Here is what I know about GamerGate.
We begin with Anita Sarkeesian, who began doing review films from a radically feminist point of view about the inherent sexism in video games. (And quite frankly the sexism OUGHT to be obvious; consider how many of our games come from Japan, which is an unashamedly male-dominant society. How many times has Peach saved Mario, or Zelda saved Link? And consider some of the most popular video game series include the Grand Theft Auto and God of War series.)
This pissed off a lot of people who, quite frankly, ought to have been ignored, because they couldn't stand to have their cozy male-dominated world even brought into question. So Sarkeesian began getting false accusations, death threats, etc. Sadly, this is business as usual for the Internet.
Then along came Zoe Quinn.
Zoe Quinn is a game developer- one of the tiny minority of game developers and staff who are female. She had a bad breakup with her boyfriend, who retaliated by falsely accusing her of sleeping with or bribing game reviewers in order to get favorable reviews of her independent game project.
The same people who were attacking Anita Sarkeesian grabbed hold of the Quinn story, and began the same cycle of threats and harassment with Quinn. In order to make themselves look less like dicks, they claimed it was a protest to demand "ethics in journalism." (Never mind the simple fact that neither Sarkeesian nor Quinn are journalists. Quinn is a game developer, and Sarkeesian is a reviewer, NOT a news reporter.)
GamerGate became a thing. It was helped along in no small part by Breitbart and other conservative opinion outlets, who saw an opportunity to strike out at feminists and other "social justice warriors" who dared to threaten the conservative ideal of a male-dominant, woman-as-property society.
The harrassment escalated into stalking. The death threats became very serious and specific. And the #GamerGate supporters continued to excuse it all as "about ethics in journalism" or, at worst, "those aren't real GamerGate supporters making the threats."
And then the partisans of Quinn, Sarkeesian, and others attacked by GamerGate began fighting back. Death threats began to flow in the other direction, as did doxxings.
The battle even spread to Wikipedia, where GamerGate supporters used sockpuppet accounts to maliciously edit entries for notable feminist and anti-GamerGate figures. Feminists responded by undoing these edits and by trying to present the darker side of GamerGate on the Wikipedia entry for the movement. Wikipedia's top board of editors, the arbitration committee, responded by permanently banning the feminists from all topics related to sexuality.
So now we have a situation in which a group of people defends harassment and death threats against another group because "they were asking for it," or, "They started it first," or, "It's not about harassment, it's about journalism ethics."
BULL FUCKING SHIT.
Here's my full position on all of it.
You have the right to have an opinion, and to express it publicly. This is called free speech.
You have the right to say that someone else's opinion is full of shit. This is also free speech.
You have the right to make a feminist video game, or a misogynistic video game, or a blockbuster movie that presents blatant domestic abuse as voluntary BDSM roleplay. And you also have the right to say that people should or shouldn't spend their money on any of these things. This is also free speech.
And, finally, you have the right to point out that holding certain opinions, and expressing them openly, makes a person an asshole. Michael Moore is an asshole. So is David Barton. So is Bryan Fischer. So is Jack Thompson. This also is free speech, and you do NOT have the right to not be called an asshole.
You do NOT have the right to terrorize someone, through doxxing, stalking, harassment or death threats, in order to silence them. Ever. Not even if "they started it" or "video game journalism ethics" or "systematic misogyny" or any other excuse you can dream up.
And if you defend such tactics- and by the way, every time you post a pro-#GamerGate post, you ARE defending those tactics, because that's what GamerGate was started to do
- then guess what? You're an asshole.
And just to be clear, if you're a feminist or liberal and you retaliate using GamerGate tactics? I don't care. You're an asshole too, and YOU at least should know better than to lower yourself to their level.
And finally, I would be much happier if a certain number of GamerGate supporters came clean and admitted they don't give a fuck about journalism ethics, they just want to make sure nobody comes after their sexy fun times. That would be cool.
But I really am getting sick and fucking tired of #GamerGate, especially when I see the tag attached to the most vile and smug bullshit imaginable. Seriously- PICK ANOTHER FUCKING NAME. If you're actually serious about the journalism thing, try #NoGamePayola. If you want to defend your BDSM porn or your bikini-Amazon-chick in your favorite video game, try #PornIsGood or #SaveOurSex or something. But the name #GamerGate is poison.
If you're identifying as #GamerGate, then you're standing beside people who want to keep gaming a boys'-only club- or, at least, boys and those girls who aren't threatening to boys' fragile egos. You're using a name which is inextricably linked to harassing women.
So, if I happen to see a post from you that approves in any way at all of GamerGate, I'm going to regard you as someone who hates women unless they're subservient to you, and who is just fine with any and all tactics to force women into submission.
And if I happen to learn that you are a liberal cheering on (or even perpetrating) the same kind of bullshit GamerGate unleashes on its chosen targets in some idiotic notion of retaliation or "sauce for the gander," I'm going to regard you as someone who has lost all sight of moral standards for the sake of petty tribal bickering.
Either way, an asshole.
EDIT: If your movement is making people ashamed to be involved with gaming at all, YOU'RE FUCKING DOING IT WRONG.