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#gamergate 8chan attention seeking empathy deficit gamebros gaslighting harassment irony alert lying liars TROOOLLLL!!

Plot twist: Brianna Wu's gun-loving, car-flipping gamebro stalker is actually a trolly comedian. Who now claims he's being harassed.

"Jace Connors" holds forth on Skype
“Jace Connors” holds forth on Skype

That gun-loving gamebro who flipped his car while on his way, he said, to “race” video game developer and GamerGate critic Brianna Wu? It turns out he’s not the delusional and potentially dangerous asshole he seemed to be in the countless videos he’s put online.

No, he’s actually an aspiring comedian in an “extreme” comedy troupe known for trolling everyone from anime fans to TED talk attendees, and “Jace Connors” is just a character he’s been playing, a sort of parody of a basement-dwelling, monster-drink-guzzling gamebro douchebag who can’t tell the difference between real life and video games. His harassment of Wu — what he called “OperationWupocalypse” — was all part of an elaborate comedy bit that he’s been doing for years.

In other words, he’s not one kind of asshole, happily terrifying a woman who gets regular death threats in the name of video games. He’s another kind of asshole, happily terrifying a woman who gets regular death threats in the name of video games.

As Joseph Bernstein of Buzzfeed reported last night, “Connors”

is in fact Jan Rankowski, a 20-year-old living in Maine who is affiliated with Million Dollar Extreme, a provocative cult comedy group based in Rhode Island, and far from being the archfiend of GamerGate, Rankowski is himself now the subject of a campaign of harassment.

While lots of people had been suspicious for some time, the real identity of “Jace Connors,” also known as Parkourdude91, seems to have been first uncovered by a commenter on Kiwi Farm, a site devoted to trolling “Lolcows” — that is, “people and groups whose eccentric or foolish behavior can be ‘milked’ for amusement and laughs.”

The plot twist is that “Connors”/Rankowski has been milking the milkers, and the rest of us, for laughs. He told Buzzfeed that “the Jace character was just a lens through which I do satire” and that his recent behavior was designed to mock “the over-the-top, super-hyper-macho armed GamerGater.”

Now that his real identity has been exposed — assuming that this is not part of an even more elaborate troll job — the guy who terrorized Wu now claims that he’s being terrorized, with people calling his workplace and the high school he went to. He told Buzzfeed that “part of the humor of MDE is pushing the boundaries, but we’ve never encountered actually being afraid for our own safety.”

Rankowski added that he’s gained a “newfound respect for the people who are having to deal with GamerGate, Brianna Wu and Anita.”

Then again, he could be trolling us once again. On his blog Deagle Nation – named after a pistol “Jace Connors” fetishizes – he’s put up a post with the title THANK YOU FOR PLAYING. He promises that “THE TRUTH OF PARKOURDUDE91” will be revealed in a livestream tomorrow, declaring

WE’RE NOT DONE YET

THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING

AND IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE

All this even though he told Buzzfeed that he “was made to sign a contract at my job saying I wouldn’t make any of these videos again.”

When I wrote about “Jace Connors,” shortly after he posted a video of himself having what looked like a screeching tantrum by the side of an icy highway next to a car on its side, I noted that “his behavior is so strange and erratic and almost literally unbelievable that it would be easy to dismiss him as a troll.” But I went on to say that if he were trolling he would have to be “the most dedicated troll since Andy Kaufman’s fake comedian alter ego Tony Clifton.”

The prize was behind door number two. One difference: the famously assholish Tony Clifton was, at least some of the time, funny.

So is all this evidence that Wu and the others who’ve been targets of #GamerGate’s harassment army are making a big deal over threats that are “obviously” fake?

Well, no. To the person on the receiving end of threats and harassment, “fake” threats feel like real threats, because there is no surefire way to tell whether a threat is coming from an internet comedian or from a genuinely dangerous person.

