The bullies spoke and Intel listened

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.

It’s appalling.

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:





  1. AsqJames says

    A couple of clicks from the feedback form you can find Intel’s corporate policy document on “Human Rights Principles”.

    Diversity and Nondiscrimination: Intel respects, values and welcomes diversity in its
    workforce, its customers, its suppliers and the global marketplace. [snip]

    Harassment Prohibition: Intel is committed to providing a workplace free of sexual
    harassment as well as harassment based on factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national
    origin, ancestry, age, disability, medical condition, [snip]

    I’ve let them know these are fine words, which mean nothing unless they are backed up with actions.

  2. says

    Goddamnit. And I may be replacing the processor in my wife’s computer soon.

    I prefer Intel chips. But I think I’ll let ’em know that if they don’t reverse this, I’ll be buying AMD from now on. The difference isn’t big enough to warrant supporting a company like this.

  3. says

    My comment:

    I am very disappointed to hear that Intel caved to the threats and bullying of the misogynist wing of the internet. Video games are for everyone. You just pulled an ad campaign because the site on which your ads would appear was a site that was explicit about welcoming women and about valuing diversity.

    The people who objected to this think that women should not enjoy video games, that developers should ignore women’s interests when designing games, and that hate speech against women should be allowed wherever and whenever the most vocal misogynists feel like using it.

    You have sided with them.

    I conclude from this that you agree with the men who bully and harass women on the internet for daring to like video games, among other things they view as rightfully male domains. Intel is a company that doesn’t think I belong on the internet (not if I expect to live in an environment free of gendered slurs and abuse just for being female, anyway). You don’t want my business and I don’t want to give you my business. When my 8-year-old laptop dies (any day now) I’ll be careful to avoid the “Intel Inside” label unless and until I hear a very public, contrite apology–no “We’re sorry IF anyone was offended” fauxpologies, please. You really messed up and you need to acknowledge that.

    So. This should be interesting.

  4. musubk says

    I sent them an ‘improvement needed’ message reminding them of their policy regarding diversity and harassment.

  5. says

    Well, hopefully Intel gets around to fixing this mess before I get to replacing my computer in a few months. Gets hard to keep track of which companies are being awful, though.

    I did send in a concern too. Thanks for the link, to make it easy to get around to actually doing something.

  6. says

    I also just submitted an ‘improvement needed’ message. I’ve been buying Intel since my first 286. I won’t be buying another one if they keep acting like this.

  7. leni says

    … Adam Baldwin continues to tweet …


    Almost as good as Kirk Cameron’s banana proof, but I can’t actually remember which one is Adam.

    Was that the annoying one?


    I read a letter to the editor in my local news today lamenting the fact that civilization will end because we have “feminized” society. It’s true. The old ways have been working really well. Why mess with a good thing?

  8. sonofrojblake says

    Message sent.

    I can’t actually remember which one is Adam

    Nice bit of dehumanising – hey, all people called Baldwin are interchangeable, right? For information, he’s the one who was in Firefly, and he’s not related in any way to Alec (30 Rock), Stephen (Usual Suspects), William (Backdraft) or Daniel (Homicide:LOTS) Baldwin.

  9. Athywren says

    I didn’t feel comfortable with calling out the motivations, since I know from experience that MRAs and the like are good at the “whaaat, me?” look, so I pointed out their tactics.

    I was concerned to hear that Intel have stopped advertising with, a games development site, as a result of complaints about your association with them.
    I won’t go into details about my opinion of the motivations of your complainants, but I would draw your attention to one of the instructional pages from the “GamerGateOP” page on github:
    These are people who are willing to engage in “sock puppeting” in order to make their numbers appear greater than they truly are and drown out dissenting views on twitter, and, while it is not overtly stated, I would be surprised if they were not engaging in the same tactics in their complaints to your company.

    I cannot be completely certain, but I do not believe that they speak for the gaming community, and, as for the rest of the world, I doubt they care about our petty squabbles.

    I sincerely hope you reconsider your decision in this matter.

    If nothing else, I can’t imagine Intel would appreciate a group misrepresenting their numbers in order to make their case, especially considering the business ramifications if it turns out that the majority of gamers are in favour of diversity.

  10. LewisX says

    Message sent. Thanks AsqJames at #1 for linking to the Human Rights page at Intel’s site – I quoted some of that right back at them as well.

  11. Narlaquin says

    Time to prize off those “Intel Inside” stickers from every desktop and laptop you own, use or have access to. Send them back to Intel in the mail. Let them see that their long time customers are not impressed with them taking the wrong side in this matter.
    Intel Inside? Intel Wrong Side!

    Can anyone dig up an OFFICE address for Kim S Stevenson (CIO) or Brian Krzanich (CEO) to mail them to?

  12. A Hermit says

    Message sent, politely but firmly pointing out that I don’t buy products from companies that use their influence to support sexist bullies.

  13. John Horstman says

    I sent a concern arguing that supporting misogynist harassers is the worst option possible for Intel’s bottom line. (Corporate capitalism disgusts me, but practically I’m perfectly willing to argue from a perspective of sociopathic self interest if it may be effective in convincing someone who won’t be swayed by arguments from ethics.) Intel should very much want hardcore gaming to appeal to a wider audience, as that’s more people willing to pay a premium for the fastest CPUs. Additionally, misogynist gamerbros are more likely to be WAY more concerned about their frame rates than the ethics of the companies they buy from (if they weren’t, it’s unlikely they’d be opposed to social justice in the first place), so Intel stands to lose far more business to AMD by siding with misogynists over feminists, as we social justice rouges are far more likely to boycott a company over their stances on social issues.

  14. Mickey Schulz says

    I’m seriously considering starting a campaign to Toshiba, who use Intel chips a lot, if not exclusively, letting them know this loyal Toshiba customer can’t buy from them if they buy from Intel, and emailing Intel to that effect. Let the other corps who support them know what they’re doing and how it will effect your purchasing decisions.

    I love Toshiba, I have a 1998 Toshiba laptop that still works. It would make me very sad to not be able to upgrade through them again.

  15. AsqJames says

    Intel have responded:

    We take feedback from customers seriously. For the time being, Intel has decided not to continue with our current ad campaign on the gaming site Gamasutra. However, we recognize that our action inadvertently created a perception that we are somehow taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate in the gaming community. That was not our intent, and that is not the case. When it comes to our support of equality and women, we want to be very clear: Intel believes men and women should be treated the same. And, diversity is an integral part of our corporate strategy and vision with commitments to improve the diversity of our workforce. And while we respect the right of individuals to have their personal beliefs and values, Intel does not support any organization or movement that discriminates against women. We apologize and we are deeply sorry if we offended anyone.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  16. Kristina says

    You people realize that your actions have no impact, right? Not only that but Intel’s decision is the right one, most of these websites hold back women and minorities and rather have them be victims than empowering them.

    So are you all for oppressing women, minorities, and free speech, or are you against it?

  17. leni says

    …hey, all people called Baldwin are interchangeable, right? For information, he’s the one who was in Firefly, and he’s not related in any way to Alec (30 Rock), Stephen (Usual Suspects), William (Backdraft) or Daniel (Homicide:LOTS) Baldwin.

    Oh that is even more disappointing! I loved Firefly. And I enjoyed this Baldwin’s work on Angel, too. But no. All people named “Baldwin” are not interchangeable. Just a few of the annoying famous ones, I guess.

  18. NDDave says

    Responded and let Intel know that I’ll be switching to AMD if they decide to side with the bigots. Not that I expect they’ll be weeping over the loss of one computer geek. But if enough people let them know that they’re leaving, their bottom line will motoviate them, even if simple human decency does not.

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