90 Miles From Tyranny : Sex, Darpa And #Gamergate

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sex, Darpa And #Gamergate

In August of this year, the ex-boyfriend of indie game developer Zoe Quinn, Eron Gjoni, posted allegations on his blog that she had exchanged sex with Kotaku journalist Nathan Grayson to get favorable reviews of her game, Depression Quest.

On September 1st, ShortFatOtaku posted, then removed, then reposted a vlog poking fun at Quinn’s sexual history and claiming that the woman holding the camera on both videos had talked to Gjoni in a 4chan IRC (“burgers and fries”) and that he had disclosed that Quinn’s PR agent may have been sleeping with the IGF chairman. The video posted by ShortFatOtaku speculates on a feminist/social justice illuminati that are taking over gaming, and accused Quinn’s parent company, Silverstring Media, of being a part of that conspiracy. The video notes that companies and games that tend to win at the IGF are composed of clients, friends, and colleagues of Silverstring Media.

Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo confirmed that Quinn and Grayson were in a relationship, but noted that Grayson had never reviewed Quinn or her work after the commencement of the relationship. He notes that both her game and a failed show she had appeared on were mentioned on Kotaku before the relationship started.

4chan members reacted to this by speculating on various conspiracies involving feminist, social justice, and media critics, and noted that Silverstring also has ties to the Digital Games Research Association, an academic institution that studies gaming and gaming phenomena. DiGRA had recently held a retreat for Silverstring members on dismantling hegemonic masculinity.

DiGRA itself had done work with DARPA on a project called IMMERSE, prompting 4chan members to believe they had stumbled on to some sort of massive, government conspiracy.

The group of gamers, 4chan members and assorted others who believed they had discovered a plot began to try and investigate IGF, DiGRA, Quinn, and Silverstring more deeply, launching several operations against IGF sponsors in the form of letter and emailing writing campaigns, joining an ongoing letter writing campaign about the state of gaming.

Several youtube vloggers, including Boogie2988 and Jayd3Fox released vlogs and videos around this period served to interest several broad subsections of gamers in this and the previous campaigns against a spate of “gaming is dead” articles. Jayd3Fox linked this to Sarkesian’s critiques of gaming, then took her vlog down, claiming to have been threatened by an anonymous woman over her videos critiquing Sarkesian.

During this period, Quinn received a variety of threats, was doxxed repeatedly, and suffered wave after wave of harassment and hostility. Her father was called at home and told she was a whore, her head was photoshopped onto porn images, she was threatened with rape, death, and serious bodily injury, including breaking her kneecaps if she attended conferences. Her most vocal supporters received the same treatment, causing Phil Fish of Polytron to sell his company and leave gaming after he and his private company information were doxxed repeatedly online.

In response to this, Andreas Zechler of Spaces of Play wrote an open letter on September 1st to the gaming community, asking gamers to take a public stand against hateful and harassing speech in gaming. This petition was signed by 2,495 people in the gaming industry. This letter was picked up by a variety of mainstream news outlets, which again linked Sarkesian to Quinn and harassment in gaming.

Boogie2988 responded by mounting his own petition, which agreed with Zechler but demanded game developers stop referring to gamers as neckbeards. This petition garnered over 9,000 signatures.

At this point, Breitbart noticed and began to publish on gaming and the feminist bullies “tearing it apart.”  Other critics chimed in, including Dr. Hoff-Sommers.

Al Jazeera published a piece on it during this period, causing another round of strife, both within those who felt there to be a feminist conspiracy and in those who felt that it amounted to a conspiracy theory.

Those who felt there was a conspiracy responded to the article by publishing a screen cap of what they characterized as financial ties between a Jenn Frank, who wrote an article in The Guardian about the on-going harassment of ...


  1. Oh. I had heard bits and pieces but hadn't gotten a root of the story. From what it looks like, feminists are trying to threaten themselves into forcing submission from anyone who doesn't believe that feminism is the only truth. Won't work with me. Blazing Saddles, with a feminist, rather than black, backdrop.

    Hold it. The next man that makes a move, the nigger gets it.

    Hasn't anyone watched these things before? Old script, reused. Bleh. I honestly can't believe how stupid most people are. Whatever.

  2. Not a mention of the social justice warrior crusades through other male dominated media like Sci Fi or the "journolist" of game writers working out their progressive tactics online in the Forbes piece. Not surprising though since Forbes got taken by the SJW pod writers some time back.

  3. I think the SJW's hit a landmine


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