GamerGaters sometimes try to rebut charges of misogyny by pointing out that the targets of their wrath aren’t only women. And that’s true. They also target men … who stand up for women.
Mike Stuchbery, a writer and teacher in England, recently aroused the wrath of the Gaters by posting a brief essay titled “A Letter To The Gamerdudes In My Classes” on his blog. In the essay, he wrote “[d]on’t be part of the mob that attacks whichever target GamerGate is going after this week.”
So now he’s become “the target GamerGate is going after this week.” Or one of them, anyway.
The essay that so angered the Gaters is about as mild a criticism of their movement as you can imagine.
Stuchbery, after noting his own love of video games like Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed, simply suggested to his male students that they “stay away” from GamerGate.
He noted that the whole thing started with a blog post by Eron Gjoni,the angry ex-boyfriend of game developer Zoe Quinn – something Stuchbery said he thought was “a bit of a jerk move” on Gjoni ‘s part.
He then went on to describe the harassment and threats directed at Quinn and other women involved in the gaming world, threats that have forced many of the targeted women out of their homes. “Now, it might just be me, but don’t you think that there is something very, very wrong here?” he asked.
The movement that arose in the wake of these events, #GamerGate, claims that it’s not about sexism.They claim that their movement is about journalistic ethics, keeping games magazines about games and not preaching any particular message. …
However, every time a woman speaks up to say ‘Hey, maybe we could change things, make gaming more friendly for women!’, she gets threatened with murder and rape. …
[E]very time a woman speaks up about abuse or harassment she’s received within the gaming scene, she’s forced to leave her home for fear of attack.
There’s a word for the kinds of people who make the kinds of threats that Quinn, Wu and Sarkeesian have received: Creeps.
Hateful, misogynist creeps.
Uh oh. The c-word. If there’s one thing misogynistic assholes hate more than women, it’s being called creeps.
Actually, I think I’ve got that backwards. But trust me, they hate it.
Stuchbery went on to make these radical suggestions:
Guys, I urge you, if you see this stuff online, don’t join in. …
Don’t be a creep.
Embrace women in gaming.
Apparently, to the assembled masses over on 8chan, these were fighting words. And so the angry mob began to form, in the thread archived here.
The angry and not-very-well-infomed mob, that is. Though Stuchbery has an unequivocally male name, and identifies himself as Mr. Mike Stuchbery on Twitter, many of the angry mobsters assumed he was a she. (Each of these posts are taken from different parts of the thread; see the link above for full context. Also note that all commenters are automatically assigned the name “The Leader of Gamergate.”)
Oh, but GamerGate isn’t about women!
Here’s how one of the commenters responded to the news that Mr. Mike Stuchbery was in fact a Mr.
Even those who did manage to get Mr. Mike Stuchbery’s gender correct, and managed to avoid making grotesquely transphobic jokes about it, didn’t take their fact-checking much beyond that. The commenters simply assumed that Stuchbery had presented his essay to his class in an attempt to “indoctrinate” them, though there’s nothing on Stuchbery’s site that would suggest this.
Indeed, when I asked him directly, this is what he wrote to me:
I simply posted it on my blog in response to chatter I hear in the corridors. It was kind of an open letter. There was no reading it out in class
But apparently getting basic facts right doesn’t matter much to a GamerGate mob intent on exacting “justice” upon a man they described variously as a “dipshit,” a “cunt,” a “faggot,” and “a shill that cannot be redpilled.”
So this is how it works now.
If you’re a teacher, and you post an open letter on your blog in which you suggest to your male students that they not join up with an online mob that actively harasses and threatens women … that mob will harass you, and doxx you, and try to get you fired. Or at least, as one of the mob put it, “[r]emoved: transferred to another class or whatever, but he can’t keep teaching those kids, not after what he done.”
Or at least after what they think “he done.”
Another one of the mobsters added this ominous note: “as it says in the Book of Gamergate: ‘He who breaks the law goes back to the House of Pain.'”
Now, I should add that some people in the thread — more than a few — suggested that doxxing was bad, and that maybe trying to get a dude fired wasn’t the way to go. One commenter urged fellow Gaters to get back to targeting advertisers instead of, and I kid you not, “going off on sidequests that wont get us any xp.” (That is, “Experience Points.”)
Others thought it would make their side look bad.
STARTING this line of actions? GamerGate has been about harassment from the very start, even before it was called GamerGate.
Other commenters responded to the calls for “moderation” with open hostility:
I actually agree with that last bit. If you’re involved in GamerGate and this kind of witchhunt disturbs you, take the hint and get out.
At this point, after all the revelations about what this online mob has done and is doing to fuck up people’s lives, you should realize just what it is you are a part of. You are, as Stuchbery has pointed out, part of a hate group.
Even if you aren’t personally harassing anyone, you are part of an online mob that is. And if you’re on 8chan’s /gg/ board, you’re on a board that is proving to be one of the central organizing hubs of this harassment.
Don’t worry about LOOKING bad. You ARE BAD.
If you have a decent bone left in your body, you need to do everything in your power to shut down this angry mob, end the harassment and threats and witchhunts, and bring an end to GamerGate.