A Week Of Hate Tweets Sent To Anita Sarkeesian

A Week Of Hate Tweets Sent To Anita Sarkeesian

Twitter is not the nicest place on the internet at the best of times, but even allowing for that, some people receive more abuse than others. A lot more.

Anita Sarkeesian, host of the Feminist Frequency series (which explores how women are depicted in video games), has shared on her blog a snapshot of her online experience, in the form of a catalogue of every harassing and threatening tweet she received during the week of January 20-26. “It can sometimes be difficult to effectively communicate just how bad this sustained intimidation campaign really is”, she writes”, and both the volume and tone of the tweets indeed do most of the talking.

Below are just a handful of the examples she posted. A warning, though, these are pretty gross to read.

A Week Of Hate Tweets Sent To Anita Sarkeesian


    • It’s so counter-productive that I can only conclude that it’s coming from pro-Anita supporters in a false flag operation. Surely no one is so moronic that they believe posting things like this is actually helping their cause…

      • You’re obviously new to the internet…

        IT’s an oxymoron capable of greatest enlightenment of knowledge and discussion and the source of the foulest cesspool humanity is capable of in written form xD

        Yes I *can* believe people would be would and stupid like that.

  • Why does she call out these people who are obviously mentally ill?
    i’m not a fan of Anita’s work, but the vile shit these guys are saying goes well beyond just being misogynistic assholes.
    i hope these guys can get some help, seriously.

      • Just because they are kids doesn’t change the fact that they need some counselling…

        • I agree @grandmasterb-funk. No stable individual would express themselves in such an extreme manner. Even if they were angry enough to write something negative, it would be done so in a much more constructively, without resorting to vitriol.

        • I’d say that more likely they need some discipline from their parents. But we all know that’s not likely to happen, so call the bastards out I say.

      • I’m sure it’s not just stupid teenagers – there are stupid or immature adults in the world.

    • Maybe can we stop demonising the mentally ill? I am mentally ill and I have never felt the urge to tell someone that I will rape and murder them or even wish that on them, even through the relative anonymity of the internet. Why *is* “they’re mentally ill” always the first excuse tromped out when some dude or bunch of dudes get their rank misogyny on? WHO KNOWS.

      I’ve been plenty abused myself by dudes who are not mentally ill, they’re just assholes. And besides, *all* of them? They’re *all* mentally ill?

      Uh… huh.

      • Was going to mention this very thing. It seems as though people think that while it’s definitely not ok to rail on feminists, it’s somehow ok to disparage the mentally ill, right?

        Truth is, it just doesn’t take a whole lot for everyday sane and healthy ‘normal’ people to become completely vile monsters on the internet. One can only wonder how these people would behave in real life.

      • Sorry if i offended you, i didn’t mean that. i hate to pull out the “one of my best friends has a mental disorder” but i do, and he’s pretty casual about it, so i am not used to people calling me out on that, sorry again.

        i understand not every person who is mentally ill is a psycopath, but you have to admit people who dish out death threats like these can’t be in the right state of mind?

        What’s the right term for these people? Because in my opinion just calling them assholes isn’t enough.

        • Using the term mentally ill to describe what’s effectively just an asshole is sort of offensive because it fuels the popular assumption that anyone who has a mental illness is a dangerous lunatic that’s at best medicated and waiting to snap. Obviously I don’t think that’s how you view the mentally ill but it’s something the mentally ill quite fairly become extra sensitive to.
          Even the most severely mentally ill people are just themselves. My uncle was schizophrenic and at his absolute worst and at his absolute best he was still the same guy. He had a little more trouble taking care of himself when he was off his medication and he was a little quieter when he was on it but there was no ‘sick’ and ‘healthy’ personality.
          I think you’re referring to someone who is just emotionally volatile. Someone with an abnormally quick temper or bad communication skills that should probably seek professional support to deal with. It’s easy to say that’s splitting hairs but the mentally ill cop a lot of flak from all sorts of groups, and even without that mental health issues are extremely alienating, so the last thing they need is guys like you and I accidentally keeping the idea going that if you’re mentally ill you’re a psycho.

          The silver lining is that most people who know someone who is mentally ill figure out right away that it doesn’t define the person. While you may struggle with the wording and hard definitions it’s pretty clear you don’t think every mentally ill person is a time bomb.

          • If a person who acts like a violent sociopath may be described as mentally ill, it does not follow that a person who is mentally ill is a violent sociopath. “Violent sociopath” is a narrow category, “mentally ill” quite a wide one (comprising close to half the population, I have heard.)

            That said, it’s simpler to shortcut any offence by simply using the narrower term in the first place. Call them sociopaths, not mentally ill.

            It’s a bit like “most rapists are men” in no way implies that any given man is a rapist…

            You really have to admire Anita. Even if I don’t agree with everything she says, she puts up with some pretty horrible things in order to say them.

          • I have a lot of respect for Anita for continuing to do her thing in the face of all she’s had to deal with. I have a lot of opinions about video games and women in them (and in comics) that my friends have been like “you should make a blog! people would love to read what you have to say!” and I take one look at the way women like ANita have been treated and am like “yeah… nah.”

            I know that’s giving in before I’ve even started, but I am fully aware that I just don’t have the mental fortitude to deal with even a fraction of the crap she has.

        • Thanks for the apology, I appreciate it. And while I don’t doubt that there are people who do this that may have some form of mental illness, for it to be this consistent it’s hard to believe that there could be that many presenting with exactly the same symptoms, you know?

          But yeah, for this it’s just a case where some people are assholes. And I agree, “asshole” is not nearly enough, but implying that they must then be not in their right state of mind is also a bit of a problem. I think they know exactly what they’re doing, but they’re just angry (in most cases men) who don’t want women “ruining” their thing or hate women (or both) and have usually, if not consciously then at least unconsciously, bought into the MRA mindset which means that they probably think they have a right to act like this and drive women out of their hobby. That’s how I feel, anyway.

    • I’m afraid that otherwise sane, mentally healthy people are more than capable of saying such vile things. Chalking this up to mental illness is doing a great disservice to those who are actually mentally ill, as opposed to what these guys are; assholes.

    • This is a terrible way of thinking. Way to crap on mentally ill people and contribute to the many stigmas they face by lumping them in with the likes of these people. This is classic misogyny being displayed by these people and this type of behavior comes from misogyny, a sense of entitlement and male pride rather than mental illness.

    • I hope she’s reporting each and every one to Twitter and that they’re having their accounts removed. I would happily report them all myself. It’s ridiculous that people are allowed to get away with this kind of behavior. We wouldn’t stand for it on the streets, so why allow it online?

      • I’d say a good number of the accounts where created just to yell abuse at her.

        I don’t agree with the work she has done that I’ve seen, although I feel her overall message is somewhat accurate.

        I wish I had the time to waste insulting people over twitter, I’d use it more productively of course but obviously these people have so little to do that this is a good use of their time.

        • Yeah. I guess reporting each and every one of these accounts could end up becoming a full-time job of its own. I just think the lack of consequence is a huge part of the problem.

      • She needs to – people, including the authorities – still do not believe that her life and safety is often threatened.

        • Has she ever been genuinely threatened though? Everything I’ve ever seen is the usual hot air and BS that’s inevitable whenever arseholes have anonymity.

          • There was the threats of mass shootings at talks she was giving that had the whole thing shut down. That’s probably enough.

            There’s also the continuous doxxing, and apparently someone turned up at her house and rummaged through her garbage in a great impersonation of The Creepiest Person Ever.

          • How do you tell a empty hate filled threat from a credible hate filled threat when they can both be delivered anonymously in massive quantities over the internet?

            That is a serious question, because I can’t think of a way to do it.

            If somebody put a fake story about her being brutally murdered there would be comments under it cheering and claiming she had it coming, and the worse part is those people would be completely honest about their feelings.

            I don’t agree with her completely although I can see where she is coming from, but I also see a lot of misinformation (something that just rubs me the wrong way) but I truly hope nothing bad ever happens to her.

    • You just end up feeding the hate machine.

      Change that to hit machine and you’ll understand a big part of why they give it air time. Remember, Anita Sarkeesian is famous because websites like Kotaku discovered they could generate a ton of traffic by pushing a lot of flame baity articles when her Kickstarter first went up. Not to belittle her work or her cause, just pointing out why websites jump on the chance to give her a headline even though they barely cover her work.

      • You certainly are right about that. hate seems to be the newest way go get people reading

        • Hate and violence has been THE way to keep people reading -and watching- for years. It’s just that gaming culture is playing catch-up in that regard. I refuse to watch the news or read a paper. It’s always the same thing. Apart from this article today, obviously, I’ve been actively avoiding these kinds of articles too. I’m honestly a lot happier just keeping tabs on things that affect my most favourite of pastimes in a positive manner 🙂

          • Nice doesn’t sell, unfortunately. It’s relegated to the last 5 seconds of a news report. Like a cat video, or a happy dog rescue story. Same with the paper. But I agree – how do we make nice marketable? Haha 🙂

      • The problem is how volatile the traffic can be. The other problem is that it hardly affects Kotaku (or anyone else) when they post news about it. It directly affects Anita, and then the image of gamers as a by-product.

        If only people could just ignore what people say when they don’t like the person or the context. If that didn’t happen however, we wouldn’t call it the internet….

      • That’s a cynical viewpoint. A contradictory perspective is that they believe their readership to have the

    • There are many people who have accused her (and other women attacked by gamergate supporters) of lying about the abuse or trying to minimise its impact.

      It’s been over a month since her last video, so what would this be like right after a release?

    • I think her family name indicates an Armenian origin, so Armenian would be a better guess. She has a somewhat similar colouring to Cher, whose father was Armenian, and who, coincidentally, was born Cherilyn Sarkisian.

      • I always thought Armenia was more closely linked with Russia and Christianity than the Arabic world.

        Will freely admit I could be very wrong though.

        • I don’t think you are wrong there. I think most Armenians are various stripes of Christian from memory.

  • Anyone else who is famous and has a polarizing point of view gets similar hate in a constant flow.

    Posting them on a blog like this is utter maddness. This will just make it worse. Everyone knows not to feed the trolls.

    Nothing new to see here guys. move along.

    • Everybody should know not to feed Trolls, but there’s a sucker born every minute and that’s what keeps those black dirty Troll hearts beating.

      For every 99 people who ignore the Troll there is one person who clicks the link or feels the need to comment because the Troll is merely misinformed and not baiting them. It’s like a wet paint sign there always has to be somebody to touch the paint to see if it’s wet. It’s why there are finger prints on my letter box.

  • The one about her ruining the gaming community is hilarious. If these comments were actually indicative of what the gaming community is, then it would be a community that SHOULD be ruined.

  • I was going to comment something, won’t bother. Two sides of the story though. What comes from ‘supporters’ of Anita and what she’s trying to accomplish is just as bad. I still don’t know what she’s trying to accomplish. She shouts down any woman actually working in the industry speaking out against her accusations as being a tool of the ‘patriarchy’.

    I guess I ended up making a comment. There’s no place at all though for comments like this. If it’s one thing the internet has done, it’s given idiots the chance to have an anonymous voice.

    • Her stated goal is an important one, namely improving the way in which characters in general are portrayed within gaming. We do need better written characters and stories in our gaming, and we’ve been making some great progress in that regard in recent years. Unfortunately, her methodology and “research” is something I cannot support at all. Cherry-picking clips completely devoid of context as evidence just doesn’t hold up when scrutinized. Yet she refuses to acknowledge legitimate grievances with her work, refuses to debate her points with anyone of the opposing viewpoint, and sets her own followers on anybody who disagrees with her conclusions. That’s no way to make a positive change in gaming, or society in general. We need to have this conversation, but Anita is not the one to bring us to the table.

      At the end of the day, nobody is deserving of the hate this woman receives, regardless of whether you agree with her work or not. Both “sides” need to ease off on the gas pedal and stop with the attacks. Perhaps if fewer people jumped straight to “I disagree with you, so go die!”, we could actually work at improving things.

      Edit: That wasn’t meant as a reply, but it seems similar to the point you were expressing, I think.

      • I think this is the real problem.

        There are people who spout invective hate upon her, and I do really wish they would go away. She gives them attention rather than paying attention to the people who have legitimate and reasoned rebuttals or criticism of her work, with whom she generally refuses to engage.

        Anita’s inability to include context or form a logical unbroken chain from premise to conclusion to prove her point undermines the effectiveness of her stated goal – which I commend – and it’s to the gaming community’s loss that she simply lacks either (or maybe both) the dedication or ability to address it in the consistent, fair and considered manner which the issue truly deserves.

        • She reminds me of Richard Dawkins. She may not be among the people who’re best at really pursuading or explaining the issue, but she’s made such a massive impact that people are forced to take sides and can’t just remain apathetic to the cause. The result of that is far more discourse beyond the front lines and a greater possibility of results of some form or another.

          The next step is to actually try to understand what is actually driving the opposition on both sides rather than simply shouting at them, but hey, baby steps.

      • slightly_mad, this is very well expressed. I’m a female gamer and the whole past year with gamer gate is frustrating and upsetting. Anita gets some things wrong in her analysis of games but she does address a valid point but it is nearly impossible to have a rational discussion and pick apart her analysis because of the level of abuse being hurled in this debate.

        I was fairly shocked when I was watching one of Anita’s videos and I noticed she’d featured a scene in Dragon Age Origins where an evil character is harassing a woman, and she featured this as an example of female exploitation. I have played the Dragon Age games many times and I was a little surprised because I know Bioware goes out of their way to be inclusive towards women and lesbian, gay and transgender characters. And I think I understood why the guys got irritated by the Hitman reference in her video, because I had the same reaction to the Dragon Age reference. And that type of scene turns up in many classic novels and movies including Film Noir classics, so if she’s using that as an example, I am wondering if she would take issue with classic films and literature as well?

        Where I’m torn is that I would love to see a more diverse set of games being made, because I think it would grow the gaming industry, we would get to play more interesting games and have a whole lot more fun. But that is unlikely to happen in the current environment.

        But regardless, the abuse she receives is unacceptable. No one deserves death threats and these types of twitter posts.

    • What comes from ‘supporters’ of Anita and what she’s trying to accomplish is just as bad.

      No. No, it is not.

      • I think you’ve misread that. He’s not saying her or her cause are just as bad, he’s saying that there are people who support her and her cause that also act as insane as the people lobbing abuse at her. If I sat down and fairly critiqued her videos or blog entries, there are people who would blindly lump me in with every nut who hates women and throw a whole bunch of verbal abuse my way.
        I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing feminists here since even the pushy annoying ones tend to have the best intentions, but as a group they have their share of pretty extreme members.

        • Absolutely. It is very difficult these days to criticise someone’s ideas or methods without being shouted down as a ‘hater’. It would be nice if people didn’t feel the need to get aggressive when discussing ideas 🙂

  • Stupid threatening comments made by people who feel that their hobby is threatened. She shouldn’t have to deal with this crap, the opposition should really man up and become constructive.

    That said, she “explores how women are depicted in video games” in the same way that intelligent design advocates explore evolutionary biology.

  • “No one comes at Call of duty like that. I’ll quick scope you irl fgt” is pretty amusing tbh.

  • Swears on the internet!

    Seriously though, I don’t agree with a lick of what she’s doing. But obviously no-one should have to put up with this. It’s disgusting, but the world has always and will always have these bottom feeders. Social media just gave them a voice.

    Meanwhile, I had a look at Anita’s blog and saw her list of 5 great feminist moments in gaming: https://medium.com/matter/five-feminist-moments-in-the-history-of-video-games-13e38c4e05cb

    That’s cool and all, but I found all of those games incredibly boring. Not because they starred women, but they were all too serious and too wordy for my tastes. Where’s my shotgun? How do I set off the nuke. Yes, I get it, I’m just a stupid man who likes to blow shit up. But I’m one of a lot of stupid men who enjoy blowing shit up. And BUSINESSES react to market demand.

    But hey, if there’s a market for those types of games and they sell well, then I’m sure companies will continue to make them. For both men and women. I hope they do – even I’ll play the odd special one every now and then.

    But meanwhile, I’ll continue buying almost every traditional action / strategy / rpg game that comes out. Preferably with a male lead, but the odd Lara Croft type is nice too.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is – this isn’t communist Russia. Demanding representation in video games in stupid. The market is fragmented beyond one Governments control (thank god). So speak with your dollars and put this nonsense aside, there are real issues out there worth tackling.

    • I agree for the most part but the market does not speak through sales chart and it doesn’t care about what’s good, right or fair. When you vote with your wallet you tell them they can’t have your money but that’s all you tell them. They’re just as likely to think you didn’t buy the game because you’re a meathead fratboy who thinks plot in games is gay (you know how we tend to think of publishers all publishers as being idiots, well they tend to assume the worst of us too).
      We need to voice our opinions and critisms, and in turn publishers/developers need to get better at listening so they can properly process those critisms.

      • I think the great thing about the game industry is that these days, with the rise of the indies, self-publishing, Steam Greenlight and the App Store, there is room for everyone. Sure, you might not get a AAA publisher to make a properly gender-balanced game, but there are developers out there that can and do make such games. These games will find their market. It may disappoint feminists that the mainstream audience doesn’t particularly care about the issues that feminists consider vitally important, but I think that the very fact that there are female indie developers out there is awesome. Anita could do a lot for those developers if she promoted them and their games. I’m not sure if she does so already.

  • Sarkeesian is a lot like Greenpeace. I fully agree with their goals and aspirations, but their methodogy (deception & manipulation) is so frustrating that I begin to feel sympathy with the “other side”. And then I feel like s**t for feeling sorry for whalers and internet arseholes.

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