One of many logos created for the astroturfed GamerGate movement. The color scheme refers to a popular rape joke on 4chan.[1]

GamerGate (sometimes stylized as a hashtag on Twitter, e.g., #gamergate) is a reactionary movement claiming to be motivated by breaches of ethical conduct in video game journalism, but really has highlighted the problem of misogynistic attitudes in the Gaming community.[2][3][4] Too toxic for 4chan, the owner of the site deleted threads related to #gamergate and the community has since moved to 8chan.[5]


Members of the #gamergate movement claim that the movement is about ethics in video game journalism, where they see certain websites as mouthpieces for game developers or the poor relationship between video game journalism and developers of video games.[6] The more misogynistic faction of the #gamergate movement has been active prior to the specific hashtag campaign, mainly criticizing Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes versus Women videos.

Despite claims of the purpose being reformation of ethics in game journalism, the chat logs released by the 4channers responsible for creating the #gamergate hashtag clearly show the development of this as a cover for the intended harassment campaign and subsequent actions by the movement's supporters further refute this claim.[7][8]

Zoe Quinn has posted screenshots from 4chan and IRCs that indicate the gamergate hashtag originating not as caring about ethics in game journalism, but instead a coordinated harassment campaign.[9]

False Accusations against Zoe Quinn

Zoe Quinn, an indie game developer of the game Depression Quest [10], was accused of having a sexual affair with Nathan Grayson, a journalist for the gaming review site Kotaku. Coinciding with the suicide of Robin Williams, Quinn released the game as "pay what you want", part of the proceeds are donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. After the release, Quinn's ex-boyfriend made a blog post alleging that Quinn had cheated on him and had sex with Nathan Grayson in exchange for a favorable review of her game. Unfortunately for the #gamergate community, Nathan Grayson only wrote Kotaku article on Quinn, unrelated to Depression Quest, and prior to their romantic relationship.[11] More importantly, Grayson never reviewed Quinn's game.

Despite the initial accusations being proven false, a campaign of doxxing, rape threats, death threats, and hacking attempts of Quinn and her friends.[12][13]


The above treatment of Zoe Quinn, her friends, and other cultural critics such as Anita Sarkeesian have caused the majority of media coverage to label #gamergate as misogynistic silencing attempts by upset men.[14][15] [16]

Anita Sarkeesian appeared on the Colbert Report to demonstrate the misogyny and terrorizing of women who are involved in the gaming community.[17]

Further Harassment

A typical response from charges of misogyny in #gamergate

As #gamergate has moved away from their initial attacks on Quinn, members of the movement have attacked other prominent feminist cultural critics such as Anita Sarkeesian[18], videogame developers such as Brianna Wu [19], and actress Felicia Day.[20] Sarkeesian specifically was the target of a shooting threat, which caused her to cancel her speak at Utah State University.[21] Some members of #gamergate have alleged that the threats to Wu, Quinn, and Sarkeesian were faked.[22] Prominent youtube new atheists such as Thunderf00t and TheAmazingAtheist have claimed that Anita Sarkeesian was in no danger [23] and have claimed that Sarkeesian is a professional victim. However, it appears that these critics of Sarkeesian have ignored that it is ultimately up to her how she wishes to respond to death threats and Utah's minimal state gun laws [24], which prevent security from banning firearms entirely in the speech or performing pat-downs to check for weapons.

Fake tweets accusing Anita Sarkeesian of spending kickstarter money on expensive shoes were also made.[25]

An analysis of the tweets with the hashtag gamergate, BrandWatch indicated that there are more negative tweets than positive tweets about the women in tweets with the hashtag.[26] [27] [28] [29]

After appearing on the Colbert Report on October 29th, Anita Sarkeesian received more harassment and anger about what she said.[30]

#NotYourShield Campaign

the NotYourShield hashtag, which claimed to be minority groups distancing themselves from claims of bigotry from Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn[31] has since been revealed as a coordinated attack campaign to deflect from claims of misogyny in the gamergate movement [9] [32]

Right-wing bias among supporters

Supporters of #Gamergate are shown to be either some form of conservatism or libertarianism.[33] Milo Yiannopoulos, who has Nazi tendencies,[34] once wrote a transphobic piece[35], and is a writer for the conservative Christina Hoff Sommers is a known neoconservative and she dismissed the sexism in video gaming, because its targeted audience doesn't care. Fredrick Brennan, the operator of 8chan confessed that he vote for Ron Paul. It's not hard to find pro-libertarian, anti-immigration, anti-LGBT, and anti-feminist pages in the favorites of #Gamergate pages, and vice-versa on Facebook.

Cathy Young, a writer for known libertarian Reason Magazine, has claimed that the movement is an anti-authoritarian backlash against feminist cultural criticism, not anti-woman [36] [37]

Zaid Jilian of Salon noted that the movement has attracted anti-feminists who have no interest in gaming journalism.[38]

Christina Hoff Sommers, member of the neoconservative not-for-profit think tank The American Enterprise Institute [39], has made videos claiming that sexism in video games does not cause sexist behavior in real life. Her most recent video claimed that violence against men in video games is larger and therefore more problematic.[40] She also appeals to a lack of precise definition of sexism to argue that feminist critics can't offer valid or legitimate critiques without such a definition. Sommers also laughs after saying "heteronormative privilege", as if this is some kind of joke. Sommers also appears to completely discount the effects of normalization of attitudes on behavior. To demonstrate this, go read some of the more anti-Semitic parts of Russian author Dostoevsky.[41] You will be shocked that someone could hold these beliefs about Jews, but inside its culture where those beliefs are normalized and reinforced by media, these attitudes were completely accepted. The same holds true for misogynistic tropes in various video games and other forms of media.

Gamergate has also attracted two youtubers, one of whom is a white nationalist and the other an objectivist.[42]

Origins of the name

Some members of #gamergate have claimed that their name originates from a homonymous ant.[43] However, the suffix "gate" is conveying a meaning alluding to one of the most famous political scandals in American History, Watergate.[wp] The suffix has been applied to scandals since Watergate, real or imagined and demonstrates the members of the movement self-indulgent notion that they are fighting corruption.

See Also

External links


  1. The Secret Meaning Behind GamerGate's Branding, by Suzanne LaBarre
  9. 9.0 9.1
  10. Play here
  34. The Villans of #GamerGate #1 - Milo Yiannopoulos, by Cathode Debris on Tumblr