An increasingly large number of women working in the same field I have for the past 15 years became the target of a witch hunt so vitriolic and unhinged several have been forced to flee their homes due to legitimate threats on their lives, prompted by nothing beyond writing editorials condemning the way these tactics have been consistently used against others over the past year. Particularly as there has been no end to such attacks, neither in terms of new targets being added to the list, nor the harassment of older targets showing any signs of stopping, even in cases where victims have vowed never to work again, or faced alarmingly close brushes with death.
The originators of the movement seem to have no goals beyond seeking revenge against Zoë Quinn for petty personal reasons. Literally the first time the tag #gamergate was used, it was promoting a conspiracy video implying that Zoë Quinn had slept with several individuals in exchange for positive reviews of a game none of those accused have ever reviewed, and for which she charges no money. It has been, from the very beginning, a campaign of pure, baseless, unreasoning hatred, duping new voices into supporting it with vague appeals to various more noble causes. The earliest adopters very clearly seek to see all women driven away from game development and coverage, with a possible secondary goal of ghettoizing independent game development. Later adopters seem to have a nebulous desire to “end corruption” and “fight for transparency” but don’t appear to have any specific concerns when pressed, or seek justice regarding scandals which can easily be proven to be complete fabrications on the part of the core of the movement.
I want reach a state where people aren’t waking up in a cold sweat every day, afraid to find dead animals on their doorsteps, photos of their homes with attached death threats in their inboxes, deranged stalkers on their lawns, and panicked phone calls from friends and relatives about intimidating phone calls they’ve received. I’d also appreciate it if I could in any way help bring about a cultural shift where such behavior is considered as inappropriate as it would be when leveled at members of any other profession, and to somehow reassure those responsible that whatever horrible actions they think they are appropriate to punish in this fashion are not actually taking place. I have seen a near total lack of accountability for any of the horrific actions or baseless accusations at the core of the movement, and proponents seem to be completely disinterested in taking major game publishers to task for routinely attempting to buy positive media coverage (quite literally in many cases), and to otherwise pressure and coerce the media into acting like an unofficial branch of their marketing departments. Supporters have driven multiple women from their homes with legitimate death threats, allegedly in support of seeking justice with regards to allegations that would be meaningless if true, and which can easily be proven as absolutely false. They have spread astounding amounts of such patently false information, along with private information, doing measurable harm to developers, journalists, and completely bystanders with similar names. Those supporters not directly involved in such activities have still contributed to the threat posed by distracting the press and authorities with false claims of how the “movement” began, and rendering it harder for victims to be taken seriously when attempting to report the very real crimes committed in the movement’s name.
People claiming to be against “corruption” with regards to this whole gamergate thing, in my personal experience, appear to define the concept solely based on whether a person appears to be supporting “SJW” causes. Accepting bribes in exchange for explicitly favorable coverage of a game does not seem to be classified as “corruption” for instance, but so much as mentioning, or paying for a copy of a game deemed to promote “the SJW agenda” is evidence of such. My personal stance is that accusations of corruption should be levied only at those who seek or agree to transactions in which one party performs a favor which is innately dishonest or in violation of some code of conduct they are bound to.
Given the reputation the tag and its supporters has at this point, I would prefer never to see any issue raised under its banner again. I would however like to see people with legitimate concerns over the state of the field to stand up against major publishers’ abuse of their leverage when dealing with the press, the working conditions many professional game developers are forced to deal with, and the amount of money and development time devoted purely to building up hype for games before their release.