Internet cretins engaged in a harassment campaign against a woman who worked for Electronic Arts this weekend, flooding her social media and various internet profiles with vitriolic, often misogynistic messages. Her sin, it appears, was working on animations for the game Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Allie Rose-Marie Leost, who worked for EA's motion-capture labs in Vancouver, saw vicious harassment on Twitter and other websites today, most often from people who blamed her for Andromeda's awkward facial animations. The harassment appears to have been primarily triggered by a vile blog post at Ralph Retort, a right-wing, GamerGate-tied website, that claimed Leost was the lead facial animator on Andromeda. That website also accused her of performing sexual acts to get her job at EA.
Here's a small sample of the hundreds of messages Leost faced today:
As often happens with these internet witch-hunts, the harassment campaign against Leost was based on false information. BioWare today released a statement clarifying that she was not, in fact, a lead animator on Mass Effect: Andromeda. (There has been some confusion over whether Leost's social media posts indicated that she was a lead, but given that she worked at EA Labs and not at the Andromeda team's offices in Montreal, it's clear that's not the case.)
BioWare also condemned the abuse with a statement this afternoon:
Leost did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Somehow, the attacks seem completely predictable despite how terrible they are. In the age of President Trump and GamerGate, it all feels straight out of some especially insecure and desperate playbook. Starting with the transformation of a game's sometimes silly character animations into a conspiracy, and then later a scandal in which the data points waver between incomplete and meaningless, the cycle isn't new by this point.