GamerGate Meetup Evacuated After Apparent Bomb Threat

GamerGate Meetup Evacuated After Apparent Bomb Threat

Attendees at a GamerGate meetup were forced to evacuate a bar in Washington, DC last night after police showed up, according to people who were there. Workers at the bar told patrons they were conducting a fire drill, attendees say, but as people left the building, they found police officers standing outside.

In various tweets and reports from the meetup, GamerGaters have claimed the cops were there due to a bomb threat, while video footage from one attendee features a police officer acknowledging that there was “an ongoing investigation”. (The video also shows a K-9 bomb squad van at the scene.)

Although DC police were not available to confirm details of last night’s incident when contacted by Kotaku today, attendees’ photos show cops standing outside the bar, Local Sixteen, following an evacuation.

(via @allanbourdius)

(via @atlasnodded)

Staff at the bar declined to comment when reached by Kotaku, instead directing us to an email address, though we’ve not yet heard back to questions we sent several hours before publication.

One prominent supporter of GamerGate and meet-up attendee, Lizzy “lizzyf620” Finnegan, told me in an email this afternoon that at first, patrons at the bar were told they’d have to leave the building due to a fire drill, but that as soon as they stepped outside, it became clear this was a little out of the ordinary.

“When we got out front, we were thinking it was a drill so we [stayed] right out front, but there were cops, cars and officers and they made us move away from the building,” Finnegan said. “That’s when one of the cops said there had been a ‘serious threat.'”

In addition, a tweet posted last night from a now-deleted account appears to be a pretty clear bomb threat, although it’s unclear whether police were reacting to this tweet, a different threat, or another incident entirely:

This was the first official US get-together for GamerGate, a movement that started last year and whose members regularly campaign against liberal feminism as well as what they say are ethical problems in video game journalism. Participants in GamerGate frequently use social media to annoy and harass various targets (including many of us here at Kotaku). Outspoken critics like Anita Sarkeesian have also blamed the movement for a great deal of harassment — doxxing and death threats — targeted at various people.

Many GamerGate members deny these charges — and some have spoken out against fringe harassers — but given the anonymous, amorphous nature of their campaign, reality is messy, to say the least. Last night’s meetup, from what we can see in photos, was attended by a diverse mix of 200 or so people.

Organisers of the meetup included Christina Hoff Sommers, a professor and critic of liberal feminism, and Milo Yiannopoulos, a writer for Breitbart who claimed on Twitter today that this incident involved “a bomb threat from feminists”.

Our own distaste for GamerGate’s methods and social media campaigns has been no secret — and many members of GamerGate have actively worked to destroy Kotaku. A bomb threat against any gathering of people is nonetheless deplorable.


  • Can we just collectively agree to stop legitimising ‘gamergate’ by constantly reporting on it or calling it a ‘movement’?
    If we all opt to just shrug it off like the tired joke that it is, I’m sure it’ll just fade away until one day we’ll be able to look at it and laugh, like we do at men’s rights activism and old-timey racism.

    • yep there is no good side in this debate, both sides are black as space. there are no varying shades of grey to be seen

      • It is barely a debate. It has been characterised by MRA (anti-feminist) type forces leaping onto the issue trying to shut down feminist arguments through threats and intimidation. It doesn’t matter one tiny bit if you agree or disagree with either side. Both should be free to express their opinions. And with stuff like the GGAutoBlocker, well, anyone is free to NOT listen.

  • no doubt from one of them trying to get more publicity and paint themselves even more as victims. roll eyes… GG was so 2014

    • I’m not sure if this is serious of if it’s mocking GGers who claim that the targets of GG hate are faking all the threats against them.

    • If anyone is trying to paint themselves as victims in this piece it’s Kotaku US.

  • It’s a shame that once again, having a different opinion to the Liberal (in the US, Liberals are akin to our left wing Labor types, not our current Government of Liberal lunatics) lunatics is met with more hostility, hate, threats and bullying than the “evil misogynistic scum” they claim are the “real threat”.

    While we have had many articles, mainly from Kotaku US, about how GamerGate is harassing people on twitter; take a look at the other side of that coin. Those opposed to GamerGate, no matter which part is represented, have had a group kicked out of a convention for representing a different opinion, had a woman banned for life from conventions in her home country for asking a question during a Q&A panel (which has ruined her dream of being in a comic industry), and now a threat of unknown type placed because of a simple gathering of people who want to discuss their viewpoints among themselves.

    Who is the real “harassing group” in all this mess?

    • Maybe the people attacking gaters (like in this instance) aren’t aligned with the Anti-GG groups, but are in fact people on the fringe taking it upon themselves to attack the GGs. You know, exactly the thing GGers complain about when some jerk threatens to rape or harm a female dev/reporter that GGers as a whole get blamed for. Maybe someone just figured that turnabout was fair play. Personally, I think behaviour like this damages the whole and does no one any favours, but it is interesting to see how each side responds when something like this happens…

      • Totally agree with you there. Doing thing like calling in bomb threats against either side makes both sides look childish and it’s more a. Lying to other people and businesses that are not involved in this cowlick of different viewpoints.

    • Both sides have monsters on them dude. See one the one hand, fighting for women’s rights and dealing with the corruption in journalism are real and important issues. But I’ve seen so much frighting and awful, evil shit come from feminists and people a part of “gamergate” that I don’t use either of the labels. The issues are still important though

    • It’s gamergate. You just lack perspective that you tragically think you already have.

    • It’s a shame that once again, having a different opinion to the Liberal (in the US, Liberals are akin to our left wing Labor types, not our current Government of Liberal lunatics) lunatics is met with more hostility, hate, threats and bullying than the “evil misogynistic scum” they claim are the “real threat”.

      Did you just admit that gamergate is a conservative political and social movement. OH LOL. You guys are hopeless.

      • No. I was trying to give the definition of liberal in the U.S. Political context as it’s different from our Liberal political context.

        GamerGate is just as liberal as all the other progressive groups out there. The difference is that they don’t agree with the hive mindset that other groups seem to have.

        • Harassing women isn’t a very liberal thing to do. I’m still waiting, as I have been for quite some time, for someone to explain to me why a movement that claims to be about ethical gaming journalism completely ignored large websites such as Gametrailers, Gamespot, etc and large developers/publishers who have exhibited ACTUAL unethical behaviour, and instead focussed on people who weren’t even gaming journalists or had exhibited examples of unethical or corrupt behaviour, such as Brianna Wu, or Felicia Day.

        • GG’s message of “Shut up bitch, the status quo is fine” is anything but progressive.

    • There’s no proof that the threat was made by anti-gamer gaters or feminists. Whenever a bomb or shooting threat is called in against someone like Anita Sarkeesian, GGers dust off their hands and cry innocent. It’d be hypocritical to deny ‘liberal lunatics’ the same plea of innocence.

  • Pretty sad that someone out there was so afraid that a group of people might have a good time, that they would go to the full extent of faking a bomb threat.
    Let’s hope the authorities sort this one out, hm? Bomb threats in the same state as the White House? you know that shit is going to be taken seriously.

    Last night’s meetup, from what we can see in photos, was attended by a diverse mix of 200 or so people.
    It’s interesting to watch Gamergate unfold over time, honestly. At first the official story is “50 WHITE MISOGYNISTS NECKBEARDS WITH SOCKPUPPET ACCOUNTS” and now there’s a “diverse mix” of 200 people (300 from the numbers I’ve heard) who managed to get to one bar in one state, alone. Meanwhile, whenever GG would bring up ethics, they’d be laughed out the joint. “You don’t care about ethics, you just hate women!”. Months later, many of the “journalists” and sites that were in GG’s focus HAVE disclosed themselves in articles/updated their ethics policies.

    The funniest one I think was when Grayson covered the Indie movie recently. He disclosed his relationship with Quinn. If he had only done that in the first place, Gamergate might not have even happened.

    • More info required with the numbers – sounds like a group were at the bar, with just as many randoms who had nothing to do with it.

      • Kinda hard to get an exact number. My sources are just a bunch of posts that for all I know are repeating what they’ve heard.
        I’m curious to where Schreier got his 200 figure.

        I’ll see what I can get for you.

      • Okay, according to someone who was there, it was a “250-strong meetup”, also stating it “was the largest GamerGate gathering so far, with somewhere between 200 and 300 attendees.”
        So everybody wins, I guess. Nobody is wrong.

        That doesn’t really counter your “the numbers could be inflated by unrelated people” but I’d guess if you were there you’d sorta tell who is there for the meet up and who is there for the bar.

        At any rate, apparently there were quite a few journalists there, so maybe there’ll be some articles to read.

        • Just wondering – if there were randoms, that makes it an even shittier thing to do. The Polygon article calls it a restaurant, so maybe they did book the entire place.

  • Part of me wants to laugh at the karmic backlash, part of me wants to just shake my head in disbelief at the fact that this whole GG mess is turning into a small scale Cold War but mostly I just want everyone involved in the hostilities to go sit in the corner and think about what they’ve done.

  • this is why you have the 2nd amendment. you should have dudes open carrying. and fuck that bomb threat bullshit. you all knew it was BS anyway. the terrorists won, cause u stopped your get together and they got their LOL’z

  • You have a lot of hardcore crazy GG supporters and a bunch of hardcore crazy GG haters, who need to realise that they are just as bad even though they are attacking people who are considered to be mysoginistic haters.

  • and also which side of Gamer gate was this? the rational , logical ones? the ones that point out the BS and hypocrisy
    or the feminist Nazi types, That somehow hijacked it, and made it about something that has nothing to do with Gamer gate???

  • It’s so funny (and often tragic) when proponents of intellectual or social movements refuse to allow people to espouse contrary views. They cannot seem to grasp that no-one ‘wins’ a debate. To make it even more hilarious, a lot of GamerGate supporters are furious because a lot of anti-GamerGate supporters are assuming they support violence against or harassment of women, when they might just be interested in journalistic ethics, and might not even know or care about the Zoe Quinn incident. I guess it is in human nature to seek the comfort of homogeny by shouting down dissenting voices. A peaceful coexistence of GamerGate and anti-GamerGate seems impossible.

  • I’m still waiting to hear about the ethical issues in journalism that is allegedly what this is all about.

    You know, the smoking gun string of reviews of AAA+ titles influenced by sordid sex and drugs applied to game journos by the shadowy cabal of feminist SJWs.

    Instead all I have seen is a few million squawks about how everything is currently just fine in terms of gender equality and how certain women need to be raped and killed.

    I am unsure how this connects to the above but I am sure somewhere on 4Chan there is a very lengthy post of pasted together screenshots and red arrows drawn in MSPaint that explains it and I hope to see it soon.

    I also eagerly await the downvotes from the regular Kotaku MRAs, you guys are so adorable <3

  • members regularly campaign against liberal feminism

    Citation needed

    as well as what they say are ethical problems in video game journalism

    Pretty self evident that this is an issue. Especially when as a direct result of GG, Kotaku changes its policies and clarifies what needs to be disclosed.

    But then, what can I expect from someone still friends with Tyler Malka? Jason, you going to address your friend’s deplorable actions against women?

    • What ethical issues?

      Which major titles have seen biased reviews?

      What is the evidence this has affected anything in the marketplace?

      And why are halfwits whingeing about alleged sexual misconduct when anyone with two brain cells to rub together can grasp that any actual ethical issues will result from advertising $$$?

      That’s right, because this isn’t actually about ethics in game journalism, as we all know.

  • Our own distaste for GamerGate’s methods and social media campaigns has been no secret — and many members of GamerGate have actively worked to destroy Kotaku. A bomb threat against any gathering of people is nonetheless deplorable.

    Holistic thinking at Kotaku requires acts of terrorism.

  • Interesting to see the members of this cult following being on the receiving end of the same puerile methods which they’ve used against folks they consider themselves to be “at war” with. This war they’re conducting is going to gain no further result than the war on drugs – people will be persecuted for reasons which they don’t deserve & there will only be more harm than good done.

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