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Crime Games Your Rights Online

Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls 1262

Sonny Yatsen writes: Anita Sarkeesian, the creator of Tropes vs. Women — a video series exploring negative tropes and misogynistic depictions of women in video games — reports that she has been driven from her home after a series of extremely violent sexual threats made against her. Her videos have previously drawn criticism from many male gamers, often coupled with violent imagery or threats of violence. The Verge story linked has this to say: The threats against Sarkeesian have become a nasty backdrop to her entire project — and her life. If the trolls making them hoped for attention, they've gotten it. They've also inexorably linked criticism of her work, valid or not, with semi-delusional vigilantism, and arguably propelled Tropes vs. Women to its current level of visibility. If a major plank of your platform is that misogyny is a lie propagated by Sarkeesian and other "social justice warriors," it might help to not constantly prove it wrong.
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

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  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:02AM (#47774181) Journal
    I think this woman is a liar and an attention seeker, but she certainly doesn't deserve that sort of attention. An violent mob is morally repugnant, a self promoting professional victim is simply a pitiful individual.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <.ten.xoc. .ta. .ikiat.> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:06AM (#47774237)

    She has 114 thousand followers on twitter, 150k subscribers on YouTube and whenever she puts out a video it gets picked up by Kotaku, Polygon/Verge, Destructoid, etc.

    Publicity stunt? Not fucking likely.

    After Elliott Rodger, even if it's a freak occurrence, one would hate to be the exception to that rule given that life is on the line.

  • Re:Her work (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:14AM (#47774335)

    Anita has a history of crying wolf. Her disciples, such as Zoe Quinn, tend to do the same thing. She needs more sympathy money, and some of us feel so guilty about the actions of a few that we buy her stories hook line and sinker.

  • Re: Her work (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:16AM (#47774365) Journal

    I watched some of her videos last night. I don't see where she insulted a gender at all. At most, she takes game developers to task for using cheap, clichéd tropes about women as decorative or damsel in distress because they want an easy (or lazy) shorthand for character development or to get a cheap emotional response from the gamer.

  • by Ioldanach ( 88584 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:19AM (#47774409)

    The amount of actual evidence out there that Sarkeesian has been willing to lie about threats is zero

    Please present it. I don't think you can.

    How is someone supposed to present evidence of no evidence? The OP cannot find any existing evidence that Sarkeesian has lied or is willing to lie about threats. I suppose they could present their search result pages, but that doesn't actually prove anything.

    As for evidence of the threats, here's a post she made on twitter highlighting an example of a specific threat [twitter.com]

  • Re:Her work (Score:5, Informative)

    by mellon ( 7048 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:43AM (#47774713) Homepage

    Yes, and this is gender stereotyping, and if you read more feminist writing, you will discover that feminists are just as opposed to the stereotyping of men in these commercials as they are the stereotyping of women.

    There's a huge leap from "men are not the weakest and stupidest characters in a video game" and "brutal depictions of violence against women," and "the use of scantily-clad female corpses as decoration." If men were being depicted as weaker and stupider than women in the game that would also be gender stereotyping.

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:53AM (#47774837)

    I do know that this article is poorly written. They mention Zoe Quinn being harassed, but in reality, that harassment was people trying to discover the truth about whether or not a games journo was promoting her game at the same time that he was having an intimate relationship with her. Zoe Quinn is a despicable human being - and it's not because she's a woman. Let me give you an example from the long line of proof of what she's done.

    There's a group called The Fine Young Capitalists that were trying to host a game jam specifically directed at female developers - the entire point was to promote women in gaming. TFYC were getting funding for it, and then Zoe Quinn stepped in and had them shut down, implying that they were being misogynists. In reality, she wanted them shut down because she was hosting her own game jam, which had become a bloated, fund-sucking monstrosity that still has no concrete details as to when or where it's taking place. All of this is proven fact. By the way, TFYC did get their game jam funded.. by 4chan.. and it's pulling in plenty of female developers.

    There's also the part where she's declaring harassment because people are trying to find out the truth about whether or not she unethically used an intimate relationship with a games journalist to promote Depression Quest. The fact that she had an intimate relationship with Nathan Grayson is a big deal, especially considering that they officially started dating less than a week after Grayson's article was published, and there is evidence that the relationship may have existed before that but was kept away from public view.

    Everyone, even 4chan, have admitted that the sex scandal is about the game journo (and the sites he worked for), not about Zoe Quinn. Every single thread on the issue is filled with people specifically telling everyone NOT to harass her, or to wear Five Guys t-shirts (according to her ex, she cheated on him with five different guys during their relationship, one of whom was Nathan Grayson) to cons where she would be present. I think everyone but the media recognizes at this point that the Quinn scandal is about corruption in journalism - the only reason anyone even cares about Zoe Quinn's sex life is because it highlights the possibility for corruption on Nathan Grayson's part.

    Now, I'm not saying that Zoe Quinn ISN'T being harassed outside of the investigation into the facts of the Grayson case - in fact, I'm sure some idiots, including some idiots from 4chan, are doing that. However, the article's author makes it seem like the Grayson affair is being investigated so closely simply to harass Zoe Quinn, which could not be further from the truth.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:17PM (#47775117) Journal

    Why do women wear skirts that leave the knees bare?

