According to the fauxgressists (term coined by David Auerbach), #Gamergate is an harassment campaign, started by Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, to spread false allegations and smear her character. It has evolved into a hate movement, the sole purpose of which, is to drive women out of the gaming industry. Anti-Gamergaters relentlessly talk about Zoe Quinn’s harassment, as well as developer Brianna Wu being driven out of her home after receiving death/rape threats, and media critic Anita Sarkeesian being forced to cancel a public appearance after a bomb threat. They will also claim that all the members of #Gamergate are paranoid, uneducated right wing teenage straight white male nut-jobs living in their parents’ basement, who wrongfully believe that someone wants to take away their games.
This presentation of #Gamergate is not only factually inaccurate, but also intellectually dishonest: everything posted on the ZoePost has been corroborated by Zoe Quinn herself. Furthermore, claiming she’s the victim of a jilted ex is referred to, in psychology, as DARVO (Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender), a technique used by bullies and abusers when being caught.
Photographic evidence has proven that, while Brianna Wu was parading in interviews and claiming that she was hiding, fearing for her life, she was actually in the comfort of her own home office. If this wasn’t enough to debunk her claims, after a public spat on social media, her local law enforcement and prosecution claimed that she never filed any report of any incident.
When it comes to Anita Sarkeesian’s claim that a severe bomb threat forced her to cancel one of her appearances, the Utah law enforcement offices dismissed evidence of any credible threat, and the Utah State University has publicly stated that the cancellation was neither due to a bomb threat, nor due to them fearing any security issue—the cancellation was requested by Sarkeesian herself, after her demand for the USU Students Bill of Rights to be amended, was denied by the university.
This isn’t to say that these three women haven’t been harassed or haven’t received threats; it is highlighting that the gravity of these threats have been greatly exaggerated for the sole purpose of marketing their personal crowdfunding campaigns, which is an insult to all the victims of harassment, who don’t get any media coverage, and don’t turn their victimhood into lucrative careers.
Also, let’s not forget that a Twitter hashtag can be used by anyone, so claiming that these threats are coming exclusively from #Gamergate supporters, and not from third-party trolls, is a fallacy. Many #Gamergate supporters have also been victims of harassment. Pretending that the victims are only on one side is a disingenuous misrepresentation.
The biggest piece of factual evidence debunking the harassment campaign myth comes from a Newsweek article in which, despite a dishonest editorial, data proved that harassing or threatening tweets were not only marginal (less than 1.2%), but also not coming from accounts actively involved with #Gamergate.
Finally, despite being dismissed as a crazy conspiracy, Anita Sarkeesian and her cult following are the ones who started petitions to ban the sale of Grand Theft Auto V from Australian retail stores and the game Hatred to be pulled from the digital sales platform, Steam.