Update: Okay, I’ve more or less given up on updating this despite my initial plan of updating every few weeks. To be perfectly honest, seeing traffic come from such Google searches as “brianna wu transwoman”—and that’s an actual example—rubs me the wrong way since that’s not what this site is about, and between the December holidays and a lack of free time, I’ve been following developments less closely than in the past. That said, this history covers all of the interesting developments that led up to Gamergate and the history of the tag when it was at its strongest; as I write this, it’s tapered off from an average of 50k uses a day to just under 30k. Despite the less frequent usage, however, I’ve seen indications that it’s succeeded at leaving an indelible mark. I’m not just speaking of the bitterness coming from those in the industry (though it’s definitely there), but instead of the commonness of terms like “SJW” in gaming circles. That was a term I actually had to look up when this all began because no one ever used it, so this is definitely indicative of a heightened awareness of those in the industry piggybacking off of legitimately good causes like feminism for their own benefit. I’ve also noticed a greater amount of hostility toward some of the sites in question like Kotaku and Polygon because of their actions throughout all of this. While I wouldn’t say that Gamergate has managed to shatter the ugly practices that they’ve gotten away with for so long (yet, at least), I have no doubt that this whole ordeal has solidified and widened the divide between gamers and the gaming press that was supposed to be going to bat for them. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.
I’ve been a supporter of #Gamergate from the very beginning (consider this a disclaimer), and despite some rocky moments and problematic fellow members, I remain a staunch supporter. However, there’s been so much misinformation, noise, and emotion coming out of both sides of the debate that newcomers are bound to be either confused or misled by how we actually got to this point. Since I haven’t seen anyone else attempt to fairly cover the events that started Gamergate and the wins and losses on both sides, I figured I’d do it myself in as unbiased a manner as possible. This is bound to be long, but bear with me—it’s important to understand the whole thing if we’re all going to have a meaningful conversation on the topic.
While suspicions of corruption and a distaste at the cozy relationship between game sites and advertisers had long been present, fans are generally in an okay place with these sites until Jeff Gerstmann’s sudden departure from Gamespot. Said departure comes after Gerstmann publishes a critical review of the Eidos-published Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, and seeing as how that the site was plastered in advertising for the game at the time, fans speculate that the publishers had pressured Gamespot as a result of the review, leading to Gerstmann’s termination. Legal obligations keep anyone from speaking out until March of 2012, when Gerstmann is finally able to explain that the review was one of the reasons he was fired, though this only confirms what many who followed the story had already come to believe.
In October of 2012, game journalist Rab Florence publishes a piece criticizing the industry and its unprofessional buddy-buddy relationship with PR and advertising. In the piece, Florence uses an image of game journalist Geoff Keighley sitting next to a table full of Doritos and Mountain dew, looking into the camera with the deadest of eyes, as if pleading on the inside for someone to save him. This image earns Keighley the nickname “Dorito Pope,” as well as a series of colorful images where a giant Dorito is photoshopped onto his head to look like a pope hat.
If you scroll down a bit on the page, you’ll notice a disclaimer:
Here’s what was removed after the complaint:
That image is screencapped from this CinemaBlend article that explains what happened next: Florence left Eurogamer. The internet explodes with outrage over this, with large numbers of gamers being left with the impression that a game journalist has effectively been been fired for pulling back the curtain and telling them the truth. There hasn’t been any actual proof that he was fired or otherwise pressured to step down as far as I’m aware, but it eventually comes out that Lauren Wainwright, the journalist who had Florence’s references to her deleted, went so far as to threaten legal action against Eurogamer. It’s later revealed that she’s worked with game publisher Square-Enix, and though she claims to have never reviewed a Square-Enix game, this is quickly proven to be a lie.
Gaming news site Rock, Paper, Shotgun (RPS) publishes a piece decrying a statue included in a special edition of zombie game Dead Island: Riptide that’s billed as “Dead Island’s grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture.” In the piece, they claim that this is “another vile misogynistic campaign” and complain that it depicts “a woman reduced to nothing but her tits, her wounds hideously depicted in gore, jutting bones, and of course barely a mark covering her globular breasts.”
In the interest of fairness, here’s an image of a marble torso statue to compare with the image in the article so you can gauge for yourself whether it’s a tribute or misogynistic marketing campaign (or both):
Just a couple of days later…
Gabrielle Toledano, executive vice president and chief talent officer of Electronic Arts, pens a piece in Forbes that claims that “in the video game industry women are not just welcome, we are necessary and we are equal.”
