Women in Video Games , which analyzes sexist stereotypes in video games. Lewis of the University of Ottawa stated that Gamergate's harassment and threats should be considered acts of terrorism as the perpetrators seek to harm women and to prevent them from speaking back or defending others. The campaign was described as a backlash against the increasing racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in science fiction. Women in Video Games project is devoted to female stereotypes in games. In the 4chan post that may have coined the hashtag, it was framed as a way to "demand the SJWs stop using you as a shield to deflect genuine criticism". Michael Salter, a University of Western Sydney criminologist, writes that Twitter's design and architecture was "highly conducive" to such abuse campaigns, allowing Gamergaters to overwhelm users' ability to individually block the large numbers of fake or "sockpuppet" accounts used to send abusive and harassing messages. Almost immediately her home address and phone number were posted online, leading to harassing letters and phone calls. Yiannopoulos and Gamergate supporters saw the mailing list as evidence of collusion among journalists. After contacting police, Wu fled her home with her husband, saying she would not allow the threats to intimidate her into silence.
Stephen Colbert questioned why men like Kluwe had not been threatened by Gamergate, noting that the targets were almost entirely women. Yiannopoulos and Gamergate supporters saw the mailing list as evidence of collusion among journalists. Members of the bloc said that they sought to counteract what they saw as a focus on giving awards based on the race, ethnicity, or gender of the author or characters rather than quality, and bemoaning the increasing prominence of what they described as 'message' fiction with fewer traditional "zap gun" sciencefictional trappings. Wu then became the target of rape and death threats on Twitter and elsewhere. Shira Chess and Adrienne Shaw write that concern over these changes is integral to Gamergate, especially a fear that sexualized games aimed primarily at young men might eventually be replaced by less sexualized games marketed to broader audiences. The Guardian reported that both swatting attempts were coordinated through the " baphomet " subforum of 8chan. Sarkeesian asked, "if this 'movement' was about journalism, why wasn't it journalists who had to deal with a barrage of rape and death threats? Rhodes said the antagonism in the Gamergate controversy was a result of the industry seeking to widen its customer demographic instead of focusing on core gamers, which Rhodes says "is precisely what videogames needed". Kathleen Bartzen Culver, a professor and media ethics expert at the University of Wisconsin—Madison , wrote that while Gamergate supporters claimed to be interested in journalism ethics, their "misogynistic and threatening" behavior belied this claim. One quarter of the tweets sampled were produced by users new to Twitter, most of whom were pro-Gamergate. As video games grew in mainstream popularity during the s, a "gamer" identity emerged around games marketed to an audience that was predominantly young, male and heterosexual. Lewis of the University of Ottawa stated that Gamergate's harassment and threats should be considered acts of terrorism as the perpetrators seek to harm women and to prevent them from speaking back or defending others. Writing in The New Yorker, Simon Parkin observed that Quinn was attacked while the male journalist who was falsely accused of reviewing her work favorably largely escaped, revealing the campaign as "a pretense to make further harassment of women in the industry permissible". Bob Stuart, in The Daily Telegraph , reported that "Gamergate has since swelled into an unwieldy movement with no apparent leaders, mission statement, or aims beyond calling out 'social justice warriors'. Lisa Nakamura , a professor of digital studies at the University of Michigan, wrote that Gamergate "showed the world the extent of gaming's misogyny". She related these attacks to harassment sent to a woman who criticized a Teen Titans cover and to a community manager of the Mighty No. After a number of game developers criticized Intel for this, arguing that it could have a chilling effect on free speech and that it amounted to supporting harassment, Intel apologized for appearing to take sides in the controversy   and resumed advertising on Gamasutra in mid-November. Her fund-raising campaign and videos were met with hostility and harassment by some gamers. The irony comes from people who claim to be challenging the ethics of game journalists through patently unethical behavior. In mid-October Brianna Wu , another independent game developer and co-founder of video game studio Giant Spacekat , saw her home address and other identifying information posted on 8chan as retaliation for mocking Gamergate. Over the years, the growing popularity of games expanded that audience to include many who did not fit the traditional gamer demographic, particularly women. A number of websites have blocked users, removed posts, and created policies to prevent their users from threatening Quinn and others with doxing, assault, rape and murder, and planning and coordinating such threats. Two critics of Gamergate were targets of attempted " swatting "—hoaxed reports to emergency services intended to provoke a SWAT team response at the target's home. The campaign expanded to include renewed harassment of prominent   feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian , who had previously been a target of online harassment due in part to her YouTube video series Tropes vs. Within the United States, Twitter and other social media sites are not liable for content posted by third-parties of their service under Section of the Communications Decency Act , and so have no legal obligation to police malicious content such as harassment and threats. Michael Salter, a University of Western Sydney criminologist, writes that Twitter's design and architecture was "highly conducive" to such abuse campaigns, allowing Gamergaters to overwhelm users' ability to individually block the large numbers of fake or "sockpuppet" accounts used to send abusive and harassing messages. They also describe how initial organizers attempted to cultivate a palpable narrative for public consumption while internally focusing on personal grudges against Quinn and aggressive sexual imagery.
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