Gamergate-related controversy reveals ugly side of gaming community

Sept. 06, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

THE PLAYER

Noted pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian has been the target of online harassment. Above, a screengrab of one of her video critiques of the game industry on site Feminist Frequency. (http://www.feministfrequency.com/)

Noted pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian has been the target of online harassment. Above, a screen-grab of one of her video critiques of the game industry on site Feminist Frequency. (www.feministfrequency.com/)

This column is usually dedicated to discussing video games, but in the past week and a half, you’d be forgiven for not having the stomach to play one. I haven’t.

Infighting, finger-pointing and the airing of dirty laundry have dominated the late summer in video games. For those who have played an online multiplayer game, this may sound like any other day in video games. But it’s not. Now the attacks are so threatening in nature that even the FBI has taken notice.

A long-simmering schism among select, very vocal members of the gaming community and others in the industry has come to the fore over the last two weeks, resulting in unprecedented levels of death threats and harassment directed at game designers and writers — many of them women.

This is not, to be clear, some trash-talking in a “Call of Duty” match. The hateful social media posts, a number of them threatening rape and crippling injury, have been so violent that some intended targets have gone into hiding.

The fury started in mid-August. The exact incident, in which the spurned ex of a female independent game designer reportedly published embarrassing personal details of their relationship and accused her of infidelity, is now beside the point. That moment has become an excuse, an opportunity to rail against designers and writers who are attempting to intellectualize the medium — “social justice warriors,” as they’ve been labeled by their online assailants.

These “social justice warriors” are seen as capable of destroying the very essence of what some players love about video games: violence, fantasy and scantily clad women.

Far from making a point, the ugly reaction has instead exposed the rage and rampant misogyny that lies beneath the surface of an industry that’s still struggling to mature.

Much of the ire has been aimed at Anita Sarkeesian, a respected pop-culture critic whose series of videos under the Feminist Frequency banner analyzes sexism in mainstream video games. On Aug. 26, she posted to Twitter that “some very scary threats have just been made against me and my family. Contacting authorities now.”

Sarkeesian, whose biting, unflinching observations have long made her a punching bag for those who feel she’s attacking the games they love, has been candid on social media in exposing the recent barrage of harassment. “I hope you die” is one of the few tweets slung her way this week that’s actually printable.

Her most recent supposed offense is posting a video that analyzes how top-shelf video games often resort to using women as background decorations, such as a cringe-inducing strip-club setting of the gunfight in “Mafia II: Joe’s Adventures,” in which bullets soar over the body of a dead, barely clothed exotic dancer.

Attempts to reach Sarkeesian this week have thus far been unsuccessful, as have attempts to reach a number of the other women affected. But anonymous message board postings calling for a game designer who’s been outspoken on social issues to receive a “good solid injury to the knees” is not uncommon.

On Thursday, video game site Polygon broke the news that the FBI this summer reached out to a prominent game organization to discuss alleged harassment and cybercrimes in the industry.

“We want to keep the community safe, and we don’t want people to be harassed by anybody,” said FBI spokeswoman Emily Yeh, who confirmed that the organization met with the International Game Developers Assn.

The online vitriol has become so disturbing that an appeal for decency has been endorsed by those who work for game powerhouses such as Ubisoft, Riot Games, Microsoft, Telltale Games, Sony and more. This month more than 2,400 industry professionals signed an open letter seeking an end to offensive behavior in the game industry.

“We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability, has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish,” read an online petition started by indie game developer Andreas Zecher.

Still, at least one zealous group has formed a nascent Twitter movement to combat what is seen as the increased cultural criticism being applied to video games. It should be noted that the word “movement” is used loosely, as it’s not quite clear what those tweeting with the Gamergate hashtag are after, other than an end to all serious critiques of video games.

“Can we please just keep the agendas out of video games? Entertainment is meant to be the furthest possible thing from politics,” states one Gamergate supporter. And another: “It’d be nice if the gaming industry/gaming journalism would just … focus on games over politics.”

Such views seem driven in part by a few recent developments. It’s only in the last few years that game journalism has more regularly delved into the sort of cultural criticism common to other forms of mass media. Hobbyist media was once focused largely on product or game mechanics, but as the game audience has broadened and more have recognized the medium as a legitimate cultural force, more have also started to question if games are as smart as they should be.

And then there’s the rise in independent gaming, which has given us games that tackle depression, poverty, slavery, classism, LGBT concerns and other nuanced social issues. The fear, apparently, is that their success — and their support by those who offer cultural commentary on the game sector — will cause those who make big-budget games to conduct a little soul-searching, and in turn make their games more inclusive (or politically correct, to use a more charged term).

To most of us, this sounds swell. The indie game sector has proved what those who have loved games have known all along: namely, that the digital world is good for much more than shooting things.

But the recent brouhaha makes one wish that those old gamer clichés still held true; that the most serious of players were loners — dudes who sat alone in a room, illuminated only by a monitor. The dark at least kept the community’s most unsavory aspects hidden from view.

— Todd Martens | @Toddmartens | @LATherocomplex

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Comments


52 Responses to Gamergate-related controversy reveals ugly side of gaming community

  1. Jon says:

    Hello readers.

    If you want a better examination of what's actually happening I recommend two articles:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/09/04/g

    This article is poor. How you can actually take all the issues that are being described and simply say "eh, misogyny" is baffling. Particularly when an entire group of various minorities (including women, LGBT who you kindly paid lip service to but didn't bother listening to) telling you that they are sick of journalists doing that. (#notyourshield).

    From the tone of your article, you seem to be interested in the views of LGBT and minorities in gaming. Then kindly stop co-opting them and painting those who are on the #Gamergate side as white men who are losers like you did in your final paragraph. That is utterly insulting.

    • Jason says:

      I'm sorry but, I'm #notyoursword and I'm not for GamerGate. It's outside of the discussion on anything involving ethics in the industry and filled to the brim with loudmouths and idiots yelling conspiracy and attacking everyone. Some claim to be good, good for all of you, then actually shut out the idiots from the campaign. The hashtag was originally used to harass people and there's negative connotations behind so as far as I'm concerned, GamerGate is just loud noise with no direction and offers nothing to the discussion on ethics.

    • Guest says:

      That might be more convincing if we hadn't seen the logs of 4chan trolls planning #notyourshield and "Operation Virtuous Mission" as a cover for their harassment.

    • shinyjoolie says:

      ROFL. You know #notyourshield was fabricated and executed by 4chan and was never an actual thing. There are published logs of their coordinating this hoodwinkery. Go out and come in again with something else.

    • Ngamo says:

      hahahahh "not your shield", get out of here.
      https://twitter.com/TheQuinnspiracy/status/508184

    • Xzm says:

      And with the new information published that the purported minorities using #notyourshield has been shown to be orchestrated and fabricated by members of the message board 4chan as well as the whole #GamerGate has been supported and controlled by the same I think it's fair to say that this article hits uncomfortably close to home.

      For more information check here: https://storify.com/strictmachine/gameovergate

      • Doctorsmurf says:

        The "chat logs" are not actually indicative of the board. And the irc chat logs posted by zoe do not line up with the entire chat log dump. Those logs are partially faked and defiantly cherry picked.

      • @karadhas says:

        For anyone reading the comments Xzm is lying and here's proof.

        Proof "gameovergate" is faked/edited: http://imgur.com/a/Mfh61?gallery
        Proof #notyourshield is real and not a tinfoil hat conspiracy: http://i.imgur.com/cNkeRde.jpg http://i.imgur.com/BgY7IyD.png

      • Brandon says:

        Yeah because I’m totally not a real homosexual person. #GamerGate is not about misogyny. Stop erasing me in an attempt to enforce your worldview on others.

      • Wolfsigma says:

        So most decent folk give women and minorities the benefit of the doubt when it comes to claims of harrasment and assault… as is right… but when those same women and minorities join their voices together to stop letting others use them as a shield… you just assume its someone else? Huh.

      • El Marciahi says:

        I stopped following this due to how stupid everyone is about it. BUT, let me tell you this: I am a minority who also happens to be an immigrant and who grew up in a lower-income home. Both myself and my girlfriend, who is as much of a gamer as I am when time allows, are against holier-than-thou "journalists" trying to spin this into some "white patriarchy" BS. Controversy or not, I really don't care. But I don't like it when brain-numb SJW try to victimize me. It's sickening. In short: #Imnotyourshield and neither is my girlfriend.

    • roguepixie says:

      I think the point of the last paragraph is that the stereotype really isn't true. Who's been hurling death threats, threats of physical injury, rape threats? It's probably not the lone nerd. That isn't who feels so entitled to direct threats of bodily harm against people who don't agree with them.

      Incidentally, I'm happy to be 'co-opted' in such a way. I'm thrilled to death when I can create a character who looks a little like me (albeit with larger breasts :D). I'm thrilled to death when my character can have a romance that looks a little like my ideal romance would look like (albeit with bigger breasts :D). Who doesn't feel left out when their favorite pop culture medium doesn't have anyone who's remotely like them, or when it portrays anyone remotely like them in ways that can make you cringe with embarrassment?

      Just a thought.

    • anovah says:

      VERY poor. One sided, misrepresenting, and discredits itself entirely in the last paragraph.

      Someone phoned this in.

  2. GAMERDUDEPARTY says:

    FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

    • -Blc says:

      Bottom line making games is an art. If you don't like the art that is being put out make your own, and don't look at it. No one should go up to and artist painting a picture and say "Hey I don't like that you should do this and use this color" and if they did the artist would say go paint your own fucking picture.

  3. Guest says:

    I am frankly insulted by how genuinely racist this article is. Those who are in favor of #Gamergate are much more diverse than simply white males. And using the implication of a misguided minority is even more racist.
    Here is proof. http://i.imgur.com/7QdasLp.jpg?1

  4. Meaya says:

    This is a poor article. The conclusion, APPARENTLY, is that people "fear" something being successful…ie: LGBT and other social issues…and will encourage developers of major games to check all the boxes Hollywood Style to included all manner of people with labels even though they have nothing to do with a story or worse, become props in a story because the dev doesn't care to focus on their issues. To the author, when you stoop to "they fear this, therefore…" you know you aren't a journalist or reporter, you are a blogger who read other blogs and cobbled together something you think you know about.

  5. Trufax says:

    Trash writer, trash article. How about some journalism instead of opinionated junk?

  6. Jay says:

    I think the GamerGate movement is about ethics in game journalism. They've been exposed as corrupt. Then gamers were attacked by not one article, but a coordinated attack by the gaming media. People who just want to escape the real world with games is having the real world being dragged into their hobby.

  7. texasace00 says:

    Are you kidding me? Anybody who plays on a daily basis knows better. I have seen the worse foul things said and done by players in almost every game I have ever played, it's not rare. Sounds to me like a couple WOW players got butt hurt and now there's articles dedicated to this nonsense? The time I spend reading this garbage I will never get back.

  8. Truth says:

    http://oppressionquest.com

    Get the truth not the corrupt libtard SJW propaganda.

    Corruption in the industry got the whistle blown on it and now they re playing the "sexist" card and trying to divert blame and assassinate EVERYONES character that dares criticize them.

  9. Sean says:

    There is a very basic issue here that I think needs to be addressed. . A very good example of it is here:

    'Far from making a point, the ugly reaction has instead exposed the rage and rampant misogyny that lies beneath the surface of an industry that’s still struggling to mature.'

    I think that statement underscores the problem. In other words 'misogynist' (almost always not actually women-hating, but simply sex-liking) and violent themes in video games are evidence of a lack of 'maturity' and 'rage'.

    In fact, yes, video games can certainly act as an outlet for certain emotions that are not otherwise acceptable in modern public discourse. Its important to remember that casual sex and violence are both activities that are hardwired into the male psyche. This is not evidence of a 'lack of evolution' (another one of my favorite pseudo-scientific jargon phrases applied to generally male dominated activities). In fact it is exactly a product of evolution. In other words, a big part of what put humanity on top of the food chain.

    In society today, a lot of people would like everyone to 'get on the same page' with the 'progession of mankind' and rail blindly against the natural violence inherent in our nature as humans until one day our disdain alone singlehandedly erases it from existence. This is of course, incredibly stupid and depressingly counter-productive.

    Please remember, no one has the right OR the ability to control what goes on in another persons head. No one has the right to say 'you shouldn't be playing games like that' to another adult. You are not me, you do not have an ownership stake in my view of the world. If I want to kill things and look at cartoon T and A in a game, you may in fact call it stupid and be disgusted about it. That's fine, that's YOUR world view, and you are entitled to it. Its very important to understand that EVEN if you THINK what I am doing is putting me in a 'bad mindset', or even might be likely to encourage me to engage in 'bad behavior' (by the way, I think its HIGHLY unlikely that is actually the case), you STILL have NO MORAL basis to try to force me to stop playing these games. Once someone commits a crime, the Justice system will step in to punish them. NOT BEFORE. NOT because society is worried about possible 'negative influences'.

    Please remember that fantasy affects NO ONE beyond the person voluntarily taking part in it, and as such, it should, and hopefully always will, be beyond questions of legal censorship. Unfortunately, in the modern world legal censorship has taken a back seat to corporate censorship in importance. As far as that goes, I can see why game consumers would be angry with people who are trying to 'change the mindset' of the industry. In my opinion if anyone is truly deserving of the scorn of the masses, it is a social engineer.

  10. @EqualityEd says:

    I'm getting tired of the media running to the defense of every white women who gets a nasty message online as if these things don't happen to men. The fact is, it's men not women who get more online harassment. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/04/

    Men also more likely to be victims of all sorts of things from violent crime to murder but our media is obsessed with the click bait angle of vulnerable women in danger and the whiter the better because those women who garner the most sympathy in a white dominated western societies.

    These realities directly connect to what's going on in the gaming industry which like this article is fueled by rampant misandry in journalism today that's justified under as the defense of (white) women from the male hordes. Social Justice as a cause has been infected and corrupted by privileged white kids who learned something about feminist theory and social justice in college but fail to realize diverting massive resources to trivial concerns of privileged women. We end up with people like Anita milking sympathy for dollars despite being caught on tape admitting she doesn't even like video games. The victim show can earn her thousands on the speaking circuit while a black boy beaten half to death would hardly garner a article in a local publication.

