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#StopGamerGate2014 trends worldwide as GamerGate hits breaking point

The latest threat to Anita Sarkeesian may have been the last straw for many.


Michelle Jaworski


Posted on Oct 15, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 10:03 am CDT

Has GamerGate reached a breaking point?

For some, that came months ago, but that feeling of frustration, anger, outrage, and pure exhaustion reached a new peak after feminist and pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a university talk over terror threats from an anonymous source who claimed to be a student.

Sarkeesian, who was supposed to speak at Utah State University on Wednesday morning, was one of several people (including the director of USU’s Center for Women and Gender) who received an email promising “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if they did not cancel Sarkeesian’s appearance and claimed that “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge.”

The university still planned to hold the event, but Sarkeesian cancelled it after USU refused to prevent people in attendance from bringing concealed firearms to the event. In Utah, it’s legal to carry a firearm with a valid permit/license.

Utah told Sarkeesian that even after the DEATH THREAT, concealed weapons would still be allowed in the room.

— erin mccann (@mccanner) October 15, 2014

Forced to cancel my talk at USU after receiving death threats because police wouldn’t take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event.

— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014

Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah’s open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches.

— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014

Sarkeesian said one of the threats was affiliated with GamerGate.

It’s not the first time Sarkeesian has received death threats. She’s gotten them for years for her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games webseries, which takes a critical look at women’s roles in video games. It’s not the first time this year: The Game Developers Choice Awards received bomb threats over Sarkeesian’s appearance and back in August, she was forced to leave her home and call the police after she and her family were threatened.

It’s not even the first time she’s received death threats this month. And only a few days ago, Brianna Wu, the cofounder and head of development of Giant Spacekat, had to call authorities after she received rape and death threats for poking fun of GamerGate on Twitter.

For many observers who have been watching the GamerGate situation unfold, this latest threat of a mass school shooting was the final straw. Many supporters are already beyond that point.

They had enough.

Using the hashtag #stopgamergate2014, people tweeted out their frustration over the constant rape and death threats many women—particularly those in geek or gaming culture—get and have been getting for years for simply daring to speak up or have an opinion that differed from others. 


Those in support of GamerGate say that they reject harassment and want to fix ethics in gaming journalism, but a scientific analysis shows that they fit the profile of a hate group. A former supporter of GamerGate called it “a hate movement fueled by nutters.”

“You can’t connect that stuff to GG!” They’re literally talking about murdering Anita on a GG forum. Stop. It’s over.

— Frank Cifaldi (@frankcifaldi) October 15, 2014

#StopGamerGate2014 because this is an actual headline.

— Charles Brokowski (@NotAllBhas) October 15, 2014

#StopGamerGate2014 because the critics *actually* discussing ethics & corruption in games are women being driven out of their homes.

— spook-ha scareem (@sokareemie) October 15, 2014

If you are a gamer, you owe these women. If you are a human, you owe them. #StopGamerGate2014

— kelsey mckinney (@mckinneykelsey) October 15, 2014

#stopgamergate2014 before a woman is literally murdered. stop it

— cobra commander (@chaeronaea) October 15, 2014

There is no difference between “Internet threats” and “real threats.” We live our lives on the Internet. What you do online is WHO YOU ARE.

— AAAHnthony CarBOOni (@acarboni) October 15, 2014

The threats of a mass school shooting seemed to fuel the backlash. Previous threats have primarily targeted individuals. 

#StopGamerGate2014 because someone is literally threatening to shoot up a school over feminist critique of video games.

— Tasneem Raja (@tasneemraja) October 15, 2014

If you’re tempted to think that Internet talk is not worth taking seriously, remember Elliot Rodger. There are more of him out there.

— Andrew Pfister (@andrewpfister) October 15, 2014

The fact that men threaten mass murder in response to the idea of @femfreq speaking at a school just shows how powerful her words really are

— Imran Siddiquee (@imransiddiquee) October 15, 2014

Some pointed out no matter how much people tweet about stopping GamerGate, it will only do so much.

#StopGamerGate2014 feels good but won’t fix anything. RT if you think @Twitter @support should provide tools that match the level of abuse.

— Andrew Vestal (@avestal) October 15, 2014

Twitter has done little to help women combat these threats, although it’s pledged to fix its harassment policy multiple times, most recently after Zelda Williams was harassed and forced off Twitter following the death of her father, Robin Williams. Its current policies only allow the person receiving threats to report them, and even proof of a tweet isn’t enough for Twitter.If an account does get suspended, that person can just make another one.

Sarkeesian, however, isn’t stopping her work.

I’m safe. I will continue my work. I will continue speaking out. The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women.

— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014

Photo via joo0ey/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Oct 15, 2014, 2:16 am CDT