Even if the overwhelming majority of threats aren’t meant seriously – that is, the threatener does not literally intend to track his or her target down and do them bodily harm – those who get the threats can’t simply dismiss them because, well, what if one of them is real?

So congrats, artist-formerly-known-as-Jace-Connors, you’re a huge dick. For real.

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andiexist
andiexist
7 years ago

Uh. Wow. That’s… unbelievably stupid. Threatening someone is threatening someone, and this guy is an awful nope factory.

katz
7 years ago

Nobody deserves to get harassed by Gamergate, period.

But there is nobody I feel less sorry for.

damselindetech
7 years ago

I wonder if the end-game of this guy’s “edgy” comedy is to wind up in jail or killed in self-defense by one of his targets?

KSRay
KSRay
7 years ago

Some don’t seem to understand the difference between satire and mimicry.

Sissy
Sissy
7 years ago

If what he did was supposed to be comedy and satire… then how come I’m not laughing?

And OHHHH, it’s not harassment unless HE’S the one being harassed! I swear, hipocrisy knows no bounds sometimes.

tooimpurenangel
7 years ago

Some people really need to understand what the concept of a “joke” is. Making a threat like that? Not funny. I mean, isn’t this pretty much the same as yelling about a fire in a crowded movie theater?
I would sincerely hope that after such ridiculousness someone wouldn’t lie about being harassed.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

@KSRay:

Nice line.

@damselindetech:

Who knows what the end game is supposed to be. I feel like I’ve seen a billion comedy sketches where one character faces some dangerous or scary situation, only for everyone around them to pull of the masks and shout “ha ha, we fooled you,” revealing it was all an absurdly elaborate prank.

The point of those sketches is not how someone “fell” for the prank, but the extreme lengths that the pranksters went through to make the thing indistinguishable from an actually dangerous situation. And then how the pranksters act like the victim was the foolish one for believing it all.

Apart from some egotistical thrill at having strung along a bunch of people and a literally reckless disregard for the people you “threaten,” I can’t imagine what the point of it all would be.

paralipsis
paralipsis
7 years ago

Even if this was generalised harassment, it still wouldn’t be satire. That this guy made it about targeting a specific individual on top of that adds so many extra layers of not funny on top of that as to beggar belief. When the target of your “comedy” literally fears for their life because of what you do, there’s no artistic justification for that. It’s tantamount to punching someone in the face and then trying to explain how you were justified in doing it because you had satirical intent.

opium4themasses
7 years ago

I suppose at least he isn’t blaming the victims of gamergate here.

That last sentence makes me more sad though. He uses someone who is the target of a harassment campaign as a pawn in his stunt. Who was that UK Big Brother Sam guy? Reminds me of him.

Good job, you can totally tricked everyone into believing you’re a doucbebag.

Button
Button
7 years ago

This could have been hilarious if he had gotten Wu’s permission beforehand.

opium4themasses
7 years ago

Oof. I changed the idea of my sentence midway and forgot to delete the can.

“Good job, you totally tricked people into thinking you’re a douchebag.”

Kane Thari
7 years ago

Wow. There’s satire and then there’s this. The difference Swift’s a modest proposal and this that this “comedian” didn’t seem to get is that Swift didn’t actually threaten and terrify someone who was already a target for harassment, Nobody deserves harassment, and that stunt he pulled didn’t raise awareness for the victim or do anything except make a woman who was already looking over her shoulder’s fears become reality. Because that’s funny, right?

katz
7 years ago

Is anyone else reminded of the murder prank?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

@Button

This could have been hilarious if he had gotten Wu’s permission beforehand.

I know, right? A satirical character like this works best when the people you’re ostensibly targeting are in on the joke. Colbert’s character was great because liberals knew he was playing a character while conservatives sometimes took him seriously.

The people who benefit from the performance are the ones who know it’s a performance. If he wanted to benefit people outside of gamergate, those people would have to be in on it. As it was, apparently the whole shebang was just for his own ego.

