Campaign against misogyny in video games turns ugly
A game called ‘Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian’ that was uploaded to www.newgrounds.com by a Canadian man was removed one day after it was posted. (Courtesy: Feminist Frequency)
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2:44PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 11, 2012 7:23PM EDT
A campaign aimed at bringing an end to sexism in video games has sparked a slew of vicious online attacks.
One Canadian man went so far to create a game that allows users to batter an image of the campaign creator, Anita Sarkeesian.
Hackers attempted to shut down her website, fundraising page and social media sites and harassers sent Sarkeesian pornographic images and drawings of rape.
Sarkeesian, a California-based blogger and feminist pop culture critic, began fundraising in May to create a web series that explores the handful of stereotypes and clichés that women fall into in video games.
“I love playing video but I’m regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented,” wrote Sarkeesian on her fundraising page.
While Sarkeesian initially set out to raise US$6,000 US to produce a five-video series, she ended up collecting close to US$160,000.
However, she was also on the receiving end of a significant amount of online harassment.
On her website Feminist Frequency, Sarkeesian wrote that she struggled with whether or not to make the extent of the online attacks public.
“I’ve decided that it’s ultimately important to shed light on this type of abuse because online harassment and bullying are at epidemic levels across the Internet,” she wrote.
A man who identified himself as a 25-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. created and posted an online game called ‘Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian’ that allowed users to pummel an image of Sarkeesian, causing black eyes, cuts and bruises.
The game, uploaded to www.newgrounds.com was removed one day after it was posted.
Comments from the game’s creator posted on the site claimed that Sarkeesian “scammed” thousands of people out of $160,000.
“She claims to want gender equality in video games, but in reality, she just wants to use the fact that she was born with a vagina to get free money and sympathy from everyone who crosses her path,” wrote the game’s creator, who goes by the Twitter handle @Bendilin.
According to the Globe and Mail, a Toronto woman, Stephanie Guthrie, realized the game’s creator used his real name online and outed him on Twitter.
Guthrie said she has since received death threats against her and has gone to the police.
On her website, Sarkeesian wrote that the ultimate goal of the behaviour is to try scaring and silencing women, “by creating an online environment that is too hostile, toxic and disturbing to endure