I have had somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the #Gamergate hashtag, mostly I have supported it but there have been moments when I have questioned whether or not it was the right thing to do. You could say I have flip flopped a little and that would be fair, so much has happened and I have always been careful of getting swept along in the crowd. I have always sought to act as my own conscience dictates and be true to myself.
About a month ago I found myself in a conversation with someone who was anti-GG and it made me re-think my involvement with the #GamerGate movement. I wrote this blog about it at the time. Basically I felt that #GamerGate had become too toxic and bitter and I was beginning to question whether what #GamerGate has achieved has been worth it. Well I will now tell you all that the anti-GG person that I spoke to was Todd In The Shadows, a music critic for the That Guy With The Glasses website. I had been a supporter of Todd’s work for some time and though I was aware that he and most of his colleagues at TGWTG did not support #GamerGate I didn’t feel it was a real problem, they’re entitled to their opinion and some of them have personal relationships with some high profile people that are anti-GG. However Todd seemed particularly interested in #GamerGate and, at the time, willing to talk to GG supporters rationally and with a seemingly open mind. However in the weeks since Todd has gotten increasingly bitter and contemptuous in his dealings with #GamerGate supporters, almost making it a personal crusade to destroy what he sees as an anti-woman hate mob. He has veered wildly between suggesting himself as a leader for #GamerGate, suggesting we donate money to women seemingly affected by it, and lambasting us all as sexist, hateful scum who won’t be happy until we’ve destroyed every woman in existence. He has even used the name of Jewwario, a member of the TGWTG team who tragically took his own life in January of this year, to spew toxicity at #GamerGate supporters after seeing that some of them had Jewwario commemorative hats on their Twitter avatars. Now Todd is entitled to his opinion but speaking for someone that has passed away and therefore cannot speak for themselves is blatantly disrespectful, not only to the deceased but to his family. Other members of TGWTG have also behaved questionably when it comes to #GamerGate. Rap Critic, another music reviewer for the site, went as far as to compare #GamerGate to the KKK. As you can imagine supporters of #GamerGate, particularly those of colour, have been horrified by this.
This brings me nicely to Gawker Media, Gawker has been in the spotlight for tweets by one of it’s journalists, Sam Biddle, which supported bullying.
There were also tweets by Max Read, editor-in-chief at Gawker, which said how much fun he was having “fucking with” teenagers that he described as “damaged or neuroatypical” At first these tweets were dismissed by Gawker as a joke and so #GamerGate supporters began messaging companies that advertise on Gawker, asking them if they are happy to support a website that advocates bullying and belittles people on the autism spectrum or with other neurological issues. Biddle later apologised for his tweets and an internal memo was sent out to Gawker employees about “how tweets can be perceived without context” but this only happened AFTER Gawker lost advertising revenue from Intel and Adobe and not before Read wrote a scathing article denouncing #GamerGate supporters as “dishonest fascists” and called Intel “craven idiots”
In the month since I wrote the blog I linked above I have seen the actions of those that are against #GamerGate, people like Todd In The Shadows and Gawker. I have seen them say that #GamerGate supporters should be doxxed.
I have seen #GamerGate reported by the mainstream media with increasing amounts of bias and hysteria, clearly research and non-biased reporting is not as sexy as articles that call all #GamerGate supporters misogynists. I have seen #GamerGate supporters threatened and as for Gawker? Are they firing Sam Biddle? No, they’re promoting him.
So what have I seen #GamerGate supporters doing? I’ve seen them donate over $16 000 to an anti-bullying charity. When I have seen doxxing, trolling and harassment on Twitter I have seen #GamerGate supporters immediately stepping up to report and shut down those responsible. I have seen #GamerGate supporters welcome with open arms those who are on the autism spectrum or who are supporting someone that is that have been made aware of #GamerGate as a result of the shameful actions of employees of Gawker. I have even seen other members of the media look more deeply into the concerns of #GamerGate and see for themselves the media war being waged upon it’s supporters.
So here’s where things stand for me, this week someone told me (ironically someone anti-GG) that if people doing bad things support the same things that you do then it should give you pause about whether or not you want to continue supporting them and so I have made the decision about where I want to stand in this because at this point not caring is not an option. I have friends on the autism spectrum, my husband has ADHD and learning difficulties and it’s becoming increasingly clear that my children may have as well. Do I want to stand with those trying to make the world a scarier place for them? Do I want to stand with Gawker who supports it’s employees bullying and making fun of those that have neurological issues? Do I want to stand with Todd In The Shadows who bullies people and puts words into the mouth of a dead man? Or with Rap Critic and Joss Wedon who compare #GamerGate supporters with the KKK?
NO I DO NOT
I want to stand with feminists like Janet Mackay and her son @OmniUke, who made an awesome video about #GamerGate and the actions of Gawker. I want to stand with everyone who donated to the anti-bullying charity, Extra Life, TFYC, UNICEF and other charities listed here. I want to stand with the #GamerGate harassment patrol who routinely root out doxxing, trolling, harassment and abuse (even against anti-GGs) and spread the word, allowing the perpetrators to be reported and removed. I want to stand with all the fantastic, funny and caring people I have encountered through #GamerGate. I want to stand on the side of those who think that journalistic ethics are important because, as Janet says in her video, this is no longer about ethics in game journalism, it is about ethics in JOURNALISM.
So I stand with #GamerGate
Thank you so much for reading