You may have already heard the story of Canadian journalist and GamerGate opponent Veerender Jubbal, misidentified in the media as one of the Paris terrorists after trolls took a bathroom selfie of his, photoshopped to make it look as though he was wearing a suicide bomber vest and holding a Koran, and spread it around labeled as a photo posted by one of the Paris suicide bombers shortly before Friday’s deadly attacks.
The photoshopped pic of Jubbal, a Sikh, was reported as authentic by major media outlets in Italy and Spain; one newspaper put Jubbal’s face on its cover as one of the Paris terrorists.
While the photo has been debunked now by more media outlets than originally reported it as real, this is the kind of smear that never really goes away; Jubbal will forever be tarnished by his imaginary connection to a terrible act of mass murder.
GamerGaters at first denied they had anything to do with the smear job — the standard GG response whenever one of their own does something utterly appalling — but Vice has now conclusively proven that the people responsible for creating and spreading around the photoshopped selfie were longtime GamerGaters.
Initially, even as GamerGaters were denying any connection to the photoshopped pic, more than a few of them were saying that Jubbal deserved the smear because of his criticisms of the alleged “ethics” movement; others, as Vice notes, concocted and spread fake Tweets allegedly from Jubbal to cement the false notion that he was a terrorist.
The GamerGate panderers over at Breitbart added fuel to the fire with a sneering “report” on the smear that was clearly designed to embarrass Jubbal further. “[A] large majority of the internet has found the situation hilarious,” regular BreitbartTech contributor Charlie Nash wrote,
especially due to the irony of Jubbal’s previous comments that have painted entire innocent communities as terrorists and hate-mongers.
In other words, he was asking for it. And it gets worse:
Luckily for Jubbal, there are many women that love serial killers and the foulest dregs of society serving life sentences, so an online reputation as a suicide bomber should be more than enough to earn him the female company that so far has eluded him.
The whole shameful affair tells us a lot about what GamerGate has become more than a year into its sordid existence.
Let’s start off by looking at what Vice uncovered.
First, the doctored photo of Jubbal-as-terrorist was whipped up by someone called @turd_wartsniff back in August. This lovely fellow, Vice writer Rich Stanton reveals,
is also responsible for a series of images, Photoshopped and otherwise, attacking Gamergate opponents. Among this individual’s favourite targets are Arthur Chu, Anita Sarkeesian and Zoë Quinn – all of whom have spoken out against Gamergate harassment. The account also posted images containing the Gamergate logo, a purple and green “GG” badge, and the Gamergate cartoon character Vivian James.
After the Paris attacks, a colleague of the photoshopper who goes by the name of blacktric reposted it, claiming that Jubbal was one of the terrorists. As Stanton notes,
Gamergate members have insisted that blacktric has no association with the group, but that is contradicted by his posting on the GG subreddit KIA*, jolly back-and-forths with Gamergate’s “based lawyer” Mike Cernovich, and his history of commenting on stories about the group. Astonishingly, amongst the evidence offered by Gamergate that blacktric has no association with them is a tweet where he refers to GG as “us”.
Short of a stamp from a Notary Public confirming the smear job as an official GamerGate production, this is about as conclusive as it gets.
After Vice posted its story, one of the mods on Reddit’s KotokuInAction subreddit, one of GamerGate’s main online hubs, deleted blacktric’s KIA comment in what seems to have been a crude attempt at a cover-up.
The mod later explained that he deleted the comment “to fuck with the [Vice] author ‘smoking gun’, meh.”
Apparently destroying evidence in an attempt to exonerate the guilty is … ethics?
Vice’s Stanton suggests that maybe, just maybe, GamerGate’s
linking an innocent man with one of the most despicable terror attacks on European soil, within hours of it happening, will be what brings Gamergate to an end.
I’m not quite so hopeful. While the smearing of Jubbal is, admittedly, a new low for GamerGate, the phony “ethics” movement has been morally and ethically bankrupt from the start.
But it will likely drag on as a sort of roving harassment squad for some time, bolstered by its enablers at Breitbart, on YouTube, and within the American Enterprise Institute, even as more and more GamerGaters give up even the pretense of giving a shit about media ethics or even basic human decency.
In other words, expect more of this crap. And more denials.
EDIT: Added a quote from the KIA mod, which I found linked to on GamerGhazi.