gun Vera or a Bowie knife. He has written about helping his daughter with her homework in his trailer between filming his scenes, a sign of a thoughtful and caring parent.
If Mr. Baldwin threatened Wil Wheaton, it’s news to me — details or alleged details, anyone?
Finally, I have known Mike Glyer since 1976, and I have known him to be fair in matters of being a member of the Board of Directors of LASFS and as a fannish reporter, even with regard to matters about which he has strong fannish or mundane social or political opinions. I’ve heard him say in person that conventions are celebrations of ourselves and the literature we love, not places for conflict.
“S1AL”, you make a lot of assumptions about his attitudes towards conservatives without, I think, any real knowledge of what he as a private person believes and/or opines. You might find yourself surprised if you did — or maybe not, as I’m not Jommy Cross, and am unable to read your fine, fannish mind.
Again, what Ms Brianna Wu and her husband have found it necessary to do to protect their own safety is a horrible thing for anyone in our subculture to endure and is rightfully condemned. Nobody should feel their lives are in danger in their own homes due to threats from pseudonymous Internet trolls, not ever.
@Mike Glyer: I’m not sure where you get your information, but frankly: you’re wrong. 6 months out, there have been exactly zero interventions by law enforcement officials directed toward any actual participant in gamergate. Zero. The only people confirmed to have issued any threats whatsoever have been third parties either looking to cause internet drama or generate clickbait material.
Furthermore, here is the exact text you used: “Baldwin … is an effusive source of trolling political tweets.”
I don’t see how Baldwin’s political tweets have *anything* to do with your argument here. You claim that his politics amount to “trolling.” Now, if you meant to say something else entirely, as indicated in your comment, I understand. But when you put those words in that order, the indication is that you find his political statements to be trolling. I responded to that statement as it was written.
But this is really part of the issue. I don’t see any indication that you’ve actually *read* Baldwin’s comments. What I see is you using second-hand, and inaccurate, information to judge him as a person and public personality because he “teed off” someone you know. Granted, this has become common in the entire gamergate debacle, but I certainly wouldn’t call it “fairness.”
And then there’s that Albert Santos quote, which amounts to him saying that Baldwin did a bunch of things but he doesn’t have any evidence whatsoever to substantiate those claims. So take him at his word. Cause reasons. As someone who actually follows him and other public figures on twitter… that’s a crock of crap. If someone with 200k followers says something that ludicrous, you can bet it’s going to be screen-capped about a thousand times.
David Klaus: You can read what I said to Mr. Glyer if you’re interested in why I framed it as a political issue (short: he did, so I responded as such).
Also amused that Baldwin’s best-known role in recent years is regarded here as Jayne Cobb… if we want to go with really scary tv personas, might as well mention Colonel Casey.
As for the Wu’s… I’m not going to open up that can of worms. Suffice it to say that I am highly skeptical of many of the claims made.
“I’ve personally suggested to a convention that they exclude Vox Day because I believe he has personally insulted another author to the point where she would be justified in punching him on the nose if she met him.”
SJWs and their blacklists. This is precisely the sort of thing I love quoting to people when they complain about us not being sufficiently inclusive. Or when they complain that we’re excluding them.
By your standard I would have been perfectly justified in punching N.K. Jemisin in her face four times for lying about me in her Guest of Honor Speech and calling me “a self-described misogynist, racist, anti-Semite, and a few other flavors of asshole.”
But you never called her out, did you? Even though I’m such an inept “anti-Semite” that I am currently editing two books by one of Israel’s most famous historians. You never called out SFWA for repeatedly calling me a “white supremacist” when I am a Native American with Mexican heritage. Please inform me who I get to punch in the nose? Just Matthew Johnson or the other eight members of the SFWA Board who endorsed his report too?
Considering how many punches in the nose John Scalzi has coming by your standard since he started publicly insulting me in 2005, you’d appear to be giving me permission to beat him to death.
“Last October Baldwin teed off on someone I’m acquainted with as a contributing artist to my fanzine, right after she and her husband fled their home in response to some of the handiwork of #GamerGate participants.”
Wu has been caught several times harassing himself, Mike, because he forgot to log out of his main account before posting the attacks. There is also reason to doubt he ever left his home or was ever threatened by anyone. I wouldn’t place any stock in anything even remotely related to Brianna Wu.