RPS doubles down with an article talking about sexism and how they’re not going to stop talking about it. From the article: “Many women are mistreated and misrepresented within the games industry. It’s not a matter of opinion, a political position, or claim made to reinforce previous bias. It’s the demonstrable, sad truth.”
Also in April…
After promoting a seemingly innocuous charity funding a life-saving surgery, Destructoid writer Allistair Pinsof discovers that the whole thing is a lie to raise funds for the individual in question’s gender reassignment surgery. However, Pinsof is threatened that said individual will kill themselves if he reveals this, and his bosses at Destructoid instruct him to remain quiet. The funding site, IndieGoGo, soon cancels the campaign amid rumors that it’s a scam, and backers are refunded.
The individual raising the funds then streams a live suicide attempt on Twitch and lies motionless for several minutes after ingesting pills. After word comes out that they survived the attempt, Pinsof goes against his bosses’ wishes and reveals what he knows on Twitter. This causes his bosses to suspend him and take to their site’s forums to respond to some of their readers’ questions about the situation. They initially claim that they “have a problem with the way this went down” (this is a direct quote that I personally saw), only to delete their initial reactions and replace them with more PR-friendly explanations about how Pinsof was suspended for jumping the gun on a story they had planned to publish later anyway. He’s later fired from the website entirely and, according to leaks from a private game journalist email list, blacklisted.
Relative unknown Anita Sarkeesian launches a Kickstarter campaign to “explore five common and recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games.” In a response that I to this day don’t understand, she’s subjected to a large amount of internet harassment that inspires sympathetic individuals to donate even more, eventually blowing past her Kickstarter’s goal of $6,000 to raise $158,922 for the videos. She intermittently comes under fire between 2013 and 2014 for being slow to upload new videos, as well as facing allegations that she used footage from Let’s Play videos without attribution.
Thierry Van Gyseghem, Lead Animator at Larian Studios (developers of the widely praised Divinity: Original Sin) publishes a deviantart post titled “Save the Boob-plate!” In it, he claims that “in the world of journalism there are channels that take an aggressive stance against everything they judge even remotely sexistic [sic] and in many instances denying the word of opposition by disabling criticism and reactions on their articles or blogs. Also blackmails in the form of ‘change your game art or we won’t publish a single word about you.’ is a common behavior found among those.”
On August 15th, Danielle Riendeau writes a review of indie game Gone Home, giving it a perfect score. It later comes out that she’s good friends with someone involved in the creation of Gone Home, something that she fails to disclose in her review.
In an RPS interview with Blizzard game director Dustin Browder about an upcoming MOBA game, game journalist Nathan Grayson tries to steer the direction toward the sexualized depictions of women in the genre. The interview ends very, very badly because of this, with Dustin effectively storming off:
Steam tags are introduced, and just one day in, several gaming news sites flip out after discovering that gamers have tagged Gone Home and other indie games with a “not a game” tag. This leads to Steam implementing a “report” feature for tags, eventually banning the “not a game” tag (among others) outright. Some gamers go on to register their displeasure at game journalists’ reaction.
Leigh Alexander, Editor-in-Chief at game site Gamasutra and writer for Destructoid, The Guardian, and numerous other websites, doxxes someone, revealing their name and email address to over 42 thousand followers on Twitter (doxxing is where one’s personal information is revealed in public).
Just days later…
Eron Gonji, Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, creates a WordPress blog and pens several lengthy entries detailing his relationship with her, explaining that he’s writing “to warn you to be cautious of Zoe.” He posts screenshots to back up many of his points, and when allegations of photoshopping arise, he posts a video where he pulls up a Facebook conversation between him and Quinn. In his posts, many allegations are made regarding lying and manipulative behavior, but the most relevant part is where he claims that she slept with game journalist Nathan Grayson. This leads many to suspect that Quinn slept with Grayson for positive press, and while these claims rely on circumstantial evidence and vague dates, Kotaku publishes a reaction that confirms that Grayson and Quinn were indeed involved in a romantic relationship. However, it’s also confirmed that Grayson never reviewed Quinn’s games. At most, he wrote an article about a failed “game jam” that Quinn was involved in.
End of August, 2014
Many gamers who began digging into the possibility of a “sex for favors” link between Zoe Quinn and Nathan Grayson turn their attention to other potential corruption that could help bolster their arguments about the industry being plagued with problems. They soon uncover Twitter conversations between indie game developer Anna Anthropy and game journalist Patricia Hernandez that show a close relationship between the two that had never been disclosed in Hernandez’ articles about Anthropy’s games. Once this is discovered, disclaimers are silently slapped onto old articles where they didn’t before exist. However, archives of those reviews prove that these articles existed without disclaimers for quite some time.
Patricia Hernandez was also found to have been friends (and if a certain Twitter conversation is to be believed, lovers) with game developer Christine Love, who likewise had her game covered by Hernandez without a disclaimer.
August 21, 2014
Phil Fish, the developer of indie hit Fez infamous for offending as many people as possible with unpopular comments about PCs, gaming channels on Youtube, insulting people he disagrees with/doesn’t like, and cancelling Fez 2 because gamers “don’t deserve it,” is an early supporter of Zoe Quinn after Eron’s blog goes live. He goes on to disparage those looking into the many allegations made regarding Quinn, and on August 21st, his website Polytron is hacked and personal information pertaining to the company is leaked. The hack claims to have been perpetrated by the “leader of 4chan and [activist and hacker collective] Anonymous”, but many users of 4chan notice that /V/ is capitalized, and point out that this isn’t a mistake any real 4chan user would make.
This, combined with initial reports that Polytron uses Cloudflare, which has 2-step verification that would have made hacking it neigh-impossible, lead many to suspect that Fish hacked his own site. This is later debunked.
August 24, 2014
Devin Faraci compares those who have come to dislike Zoe Quinn to ISIS. This isn’t the last time the comparison is made, and the attacks become uglier (that’s from a game journalist who has written for Polygon, Ars Technica, and others) and uglier over time.
August 26, 2014
August 27, the birth of #Gamergate
As more and more incriminating rumors regarding Zoe Quinn continue to come out and more people become involved in discussions stemming from the allegations (and proven facts like game journalists contributing to her Patreon), a campaign of mass censorship begins. People are banned off of forums all over the internet for even bringing up the subject (this is still happening on NeoGAF and many other forums), posts are mysteriously deleted, and people on Reddit are shadowbanned. It becomes abundantly clear that this is a topic that many people don’t want to discuss at all, though to their credit, gaming news website The Escapist allows users to discuss the topic.
This mass censorship only galvanizes many Youtube personalities, and they create video after video about the Quinnspiracy and censorship of things that gaming media has shown a zeal for covering in the past (the charges mentioned in that article were later dropped). This time, however, no one from these sites bothers to look into the claims, having already made up their minds that “the sickening facts of the attacks easily overwhelms [any merit to those accusations].” This is later proven to be the consensus among many game journalists in a private email list that game journalists were involved in and that later has many posts leaked to the public by Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart.
On August 27th, actor Adam Baldwin tweets two of the Quinnspiracy Youtube videos using the hashtag #Gamergate, which then takes off, becoming a rallying call of sorts to alert people to the censorship, the corruption of game journalists like Patricia Hernandez, and a million other complaints people have with gaming journalism dating back to the 2007 Gerstmann scandal. Zoe Quinn chimes in on Twitter, accusing Baldwin of “contributing to a campaign of harassment on an indie game dev.”
August 28 and 29, 2014
Game journalists suddenly weigh in on the controversy, but only do so to tell those voicing their concerns that they’re irrelevant and need to go away. Leigh Alexander, Editor-in-Chief at game industry site Gamasutra, writes the most talked-about version of these articles (all of which being eerily similar, indicating some level of collusion in the minds of many) in which she states that “These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers — they are not my audience. They don’t have to be yours. There is no ‘side’ to be on, there is no ‘debate’ to be had.” Gamergate explodes at the perceived coordinated attack and rallies around the hashtag in the following days.
September 1, 2014
Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart posts an article titled “Feminist bullies tearing the video game industry apart.” Some members of Gamergate flock to him, desperate for representation after being painted as extremists and misogynists and bullies, while other members remain skeptical of his right-wing politics and keep their distance. He goes on to write several articles on the subject of Gamergate.
Around the same time…
The first Indie-fensible video is published on Youtube by user ShortFatOtaku, titled “Indie fensible! The Maya ‘Legobutts’ Kramer Story!” Actually explaining all of the weird coincidences and suspicious industry stuff contained in the video would take forever, so it’s probably best to just watch it yourself:
Some of the more minor claims in the video would be disputed by involved parties, and this is addressed in a followup video posted on September 7th (I’ll embed that video further down).