    We also end up with white men who for fear of (white) women's harsh judgment turn to defensive misandry. By bashing other men they appear to "get it" and avoid the wrath of feminist lashing out at anything with make genitals. We're in maddening times and we're not going to see resolution to issues like this until we demand a end to gender bashing in the media against both men and women. The easy clicks are not worth the pain it's causing the public at large or the resentment between the sexes that never had to be there in the first place.

    The journalist who are so often feminist have not been very responsible. They think going to war to men is their right rather than a cruel act of vile bigotry. The anger we see in young men towards people like Anita is rooted in a culture where holding males in contempt is celebrated. This cannot continue. Gamers are just one of many groups who've had to deal with these manipulative women's activist trying to hijack an organization or industry to push self serving agendas. That's not how equality is supposed to work. That's more like using gender to extract special favors from the opposite sex which is as old as men paying for dinner.

    We have corruption in gaming media but we also have it in social justice and feminism. The combination of the three has been particularly toxic.

  11. Vivian James says:

    More Anita/Silverstring-fed PR trash, I see.

    Different day, same talking-points, same response.

    Gamers aren't "dead", #GamerGate is stronger than ever. What is dying is this agenda. We don't need extremist "social justice warriors" bullying developers and journalists into being your mouthpieces.

    Keep your politics out of our games,
    put ethics back in our journalism.

  12. Marcus says:

    Todd, thank you for reporting on this issue. #gamergate and #notmyshield were set up as organized campaigns of harassment, as recently exposed by Zoe Quinn (see https://storify.com/strictmachine/gameovergate). People can read for themselves and see if they agree with the other comments on this thread (I certainly don’t). Gamers and game developers are finally speaking out against the negative treatment of women in games, despite the nasty backlash it engenders from some.

  13. PWizard says:

    "as it’s not quite clear what those tweeting with the Gamergate hashtag are after, other than an end to all serious critiques of video games."

    That's not true and 2 seconds looking at the hashtag on twitter would confirm that. Are you on drugs?

  14. shinyjoolie says:

    Thank you, LA Times. It's good to see this issue going even more mainstream. As you can see, you will now receive a whole bunch of 4chan-organized "super reasonable and polite" sounding utter bullshit. This behavior is well-documented: https://storify.com/strictmachine/gameovergate

    It's a bunch of kids playing war games. They don't actually care about the future and success of games, they have no actual agenda other than harassment, derailing and forcing women out of the games industry. They say stuff like "keep politics out of video games" but the truth is that politics are already in their video games – they just agree wholeheartedly with the message. And the message is that women are sex objects and decoration. Now that it seems like they're not going to get to control everything about "their" hobby over which they feel they should have /full/ control, it's tantrums all around. Oh, the tantrums.

    Yawn.

  15. animegirlie says:

    I am so disappointed in the LA Times – you should really do more research.

    The entire kerfluffle only started with the revelations of indiscretions but has grown to be about the ethics of gaming journalism. The gamergate people are policing themselves so, I seriously doubt much of the twitter harassment is actually from them. I'm not saying that the harassment didn't happen but it hasn't been proven yet and no one has been taken to jail, so who ever actually perpetrated the harassment remains to be seen.

    I would have thought the LA Times would be more interested in reporting on the GIANT violations of the Society of Professional Journalism's code of ethics (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp) from the likes of Kotaku, Gamasutra, Polygon, The Verge, and many other gaming sites.

    Please read this post on Slate if you really want to understand why gamers are upset: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/

    Please read and sign this petition from a gamer in response to the dev petition: http://www.change.org/p/the-gaming-industry-pleas… over 8,00 gamers and developers have signed it. Far more powerful than a tumblr post where people's names can be added without their permission.

  16. SarahCrozizle says:

    I hate to start a comment with this, but now seems like as good as time as any. As a woman, and someone who has experienced the gaming community first hand (since the days of Doom 2 mind you) the problem I have is with this sudden uptick of people expressing their personal interest in how games should be made. Often it suits only to further what they feel comfortable with in a game rather allowing developers to have any sort of artistic vision.

    Would it be great to see more women as characters, sure I don't see why not. But I'm not going to start spewing hate over any who disagree with me, even if they start the fight.

    Most importantly though, one must consider the future of gaming and personally a future where all games must appeal to everyone is no future at all. This is the path I see many in the media attempting to push. Make no mistake, however, diversity in itself, is a good thing. The problem recently has been that certain journalists are attempting to dictate moral visions. Just image how silly this would sound to any sculptor who had been commissioned making nude figures of the male and female form, they'd probably simply say this is my creative vision, nothing gives you the right to take it away.

    And yes some will argue that the problem is stagnation, well just as much as many of these GamerGatist are complaining about media not appealing to them anymore. These people who are asking for a certain type of game and role in it should most defiantly create that game.