“We can’t go on doing this. It has just about destroyed the gaming community and it could do the same to the SF community.”
It hasn’t even remotely harmed the gaming community. It hasn’t affected a single game developer that I know, and I know a lot of them because I’ve been in the industry since 1992. It has harmed a portion of the game journalism community in much the same way chemotherapy harms cancer. SJWs are being quietly weeded out left and right, that’s why they’re all running to Patreon.
“Think up your own method if you like but remember that your opponents get to use the same rulebook.”
You probably should have thought of that before you called for the lead editor at a rapidly growing SF publishing house to be banned from a convention. Do you think our authors, and readers, and fans, will forget that? The rule has been duly noted. Don’t whine when we turn it around on you.
Seriously, what were you thinking? Were you just that eager to strike a pose? I’ve been to one convention in my life.
Using his name summoned him. I apologise.
“My goal is fairness, not objectivity. ”
Does anyone here aside from me note the paradox in that statement?
My goal is fairness, not regarding the facts. My goal is fairness, not hearing both sides of the issue. My goal is fairness, not making an unbiased judgment. My goal is fairness, not truth. My goal is fairness, not being fair.
My goal is fairness, not avoiding unfairness. My goal is A is not-A.
@John C Wright –
Depending on the strict definition used, it is possible to be fair without being objective (I might find a book to be well-written but not to my tastes, and therefore not recommend it). Given that I also did not find this to be a fair piece, I chose instead to address the issue rather than quibble over language.
Martin Easterbrook, you are out of line equating another innocent commenter with Satan, and your comment is offensive. There was nothing uncivil in his self-defense, and your attack is uncalled for.
I met Adam Baldwin in Kansas City at Planet Comic Con a few years ago. He is a extremely gracious and entertaining guest. He gave out free autographs to military folks (gasp!). Speaking of which, his autograph line was longer than anyone else there except Wil Wheaton (including George Takei). Granted that was a snapshot in time at the moment I was there but I bet his attendance draws more fans than those that might actually boycott. I really doubt many of the 6,000 people that signed that petition planned on going anyway. This is all a bunch of shrieking over nothing.
Give him a break. I am the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil, after all. He does well to cower in fear.
John C. Wright going for the cheap shot — He shoots! He SCORES!
You didn’t really have trouble finding both sides of the issue in my piece. A long quote by the conrunner. A long quote from Adam Baldwin! (You do know which side he’s on, yes?)
Mike Mike: “I really doubt many of the 6,000 people that signed that petition planned on going anyway.”
I suspect that’s true, but that doesn’t make it “over nothing.” It’s agitprop. The highly publicized attack on Baldwin is a point in itself. And the picked battleground is social media, where he exerts his primary influence.
I also assume many of the petition signers are not even in Australia (where Supanova will be held) although you can’t tell — the petition site doesn’t display the location of the signer, in contrast to the way signers are listed at Change.org.
VD: To the specific point of whether Brianna Wu is really being harassed, consider this article about the maker of the “Jace Connor” videos.
It also quotes Wu about #GamerGate having evolved into “the gamification of the harassment of women” — a phrase which at last puts into words the feeling I have had about the appeal of #GamerGate evidenced in some of the supportive comments I’ve read on blogs.
You’re seriously going to take _Jezebel_ as a source??!
The maker of the videos is the source — Jan Rankowski. Jezebel is drawing on his interview at BuzzFeed:
You can see exactly who the man responsible for terrorizing “GSX Head of Development and noted Feminist Brianna Wu” is <a href="https://archive.today/DSJYF"right here.
Note the tone of the #GamerGaters who busted him. Seriously, we know why Wu is pulling all this crap. He’s just trying to get attention for Revolution 60. We know why Sarkeesian is doing it, she’s raised over $300k.
Considering that no one in the game industry has harassed women in the industry since the days of Roberta Williams, why do you believe anyone is harassing these complete nobodies? Why do you believe anyone is even INTERESTED in them.
The games media is just trying to distract the mainstream media from the fact that they are whores who shamelessly play favorites and tried to bury criticism of Zoe Quinn and their inflated coverage of her terrible non-game.
VD: The daily diet of verbal attacks on Twitter, blogs and message boards is too high a price to pay for game publicity, instead, I see her perseverance as deriving from a more basic decision about how she was going to cope with the abusive comments already being directed her way in the industry (see her Polygon article from July 2014). She decided to ride the tiger instead of being eaten by it.
If she screwed up in any way that would be too bad, but the flow of abuse that she’s been receiving before and since #GamerGate is unfortunately genuine.
Martin Easterbrook, you are out of line equating another innocent commenter with Satan
Yeah, I second this: even negative depictions of satan tend to protray the adversary as at least capable of *pretending* to be affable or likeable, and most show him capable of forming a coherent and persuasive argument when he desires.
Whereas VD’s argument, supposedly in defense of Baldwin, is that Adam Baldwin is no more bannable from a con than someone who is the subject of a plethora of accusations from multiple independent sources who claim he sexual harasses women at the cons he attends.
I leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out on how many levels that fails as an argument, and how little Adam Baldwin needs enemies when he’s earned allies like that.
Fred Davis –
“Whereas VD’s argument, supposedly in defense of Baldwin, is that Adam Baldwin is no more bannable from a con than someone who is the subject of a plethora of accusations from multiple independent sources who claim he sexual harasses women at the cons he attends.”
Erm… I don’t see how you got from point A to Metroid Prime. To whom are you even referring when you say “someone who is…”?
She decided to ride the tiger instead of being eaten by it.
I think what actually happened is that she invented the tiger.
“The daily diet of verbal attacks on Twitter, blogs and message boards is too high a price to pay for game publicity”
Perhaps for you, but not for an attention-seeking drama queen. Do you truly not understand that Brianna Wu is desperate to look as if she’s being attacked? Here’s another example of a woman “being harassed by #GamerGate”.
A journalist did a terrible job writing a piece for Infosec based on anti-GamerGate sources, was exposed by #GamerGate, posted confidential email from her employer, was fired, and is now claiming it was all harassment from #GamerGate. And yes, she’s got a new Patreon account!
How many more of these do you need to witness before you start realizing that the WHOLE THING is bullshit?
“Whereas VD’s argument, supposedly in defense of Baldwin, is that Adam Baldwin is no more bannable from a con than someone who is the subject of a plethora of accusations from multiple independent sources who claim he sexual harasses women at the cons he attends.”
That is not even close to my argument. Who are you talking about? Who is “the subject of a plethora of accusations” to whom you refer?
You have your father’s sense of cunning, VD.
Fred, your comments are incoherent, and given in no better spirit than Easterbrook’s. Your attempts at wit are not good, especially as answers to honest questions. Why are you being so evasive?
“You have your father’s sense of cunning, VD.”
My father, the man with the graduate degree from MIT who learned the actual law and repeatedly defeated the dishonest state revenue agents until a corrupt system finally threw him in prison for 11 years?
And do you know what he has done in prison? He’s done the research and filed the paperwork for scores of wrongfully convicted prisoners, most of them black, and freed them from more than 1,200 years of wrongful prison time. He’s more respected in prison than he was as the founder and CEO of a $40 million technology company.
And you think being compared to him is an INSULT?
I’m waiting for the first convention to announce it has no guests of honour, because none could be found who were free of taint of some kind, or at least could not assure the concom they would remain so once they were chosen and it was too late to back out.
Is Mary Poppins available? “Practically perfect in every way.”
Sorry, Mike. Poppins was a proxy agent for the Boer War, distracting children from the atrocities committed by their fathers, a stark symbol of ruthless colonialism. There isn’t a safe space large enough to protect the tender, trembling masses at a convention from the reign of terror that she might bring with her.
Also, with her medicinal promotion of a spoonful of sugar, she promotes fat shaming.
She’d be hard to find anyway. I hear she’s in the wind.
I see the culture warriors are out in force again with Vox Days laughable claim about being in the gaming industry since 1992 (one laughably bad game does not a career make) being the high point.
But this still isn’t about free speach no matter how much they want to make this about it. This is about Baldwin being the instigator and motivator behind GamerGate, which has led to death threats, rape threats and more (one small sample). Having him invited to a con makes a convention unsafe for those people who have been on the receiving end of GamerGate. Not so much perhaps from him, as from his acolytes.