September 2, 2014
Fed up with being labeled as white, misogynistic men, the hashtag #notyourshield emerges and many minorities speak out against the sweeping generalizations being made about gamers. Many also express solidarity with Gamergate. While this tag seems to have existed in some form prior to being used on Twitter, a Twitter search shows that the earliest existing tweet using the tag was made on September 2nd. The opposition to Gamergate would claim that many of those using the tag are sockpuppet (duplicate) accounts made by white male 4chan users trying to feign diversity. As a result, many are compelled to provide pictures or other proof in order to avoid being ignored.
September 5, 2014
Leigh Alexander, Editor-in-Chief of Gamasutra and author of the most infamous variant of the “Gamers are dead” articles, pens a piece for Time’s website where she references Zoe Quinn and claims that “the misogynistic ‘scandal’ — and fans’ fear of women ‘censoring’ their medium by seeking more positive and diverse portrayals — has launched an ‘ethical inquiry’ by fans campaigning to unearth evidence of corruption and collusion among people who they feel are too close to the games and developers they write about.”
September 6, 2014
A Storify link is posted titled “Gameovergate,” and many of those vocally opposing Gamergate tweet out the link to their followers using the hashtag #Gameovergate. On the Storify page, there are many screen captures (the majority seemingly made by Zoe Quinn herself) that opponents argue show that Gamergate was pre-planned as a cover for misogynists to harass women. These images are later proven to have been taken out of context in order to rally people against Gamergate and mislead newcomers to the debate.
September 7, 2014
Board game designer Greg Costikyan writes an article for Gamesutra titled “Gamergate: STFU” in which he engages in a profanity-filled rant against gamers. Some quotes from the article:
Who cares who Zoe Quinn fucked, or didn’t fuck? It’s none of your fucking business, unless you were one of the people involved, and most of you would give your left kidney to fuck her, if you had any brains. You are unlikely ever to touch anyone with an iota of her talent or intelligence.
“Deal with the fact that not all games are, or will be in the future, the same corporate crap that you apparently love so much.”
“You are assholes. Worse, you are poor examples of men. Men, good men, defend women. They do not attack them. To which end: To defend the honor of Anita Sirkeesian [sic], Zoe Quinn, Leigh Alexander, or yes, Anna Anthropy, I will be willing to meet any of you, on horse or afoot, with sword or pistol, at a time and place of your choosing.”
This article is later removed from the site, existing now only in archived form.
On the same day…
The second Indie-fensible video goes live, titled “Indie-fensible! Bigger Fish to Fry!” This video explores some of the leaked information that came out after Polytron was hacked:
CameraLady, who was primarily involved on the research side of things, eventually takes these videos down out of caution as a result of vague threats of legal action made toward her.
September 11, 2014
Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart links to a tumblr post with a transcript of someone’s conversation with the relevant police regarding Anita Sarkeesian’s death threat, with the quoted officer claiming that he’s “unable to locate any record on the date or name with the information provided.” This sets off rumors that the death threats were faked, but this is quickly debunked.
September 12, 2014
Game developer Daniel Vavra is interviewed by TechRaptor and weighs in on the topics of Gamergate and misogyny in the industry, as well as providing examples of games that game journalists have accused of “misogyny/racism/homophobia/sexism” and commenting on his own experiences with such accusations.
September 15, 2014
September 16, 2014
Cracked.com allows Zoe Quinn to publish an article. David Wong, Executive Editor of Cracked, later authors several forum posts suggesting that he has a preexisting ideological bent, something backed up by his censorship of opposing viewpoints.
Also on the 16th…
Christina Hoff Sommers, self-professed fan of equity feminism and outspoken critic of modern feminism, posts a video titled “Are video games sexist?” In it, she claims that gamers are having to “deal with a new army of critics: gender activists, hipsters with degrees in cultural studies, and these critics are concerned that gaming is largely a hetero-patriarchal capitalist pursuit.” Critics of the video (including gaming sites like Polygon) claim that she represents right-wing politics; this is later debunked.
September 17, 2014
The Mirror posts an article titled “What is #GamerGate and why did it make some men so angry?” In the article, the claim is made that Gamergate “basically boils down to an attack on two women.” No mention is made of the proven allegations against game journalists like Patricia Hernandez and Ben Kuchera or the fabricated allegations of Gameovergate, instead focusing exclusively on Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn.
Also on September 17…
A reddit post goes up showing that Zoe Quinn tweeted a website out to her followers that doxxed a minor.