    Simply because you disagree with someone doesn't give you the right to take them out.

  17. sgamer says:

    this article is all wrong! and why not report that her first videos she stole youtube videos from youtubers and never give them credit. and even though games shows a lot of violence there's been a study showing people will try to ignore it and complete the main story, and when there's abuse of women the player will feel bad and feel guilty.

    violence actually makes the player moral.

  18. Tom Ato says:

    Games were exclusively a guys club. before halo,COD hell before PS3 and 360 you couldnt talk about them without getting laughed at. It's Hubris to think that something that was nearly gender exclusive at one point would change overnight.

  19. Bob says:

    Did the author miss the whole point of #GamerGate? It was about corruption in gaming journalism! Is she denying the corruption?

  20. Loner says:

    Why do social justice warriors never complain about all the men being killed in video games? Just the mere sight of a woman being helpless in a video game is enough to make them cry, but killing other men is something they have no problem with. There is such a fervent effort by these “activists” to try and demonize our hobby for the pettiest of reasons that you wonder who is truly the crazy and hateful one. Even with all the progressiveness and equality preached, any man that plays video games is now just a punching bag for the media. We get the draft during war and then the shaft at home. Just to put things into perspective, for all the big talk you’re getting from trolls and pranksters, no one has been hurt. And in real life, we’d still be the meek bunch that we were back in school. Perhaps that is the reason we’re still being picked on. It’s much easier to go against a bunch of nerds than it is with a bunch of thugs.

  21. Oh look, another click-bait article that nobody is going to take seriously because only idiots don't know what gamergate is about at this point. I'm guessing this site hasn't looked at the Alexa rankings of other sites who make dumb articles against gamergate like this? HINT: They are in free fall.

  22. @Chriss_m says:

    Embarrassing. Genuinely embarrassing. This isn't reportage, it's propaganda. For anyone interested in why the comment section here is incensed at the outright lies (yes, lies) in this article, see:

    The Cinemablend piece:
    http://www.cinemablend.com/games/-NotYourShield-H

    The Forbes piece:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/09/04/g

    The Slate piece:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/

    And a games journalist himself recounting the campaign of hatred that journalists have put the activists campaigning for reform through (as well as ruining competition and attacking a forum of depressed men):
    http://rpgfanashton.tumblr.com

    So there. You have that. All sources outwith 'the scene'. Ask yourself why that is. Why is it the gaming media is reporting this one way, whereas outside sources are reporting it entirely differently? Does that sound normal to you?

  23. vinz says:

    Daily reminder that they were in such a rush to bolster the ranks of their stupid petition or whatever that there's some fake names on that letter. And a fat load of the signers are nothing but QA and PR drones and have absolutely nothing to do with the actual creation of said media. Would you accept an actor's guild petition that had only one actor but 2300 gaffers?

    also I haven't been able to play a videogame in two weeks because I've been too busy attacking morally bankrupt bribe-takers like yourself.

  24. Skittles says:

    I guess if you consider doing nothing more than speaking to one person involved and look at a few tweets to be due diligence for a journalist this suffices. However it would be nice if these so called journalists would do there actual job and actually research the entire story. Heck if this reporter had looked even a little bit further than twitter he might have found Silver String Media and see the financial connections between Sarkeesian and numerous developers and indie devs. Good job.

  25. The Comments says:

    Do not read them.

  26. noblecactus says:

    I find it interesting that this issue made it to the level of the LA Times. Then again, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

    This article has two glaring faults that actually promote negative images of what it means to play video games.

    First, it conflates the nasty people who sent Anita death threats with players who enjoy games featuring “violence, fantasy and scantily clad women.” It plays into a tired stereotype that is only likely to ring with readers and outsiders who are ignorant about gaming culture. Moreover, it makes a false claim that the only kinds of people who enjoy these kinds of games -are- the kinds of disgusting individuals who would make death threats to a figurehead in the gaming community. The easy solution is to lump these people under one convenient label with pre-existing negative connotations — the “gamer.” The truth is that many kinds of people enjoy games with “violence, fantasy and scantily clad women,” of all sorts of denominations, and that the people sending death threats may not even play many games at all.

    Secondly, the article assumes that these same “gamers” close themselves off to intellectual discussion. Last year I wrote a short article on embodiment and character in a favorite video game of mine: http://noblecactus.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/181/ (excuse the plug, but I needed evidence). While it’s by no means a professional work (and my views have expanded greatly since I wrote this), my article nonetheless generated discussion within the group of gamers with whom I associate and play games. They enjoyed reading it, and even wanted to discuss it with me. I will admit that I was a little surprised, but they taught me that many gamers are entirely open to thoughtful conversation about their favorite medium. It is only when false labels and inappropriate analyses are applied to their medium and the players themselves that gamers become angry. This “Gamergate” brouhaha has done exactly that, and needless to say, the game journalists in question willully kicked the hornet’s nest to push an agenda that’s been brewing for a long time.

    The core issue that the article fails to address is that there is no one person or group to blame for the attacks on Anita and co. That’s just the nature of the Internet. So what does an institution like gaming journalism do to protect its interests? It creates an identity for them. As people who use the Internet, it is our task to make form out of the interpretive murk that bombards us every day; namely, the countless faceless Internet users who represent an endless array of opinions, tastes, and motives. When you construct a phantom using the vilest materials in this murk (sick individuals who send death threats, callous gamers who don’t bat an eye at virtual violence, etc.), and hoist it up on the Internet, you can attract the masses who follow your agenda. At the same time, this phantom clouds underlying problems that started the Gamergate debacle in the first place. These problems had nothing to do with Zoe Quinn’s identity as a woman, and instead dealt with journalistic integrity. It does not surprise me that Mr. Martens skimmed over this kernel of the mess we know as Gamergate. I'm guessing his boss probably told him to write about the issue and he chose to take the easy side that would resonate with those who don't play games. But considering how more and more deep undercurrents within the game journalism "industry" are being dredged up each day, I'm inclined to believe that something more sinister is at work.

    I am disappointed to see the LA Times stoop to this level of dark wizardry. Articles like these preach progress and evolution within the gaming community, but what they actually do is cordon off an imagined group of bad apples while bolstering a specific sector of the larger gaming community. It divides the medium rather than unifies it, and that is probably the most vile act of all when it comes to representing what it means to play video games.

  27. Matt says:

    Women are being targeted, not because they are women, but because they are the reason everything is awry.

    Feminism has been around for ages, and there were plenty of games in the 90's that sported scantily clad women with big boobs. If it had really been an issue then something would have been done about it in the 90's. Fact is that feminists just didn't care, because they had bigger fish to fry, like actual inequality issues. Their agenda wasn't pushing people around, controlling what they play because you don't like it or even ABUSING the word misogyny.

    Today's third wave feminists have only one thing on their mind. It's equality, it's power. They want the power to change or eliminate things that they don't like, and when someone disagrees with them, they play the victim card.

    Think about what you fight for. Do you fight for equality? To change the world? To make progress? Or do you want to sit at your computer and bitch all day about how white males ruin video games that you never liked in the first place?

  28. Hi-Score says:

    Wow these comments are hilariously delusional

  29. YouDoKnowWhatIsReal says:

    Your article is spot on. What you're seeing here in the comments is a bunch of #gamergate sockpuppets trying to spin things so that the video game media's tendency to kowtow to large game developer's money is misused to pretend that they aren't right about the firestorm of misogynistic abuse at the hands of at least some of these same people, now cleaning up their language enough to spin things here as though the abuse should just be dismissed, just because no abusers have yet been caught and jailed.

    It's a concerted attack on the truth, which you DID correctly report, but which is inconvienient enough to those who think that feminists and journalists are going to spoil their fun that their new game is to pwn the comment section of any publication pointing out the very real abusive behavior with comments pretending they are equally abused.

    Thanks for doing your homework and not letting them muddy the issue so that they can continue to play their sick, violently misogynistic metagame here in the real world.

  30. BB87 says:

    What a Hatchet Job. Nice research there, Todd Martens. You are a credit to your profession.

  31. Josh says:

    This is so sad. A story of many cherry picked things from many different games. What about all the games and scenes that put women on pedestals where the women is being saved and many of these scenes instill the value that violence against women is bad. What about all the men on men violence and sliced up in many ways. I meen look at the punisher game. This is ridiculous and a classic injection of the new feminist fascists that anent going to be happy until no men are in games and all the main characters are women. Its like she only took all the M rated games that have a few horrible scenes. This whole video and story is pathetic filth and "journalism."

    • Just a girl says:

      Dude, read what you just wrote. We don't *need* to be put on pedestals. We don't particularly want to be saved. We'd just like to be the one doing the saving once in a while. That's it.

  32. David says:

    Read the whole thing, then the last paragraph was the epitomy of the double standard.

    So go on, preach about the rights of some, then call the rest losers. Bravo!

    No wonder the LA times makes for better emergency toilet paper than reading material. Too many self-righteous A-holes jumping on any "equality" bandwagon they can find on Tumblr before it becomes passe.

