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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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idledillettante
7 years ago

ParkourDude/Connors/etc is famous for lying. I wouldn’t be surprised if calling his attempt to kill Wu “satire” is just him trying to wriggle out of consequences for his actions.

Troll or not, that wrecked car seemed pretty real. He could have killed anybody on that highway, regardless if they were in on the joke. I agree that it smacks of shouting “fire” in a crowded movie theater, except that the lives of other drivers on that highway were also endangered by his “trolling”, if we’re to call it that.

It also smacks of Paul Elam’s evasions, calling stuff he writes “satire” after the fact.

Mia Jessica
Mia Jessica
7 years ago

I straight up don’t know if it was more terrifying when I thought he was a legitimately mentally disturbed individual or now that I know he legitimately thought he was just joking.

Ælfscýne
Ælfscýne
7 years ago

I remember reading one of these forums (I don’t think it was Kiwi Farm but I’m not sure anymore) a couple of days after the incident, and it looked like they were there in real time, wondering if he’ll reach her house and really challenge her. And then somebody found out he wrecked his car, posted a video and they all had a laugh.

What unsettled me was how the forums members – who at that time did not know he was a comedian (and I use this word very loosely here) – were there when he was on the road, they thought he’s about to go bust into the woman’s place and threaten her (one of them was asked to join him with a gun) to race, and NOBODY of those “nice normal people” did anything about it. Heaven forbid call authorities that some jerk is about to do something dangerous to the lady. They were just giggling, wondering if he’ll fail or not. What’s wrong with people?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
7 years ago

Rankowski was at the center of a big controversy here about 10 years ago. (I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy…his name’s not too common, and apparently he still lives in his hometown). He has Asperger’s and was being home-schooled. He was barred from using the local elementary school playground during recess after being deemed an emotional threat to the other kids. The school district alleged he swore at the teachers, defied orders, was aggressive with other kids (throwing rocks and pushing first graders too roughly on the swings), and called the principal names. They were worried about the safety of the other students, not to mention the constant disruptions taking staff away from other duties.

The parents sued for discrimination and the ruling was upheld in court. I remember the case because it happened a couple of towns over and sparked an intense debate about the rights of kids on the spectrum vs. the rights of other students. The case was murky because other kids were bullying him, and they assigned an aide to follow him around with a clipboard, which likely aggravated the situation. At the time, most people sided with him.

Not any more, though. He’s not getting a free pass on this one. I’d be really curious to hear what his parents have to say about his antics.

But hey, I’m sure all those 8channers creepily throwing pebbles at his windows and sending him death threats and defaced copies of his yearbook photo are also just kidding.

Wetherby
Wetherby
7 years ago

So he’s effectively confessed to sending death threats whose recipient took them seriously?

Where I come from that’s an unambiguous criminal offence that can attract a prison sentence of up to ten years – and it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference if it was for the lulz.

opium4themasses
7 years ago

@paralipsis I am now imagining an ironic crime wave.

Scene 1: A young man wearing tight jeans and a flannel shirt walks into a convenience store and lackadaisically waves a gun around. The clerk is an older man.

Hipster: I totally want you to give me all the money from the register. I bet there is so much of it.

Clerk: Ha ha, very funny. Will you be wanting a pack of GPCs?

Hipster points gun directly at clerk.

Hipster: Make it a carton and go ahead and put it and the money from the till in one of those retro plastic bags you have which say ‘Thank you’.

The clerk, obviously scared now, puts the carton of cigarettes and the money from the register in the bag. As the hipster grabs the bag, he lowers his hand with the gun. Suddenly a woman police officer comes into the store and draws her weapon.

Police Officer: This is the Police! Drop the gun and put your hands up!

Hipster: Why do you have to be so harsh? Can’t you tell I was being Ironic?

The hipster drops the gun and the officer roughly pushes him to the ground and cuffs him.

Hipster: Fascist cop. You’re trampling on my right to free speech. Satire is protected speech.

Police officer drags the hipster to his feet and exits the convenience store.

End Scene

Scene 2.

The scene opens in a small courtroom. The Hipster is in the same flannel shirt, tight jeans, but is now wearing a tie and a fedora. An older woman judge is sitting at the bench with an annoyed look on her face. The middle-aged male prosecutor is bemused.

Judge: Before we continue, I am going to have to ask that the defendant remove his fedora.

Hipster: Actually, it’s a trillby.

Judge: i don’t care. Remove your hat.

Hipster: I thought this was a free country. I am freely expressing myself with a very stylish trillby.

Judge: This courtroom has a dress code which your hat violates. If you had opted not to act as your own counsel, they would have informed you of this fact. Remove your hat or face a charge of contempt on top of this.

The hipster sulkingly removes his hat.

Hipster: I can’t believe this. A bunch of Nazis. I am going to have to spend all my allowance on bail and now I can’t even wear my hat.

Judge: You have been charged with armed robbery. How do you plea?

Hipster: I plea comedy your horror.

Judge: The options are not guilty, guilty, or not guilty by a few options.

Hipster: I plea not guilty by reason of satire!

Judge: Satire is not one of the acceptable reasons.

Hipster: Then I plead not guilty!

Judge: I am now ready to discuss bail.

Prosecutor: Your honor, I have a signed confession by the defendant. He admits to committing the crime but claims it was all a joke. This crime is by a depraved individual we cannot have out just roaming the streets.

Hipster: He is just a plebe who doesn’t understand my art!

