This is a really complicated, messy, volatile collection of issues so let’s break down some facts about what everyone’s talking about with this #GamerGate business.
Brianna Wu is a game developer for Giant Spacekat who worked on Revolution 60. Being a woman involved in the video game industry is always a risky business, and when she chose so speak out against sexism in video games the hoards descended. Wu’s comments were in response to the harassment of Zoe Quinn, a fellow game developer who worked on Depression Quest, and who’s ex-boyfriend made numerous unsubstantiated allegations of of unethical journalistic practices.
This is the part where GamerGate comes in. After Wu made these statements, members of the widespread disparate group began harassing her as well (they had already been going ten rounds with Quinn and several other prominent female game developers and feminists). This harassment escalated into some very real threats (picture 2), and at that point Wu and her husband decided to call the police and leave their home. GamerGate has not claimed credit for the threats, but they also aren’t doing anything to disassociate themselves from extremists like this, nor have they spoken out against the threats made to Wu.
An important thing to keep in mind is this is not NEW issue. The harassment of Zoe Quinn started in December of 2013 and GamerGate has been around and making noise for 2 years already. One reason GamerGate is maintaining steam is big name support including actor Adam Baldwin (yes, Jayne from Firefly), and frankly when Seth Rogen, the man who thought making date rape a joke in Observe & Report was a tasteful choice, when even he tells you're a “f***ing idiot” (picture 3) you’re doing something wrong.
This is an issue that I care deeply about on a very personal level. I am a woman and I love video games. I also love freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and I really love freedom of the press. What I do not love are man-child idiots making threats against women for exercising freedom of speech in calling out sexism in video games. Whether sexism is an issue in gaming is a topic that can be debated, but harassment, hacking, and threats are not debate they are criminal.
I’ve included some really good (but very biased) articles that I highly recommend to learn more about the historical context and ongoing issues that have lead to the #StopGamerGate2014 campaign.