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Anita Sarkeesian Cancels Talk at Utah State After Receiving Threat of Another "Montreal Massacre." [UPDATED with more info from Sarkeesian]

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Utah State University has just announced that Anita Sarkeesian has canceled a talk she was scheduled to give at the school tomorrow after receiving a threat of a “Montreal Massacre-style attack” by someone promising ““the deadliest school shooting in American history” if the cultural critic was allowed to speak.

Here’s the official announcement:

Anita Sarkeesian has canceled her scheduled speech for tomorrow following a discussion with Utah State University police regarding an email threat that was sent to Utah State University. During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue.

Emphasis added. That’s right: the school received threats from someone promising to shoot people at a public event, but because of Utah’s gun laws, authorities would not be able to prohibit audience members from BRINGING GUNS to the talk.

Before learning that this was the case, Sarkeesian — after consulting with authorities — had planned to go ahead with the talk. As a spokesman for the school told the Standard Examiner, a northern Utah newspaper:

“They determined the threat seems to be consistent with ones (Sarkeesian) has received at other places around the nation. … The threat we received is not out of the norm for (this woman).”

The email threat came from someone who claimed that “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they’ve wronged.”

The email, sent to several campus officials and posted online by the Standard Examiner, warned:

If you do not cancel [Sarkeesian’s] talk, a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out against the attendees, as well as students and staff at the nearby women’s center. I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs. This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.

The email writer claimed that even if authorities manage to stop him from an attack at the event,

There are plenty of feminists on campus who won;t be able to defend themselves. One way or another, I’m going to make sure they die. …

Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.

All this because she made some videos discussing sexism in fucking video games.

Here’s a screenshot of the full email, from the Standard Examiner site:

 

Screenshot posted by the Standard Examiner
Screenshot posted by the Standard Examiner

I’m speechless. What the fuck is wrong with these people?

NOTE: This is a NO TROLLS, NO MRAS, NO GAMERGATERS, NO VICTIM BLAMER thread. I will delete comments and ban people who do not respect the rules.

UPDATE: Sarkeesian has provied more details on Twitter; there were multiple threats, including one that specifically referred to GamerGate

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Bostonian
Bostonian
6 years ago

This is about journalism, right?

seleukosnicator10
6 years ago

I was just made aware of this myself. One of my subscribers on YouTube linked me the letter and the story. Just remember though this isn’t about hate.

chaltab
chaltab
6 years ago

Definitely, all about journalism.

cloudiah
6 years ago

This is about journalism, right?

And ethics.

And human rights. Don’t forget human rights.

Aunt Edna
Aunt Edna
6 years ago

So, MRA, here is your chance to prove your human rights bona fides by condemning such terrorist tactics and issuing a statement of support toward Sarkeesian and any women whose rights, including to those of free speech, not to mention life, are being threatened in such a vile manner.

Yeah, I know.

hippodameia8527
hippodameia8527
6 years ago

But it’s just satire, right?

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

Holy crap. Well, I wish she hadn’t been forced to cancel by that stupid, stupid rule, but of course she’s doing the right thing to maintain as much safety as she can.

I hope they’re tracking this idiot down. If it was posted from campus, hopefully USU IT can uncover who was logged into the account from which it was sent.

moop
moop
6 years ago

Is it possible for her to do a webinar, so there is no public gathering of people? Or does she risk having that ruined by hacking?

MidiMira
MidiMira
6 years ago

How does the dude that wrote this think he won’t have law enforcement on his case? Okay, yes she gets these kinds of threats all the time (and how messed up is that), but a lot of people are incredibly afraid of school shootings and this letter was made public. There are probably lots of parents calling the school to complain already.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

I look forward to the GGers issuing denouncements of this terrorist threat, given that a manifesto was recently released declaring that they totes denounce threats and harassment.

HCK
HCK
6 years ago

Countdown to “she’s faking it” starts now…

Bogdan Cvetkovic
6 years ago

The manifesto is aggrieved entitlement at its very worst. I don’t think anything can top it off in its barbarism.

cloudiah
6 years ago

This is how the GamerGaters are reacting thus far.

My personal favorite comment (from a known MRA, natch):

the last thing we need is another Marc Lepine. Such an act of violence would be a crushing setback for men everywhere.

Emphasis mine.

justabrowngirl
justabrowngirl
6 years ago

#notallgamers! This is not about hating woman…Is about integrity blah blah blah.