Martin Easterbrook, that’s why a sensible con would have nothing to do with Baldwin or anybody else involved with that movement: not for their political opinions but solely because inviting them makes clear you do not value the safety and comfort of their victims, who have as much right if not more to be at the same con.
“I see the culture warriors are out in force again with Vox Days laughable claim about being in the gaming industry since 1992 (one laughably bad game does not a career make) being the high point.”
It’s hardly a “laughable” claim. I’ve been on the media side, on the development side, and on the finance side, putting up to $20 million into a single game. You know nothing at all about the industry. You don’t get flown in to fix various game designs or consulted on large game investments because you don’t know what you’re doing.
Martin Easterbrook wrote:
xdpaul then wrote:
I thought he was referring to Lord Voldemort. Live and learn!
He thinks he’s the equal of Walter White?
He’s been consuming too much of Heisenberg’s product.
This is just proof of my hypothesis that while evil may sometimes be clever, it is always stupid.
David K.M. Klaus: Beetlejuice Betelgeuse Beatles
Mike Glyer & David M Klaus: I think it”s now clear that Jan Rankowski is some kind of bizarre self publicist who has decided to profit off the controversy and has no links to either side of gamergate.
Martin Wisse: Gamergate is a large and complex movement. I’d certainly agree that there are elements that worry me. Amongst those are the sicko who tweeted the first threat to Brianna Wu, which is one of the most vile things I’ve ever seen. However Gamergate now comprises 30 or 40 thousand active people with hundreds of thousands of more passive supporters. Of these the group responsible for active harassment comprises a minuscule part. Even the Newsweek figures which use a rather shaky divide between argument and harassment show that 95% of Gamergate posts are non harassing, more recent figures put the percentage of active harassers at well under 1%.
Here’s an account of how a group of Gamergate supporters set up the ‘#GamerGate Harassment Patrol’ and managed to get several harassers banned from twitter. One of the group, @LetsHailSatan, actually managed to identify a particular harasser who had been sending death threats to Anita Sarkeesian for some time. @LetsHailSatan was even able to set up a chat where he admitted to this.
I know Breitbart isn’t accepted by everyone as an unbiased source but I witnessed most of this going on. I was also in communication with the harassment patrol when I tried my hand at finding whoever doxed Felicia Day, unfortunately unsuccessfully. Zoe Quinn even tweeted to thank them, and in turn I tweeted back to thank her for that.
This is where my personal problem arises. There are some nasty factions who would like to get control of Gamergate (and I suspect I’ve seen more of the nasty side than you have because to some extent I’ve actively gone looking) but I don’t think they have succeeded. The thing I do know is that the one person I know of in this mess who has definitely done the right thing is a woman who has put themselves at risk to stop harassment and is a dedicated Gamergate supporter. I just can’t stand by and see her, and people like her, described as harassers. If you are going to ban all Gamergate supporters from conventions I’ll be outside having a drink with them. Brianna Wu may like to come along, she may get a rather frosty reception but it will be the one place she can be sure she is totally safe
I think those gamers have earned the right to have their complaints about the gaming press, which has collaborated in libelling them and suppressing their concerns, heard.
No major news organisation has reported their work. No major news organisation has reported the death threats to the wife of ‘Boogie’ a well known Youtuber who was neutral at the start of Gamergate and was attacked for not being actively pro. No major news organisation reported when @ShoeOnHead was doxed for being pro Gamergate and pictures were stolen from her mobile phone and leaked. No major news organisation reported when @lizzyf620 had her personal information written to every single thread on a discussion board and she and her autistic son were threatened.
I believe that the media coverage of Gamergate has been nothing short of disgusting. The vast body of moderate people in the movement, who are totally opposed to harassment and have taken as much action against it as is possible, have been totally ignored, as have those within the movement who have suffered major harassment themselves.
Gamergate has been portrayed as so disgusting it is not permissible even to talk to neutral intermediaries who are in contact with them. This is a ridiculous attitude that implies this dispute will go on forever and it only serves to drive people into the arms of the extremists, who are just sitting there rubbing their hands with glee and laughing. There are elements among those extremists that worry me a lot, and have sometimes made me seriously reconsider my position, but overall I do not think they represent the enormous majority of the movement. I would like to see some far more intelligent and professional press coverage that identifies the real threats and publicises the genuine grievances instead of libelling an huge number of innocent people.