Not to mention the fact that if your character aims to pretend to hurt someone, and they aren’t part of the gag, then all you’re doing is actually hurting them. As has been said before and will be said again, intent is not magic.

Bluecollarnerd
Bluecollarnerd
7 years ago

Fuck this fucking fucker.

Macha
Macha
7 years ago

Not feeling even a little bit sorry for him.

He knowingly sent death threats against somebody who was already a target. He not only KNOWINGLY added to the harassment and made it that much more worse by escalating it to the next level, he also gives the VERY HARASSERS A SMOKESCREEN TO HIDE BEHIND.

He’s actively worse than a regular gamergater.

You can’t post death threats and then claim you were just joking. This guy deserves prison time like the rest of the people that post those threats, “joking” or not.

Ira Shantz-Kreutzkamp
Ira Shantz-Kreutzkamp
7 years ago

His actions are only satirical in that they brilliantly lampoon fools who think every misstep can be swept aside by declaring it to be a joke, and every hurt they do by telling someone they’re too sensitive. As the rest have said, this was poorly conceived and abusive, the only remarkable part of this is the Boyhood-level duration of his façade. Two years of pretending to be a different kind of ugly, what dedication.

At least the second act, where he ‘satirizes’ somebody being harrassed by gutless wonders on the internet, will have more people in on the joke.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

I’m reminded of Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dime”, where she’s wallraffing as a minimum-wage-worker… For instance, she works as a waitress for a while, although she tells people that she’s “really” a journalist if they ask. And they’re like, yeah. And she’s like, well, I’m really really a journalist. But then she starts to think and go like, well, if someone hired you to be a waitress, and you do waitress tasks and you get paid a waitress’s wage for doing these tasks, you’re not pretending to be a waitress for some article you’re writing; you are one (even if it ultimately results in an article).

And if you keep stalking and threatening people, you’re a stalker and a threat.

Kootiepatra
Kootiepatra
7 years ago

So he claims to have discovered a newfound respect for Brianna Wu–and yet, tellingly, he isn’t apologizing to her.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

Also, there’s a brilliant cartoon by Nanna Johansson (the girl behind http://www.swedishgirlseeking.com/ , formerly featured on this site – she’s normally a cartoonist). Unfortunately I can’t find it on the web, and in any case, it’s in Swedish. But it features one person beating another. The person being beaten goes “OUCH! Why did you beat me?” with tears in his eyes. The beater goes “I’m not beating you! I’m just satirizing those who beat you up!”. So good.

katz
7 years ago

At least the second act, where he ‘satirizes’ somebody being harrassed by gutless wonders on the internet, will have more people in on the joke.

Hey, there’s another reason this is going to bite him in the ass: He’s put so much dedication into proving that he doesn’t mean anything he says that in the future, nobody sensible will believe anything he says.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

At what point does your occupation become your identity? I guess that could be an interesting question.

An uninteresting question would be “when does your identity excuse responsibility for the results of your actions?” The answer is pretty much never.

Spindrift
Spindrift
7 years ago

This really crossed the line and I hope he gets taken to court over it. I don’t think people should be harassing him, but I’ve got very little sympathy for his troubles.

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

Hm, the comparison with waitress ended up being a weird one. What i wanted to say was basically just that if you’re doing a thing, you’re really doing that thing, regardless of whether you think in your head that it doesn’t really count because of your endgame. That goes for morally neutral or good acts as well as for wrongful ones. If I ask my friends to come home to my place and play coffee shop with me, I’m pretending to be a waitress, but if I take a job as one I really am one. And if I ask someone to pretend to be terrified by the mock threat I’m gonna give her I’m pretending to threaten someone, but if I just launch I threat I really do threaten her. What you do doesn’t turn into mere pretense because you think in your head that it’s for a certain endgame.

Bina
7 years ago

Obviously, this guy never read Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night, or he would realize that you really are what you pretend to be if you pretend THAT hard.

In any event, satire fail…because satire is supposed to be tongue in cheek, and I didn’t see no tongue planted in no cheek.

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