September 19, 2014
Later on the 19th…
Gamergate supporter Alexander/Alexandra Wuori is doxxed and receives a threatening phone call, presumably from those opposed to the movement. The tweet pictured has since disappeared, but a later tweet by the same account confirms that this did indeed occur.
September 20, 2014
The Escapist’s thread about Gamergate suffers a DDoS attack.
September 21, 2014
Milo Yiannopoulos publishes a piece for Breitbart in which he releases the names of the game journalists (and some marketing/PR people) involved in the private GameJournoPros mailing list. A day later, he leaks some of the group’s discussions that paint certain game journalists in a poor light.
September 22, 2014
Gamergate supporter GGfeminist is doxxed after posting a faculty ID to avoid claims of being a sockpuppet account. She then receives an explicit death threat warning her to “stop posting this gamergate bullshit” or else suffer the graphic consequences listed in the message. As of mid-October, not a single major game site has run an article about the threat made against her.
Also on September 22nd…
After Emma Watson delivers a stirring speech to the UN about feminism and gender equality, hoax site Fox Weekly posts a piece claiming that 4chan is planning to release nude photographs of her. This is eventually proven to be a hoax, but not before many users and websites attempt to link it to Gamergate.
September 28, 2014
At some point toward the end of September, free speech haven 4chan has its moderators start to close down conversations about Gamergate. Suspicions run rampant about the site owner’s relationship with a PR rep who works for Gawker Media (who owns gaming site Kotaku). None of these are ever confirmed, but the sudden censorship turns many users off and they begin an exodus to other sites. On September 28th, Gamergate support KingofPol is doxxed on 4chan.
September 30, 2014
Developers of the irreverent Postal series, Running With Scissors, release a statement titled “Gaming Is Not A Crime!” In it, they state that games “are not intended as a direct blow to either men or women. The men in a lot of these games are dressed just as scantily or sexy as the women. We don’t hear too many complaints about the lesser dressed men no matter how big their muscles or other appendages seem to be. Could it be that the people doing all the complaining are simply looking for their 15 minutes of fame or a way to make easy money without too much actual work?”
Also on the 30th…
Youtuber Sargon of Akkad publishes a video showing industry person Alex Lifschitz (I literally have no idea what he actually does, but people listen to him for whatever reason) railing against modern games and symbolically destroying a copy of Grand Theft Auto V.
October 2, 2014
After receiving emails as part of Operation Disrespectful Nod (an email campaign designed to let advertisers know about the behavior of the sites they’re advertising on), Intel pulls its ads off of gaming website Gamasutra. Those who oppose Gamergate criticize Intel for its move, claiming that they’re buckling to an “anti-feminist campaign.” Intel later apologized for sending the impression that they were taking sides in the Gamergate debate, but nevertheless stressed that “for the time being, Intel has decided not to continue with our current ad campaign on the gaming site Gamasutra.”
October 3, 2014
Photographer Mallorie Nasrallah posts on her Facebook page that she was the photographer for some old pictures of Zoe Quinn, and claims that “7 years later, Zoe is still BY FAR the worst client I have ever had.” She goes on to claim that Zoe talked to her about killing a would-be rapist by stabbing him in the face and then not reporting it to the police and backs this claim up with a heavily censored screenshot of a conversation between the two (note: Zoe was modeling under the name “Locke” at the time).
Also on October 3rd…
According to some sources (as in, take this with a grain of salt because it’s almost too ridiculous to be true), some anti-Gamergate people attempt to doxx a Gamergate supporter on 4chan, only to find out that said supporter works in the Department of Defense.
The day isn’t over yet, though…
October 6, 2014
After hosting an hour-long discussion between many prominent individuals with differing views on the topic of Gamergate (including Youtube superstar TotalBiscuit and game journalist Greg Tito), Erik Kain writes a piece where he argues that gaming journalists need to engage Gamergate. He writes, “It’s time to for video game writers–however nervous or exhausted they are–to engage with gamers, and it’s time for gamers–however burned and jaded they may feel–to do likewise. At the same time we need to continue to condemn hateful speech and harassment, and to crowd it out with healthy discussion and debate.”
Also on October 6th…
Like Intel before them, the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) pulls their advertising from Gamasutra, claiming that they discontinued the ads as soon as they “became aware of their [sic] being an issue with negative journalism,” going on to state that they’re “very sensitive to issues of this nature.”
Lots of stuff happened on the 6th…
George Reese, Executive Director of Cloud Computing at Dell, makes the following tweet (along with several other similarly offensive ones):
The tweet is later deleted.