I don’t blame her for not attending, one of these asshat might show up with a concealed weapon and try to harm her.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

Terrible. I also hope the university makes a very concerted effort to track down whoever sent in this threat. And yes, “it’s about ethics!” God.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

It amazes me on how women speaking up and wanting to be treated like people is SO TERRIFYING to men that it makes them want to murder people. #notallmen

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Cloudiah
“Forget that Anita is in danger and could lose her life, we have to protect our image”

I do hope that they catch him and put him in jail.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

I mean the guy who sent that note

becausescience
becausescience
6 years ago

So YET ANOTHER anti-feminist is threatening to murder innocent people if he doesn’t get his way. This time the anti-feminist is threatening to commit acts of domestic terrorism because a woman made videos criticizing sexism in video games. Last time it was because conventionally attractive women wouldn’t give him the sex he thought he was entitled to. It’s almost like anti-feminism tends to appeal to violent, abusive men, and radicalizes them by providing them with both a target (women/feminists), and an escalating list of perceived grievances that they can use as justification for striking aback at their target through any and all means, up to and including violence.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

Anita is really brave though. I think I’d have bailed on the project after about the second death/rape threat. Respect.

Johanna Roberts
6 years ago

I’m upset that she had to cancel, but it’s the fault of some truly backwards gun laws and not an actual choice, it seems like. I hope she stays safe and that they catch the asshat who sent that. And of course, all afternoon, I’ve had gamergaters telling me that I’m wrong for thinking it’s about hating women.

maxomai
6 years ago

I support campus concealed carry, but come on. Surely the University would have a No Weapons Allowed policy for the Governor under similar circumstances.

becausescience
becausescience
6 years ago

“But remember! That one time the feminists pulled a fire alarm at the Warren Farrell talk. This mans both sides are equally bad!”

davidknewton
6 years ago

Surely – SURELY a private venue like that can override the state laws for carrying concealed weapons in public? I’m from the UK but live in America, and their attitude to guns just continues to flabbergast me.

The letter is unbelievable and this time, there’s absolutely nothing that anyone can say that will lighten it up at all D: “Let’s show people feminism is the real hate group by killing anyone who dares to be part of it”. Fuck me.

Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland
6 years ago

Wait a second, so they can’t prevent anyone from bringing weapons to the event if they have the appropriate permit (Wow. That just makes me so proud to be an American. Not.), but they can still search people at the door and/or tighten security, right? Can’t they ask people to check their weapons in with security for the duration of the event?

Mind literally boggling right now.

Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland
6 years ago

@davidknewton

Utah State is not a private entity. It’s a state school, which means it’s a state actor, for legal purposes. It is bound by the state and federal conditional limits imposed on state officials and entities.

Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland
6 years ago

Going back to my original queries…if a person is barred from bringing a weapon to a government office, whether state or federal, then surely Utah State can request that people check their weapons and/or leave them elsewhere. I hope.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

They do it because it works. Terrorism has always worked.

Shaun Day
Shaun Day
6 years ago

Since dude was threatening to shoot random women on campus if he were denied entry I don’t think that any safety measures taken in the venue itself would be helpful anyway. Cancelling even with a police presence makes sense, but is so fucking unfair.

And if they *don’t* catch him, he now knows how to stop anything from happening. Talk about campus rape? Gonna shoot everyone I see! Talk about having a women’s reading group? Gonna pipebomb the library! I hope they catch him immediately and he is locked away forever. On Ferdinandea.

Hyatt
Hyatt
6 years ago

At this point, I think she could actually get shot by an ideological opponent and there’d still be people claiming that she was just doing it for attention and probably faking all the threats. And that thought makes me really, really sad.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

Well this is just a big ol’ stinking pile of totally fucked up.

Entropy
Entropy
6 years ago

State schools in Kansas colleges (at least, the two I’ve been to) have placards on the door stating that they’re exempt from the state’s open carry ordinance. No Guns Allowed, period. I can’t believe Utah doesn’t have a law to that effect.

Sarkeesian continues to be my hero. I would have folded and moved to the Arctic years ago. Wish we had a hundred just like her.

jbgarner58
6 years ago

Reblogged this on J. B. Garner – Musings of a Starving Author and commented:
Holy crap, what the hell is wrong with these people?

Don’t just read this and nod and mumble about how horrible it is. Reblog it, spread it, Tweet it. Expose this vile behavior for the cowardice and ignorance it is!

quantumscale
quantumscale
6 years ago

I suspect that the school was under a lot of pressure to cancel too. It’s way easier to cancel an event than it is to explain why you didn’t cancel and now a dozen people are dead. Every threat must be taken seriously. Now if only twitter would realize that.

jbgarner58
6 years ago

The absolute insanity of it all.