  33. Deede says:

    Wow, judging by the other comments on this article I see someone must have posted a link on the 4chan website. Or maybe the #gamergate hashtag. Certainly the misogyny apologizers are out in full force. I smell the faint wiffs (actually, not so faint, more like prominent, really) of orchestration. Well, let me, a woman who was on the outside of this whole brouhaha until an article posted on my Facebook feed interested me enough to follow the whole thing, have my say among all the orchestrated selfishness:

    The commenter who claimed more men are victims of violence than woman? Nope. Wrong as the day is long. Try again, and try not to use a biased source next time. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (aka, a legit source) 31% of all women in the United States have been the victim of domestic violence. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 19.3% percent of the women have been raped. According, again to the CDC, 22.3% of women (as compared to the 14% of men) have experienced severe physical violence at the hands of a partner. So yeah, the guy up there claiming that men have it worse? Check your privilege. Oh, and interestingly enough, the “Daily Beast” article you linked? Dead link. Surprise, surprise. Wow am I (not) shocked!

    I love how many of you attack Anita Sarkeesian for using a Kickstarter to fund Feminist Frequency as if it was a bad thing. Talk about reaching. Project like hers take money, just as any show would. News at eleven, there. You know, when I was a young kid in the 80’s there was this show on t.v. called Fight Back. In a way this show was kind of the original Myth Busters, as it would test the claims of advertisers on any given product. Good show. My point? I seriously doubt it was made for free. I just donated to a Kickstarter started by Levar Burton to fund his Reading Rainbow project. As the mother of a seven-year-old I thought it money very well spent – I remember Reading Rainbow with fondness and was glad it was a part of my childhood. It’d be great if my child had it around to feel the same. I was grateful that a site like Kickstarter was around to help Mr. Burton accomplish this. And now I find myself wishing I had known about Ms. Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter. I would have donated in a heartbeat, and, as the case with Reading Rainbow, figured it money well spent. I love what she’s doing, and I wish her to keep doing it. Hmm, I’ll have to go look to see if she’s still accepting donations.

    Cherry picking – it is interesting to me that Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn are being accused of cherry picking to forward an agenda. Highly amusing. I’m actually having a good chuckle as we speak. You see, I read the logs 4chan posted trying to discredit Ms. Quinn’s reveal of their nefarious plotting. Interestingly enough, the full log made me even more certain that she was right! That this whole thing really does have to do with misogyny under the faux cover of ‘journalistic integrity’ (because just saying ‘we’re sexist pigs who objectify women through our gaming and want to continue to do so without any guilt over it’ looks bad and will get absolutely no one in your corner). Why am I more convinced you might ask? Because full release of the chats revealed even MORE misogyny than Ms. Quinn first pointed out. In fact, point for point a sexist or misogynistic phrase appeared nearly three times as often as the term, or any reference to, journalistic integrity. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

    ‘But that was just a few bad eggs’, I’ve heard people cry. Can’t convince me based on the comments I’ve read here! A few bad eggs? LOL! You lot are so transparent it’s ridiculous. So easy to blame a vocal minority, isn't it? Sucks for you, that's been done to death already. How about accountability? Now THAT would be something!

    And through all of this you’ve obviously missed the point of what Ms. Sarkeesian has been trying to say: Treating women as objects in any media, be it gaming, or the movies or in advertising, has long-term psychological damage and it’s so rampart, it's like the plague (and certainly infecting our society like a plague). The APA (American Psychology Association) has released an official paper on the physical and mental toll of female objectification, that’s how damaging and wide-spread the effects are. Your right to ‘artistic integrity’ in gaming does not trump a woman’s right to not be objectified for nothing more than your enjoyment, particularly since it affects our REALITY.

    To be entirely sure we’re clear here, let me sum this up for you: Guess what wins in the fight between your recreational pastime and our, as females, real life right to sound body and mind (using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a scale)? If you answered the mental (and physical) health of real women comes first over your right to female objectification in gaming then give yourself a cookie because you would be correct!

  34. Deede says:

    Wow, judging by the other comments on this article I see someone must have posted a link on the 4chan website. Or maybe the #gamergate hashtag. Certainly the misogyny apologizers are out in full force. I smell the faint wiffs (actually, not so faint, more like prominent, really) of orchestration. Well, let me, a woman who was on the outside of this whole brouhaha until an article posted on my Facebook feed interested me enough to follow the whole thing, have my say among all the selfish indignation:

    The commenter who claimed more men are victims of violence than woman? Nope. Wrong as the day is long. Try again, and try not to use a biased source next time. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (aka, a legit source) 31% of all women in the United States have been the victim of domestic violence. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 19.3% percent of the women have been raped. According, again to the CDC, 22.3% of women (as compared to the 14% of men) have experienced severe physical violence at the hands of a partner. So yeah, the guy up there claiming that men have it worse? Check your privilege. Oh, and interestingly enough, the “Daily Beast” article you linked? Dead link. Surprise, surprise. Wow am I (not) shocked!

