I've argued with my fair share of GamerGate supporters (because I have a problem) and one of the things they always like to point out is how much they've accomplished and helped the world of gaming and/or the world at large. When asked what these accomplishments actually are, I get links to articles about how gaming publications and websites have changed their policies to accommodate their most common complains about "ethics in games journalism."
I can feel the world getting better already!
Seriously, you'd think they'd passed the Civil Rights Act or something.
But of course, that's not all they've done. They've also collectively logged a shit ton of hours responding to everything that women like Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian post on Twitter with shitty arguments and insults, at best. Also, slurs and threats. But that's only SOME of GamerGate so nobody's allowed to talk about that. Because, you know, not ALL of them.
And they spend plenty of time getting together to publicly discuss how terrible people like Brianna Wu are, and now they've ruined everything, and are responsible for all sorts of terrible things, passing around conspiracy theories that contain the same kind of evidence you see on those UFO shows the History Channel has become so fond of lately. Not to mention creating clearly forged tweets to pass around to their fellows, who immediately assume that it must be real despite the fact that so many of them have already been found to be fake.
Anita Sarkeesian says she was sent death threats? She must have faked them. Brianna Wu says she hates black people? IT MUST BE TRUE.
So what does all this Fox News style fear and hate-mongering result in? I bet you can guess.
A Man Is Making Bizarre, Terrifying YouTube Videos About Brianna Wu
You see, when you turn someone into a target the way GamerGate has, blaming a person for all your troubles and constantly obsessing over everything she does to try and glean some sliver of something that you can twist into "evidence" to fit your preconceived notions, this tends to be the result. There are plenty of people out there with shitty lives and no sense of an internal locus of control who will latch on to any scapegoat. And some of these people will be so compelled by the idea that this one individual is personally making their lives miserable that they will pull shit like this. They will threaten, they will intimidate, they will launch personal vendettas, and sometimes they will make good on their threats.
It's super ironic that lately, the people who I have been arguing with on Twitter are complaining that women like Brianna Wu "victimize themselves" or turn themselves into damsels of distress by talking about the harassment and threats they receive. These people say that if only women like Wu were silent about it, the harassment wouldn't escalate.
Yes, it does sound like a vague threat in itself, but here's the ironic part:
No one talks more about Brianna Wu than GamerGaters. They talk way more about Brianna Wu than Brianna Wu does. Any time Brianna Wu so much as sneezes, they're all over here with a rash of new conspiracy theories to scrutinize. Hell, most recently, Brianna didn't even have to do anything. Some GamerGater forged a tweet wherein Brianna said that a guy tweeted her saying that he would put pineapple on his pizza, and she questioned whether that was a penis metaphor. GamerGate then launched into a huge thing called #pizzagate in which they mocked Brianna Wu for a tweet that she did not make. They got it trending on Super Bowl Sunday and extended it to mock those of us who advocate for justice (we "social justice warriors"), replacing things we commonly say with pizza terms.
And they were proud of this. They bragged extensively about how they had the power to get such a silly hashtag trending. And they were willing to admit that the tweet that started it all was faked.
@ButtStallion Just no. That screenshot that's been going around was faked.
— Phantom R (@PhonyPhantomR) February 1, 2015
So they admit that they created their very own way to target Brianna Wu. She doesn't even need to talk about harassment. They'll invent a complaint and then talk about it so much that it trends.
I'm sure if I brought this up, they'd say that they just have to defend themselves from her terrible accusations that GamerGate harasses her! What are they supposed to do, stay silent?
GamerGaters talk about "feeding the trolls." How women online shouldn't "feed the trolls" or we have no one to blame for ourselves for our own harassment. But who's really feeding the trolls? Who really caused this Jace Connors to target Brianna? Who made Brianna Wu a target in the first place? Who keeps coming up with conspiracy theories about her? Who fills her Twitter mentions day after day with tweets calling her a cunt or demanding answers about some asinine faux argument that wouldn't hold up in 4th grade debate club? Who forges tweets under her name and then launches a hashtag mocking the very thing they created?
What's better troll food? All of the above or Brianna Wu saying that harassment is bad?
Don't feed the trolls? GamerGate has created a free 24/7 troll buffet, with 1029742935702753 locations worldwide. And some of them have already turned deadly. Will they close up shop when Brianna is dead?
Hahaha, of course they won't. Because she fed the trolls, right?