The only way to fight back is to spread this sort of thing everywhere. Show the people who don’t understand and don’t pay attention to this normally what kind of insanity and terrorism these type of people spew.

vaiyt
6 years ago

It’s easy to see that they’ve been consistent when “Integrity”, to them, means not saying things about video games that make them uncomfortable (all else is “agenda” and “corruption”)

HCK
HCK
6 years ago

For those pondering the gun laws, Utah’s state legislature overrode the University’s ability to regulate guns on campus except in very limited circumstances. Students can request a gun free roommate, but there can’t even be a gun free dorm. People with concealed carry permits can carry basically wherever, whenever per state law. So in this case, the University’s hands really are tied.

zyvlyn
zyvlyn
6 years ago

It makes me so depressed when terrorism works. I can not begin to state how much I hope this shitstain gets caught.

greyskye
greyskye
6 years ago

This is terrible, absolutely terrible. In addition to all the other things mentioned thus far by everyone else, because the police were unable to act to ban guns at the event or search people etc, cancelling the event basically sends the message that if you don’t like something then all you need to do is something like this to stop it.

Awful, just awful. URGH.

I’m also seeing more and more commentary from the GG assbags that they will burn gaming to the ground rather than “lose”. With this extreme incident it is increasingly worrying me that gaming will become very rapidly a taboo hobby and industry. The income for big name studios comes primarily from the casual gamer, the COD gamers, the parents buying for their kids… the very small minority that’s causing all this kerfuffle and awfulness cannot sustain the industry on their own, and if they make it a hobby that’s equated with domestic terrorism and hate groups then it will collapse.

They very much are beginning to display the attitude of “If we can’t control it, then no one can have it”.

Urgh. URGH. I’m reduced to just making Tina noises at this point.

cupisnique
6 years ago

I would be really surprised if they didn’t take this threat incredibly seriously. I can’t imagine feeling very safe as a woman on that campus right now regardless of the event being cancelled.

platonicpencil
6 years ago

Margret Atwood’s quote: “men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them” seems an appropriate way to frame this.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

Despicable. How could the university not just forbid firearms at their private event, especially with a publically known death threat.

And how the fuck does a student at the university have his life ruined by feminism? I know this is pretty minor compared to everything else, but at most he’s in his 20s. How does that even work?

Biot
Biot
6 years ago

Holy fuck. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.
What will it take for these people to realize that enough is fucking ENOUGH? What argument will convince them that hey, they are on the wrong side, that they have become worse than the perceived monster?

Nothing will.

I don’t think Gamergate/Gamerghazi will ever end because a handful of people are so dogged in their assault on anything or anybody related to Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian that they simply will not stop. Somebody out there is probably chuckling to himself, maybe gloating over it with their friends, that they single-handedly stopped Anita from speaking at a university. They might know the implications of what they’ve done, and they don’t care. They will not stop, so long as they have the means to create burner email and Twitter and social accounts.

And look at the KotakuInAction thread that Cloudiah linked to. There’s a chucklehead there saying, and I quote, “Except that anti-GG people do doxx people and unlike pro-gg, we seldom see anti-gg telling doxxers to fuck off like pro-gg does” and then gives a picture link and some more text. Yeah, there might be a few people being doxxed by people against Gamergate, but it’s directed against people who are disrupting lives–and you can call me out for this real or imagined hypocrisy.

I will wish one thing against these self-created monsters: that they gain the hindsight and maturity to realize that they were doing wrong, and that the shame of this will plague them through the rest of their lives.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I’m sure if the trolls were allowed they’d be quick to assure us this trouser stain represents neither MRAs or gamergate.

Yet, the obsession with Anita Sarkeesian is all gamergate and much of the language he uses is identical to what MRAS say. Especially “misandrist harpy”

He’s one of yours, assholes. Feel shame.

Mnemosyne
Mnemosyne
6 years ago

This has got to stop. This kind of behavior is completely and utterly reprehensible. I’m so glad that Illinois isn’t an open-carry state.

Johanna Roberts
6 years ago

There’s a #stopgamergate2014 tag trending on twitter and it’s full of awesome and gold. Sure a few gaters are in there too, but for the most part people tweeting to it are really, REALLY fed up.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

Wow, this is so horrible. Plus, am going to have to add Utah as a definite ‘never visit’ state.

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