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Category Archives: threats

Check out my interview on Vice about harassment of women online

viceinterview

I’ve been so busy the last several days I forgot to put up a link to this interview I did with a writer from Vice. Check it out!

I’m happy with the interview overall. Though I should point out that my comments were edited somewhat, and there are a few places where the writer removed some of the context and/or simplified what I said by removing some qualifying statements. Thus, for example, where I talk about how rape threats towards men have less of an impact, I don’t want to suggest that no men outside of prison fear rape; obviously that’s untrue, and obviously there are many men outside of prison as well as inside who have been raped. What I was trying to say — and what I suspect would be much clearer in the unedited transcript of my interview  — is that the typical (straight, cis) man outside of prison doesn’t spend much time worrying about rape, and is much less likely to take rape threats seriously than women, who have every reason to take them much more seriously.

Anyway, that caveat aside,  check it out.

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Do you still think that #GamerGate is a spontaneous movement against game industry corruption? Zoe Quinn has some screenshots to show you.

4Channers discover that Zoe has been spying on the #IRC channels where they'e been planning this "raid."

4Channers discover that Zoe has been spying on the #IRC channels where they’ve been planning and coordinating their “raid.”

The We Hunted the Mammoth Pledge Drive continues! If you haven’t already, please consider sending some bucks my way. (And don’t worry that the PayPal page says Man Boobz.) Thanks!

Ah, sweet schadenfreude! The gamebros at 4chan have been insisting publicly that the whole #GamerGate campaign — you know, the vicious attacks on game developer Zoe Quinn and other women in gaming — has been a spontaneous grassroots uprising against corruption in the world of game journalism, not a targeted campaign by misogynistic 4channers and their allies to ruin the lives of Quinn and everyone even vaguely connected with or even just aligned with her.

Well, it’s just become a lot harder to make that argument with a straight face. Last night, Quinn announced that she’s been lurking in the IRC where 4chaners have been diligently and often quite deviously planning this “spontaneous” uprising. And she’s started posting screenshots that seem to offer pretty incontrovertible evidence of  just how duplicitously 4channers planned every element of #GamerGate.

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Men’s Rights Redditor: Let’s convince the world that we aren’t violent by sending feminists bloody feathers

Hat of choice for the discerning Men's Rights Activist

Hat of choice for the discerning Men’s Rights Activist

Men’s Rights Activists have become known, not without reason, as belligerent assholes whose main forms of “activism” consist of harassment and threats.

One bold Men’s Rights Redditor known as El Rellok thinks he’s come up with a way to counteract this perception and deliver a powerful men’s-rightsty message at the same time.

He wants MRAs to send feminists … pictures of bloody feathers. No, really.

Now, to most people, getting a bloody feather in your email inbox would seem to be the digital equivalent of having a bloody horse’s head left in your bed. But in El Rellok’s world it is a rational and reasonable way to express “outrage” at feminist evil, and anyone who might possibly think otherwise is by definition unreasonable.

Let’s let him explain, because I certainly can’t explain how sending pictures of bloody feathers to someone you hate could be construed as anything but threatening:

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Was Janet “Judgy Bitch” Bloomfield kicked off Twitter for posting a picture of a cake? I don’t think so.

Ce n'est pas un gâteau: archived tweet from Janet Bloomfield to a half dozen prominent feminists.

Ce n’est pas un gâteau: archived tweet from Janet Bloomfield to a half-dozen prominent feminists.

So our old dear friend Janet “JudgyBitch” Bloomfield — you know, the A Voice for Men PR gal best known for her habit of calling people “whores,” including the underage victims of the late, disgraced British “entertainer” Jimmy Savile —  has been suspended from Twitter, for reasons unknown.

Bloomfield, for her part, is suggesting that it might have to do with some cakes she was baking. No, really:

So it seems that my account on Twitter has been suspended. I find that odd since most of my most recent tweets have been about baking a wedding cake. Not exactly controversial. I suspect some sort of automatic response was triggered when a lot of people simultaneously reported me for abuse but I have no idea.

Naturally, Bloomfield’s comrades at A Voice for Men have spun this as “Judgy Bitch was censored for a cake!”

