Over the last several days, the #GamerGate hashtag on Twitter has been speckled with self-contragulatory Tweets by Gators boasting that they have “found Anita’s harasser.”
Who, this guy?
No, not Thunderf00t, although the YouTuber’s obsession with Anita Sarkeesian is getting a little out of hand.
According to the #GamerGate Internet detective squad, Anita’s real harasser is a Brazilian “journalist” who has been spamming people who’ve posted in the hashtag with links to badly written articles on his website alleging all sorts of unsavory things about game critic Anita Sarkeesian. When one of his accounts is shut down for spamming, he starts another one and spams again.
But he doesn’t just spam: the #GamerGate detectives have also posted numerous screenshots that seem to show the spammer, using several separate accounts, Tweeting graphically violent rape and death threats aimed at Sarkeesian.
If these screenshots are real and not part of some cynical frameup, and if #GamerGaters have identified the right culprit, then, congratulations, guys, you have found one of Sarkeesian’s most active harassers.
But that’s not actually what they’re taking credit for. No, if you look at their Tweets, they claim to have found “Anita’s harasser” — singular — as if there is only one of them.
@themojowire In fact, we traced down Anita's and (possibly) Wu's harasser and all we got was more misogynist articles + #/StopGamerGate
— Something witty. (@codeGrit) October 16, 2014
— Supperdude9 (@Supperdude9) October 15, 2014
— bubblesort1 (@bubblesort1) October 13, 2014
There are literally dozens of tweets like these, and the ulterior motives of the tweeters could not be more transparent:
1) To deflect attention away from the massive wave of harassment that Sarkeesian has been facing ever since she first announced her “Tropes in Video Games” series.
2) To deflect attention away from the harassers in their own ranks (from senders of threatening messages to “activists” like Thunderf00t and the Sarkeesian Effect duo who seem to devote themselves full-time to tearing her down).
3) To cast doubt on the reality of the death threats that shut down Sarkeesian’s scheduled talk at Utah State University this week because, hey, it was a dude in Brazil who made the threats. (Never mind that there’s no evidence of this, and that the writing style of the Utah State threat bears no relation to the awkwardly worded articles of the Brazilian journalist, for whom English is clearly a second or third language.)
4) To make journalists, particularly games journalists, look bad, though the “journalist” in question has a lot more in common with anti-Sarkeesian rumormongers than he does with any of the games journalists targeted by the #GamerGaters
The sleazeball “journalist” in question may indeed be a harasser. But for #GamerGaters it’s clear that he’s more important as a convenient scapegoat, and an excuse for them to carry on as they have, without any real self-examination or remorse for the harassment their “movement” has inspired and enabled.
If they really want to to catch “Anita’s harassers” — plural — they might start by looking in the mirror.