    Skirts below full length became very popular in England during WWII, because of the severe shortages of fabric for clothes. That was in fact the first time it was really socially here acceptable. More than that in fact: it was a sign that you were doing your bit for the war effort by not engaging in excessive consumption.

    So, the knees/no knees thing is relatively recent. Once that damn was broken it appears that the length became less and less important.

    still: Why do women wear skirts that leave the knees bare?

    Why not? It's more comfortable in hot weather and many people believe it looks better too.

    I was taught that one ought to cover oneself from the shoulders down to at least the knees.

    By whom and according to what logic. I'm sitting here slacking in my office (you can tell I'm slacking since I'm writing this post) wearing shorts and a T shirt. My knees are most certainly visible.

  • Re: Her work (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @02:33PM (#47777211)

    "I'm going to murder you at your house, 123 Broadway Avenue, Littletown, Missouri 22817 at 9:17am on August 31, 2014, using a sawed-off 22-gauge shotgun loaded with..."

    Well, that is essentially the level of detail (including her home address) which was included in the threats, so even by your overly detailed requirements for "credible", yeah, they were credible.

  • Bullshit (Score:2, Informative)

    by cshark ( 673578 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @03:37PM (#47777901)

    This is a woman who has been caught lying about this kind of thing in the past. She's getting criticism, she doesn't like it, or know how to deal with it; so she makes up stories like this. She's done it before. She's been caught. Don't buy into this woman's attention whoring.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @03:41PM (#47777943)
    A specific threat, with a listed address, proving ability is a crime in all 50 states, and probably most countries. Yes, someone posting your address and death threats is scary. If you disagree, post your address here. Why not? Scared?
  • Re: Her work (Score:5, Informative)

    by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @03:51PM (#47778039) Homepage

    I'm still fuzzy on what constitutes a "credible" vs. non-credible death threat. Specific details?

    Perhaps you were looking for a legal definition of the term?

    As Ms Sarkeesian lives in California, State Penal Code Section 422 [findlaw.com] would apply:

    (a) Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family's safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

  • Re: Her work (Score:4, Informative)

    by Your.Master ( 1088569 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @03:53PM (#47778073)

    Did Brendan Eich receive credible death threats? I guess he might have, but I didn't hear about it and wouldn't condone it.

    Did anybody offer Anita Sarkeesian a job as the head of Firefox? No, not at all.

    With Eich, the debate was over a sort of flash-boycott over him becoming CEO, not his continued breathing.

  • Re: Her work (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @04:02PM (#47778183)

    When Jack Thompson brought up all the killing in video games and said they were bad he was run out of town. Slashdot and the whole of the gaming community rejoiced. But now that the focus is on women it is all of a sudden something worth considering.

    That's some revisionist history there. Jack Thompson wasn't run out of town because he opposed violent games. He was run out of the legal profession because his conduct was unprofessional, uncivil, and harassing towards opposing counsel and judges. He made unsubstantiated claims against others, outright lies, and never responded to questions asked by courts.

    For example, in Strickland v Sony, he was granted temporary permission to practice law (pro hac vice) in Alabama as his licensed state is Florida. Normally this is a procedural formality when a lawyer wants to take on a case in another state. Part of the pro hac vice application to the Alabama Bar specifically asks if the lawyer has had any disbarment proceedings (question 8) and any suspension proceedings (question 9) and to list them. Thompson responded "None, but please see the attached letter" to both. In the attached letter, Thompson described how he had been reprimanded 13 years earlier. Thompson however failed to mention that the case 13 years ago involved disbarment and suspension proceedings. Because of this and Thompson violated a gag order, Judge Moore revoked Thompson's pro hac vice status; he was no longer on the case. Despite being thrown off the case, Thompson continue to send emails and faxes to the court about the case for at least 2 years afterwards.

    During that same case, Thompson harassed the lawyers of Blank Rome, the law firm representing Sony. Now it's one thing to oppose counsel in court but he attacked the lawyers including the gender of one of the attorneys. He also accused the law firm of participating in pornography and killing of police officers.

    In an unrelated case, Thompson went after Al Cardenas, a partner in Tew Cardenas by accusing him of pornography, racketeering, and other criminal activity. What was the relationship between Cardenas and Thompson? As crazy as it sounds, almost none. Beasley Broadcasting Group owned a number of radio stations, and Thompson had issues with their programming. Normally their lawyer Norman Kent dealt with Thompson, and his dealings led to the point where Kent sued and won $50,000 from Thompson for defamation. Beasley also had Tew Cardenas on their retainer for other legal matters. Kent and Tew Cardenas had no relationship other than they represented the same company on different legal matters. Al Cardenas was a partner in Tew Cardenas but did not work the Beasley account. The attacks on Al Cardenas started one week when Norman Kent was out of town and did not respond to Thompson's letters and demands immediately.

    These are the reason why Thompson was run out of the legal profession; not his stand, but his conduct.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982