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I get death threats … for writing about the death threats sent to Anita Sarkeesian

A scene from my inbox

A scene from my inbox

So how much do some angry gamebros hate Anita Sarkeesian? Enough to send me death threats … for writing about the death threats sent to Anita Sarkeesian.

Shortly after my post on the threats against Sarkeesian went up on Thursday, I got these messages sent to me as anonymous “asks” on Tumblr. These were all in succession, in this order; I’m pasting each one individually instead of the whole bunch at once so you can read them in the order in which I got them. [TRIGGER WARNING: Violent threats; I'm putting them past the jump.]

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Each new video that Anita Sarkeesian posts is a sign that the bullies are losing

Anita Sarkeesian, still standing

Anita Sarkeesian, still standing

On Monday, Anita Sarkeesian posted the latest installment of her Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games series on YouTube, a half-hour examination of the ways in which video game makers use sexualized violence against women as a cheap way to spice up their narratives and appeal to straight male gamers.

Her tone was measured, her analysis clear and logical and supported by dozens of clips from a wide assortment of games.

Late Tuesday night, this happened:

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AVFM’s Paul Elam posts attack on the Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel, suggests that the alleged threats to the hotel were phony

The fur and accusations are flying!

The fur and accusations are flying!

A Voice for Men’s grandly titled First International Conference on Men’s Issues wound down a week ago. But the drama continues.

Today, in a post on AVFM, maximum leader Paul Elam set forth a series of accusations against the Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel (where the conference was originally going to be held); against an unnamed security contracting company in Houston; and even against some hypothetical “privileged little college girls” who might have had the conference booted from the Doubletree by simply making a couple of irate phone calls, because, at least in Elam’s imagination, “privileged little college girls” have that power.

But the bulk of Elam’s complaints lie with the Doubletree, as the typically understated title of his post makes clear:

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Defenders of A Voice for Men tell Time magazine reporter “we have to SCARE you into listening,” you “stinky … human monkey.”

The High Council of Feminism holds a meeting.

The High Council of Feminism holds a meeting.

Jessica Roy, a reporter for Time magazine covering A Voice for Men’s recent :”Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, found herself the target of a vitriolic tirade from AVFM maximum leader Paul Elam before she even sat down to write her account of her time amongst the MRAs.

Elam, evidently incensed about a handful of sarcastic remarks that Roy tweeted during the conference, denounced her as, among other things, a “hack,” “a liar and bigot” and a practitioner of “journalistic scumtardery,” whatever that is. Commenters on A Voice for Men happily joined in the hate, denouncing her as an “airhead,” a “disgrace and a liar,” “lil’ miss hair-o’or-her-eyes,” and a “little asshole [who] will look like a right nazi in five-to-ten years time.” Amazingly, no one pulled out the c-word. Evidently AVFMers are still on their best behavior.

Roy’s “What I Learned as a Woman at a Men’s Rights Conference” appeared on Time.com on Wednesday. Far from the hack job Elam and pals were predicting, her piece turned out to be a long, thoughtful and nuanced account that, while skeptical of AVFM and its brand of hateful nonsense, displayed considerable sympathy for some of the troubled men she met at the conference, men who could benefit from a movement that truly tried to offer solutions for men in difficulty instead of encouraging them to scapegoat feminists and women.

Reflecting on her discussions with several conference attendees, Roy wrote,

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Is A Voice for Men using phony death threats as an excuse to smear feminists and raise a quick $25k? Here’s what we DON’T know so far. [UPDATE: Hotel still not talking]

Adjusted for inflation, those 5 cent fears are now worth $25,000

Adjusted for inflation, those 5 cent fears are now worth $25,000

Is A Voice for Men using phony “death threats” allegedly directed at those planning to attend its upcoming “Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, as well as upon employees and guests of the hotel where it’s scheduled to be held, as an excuse to smear feminists and raise a quick $25,000 in donations from readers and possibly even from a handful of gullible feminists?

As incredible as that sounds, that’s what some people I respect are saying. Despite AVFM’s history of lying about alleged feminist threats – you may recall John Hembling’s infamous confrontation with an imaginary mob of 20-30 feminists brandishing boxcutters – I’m not willing to go that far.

But there’s a lot about the story that makes no sense, and some big questions that need convincing answers.

