Anita Sarkeesian, a prominent feminist critic of video games, was forced to cancel a speech at Utah State University last week after the school received an email threatening to carry out “the deadliest shooting in American history” at the event. The email sender wrote: “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge.” The sender used the moniker Marc Lepine, the name of a man who killed 14 women, most of them female engineering students, in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989. Sarkeesian canceled the talk after being told that under Utah law, campus police could not prevent people from bringing guns. We speak to Sarkeesian about the incident, the “Gamergate” controversy, and her campaign to expose misogyny, sexism and violence against female characters in video games despite repeated physical threats. “Online harassment, especially gendered online harassment, is an epidemic,” Sarkeesian says. “Women are being driven out, they’re being driven offline; this isn’t just in gaming, this is happening across the board online, especially with women who participate in or work in male-dominated industries.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show by looking at the violent threats faced by a feminist critic for pointing out sexism in video games. Last week, Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a planned lecture in Utah after threats of a shooting massacre. She was scheduled to speak at Utah State University, when the university received an email threatening to carry out, quote, “the deadliest shooting in American history” at the event. The email sender wrote, quote, “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge.” He used the moniker Marc Lepine, the name of a man who killed 14 women, most of them female engineering students, in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989. Anita Sarkeesian canceled her talk after being told that under Utah law, Utah State [University] police could not prevent people from bringing guns to her lecture. A university spokesperson told the Standard-Examiner newspaper the school had determined it was safe for Sarkeesian to speak because, quote, “The threat we received is not out of the norm for (this woman).”
Sarkeesian has long faced bomb, rape and death threats from online harassers opposed to her criticism of the ways in which women are depicted in video games. In August, she was forced to leave her home after an online harasser posted her address and threatened to kill her parents and, quote, “rape [her] to death.” Another harasser created a video game called “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian.”
Sarkeesian’s viral web series on video games is titled “Tropes vs. Women.” This is a clip.
Read the Full Transcript and see the original video (with images from relevant video-games) at Democracy Now!