October 8, 2014
In response to GaymerX not taking what Gamergate’s opposition believes to be a strong enough stance against them, they’re bullied on Twitter by familiar names such as Christina Love (one of Patricia Hernandez’s undisclosed relationships from earlier) into officially denouncing the movement.
October 9, 2014
October 10, 2014
Game developer Brianna Wu receives a Twitter threat that prompts her to leave her house. Within five days, she’s appeared on MSNBC (which many view as suspicious seeing as how her friend’s site is partnered with NBC) and The Huffington Post, and has articles written about the incident on Polygon, The Escapist, Kotaku, Giant Bomb, and even mainstream news sites.
October 11, 2014
Former game journalist and current president of “a consultancy firm for entertainment and media,” Adam Sessler, tweets that he’s not disappointed that there have been no articles about harassment that caused a Gamergate supporter to lose his job.
October 12, 2014
John Walker of RPS claims on his blog to have received “thousands of tweets that have been insulting, offensive, outrageously inaccurate, spiteful, cruel, or disturbing.” He goes on to claim in a Twitter conversation that the abuse “had the hashtag in it. Hundreds and hundreds of times.” This is later proven to be a lie.
October 14, 2014
Despite claiming to be anti-harassment, Brianna Wu appears to make a derogatory remark towards CameraLady (who has Autism). It’s later shown that this post originated from a fake account that uses an uppercase I rather than a lowercase L, making it look authentic at first glance. The fake account has since been suspended by Twitter.
On the same day…
Boogie2988, having recently been banned from the NeoGAF forum for not condemning Gamergate enough, receives a death threat on Youtube where his home address is posted and the offending user threatens to murder his wife.
The day isn’t over, though…
The ever-infamous WikiLeaks posts on Twitter in support of Gamergate, writing, “So you found out your media is corrupt. It is.”
This day never ends…
Anita Sarkeesian cancels a speech at Utah State University scheduled for October 15th after the school receives a death threat threatening “the deadliest school shooting in American history.” Anita later explains on Twitter that she canceled because she “didn’t feel the security measures were adequate.” The Washington Post (and many others) publishes a piece claiming that the threat “is just the latest one in the ongoing saga of Gamergate, an increasingly nasty culture war between video-game critics like Sarkeesian and a mob of gamers.” To date, no evidence of the connection between the threat and Gamergate has been established.
Apparently something else happened, too…
A Twitter search seems to indicate that the first use of #StopGamerGate2014 occurs on October 14th, with the first few tweets using it setting the overall tone. The hashtag goes on to explode in popularity, though some of this is proven to be bot activity. This leads to some strange moments. The tag’s sudden explosion in popularity also brings the trolls out, and Gamergate supporters use the same arguments that have been used against them for the past month to create amusing moments of cognitive dissonance.
October 16, 2014
Gamergate-supporting Youtuber Socks posts a video reacting negatively to a front-page New York Times article that casts Gamergate in a negative light, instead suggesting that the harassment is the work of third parties. She also highlights an 8chan post claiming that a coordinated anti-Gamergate media effort is soon on its way, though cautioning her watchers to “take this with a grain of salt. […] This could be legit, or it could be a panic troll.” By the end of the day, there are eight articles on different news sites focusing on the harassment of Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu (the Washington Post article was written a day earlier). Not one of these articles mentions the proven allegations against Patricia Hernandez, nor is ggfeminist’s death threat brought up. Toward the end of her video, Socks reminds her viewers, as she often does, to “be nice to confused new people.”
Also on October 16th…
CameraLady posts a TwitLonger post showing that someone tried to doxx Zoe Quinn on 8chan for real (a claimed earlier doxx against her was full of fake information), only to have Gamergate supporters spamming threads in order to delete the information from the site and protect Quinn’s privacy.
However, this “good” spam is eventually removed from a hidden board, and a user who appears to be the board moderator claims that “doxx are allowed.” According to the site’s FAQ, it “allows anyone who wants to to become the owner of their own board. They are given free reign to institute whatever rules they wish on their board, as long as they do not affect the global rules.” The one global rule is to “not post, request, or link to any content illegal in the United States of America.” After many condemn this behavior, the doxx is eventually removed and—in a spectacular display of missing the point entirely—the board rules are changed to: “Doxx are allowed, but not posted direcly. Use pastebin.”
Even later that day….