1) The Doubletree Fort Shelby hotel has not confirmed that the letter Paul Elam posted on his site several days ago, and which he has now removed, actually came from them. The letter is, so far, the only evidence that there were any threats.

Hotel management needs to confirm whether or not they sent this letter to Elam.

2) Both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press spoke to Detroit Police spokesman Adam Madera, who told them that the police had not received any reports of death threats from the hotel. He told both papers that hotel staff had asked about hiring off-duty officers for security but hadn’t specified why.

Hotel management needs to confirm either that 1) they got death threats and didn’t report them or 2) that they got no such threats. They should also confirm whether their calls about off-duty police officers were related to the “Men’s Issues” conference.

There are a few other clues that support the “hoax” theory, though they’re far from definitive:

Several people who have allegedly contacted the hotel to ask about the threat say that the managers they spoke to knew nothing about the threats. Even if these reports are true, this may not be significant; managers may not have been told about threats related to a conference many weeks off.

The Detroit News also spoke to the owner of the hotel, and he said he was unaware of any threats. That may not be significant either; he may simply be out of the loop.

Essentially, we’re waiting for the Doubletree Fort Shelby management to answer these questions. If you look at the news coverage so far you’ll notice that the hotel staffers who can answer these questions don’t seem to be answering their phones or returning calls. I left a message for them today as well. No reply yet.

The other bits of evidence we’re waiting for? Well, the letter Elam claims he got from hotel management says that he and the other conference organizers need to send the hotel proof that they’ve hired the required number of Detroit police officers to handle security, as well as proof that they have also paid for at least $2 million in liability insurance. They have to have this done by the 6th.

In light of all the questions still swirling around, I think people are going to want to see this proof too.

It may be that the hotel comes forward and confirms that the letter was real, that the threats were real, and that indeed A Voice for Men does have to shell out $25,000 for extra security. It may even be the case that it was a feminist or a group of feminists making the threats. But we don’t know. And right now the people who do know are either not talking — or they have pretty much no credibility. Let’s hope the silence ends soon, because there’s no way the not-so-good folks at AVFM are suddenly going to turn credible overnight.

EDIT: I toned down some of the language, which I think was detracting from my main points, and added a new final paragraph.

EDIT 2:  Removed some speculation. We’ll know some of the answers soon enough; no need to speculate.

UPDATE: DOUBLETREE STATEMENT

So I’ve heard back from Atiya Frederick, the PR Manager for Embassy Suites Hotels & DoubleTree, and she’s made clear that the hotel won’t be answering specific questions about any of this just yet. Here’s what she sent me.

At this time we are confining our comments on this matter to the below statement …

Hilton Worldwide strives to operate meeting places for people from all walks of life, regardless of beliefs, race, color, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. The views of our guests do not reflect the sentiment of Hilton Worldwide. As places of public accommodation, our hotels do not discriminate against any individual or group. Our goal is to provide quality accommodations and a pleasant environment for our guests, employees and members of our community . We would like to emphasize that we strive to be an inclusive company and regret if this policy has unintentionally offended any individual or organization. 

This statement seems to be their standard response when they host a conference by a controversial group.

A Voice for Men’s Threatener-in-Chief Paul Elam demands that feminists pay security costs for his group’s conference

Paul Elam, Man of Peace

Paul Elam, Man of Peace

Well, you have to admit, he’s got chutzpah.

You may have heard that A Voice for Men is sponsoring what it calls the First International Conference on Men’s Issues later this month in Detroit, featuring such notable celebrity speakers as “internationally recognized writer, lecturer and videographer” Karen “Girl Writes What” Straughan, “former mental health professional” Paul “Boy Yells A Lot” Elam, Warren “Boys Aren’t Hurt By Incest a Lot” Farrell, and, well, a collection of other equally exciting names.

But there have been some doubts about it happening from the start. It took some time for the AVFMers to sell enough tickets to enable them to cover the costs of the event.

And now it the costs of the event are going up further: according to a letter that Elam has posted to his site, the hotel that will be hosting the conference has gotten “numerous calls and threats” of a violent nature because of the conference, and is demanding that AVFM cover the costs of additional security at the event.

So Elam has decided that feminists should pay some of these costs, in order to prove they’re “not like that.”

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