    I love how many of you attack Anita Sarkeesian for using a Kickstarter to fund Feminist Frequency as if it was a bad thing. Talk about reaching. Project like hers take money, just as any show would. News at eleven, there. You know, when I was a young kid in the 80’s there was this show on t.v. called Fight Back. In a way this show was kind of the original Myth Busters, as it would test the claims of advertisers on any given product. Good show. My point? I seriously doubt it was made for free. I just donated to a Kickstarter started by Levar Burton to fund his Reading Rainbow project. As the mother of a seven-year-old I thought it money very well spent – I remember Reading Rainbow with fondness and am glad it was a part of my childhood. I want the same for my child. I was grateful that a site like Kickstarter was around to help Mr. Burton accomplish this. And now I find myself wishing I had known about Ms. Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter. I would have donated in a heartbeat, and, as the case with Reading Rainbow, figured it money well spent. I love what she’s doing, and I wish her to keep doing it.

    Cherry picking – it is interesting to me that Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn are being accused of cherry picking to forward an agenda by their detractors. Highly amusing. You see, I read the logs 4chan posted trying to discredit Ms. Quinn’s reveal of their nefarious plotting. Interestingly enough, the full log made me even more certain that she was right! That this whole thing really does have to do with misogyny under the faux cover of ‘journalistic integrity’ (because just saying ‘we’re sexist pigs who objectify women through our gaming and want to continue to do so without any guilt over it’ looks bad and will get absolutely no one in your corner). Why am I more convinced you might ask? Because full release of the chats revealed even MORE misogyny than Ms. Quinn first pointed out. In fact, point for point a sexist or misogynistic phrase appeared nearly three times as often as the term, or any reference to, journalistic integrity. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

    ‘But that was just a few bad eggs’, I’ve heard people cry. Can’t convince me based on the comments I’ve read here! A few bad eggs? LOL! You lot are so transparent it’s ridiculous. So easy to blame a vocal minority, isn't it? Sucks for you, that's been done to death already. How about accountability? Now THAT would be something new and fresh!

    And through all of this you’ve obviously missed the point of what Ms. Sarkeesian has been trying to say: Treating women as objects in any media, be it gaming, or the movies or in advertising, has long-term psychological damage and it’s so rampart, it's like the plague (and certainly infecting our society like a plague). The APA (American Psychology Association) has released an official paper on the physical and mental toll of female objectification, that’s how damaging and wide-spread the effects are. Your right to ‘artistic integrity’ in gaming does not trump a woman’s right to not be objectified for nothing more than your enjoyment, particularly since it affects our REALITY. No one is saying gaming must stop, just lessen the inclusion of sexists tropes to the betterment of society. It's that simple.

    Conclusion: This article was spot on.

  35. buddhaflow says:

    There are multiple videos now of people calling the SFPD asking if they have any record of Sarkeesian calling that night. The SFPD denies the calls ever happened. From all the information that is available, this was a hoax – a cynical, profit driven hoax to play victim and get media exposure (from unprofessional dupes such as Todd Martens), right as her new video was released.

    A real journalist might have actually looked into it, and done five minutes of journalistic due diligence to make sure they weren't repeating and bolstering plain lies.

    This incident doesn't say anything at all about the gaming community, positive or negative. It does, however, say a lot about the ugly side of Feminism. A movement which has come to be defined by a desire to bolster a narrative of perpetual victimization rather than objectively consider reality.

  36. Ldude893 says:

    I'll post what another commenter posted on a Zoe Quinn article in Cracked.com:

    "From my understanding, this is Gamersgate in a nutshell.

    1. A woman is suspected of sabotaging a charity event with feminism as her justification, even though the event supposedly aimed to support female developers. [Look up 'The Fine Young Capitalists' ]
    2. A more or less reasonable group of people get upset about this, and make the issue somewhat known.
    3. An ex decides to share information about this woman's sex life, which picks up popularity because of the aforementioned scandal.
    4. A crazy guy builds a conspiracy from this sex life, which may have started with a kernel of truth, but quickly gets out of hand.
    5. Misogynist pick up on this conspiracy and go nuts with it, attacking the woman in typical internet fashion.
    6. News sites, always eager to paint things in black and white, ignore the concerns raised by the reasonable people and make the issue about feminism versus misogyny, grouping all people who don't praise the woman in the latter category.
    7. The aforementioned reasonable people, having been lumped together with misogynists, become resentful of news websites who use the "feminism" debate to cover their refusal to address real issues.
    8. Misogynists start backing up the reasonable people. The reasonable people don't notice, being too focused on their new enemies.
    9. An unusually high number of comments, videos, and forums posts are deleted en masse for siding with "gamersgate", regardless of whether they fell into the reasonable or misogynist categories.
    10. A portion of the reasonable people begin thinking there's maybe something to this whole "conspiracy" angle, and start becoming indistinguishable from the crazies.
    11. Repeat steps 6, 7, 8, and 10 until the whole world's gone crazy and everybody is convinced that everybody else is a mis[ogyn/andr]ist and that there are absolutely no mis[andr/ogyn]ists on their "side"

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