Gawker writer Sam Biddle tweets that Gamergate “is reaffirming what we’ve known to be true for decades: nerds should be constantly shamed and degraded into submission,” as well as making a other derogatory posts. Gawker’s editor-in-chief would also admit to harassing individuals.
And capping the 16th off…
An anti-bullying charity campaign is kicked off and raises over $10,000 in the following day.
October 17, 2014
Mercedes-Benz pulls its advertising from Gawker as the result of its employees bullying and inciting violence against gamers on Twitter.
Later that day…
Also on the 17th…
Jonathan Blow, developer of indie hit Braid, tells Gamergate supporters not to play his games and implies that supporting the movement means supporting harassment.
October 18th, 2014
Alex Lifshitz tells Gamergate supporters that the money they raised for the anti-bullying campaign doesn’t undo the harassment they’ve done. To date, no proof has surfaced indicating that any of the threats were sent by Gamergate supporters. However, evidence comes out around this time suggesting that threats sent to Anita Sarkeesian were at least partially the work of a Brazilian game journalist from a site called Celebrinando. Gamespot writer Kevin VanOrd would later complain about harassment coming from someone at that same site going back years.
Also on the 18th…
An individual looking to create a way of automatically blocking Twitter harassment goes through 1500 Twitter mentions received by Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu over 20 hours and finds that “in those 20 hours neither Anita or Brianna received a serious rape or death threat (which doesn’t meant they never get them, just that they did not receive them in that time-frame). But what they did get was an endless stream of almost exclusive negativity.” He goes on to state that he “thought the biggest damage would be the high-profile death & rape threats, but the problem is much worse than that.”
October 19, 2014
Soon after challenging Gawker writer Sam Biddle to a boxing match (offering a donation of $10,000 to an anti-bullying charity as an incentive), prominent Gamergate supporter Mike Cernovich has many old tweets uncovered where he himself bullies other users. He goes on to welcome criticism of his past behavior and admit that it was “juvenile.”
Also on the 19th…
Mangotron posts an interview with two prominent figures in Gamergate on both sides of the issue.
October 20, 2014
According to the Washington Post, Mercedes-Benz reinstates its ad campaign on Gawker.
Also on the 20th…
Two days after having a GameJournoPros conversation leaked in which he seems to blacklist former Destructoid writer Allistair Pinsof (see: Destructoid controversy from April 2013), Editor-in-chief Dale north announces on his tumblr that he’s resigning from the site:
But the day’s not over yet…
October 21, 2014
Adobe claims on Twitter that they’re not an advertiser with Gawker, but that they asked Gawker to remove their logo from the site, afterwards affirming that “Adobe stands against bullying.”
Also on the 21st…
Gaming website Revue Labs steps away from its position supporting Gamergate, stating that “the hope was that the conversation could be steered constructively and that our intentions would be very clear. This has not turned out to be the case. […] We feel the best way that we can contribute to this incredibly diverse culture is to do our best to be an example of what a gaming website should be.”
Later that day…
Former NFL player Chris Kluwe writes an article titled “Why #Gamergaters Piss Me The F*** Off” in which he expresses a hope that those using the hashtag develop genital warts. He writes: “Because you’re lazy. You’re ignorant. You are a blithering collection of wannabe Wikipedia philosophers, drunk on your own buzzwords, incapable of forming an original thought. You display a lack of knowledge stunning in its scope, a fundamental disregard of history and human nature so pronounced that makes me wonder if lead paint is a key component of your diet. You think you’re making piercing arguments when, in actuality, you’re throwing a temper tantrum that would embarrass a three-year-old.”
October 22, 2014
Actor and game voice actor Felicia Day posts on her tumblr about how Gamergate has made her afraid, only to be doxxed minutes after the post goes live.
Also on the 22nd…
Digital video game retailer Gamersgate (notice the “S”) puts out a statement explaining that they have no affiliation with the movement, as well as claiming to have “received threats and harsh words from around the world.” Apart from their downloader technically being a form of DRM and a general lack of DRM-free offerings, the store is absolutely wonderful and should be left out of this.
October 23, 2014
This video of a feminist, mom, and non-gamer who supports Gamergate explaining her reasons for doing so starts making the rounds:
Also on October 23rd…
Salon posts an article titled “#Gamergate is really about terrorism: Why Bill Maher should be vilifying the gaming community, too” in which the movement is labeled as a terrorist movement (the archive cuts off a large part of the text, but the missing part can be seen here). It’s also argued in the article that the reason no one has called those involved in Gamergate terrorists yet has to do with the fact that they’re assumed to be white, though this argument seems to only be made to score points against Bill Maher after some of his comments about Islam and Muslims upset people (as evidenced by the end’s disclaimer that it’s “grossly unfair to label a whole, diverse community of individuals based on the example of a small, violent and extreme element”).
