Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian feminist and blogger, notable for being the host and, along with producer Jonathan McIntosh, co-writer of Feminist Frequency. Anita's series was first promoted by large media outlets covering a perceived campaign of threats and harassment originating from 4chan. As a result of this promotion, the series raised $153,000 than its stated goal of $6,000. It is worth noting that few of the harassing messages have been verified and spam promoting the series was archived on 4chan.
Anita Sarkeesian founded the nonprofit Feminist Frequency, producing through it the 'Tropes Vs Women in Video Games' series. Each episode centers on a "trope" found in video games which, it claims, disproportionately affects women. Despite promoting the series as an academic work, the show initially employed footage from "Let's Play" videos without any acknowledgement. This series also relies on isolated video game excerpts as evidence, many of which have message contradictory to the "trope" when presented in context. The series has also used other people's artwork without permission, adducing the 'non profit' status of her show in order to justify the lack of attribution. Due to these controversies and many others, she was largely perceived as an outsider to the gaming community and an opportunist long before Gamergate had hashed its first tag.
Role in GamerGate
Anita Sarkeesian's controversial status has been exploited by the media, who frequently misrepresent the mainstream rejection of her work as evidence of sexism. Anita often cherry picks threats from trolls who are unassociated with or even outspoken against GamerGate as representative of GamerGate's constituency. GamerGate supporters formed a harassment patrol which discovered the identity one of her harassers, Brazilian journalist Mateus Prado Sousa. Despite being linked to his name, address, and several means to contact the Brazilian authorities, Anita has not filed charges against him.
Threats and harassment
Kevin Dobson threat
On August 27, 2014, a new Twitter account using the name "Kevin Dobson" sent a string of death threats to Anita Sarkeesian. Sarkeesian posted a screenshot of the threats three minutes after the first threat was sent and twelve seconds after the last, leading to speculation that she may have made the threats herself.
On September 5, 2014, Anita Sarkeesian publicly reported on Twitter that harassers had been spamming her account with images of child pornography.
Mateus claimed to have a team of three people making threats.
Utah State University
Later on October 15, 2014, a letter was sent out from the USU President of the university stating that the threats were not credible, and that it was simply intended to "frighten the university into cancelling the event".
The speech was to be on the subject of "What if Super Mario was Super Maria?" Various 8chan users had suggested that students mention the Great Giana Sisters, videotape the speech for future criticism, or pull a fire alarm. [cn]
Origin of the Utah State threat
The threat was widely reported to have come from GamerGate instigators. As other hyped threats, the origin is illusive and the connection tenuous at best.
On January 7, 2015, during the CES 2015 trade show in Las Vegas Intel announced its new Diversity in Technology Initiative. To support this initiative, Intel announced that it would invest $300,000,000 USD to " help build a pipeline of female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists; to actively support hiring and retaining more women and under-represented minorities; and to fund programs to support more positive representation within the technology and gaming industries." It was also announced that Intel would be "[engaging]" with several organizations as part of this initiative, including Feminist Frequency. Response to this initiative within #GamerGate and Twitter was mixed, and Intel's decision prompted even neutrals and those dissociated with #GamerGate to comment on the matter.
- Anita Sarkeesian Videos List
- Feminist Frequency
- Jonathan McIntosh
- Mirror's Edge 2
- Social Justice Warrior
- The Colbert Report: Gamergate - Anita Sarkeesian
- WIRED Magazine, "Intel Invests $300 Million to Improve Its Workplace Diversity", by Davey Alba. January 7th, 2015.
- Intel CEO Outlines Future of Computing