Confused About GamerGate? A Woman Targeted by Video Gamers Explains the Controversy to Colbert

Women who speak up about sexism are being harassed and threatened online.
Oct 30, 2014· 0 MIN READ
Nicole Pasulka is a writer and reporter who lives in New York City. She has written for Mother Jones, BuzzFeed, The Believer, and the New York Observer.

Anita Sarkeesian, feminist critic of sexism in video games, went on The Colbert Report Wednesday night to discuss the confusing and controversial GamerGate movement.

Members of GamerGate have argued that they are advocating for better ethics in video games journalism, complaining that some websites that review games are too cozy with their creators. Feminists and targets of GamerGate say they’re being viciously harassed online.

Earlier this month, Sarkeesian, who founded the website Feminist Frequency, canceled a speaking event at Utah State University after someone threatened "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if she took the stage. Game developer Brianna Wu said she fled her home after receiving death threats on Twitter that included her home address. Newsweek analyzed tweets using the #GamerGate hashtag and found these tweets were much more likely to target women speaking out against harassment and sexism than journalists accused of unethical coverage.

No surprise, Colbert appreciates sexy, helpless women in bloody video games and worries feminists will force him to play nonviolent ones.

But GamerGate is not a culture war, and it’s not really about ethics in video game journalism. “What it is,” Sarkeesian said, “is women being harassed and threatened and terrorized."

Still doubt it? This was tweeted right after the Colbert segment aired: