UH OH – some people think it would be a good idea to have better gender representation in video games, on account of how the human species isn’t actually 90% male, and we all know what a crazy and destructive thought that is to think. Here’s a bit of news from that battlefront:
Intel has pulled an advertising campaign from video gaming website Gamasutra after it reportedly received a number of complaints from self-identified gamers upset that the site was championing fair gender representation in video games. The decision by the world’s largest chipmaker to remove its advertising from the site comes as a result of a coordinated campaign called Operation Disrespectful Nod, apparently orchestrated by supporters of the #GamerGate hashtag, who rail against so-called “social justice warrior” writers, journalists, and developers.
Right, because what could be more gut-wrenchingly horrible than social justice? Thank god there are people who organize campaigns against it, and corporations that bow to pressure from such campaigns. Down with social justice! Up with keeping things as they are, or maybe making them even worse!
Organizers of the campaign exhorted people to contact companies that advertise on video game-focused websites such as Gamasutra and Kotaku in order to complain about five specific articles that suggested the concept of the “gamer” as an identity was fading away. In this case, their efforts were successful. “Intel has pulled its advertising from website Gamasutra,” an Intel spokesperson said to Recode. “We take feedback from our customers very seriously especially as it relates to contextually relevant content and placements.”
So they need to get more feedback, this time from people who don’t hate social justice with the heat of a thousand suns.
Operation Disrespectful Nod was born from the #GamerGate hashtag. Sincere users of the hashtag, as Vox explains, are ostensibly concerned with two main topics — the treatment of women in gaming, and the ethics of games journalism — but its supporters have been linked to campaigns of harassment against prominent women in the industry.
The hashtag was reportedly first used by actor Adam Baldwin when he made reference on Twitter to independent game developer Zoe Quinn. Quinn, the subject of a lengthy diatribe written by an ex-boyfriend, was the target of a harassment campaign after being accused of using sexual relationships with the press to secure coverage for her video games. #GamerGate supporters also attacked feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian, whose Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series attempts to call out and question sexist stereotypes in games. Sarkeesian and her family became the targets of a volley of personal attacks that resulted in her being driven from her home after receiving threats of sexual violence from a Twitter user who knew her actual address.
While many #GamerGate supporters have attempted to distance themselves from such harassment, the movement’s methods, leaders, and ethics are still questionable. Weeks after she was pilloried for her private relationships, Quinn revealed she had been idling in IRC chatrooms run by the orchestrators of the campaign against her. In a series of Twitter posts, she showed how a small group of 4chan users boasted about engineered the #GamerGate hashtag in order to target and attack those it saw as “social justice warriors.”
Such a noble cause, pissing on the very idea of social justice. #proud
The movement has maintained in part because it’s grown wider than gaming. Adam Baldwin continues to tweet on the topic not because he’s a gamer, but because he’s an outspoken conservative figure, vociferously opposed to the left-wing ideals the imagined cadre of “social justice warriors” uphold. Even Washington think tanks have weighed in on the side of #GamerGate supporters. The American Enterprise Institute, a high-profile right-wing group, issued a video in which host “the Factual Feminist” questioned whether games were sexist at all. Such interjections have extended the lifespan of the discussion, and the #GamerGate movement, even further.
And who is “the Factual Feminist”? Christina Hoff Sommers, of course, Richard Dawkins’s new best friend.
Intel says it was flooded with complaints about its Gamasutra ads, but it’s difficult to work out how pervasive support for #GamerGate is in the wider gamesplaying community — its supporters are amplified in the Twitter echo chamber and uncountable thanks to a prevalence of fake “sockpuppet” accounts that retweet messages of support.
Just like those other organized haters of social justice, the ones that target us “rage-bloggers” and “FTBullies.” Maybe they’re all the same three people, typing at the speed of sound.
The #GamerGate hashtag is inextricably linked to campaigns of harassment and its proponents have been demonstrably manipulated by a small number of people who want to hurt others for fun. Until now it has had no major successes, but by giving in to its demands and pulling its advertising from Gamasutra, Intel has legitimized a movement that has shown itself to be anti-feminist, violently protectionist, and totally unwilling to share what it sees as its divine right to video games.
Ernest Adams (who writes a column for Gamasutra) has a public Facebook post with his protest to Intel and the address where we can send ours.
I am gravely disappointed to learn that Intel has stopped advertising on the game developer Web site Gamasutra in response to pressure from gamers with an anti-diversity agenda. You should be aware that many game developers have been made the target of an orchestrated campaign of criminal harassment for their belief that video games should be for everyone, and Gamasutra also supports this view. Some developers have even been driven from their homes in fear for their safety.
By withdrawing your support for Gamasutra, you are sending a message to the game community that Intel, too, opposes diversity in games and is prepared to side with bigots and bullies.
Ernest W. Adams, Ph.D.
Game Designer and Founder, International Game Developers’ Association
If you would like to send a similar message, please do so here:
I borrowed some of his wording and combined it with some of mine and sent this:
I’m shocked to learn that Intel has stopped advertising on the game developer Web site Gamasutra in response to pressure from gamers who don’t approve of efforts to make gaming more welcoming to women and minorities. Many game developers have been made the target of an orchestrated campaign of criminal harassment for their belief that video games should be for everyone. Some developers have even been driven from their homes in fear for their safety. Gamasutra shares the belief that video games should be for everyone. By withdrawing your support for Gamasutra, you are sending a message to the game community that Intel is prepared to side with bigots and bullies.
I urge you to drop Intel a line. Here’s that link again: