Sad But True Part 2: One Woman's Protest of Misogynistic Game Leads to Death Threat Tweets

Yesterday I wrote about a site called Fat, Ugly or Slutty which showcases misogynistic messages received by female gamers in the course of game play. And I wondered whether incidents of hate messages directed to female gamers was prevalent, assuming that it was... especially if it spawned a site about the subject.

Later in the day, @cegdell tweeted me a message:

Turns out, @amirightfolks has been on the receiving end of hate messages and even death threats via Twitter for protesting against a game. The game in question was designed to simulate the beating of an actual woman that the developer felt had duped Kickstarter funders out of a significant amount of money. Every time you click on a photo of the woman, she becomes more bruised and battered. In graphic detail.

[This early part of the story was really well covered in the article, Man disagrees with woman, makes game about punching her on So Disarming Darling.]

Now @amirightfolks, or Steph Guthrie, discovered the name of the anonymous developer and decided to name him on Twitter. A very public sparring match ensued, as the developer attempted to justify the game. People start taking sides and the whole thing got really messy, to the point where another tweep threatened Steph repeatedly with bodily harm and even made death threats. She even had to reach out to the Toronto Police and send them screen caps of the tweets, filing a formal complaint.

Steph has been dealing with the aftermath for days now, receiving comments from both supporters of the developer and her own supporters. People are arguing the developer's right to free speech, that the game would not have received so much attention if it had been about a man, etc. I'll bite: this is possibly true.

But that's really not the point.

No, the point is that Steph's freedom of speech, her ability to voice her opinion is what's being attacked. She was offended by the game and had every right to say so. She found and named the developer. And in return, her life was threatened in a very real, very public way. Her safety was threatened and she became vilified by the community that supported the developer and the game.

If I ever questioned the prevalence of misogynistic hate speech online (albeit this likely extends far beyond just gamers), I consider it confirmed.

Find out more

Get informed and read up further on the story.

Do something

If you're so inclined, you can send a message of encouragement to Steph by tweeting her at @amirightfolks.

And then why not take a moment to talk to your kids? If they chat or game, talk to them about the importance of watching for this kind of behaviour. And talk to them about being respectful both IRL and online. As @thejpiga and I discussed over a few tweets: we may not be able to stop it but we can vet the games they play and teach them how to behave online. It won't stop the problem, but perhaps we can prevent from contributing to it further.

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