John Oliver makes a fine rant about the nastiness of internet trolls — it’s a little familiar to those of us who have been and are targets, but I’m happy to see more attention brought to the problem.
He failed to mention something, though: GamerGate. But that’s OK, because GamerGate immediately accepted the mantle of guilt.
John Oliver delivered a righteously satisfying segment last night about online threats and harassment against women. Here is a word he did not use, once, at all, ever: Gamergate. And yet for some unfathomable reason, many Gamergate fans are unhappy about the segment, believing it to be unfair and one-sided and besides, online harassment isn’t real anyway. Oh, word?
Oliver didn’t mention the Gamergate perpetrators at all, focusing a good chunk of the segment on revenge porn and the difficulty victims have in getting it taken down. The segment does, however, briefly feature clips of interviews with Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian, two of the three women relentlessly harassed and threatened by fans of ethics in gaming journalism. Also, Oliver had the temerity to suggest that white men have a different, less threatening experience on the Internet than anybody else.
Interesting. Talk about internet hate groups, and Gamergaters assume you’re talking about them. It’s almost as if they have a rudimentary sense of self-awareness.
It also reminds me of a recent report by David Futrelle…that as Reddit finally begins to crack down on a tiny number of hate groups within its labyrinthine morass, a whole lot of other, unbanned groups are worrying that they’re going to be targeted next. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that they have guilty consciences — it’s more that they already recognize their affinities to neo-Nazis, homophobes, transphobes, and such miscellaneous haters and collections of anonymous cowards.