Thoughts Of A Feminist Gamer on #GamerGate, Gawker and TGWTG

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.

sam biddle

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.

farcichu2

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

Angela

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37 thoughts on “Thoughts Of A Feminist Gamer on #GamerGate, Gawker and TGWTG

  1. At the same time, the GamerGaters were also claiming that JewWario would agree with them. From your POV, JewWario should be a moot point

    1. I didn’t see anyone doing that, all I saw was Todd being called out for using his friend’s name, even if they did it was because of what TODD had said. He was Jewwario’s friend, that should have been more important then scoring a cheap point against people who post on a hashtag he doesn’t like.

      1. Todd used JewWario’s name because GG supporters were using JW’s image to support their hashtag. Todd called them out on that, giving his opinion on what JW’s stance would’ve been, and GGers interpreted it as him invoking JW’s name to score a cheap point against them.

      2. And is he looking at others who have Jewwario hat to see if they’re against what he thinks Jewwario would have been against? No, just Gamergate supporters. Therefore he was using Jewwario in his own personal campaign against Gamergate, that is not the act of a friend.

    2. Todd literally said his only beef was people having Wario hats in their icons while they were pro-GG. He exclusively did this. Because he is a hateful person and is teetering on insane where GG is concerned.

  2. As #GamerGate more and more devolves into a war of attrition, and as the Anti-GG side largely controls the media coverage of it, the morale amongst the supporters of GG is slowly but continuously wearing down. It are pieces like this that keep the inner fire burning, and to this end, I’d like to thank you for taking your time and writing this.

  3. Wow, I got a lot of emotion at the end. This was a very insightful read. I’m just sorry you were pretty much forced to pick a side 😦

    I’m pro-#GamerGate, but I think people should be able to pick individual aspects they support. You shouldn’t have to be 100% for or against.

    It’s a shame this is turning into a civil war of sorts, turning friends and colleagues against each other.

  4. Thank you for writing this. I’ve wavered before too in my support of GamerGate, mostly from the vitriol I hear from my own friends about it. I’m scared to talk to people about it because I’ll automaticaly be labeled as a terrorist over my opinion. But when I see hateful attacks leveled against us and the industry in the media, I remember why I stay in this fight.

  5. the situation escalated so much mostly because of the misinformation because the thing is, #gamergate might be a movement but it has no leaders, so it’s not organized. There isn’t a consistent message. Anybody can claim to be part of it just like they can claim they are not part of it for various reasons. Those that understand #gamergate understand the core message. And what is that core message?

    Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmN2HZ0qGI8

    Do you agree with the conversation or you don’t? Depending on the answer you might see yourself as a #GG supporter or against it.

  6. Welcome to the fray. It will be an honor working alongside another feminist in the movement (there are actually quite a few of us). Gawker and the Games Media press have endlessly lied in an attempt to smear #GamerGate, which has succeeded in doing nothing but proving their corrupt roots. Progress is being made, we are working for a better future in gaming. One that is truly inclusive, honest, transparent, and treats women like PEOPLE not like shields to be used against criticism and charges of corruption.

  7. Hi there, Really beautifully written!

    I always try to think of this issue in terms of behaviors rather than people. People aren’t bad, but their behavior can be bad, or unhelpful.

    Take the people who are doxxing, calling people names like “monster, misogynist, loser” etc. They do it because they feel justified in doing it. They think they mean well. They think the other side deserves it.

    Well, have they ever thought about what’s going through a “literal” bully’s mind? Do they not realize that the they are thinking the same thing? Has anyone ever met someone who called other people names who didn’t think they deserved it? Has anyone ever met someone who threatened, or doxxed, or lied about, or mocked another person and didn’t think they deserved it?

    If all bullies and threatening people have something in common, it’s that they all think the other side had it coming. The existence of that excuse doesn’t make you any different from them.

    The only way to set yourself apart, is to simply treat people better. Be kind, be rational and listen to people.

  8. The complete lack of tolerance for people with mild social disabilities such as mild asperberg, those on autism spectrum, harmless nerds and anyone quirky or weird by equality/diversity advocates is disturbing to me too. If they get their way, world will have no place for them. I have increasing impression that inclusiveness advocates do not count them as people worth of any consideration.

    I do not mean only gawker tweets. I talk about every singe time when they blow clumsy question or joke out of proportion. Quirky and those with mild social disabilities stand no chance.

    I am female and some of my friends fall into above categories. I know for a fact that I have it much better then many of them.

  9. I expected this to be two month old astroturfing but this looks like an actual legit feminist. I gotta know: why on earth are you backing a ‘movement’ that’s supported by Breitbart and Conservapedia? I’m legitimately curious.

      1. >Because I believe the cause of the movement is important

        Nobody on either side is against ethical journalism. You’re quibbling over relatively minor breaches when there a far bigger systemic problems in vidya news.

        >that the media is using gender politics as a shield to protect itself from scrutiny.

        That’s like the second or third oldest antifeminist argument there is, probably, but ok.

        I really feel I shouldn’t be attacking your reasons when I’m the one who asked in the first place. I promise this is in good faith. For the most part GGers are angry about things like percieved collusion and editorials, when publishers are forbidding reviewers from giving bad reviews of advance copies. Yet I see very little attention from GGers on that issue. Why?

    1. @ Adulus.

      “I expected this to be two month old astroturfing but this looks like an actual legit feminist. I gotta know: why on earth are you backing a ‘movement’ that’s supported by Breitbart and Conservapedia? I’m legitimately curious.”

      I’d ask you what relevance you think Milo Yiannopolous’ personal politics have to do with GamerGate at large, but there’s no need to. You’re quite obviously only trying to use Breitbart’s largely tangential involvement in it to summarily dismiss the movement offhand.

      Which of course is problematic, if only inasmuch as it serves to make it quite plain up front that you’re not legitimately anything at all, besides someone who favors confirmation-bias over intellectual honesty, perhaps.

      What are we supposed to do with that?

      “Nobody on either side is against ethical journalism.”

      No, actually there are a whole lot of journalists who rather than own their ethical breaches thought it would be a good idea shortly after they were uncovered to write a dozen or so articles proclaiming that gamers were dead. Those articles were all written within 24 hours of one another, and were written to shame us into dropping the ethics issue by portraying us as being basement-dwelling misogynists.

      There’s more than that. For example, in spite of the fact that GamerGate supporters not only endure a disproportionately larger amount of harassment than folks on the other side of the issues do, the journalists involved in GamerGate refuse to discuss the harassment that we endure at all. There’s also how, rather than being a hate group, GamerGate actually quite actively stamps out the harassment and doxxing attempts against our opponents by anonymous third-party trolls, and yet those journalists continue to portray us as being hateful misogynists just the same. Oh, and those trolls? Journalists blame ’em on us, even though the hash-tag is nowhere to be found on like 99.99% of their posts.

      But no, that crap is undoubtedly a reasonable, sane reaction for a group of people that’s totally all about ethical journalism to have to people’s request for, you know, ethical journalism. Totally.

      “That’s like the second or third oldest antifeminist argument there is, probably, but ok.”

      Wow. So…rather than be obnoxiously dismissive, could you maybe address why you believe it’s not relevant?

      Anyway. The thing is, if you’d actually step outside of the fear in which you quite obviously live of having your preconceptions challenged and look at the facts, you’d note note that this is absolutely what’s going on. The issue was only ever about ethics in journalism, and Ms. Quinn, if she was ever relevant to us at all, was only that insofar as it was what her relationship with Nathan Grey appeared to have to say about the lack of them. She didn’t matter to us at all besides that, and yet those journalists, being too cowardly to own their lack of ethics, put her front and center just like a…wait for it…just like a shield! They used her to make it appear as if the issue was one of misogyny, and did so in order to justify dismissing our concerns. So hey, I’d have to say that Angela’s assessment is rather astute, regardless of how old it may or may not be.

      What’s such a bummer about those cowards having made GamerGate out to be about misogyny is that the climate of fear that they’ve created — and which they continue to perpetuate every time they lie through their crooked teeth about us — is that it stands the chance of fostering the very sort of outcome they stupidly tried to attribute to GamerGate; that women will be too scared to get involved in the industry. And it won’t be on us, but them for having so self-servingly lied about us for so long. That’s not just sad, it’s really rather gross too

      ” For the most part GGers are angry about things like perceived collusion and editorials, when publishers are forbidding reviewers from giving bad reviews of advance copies. Yet I see very little attention from GGers on that issue. Why?”

      Hah…perceived collusion, as if the GameJournoPros e-mail list never existed, and as if hundreds of writers across a dozen different didn’t video-game websites never used it to get together and discuss what they were and weren’t going to write about. Nah, that never happened at all, and the proof we’ve got that it did — which includes admissions of guilt by involved parties — just doesn’t exist either. Nope. Nothing to see here.

      But no, even if we set aside the fact that what you’re talking about has absolutely fark-all to do with ethics in journalism, gamers at large absolutely ARE having that discussion. We’ve been having it, and similar discussions, for oh, I dunno, some twenty years now. If you’ve somehow managed to completely overlook these conversations, well, that’s no more GamerGate’s responsibility than it is Angela’s to explain to you why she doesn’t base her judgement of GamerGate on your own seemingly arbitrary, obviously self-serving criteria.

  10. The eagerness of gamergaters to read malice into ordinary irony on gawker’s, or anyone else’s, part continues to astound. Do a search on twitter for “gawker gamergate” and behold the willingness to misread and twist words from years-old articles. Look at the wiki for operation baby seal, whose author suggests criticizing gawker for trying to “bankrupt Chick-Fil-A over charitable donations” — what were those “charitable donations” for? Oh right– supporting homophobia. That same wiki suggests that gawker was in the wrong for advocating “theft from Darren Wilson,” the Missouri cop who shot Mike Brown in cold blood. What was the substance of the theft from Darren Wilson in question? Oh yes, the donations coming in from racists on the internet praising Wilson for making the world safer, taking out the trash, putting an animal out of its misery– i.e. killing an innocent young man.

    Guys. I believe that many of your hearts are in the right place. But please be advised that some of the loudest voices in your movement have politics that come from a fascist garbage can.

    Rather than destroying those you perceive to be “SJW”s, consider starting websites and journalistic outfits that you believe in, that model the kind of ethical journalism and behavior you seek to support. If you’re going to make this movement work, it needs to create something good, not tear down something else down through deliberate misrepresentation.

    1. You’re really dismissing the tweets I mentioned above from Gawker employees, professional journalists representing their organisation on social media, as just irony? You say we’re reading malice, Max Read quite literally said he was enjoying fucking with damaged and neuroatypical teens. How is there no malice there? How is calling #GamerGate supporters fascists without malice? Gawker wants to world to believe we’re sexist and dangerous while it’s employees get their jollies bullying people on the autism spectrum, I guess that’s just irony or ‘banter’ too right?

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  17. To perfectly honest, I lost a lot of respect for Todd when I heard about this (from LordKat’s podcast). Course his blog post about GamerGate in general didn’t help much either. It was completely one-sided, and a lot of it read like it just came from at face value.

    Course we can’t expect people like Todd and others to acknowledge an opposing view that could potentially be contrary to that of their own, that’d just be expecting too much from them.

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