Judge looking at the prosecutor: Agreed. The defendant is remanded to custody.

The judge bangs her gavel twice.

End Scene.

deniseeliza
7 years ago

Rankowski is himself now the subject of a campaign of harassment

Rankowski:

part of the humor of MDE is pushing the boundaries

You’re not being harassed, your haters are just pushing the boundaries of disliking someone.

Kakanian
Kakanian
7 years ago

“part of the humor of MDE is pushing the boundaries, but we’ve never encountered actually being afraid for our own safety.”

In the distance, the sound of a string trio of the tiniest violins could faintly be heard.

taitaisanchez
7 years ago

Tony Clifton was tasteless from the stage. Not to the whole god damned world.

Brianna Wu isn’t like Jerry Lawler or anyone else who was in on Andy Kaufman’s schtick.

ej
ej
7 years ago

Nobody deserves to get harassed by Gamergate, period.

But there is nobody I feel less sorry for.

I agree that no one deserves to be harassed, but I do have to ask: What did he think was going to happen? He chose to troll (albeit in a terrible way) a group known for their harassment of people they don’t like. Did he think they would be thrilled to find out that he was making fun of them?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

@opium4themasses:

Ooh ooh ooh! Can we send hipster robber to irony jail, where everyone is just joking around as they put ironic handcuffs on you and lead you to and irony cell where you’re served irony bread and water as you server your irony sentence?

Holy crap, I think I’ve written this before… I’ll find a link as soon as I get passed reading a 4-year-old irc chat log I apparently went to… Internet archaeology is real, y’all!

ej
ej
7 years ago

I just realized that my last comment may have come off as a bit victim blaming. Sorry if anyone took it that way.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

*past

And aww, I like 4-years-ago me. Couldn’t recognize the writing style at first, but still.

And aww, I can’t find a link to the comment… stupid google matching “kirbywarp” in the “recent comments” section for practically every blog post on this site.

.. JUST KIDDING! 😀 😀 😀

Subtract Hominem, the Renegade Misandroid
Subtract Hominem, the Renegade Misandroid
7 years ago

WE’RE NOT DONE YET

THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING

AND IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE

DUDE, YOUR HAIKU SUCKS.
I CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT,
EVEN IN ALL-CAPS.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

Given this dude’s reaction, and the reaction of another guy who explained that he harassed a woman because he was angry and wasn’t thinking of the real impact his words were having to the person at the receiving end, I fully support Brianna’s quote here:

“My goal from the beginning has been to introduce consequences into this equation,” Wu says. “In Grand Theft Auto, I can blow up helicopters and police cars and nothing happens. In the same way, gamers think they can threaten to murder women and nothing will happen.”

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
7 years ago

I hope Brianna Wu sues the pants off him and owns his mother’s house and his wrecked Prius.

ParadoxicalIntention
7 years ago

“What’s that? Brianna Wu is getting daily death threats and rape threats and had to be forced from her home because she’s scared for her life? Hot damn! I’d better jump on that and threaten her too, but I’ll do it ironically! Everyone will think I’m so funny and edgy! What awesome satire! lol!”

http://media.tumblr.com/9d096f8bf0e84010836b20b1cdb14995/tumblr_inline_n1k9biXXkG1qfy5lf.gif

“Satire” and “irony” are words that need to be taken away from the lexicon for a while due to the abuse they’ve gotten over the past couple of months.

Satire is NOT a swift kick downwards at people who are already suffering, it is supposed to be a jab upwards at those in power or at the power structures we all live under.

“Satire” of harassment victims is not funny.

“Irony” is NOT doing something hurtful because it’d be funny, regardless of the consequences because you think you’ll be “edgier” for it. Irony is fucking sarcasm, or having an outcome that is the complete opposite of what you’d think would happen. (For instance, nothing about what is happening now is ironic.)

Harassing and threatening someone “ironically” still counts as threatening them, and still makes them feel like they’re in danger, and thus, still makes you a fucking turd.

Knock this shit off and pick up a goddamned dictionary.

Integral
Integral
7 years ago

I suspect it may not have been his car. A woman flipped her car on I-295 in South Portland, Maine on January 29th. Perhaps he had an opportunity to sneak up to the accident scene before it was cleaned up.

katz
7 years ago

“Satire” and “irony” are words that need to be taken away from the lexicon for a while due to the abuse they’ve gotten over the past couple of months.

I say this a lot, but if I could travel back in time and kill one person, it would be Jonathan Swift.

ParadoxicalIntention
7 years ago

katz | February 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm

I say this a lot, but if I could travel back in time and kill one person, it would be Jonathan Swift.

I’m kind of willing to agree since his satirical essay was rather cruel (Though, it was actually in a satirical way), but I’d rather we just stop using the words “irony” and “satire” improperly.

Tessa
Tessa
7 years ago

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

Geee, amazing how he can say that without any acknowledgement that he was a contributor. I wonder if he’s put 2 and 2 together, or if he is convinced because he “wasn’t serious” the stuff he didn’t matter. Maybe all the people harassing him are really all just extreme comedians. I’m not sure my eyes are flexible to roll them as hard as I want to.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
7 years ago

To “Jace Conners”
http://youtu.be/yytbDZrw1jc

Tessa
Tessa
7 years ago

That should be “I’m not sure my eyes are flexible *enough*”

steampunked (@steampunked)

I see we have reached peak ‘Only joking!’

I’d say peak assholery, but I know that’s never a good statement to make.

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