October 24, 2014
Gamergate supporter Kingofpol, who was formerly doxxed, receives a knife in the mail with a handwritten note saying only “please kill yourself.” Once again, the gaming and mainstream media ignore the harassment perpetrated against a Gamergate supporter and choose to publish no stories on the incident.
October 25, 2014
Newsweek reporter Taylor Wofford, who just days prior echoed Sam Biddle’s statement about bullying by writing on his Twitter that “Bullying—actually—is good,” writes a piece for Newsweek in which he attempts to break down some Twitter numbers in order to demonstrate that Gamergate is objectively an attack on women. Within the same day, a writer on Medium breaks down the numbers and finds major flaws in the methodology that suggest that the data was deliberately framed to make Gamergate look bad rather than being reported on objectively.
October 27, 2014
Journalist David Pakman conducts an interview with Brianna Wu where he asks her some of the tougher questions Gamergate has wanted addressed. Brianna responds by claiming that it’s a hit piece:
The next day, Pakman conducts an interview with Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart to give him an opportunity to respond to some allegations she made about him in her interview. He’s asked similarly tough questions, especially in regards to his views on transsexualism and some of his more controversial statements published over the course of Gamergate.
Also on the 27th…
Youtuber AngryAussie posts a profanity-laced video living up to his name in which he rails against Gamergate:
October 28, 2014
Slate writer David Auerbach writes an article titled “How to End Gamergate” in which he states that “the key to reducing the movement’s size lies in the little known but surprisingly numerous species I call the Gamergate moderate (Gamergater moderabilus), which by my estimate constitutes well over half the movement,” going on to state that the key to dissolving Gamergate is to appeal to its moderates. He also calls for the firing of some of gaming journalism’s more toxic elements, and later states that “Gamergate’s flaws are, for the most part, flaws of the Internet, of online discourse, and of humanity.”
Also on October 28th…
Anita Sarkeesian writes an article for the New York Times in which she claims that “the time for invisible boundaries that guard the ‘purity’ of gaming as a niche subculture is over. The violent macho power fantasy will no longer define what gaming is all about.”
Even more from the 28th…
Equity feminist and Gamergate supporter Christina Hoff Sommers appears on Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC show to clear up some misconceptions the outlet and watchers have about the movement after the one-sided rundowns provided by Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Leigh Alexander. In it, Ronan presents the debunked Newsweek study as fact and continually interrupts Sommers. The speaking time Gamergate figures on MSNBC were allotted is later broken down in a forum thread on The Escapist, ultimately showing that anti-Gamergate voices were given 14 times more speaking time.
October 29, 2014
Anita Sarkeesian appears on The Colbert Report to talk about Gamergate: “We’re seeing this influx of different kinds of games and that’s what Gamergate is responding to. They’re actually responding to the fact that we’re saying gaming can no longer be this little boy’s club anymore.” (I wrote a response to this from my position as an early Gamergate supporter, by the way.)
October 30, 2014
The Verge posts an article titled “Gamergate is dead” in which it’s stated that “Gamergate began in August as an organized attack on a single woman in the video game community, and expanded to be a life threatening attack on many women in the global community. During that window, acutely aware of their own negative image, members redirected the movement’s public-facing purpose to be about ethics in game journalism — an agenda that was literally set after journalists reacted to a week of swatting, rape and death threats directed towards both men and women in the industry.”
Despite their declaration, Gamergate’s exposure on The Colbert Report leads to a sharp upswing in tweets using the hashtag.
Also on October 30th…
A Reddit post goes up showing that a transwoman was banned from discussion by a moderator because they demonstrated “a fundamental lack of gratitude for your allies on the left who have campaigned for social justice for decades.” The message goes on to state: “You, as a transwoman, are indebted to us, and the very least you could have done would have been to abstain from this ugly flame war until it passed. Instead, you have decided to reinforce the tokenism of the reactionaries by endorsing them and by participating in their forums. You may not be our shield, but you are our property. We own you. Your very existence is protected by the institutions and laws we have made for you. Never forget this, and in the future, show some fucking gratitude.”
The moderator in question has since been removed.
Note: If I missed anything important or got something wrong in the flurry of links and details, feel free to email me here: