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#gamergate 8chan attention seeking empathy deficit gamebros gaslighting harassment irony alert lying liars TROOOLLLL!!

Plot twist: Brianna Wu's gun-loving, car-flipping gamebro stalker is actually a trolly comedian. Who now claims he's being harassed.

"Jace Connors" holds forth on Skype
“Jace Connors” holds forth on Skype

That gun-loving gamebro who flipped his car while on his way, he said, to “race” video game developer and GamerGate critic Brianna Wu? It turns out he’s not the delusional and potentially dangerous asshole he seemed to be in the countless videos he’s put online.

No, he’s actually an aspiring comedian in an “extreme” comedy troupe known for trolling everyone from anime fans to TED talk attendees, and “Jace Connors” is just a character he’s been playing, a sort of parody of a basement-dwelling, monster-drink-guzzling gamebro douchebag who can’t tell the difference between real life and video games. His harassment of Wu — what he called “OperationWupocalypse” — was all part of an elaborate comedy bit that he’s been doing for years.

In other words, he’s not one kind of asshole, happily terrifying a woman who gets regular death threats in the name of video games. He’s another kind of asshole, happily terrifying a woman who gets regular death threats in the name of video games.

As Joseph Bernstein of Buzzfeed reported last night, “Connors”

is in fact Jan Rankowski, a 20-year-old living in Maine who is affiliated with Million Dollar Extreme, a provocative cult comedy group based in Rhode Island, and far from being the archfiend of GamerGate, Rankowski is himself now the subject of a campaign of harassment.

While lots of people had been suspicious for some time, the real identity of “Jace Connors,” also known as Parkourdude91, seems to have been first uncovered by a commenter on Kiwi Farm, a site devoted to trolling “Lolcows” — that is, “people and groups whose eccentric or foolish behavior can be ‘milked’ for amusement and laughs.”

The plot twist is that “Connors”/Rankowski has been milking the milkers, and the rest of us, for laughs. He told Buzzfeed that “the Jace character was just a lens through which I do satire” and that his recent behavior was designed to mock “the over-the-top, super-hyper-macho armed GamerGater.”

Now that his real identity has been exposed — assuming that this is not part of an even more elaborate troll job — the guy who terrorized Wu now claims that he’s being terrorized, with people calling his workplace and the high school he went to. He told Buzzfeed that “part of the humor of MDE is pushing the boundaries, but we’ve never encountered actually being afraid for our own safety.”

Rankowski added that he’s gained a “newfound respect for the people who are having to deal with GamerGate, Brianna Wu and Anita.”

Then again, he could be trolling us once again. On his blog Deagle Nation – named after a pistol “Jace Connors” fetishizes – he’s put up a post with the title THANK YOU FOR PLAYING. He promises that “THE TRUTH OF PARKOURDUDE91” will be revealed in a livestream tomorrow, declaring

WE’RE NOT DONE YET

THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING

AND IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE

All this even though he told Buzzfeed that he “was made to sign a contract at my job saying I wouldn’t make any of these videos again.”

When I wrote about “Jace Connors,” shortly after he posted a video of himself having what looked like a screeching tantrum by the side of an icy highway next to a car on its side, I noted that “his behavior is so strange and erratic and almost literally unbelievable that it would be easy to dismiss him as a troll.” But I went on to say that if he were trolling he would have to be “the most dedicated troll since Andy Kaufman’s fake comedian alter ego Tony Clifton.”

The prize was behind door number two. One difference: the famously assholish Tony Clifton was, at least some of the time, funny.

So is all this evidence that Wu and the others who’ve been targets of #GamerGate’s harassment army are making a big deal over threats that are “obviously” fake?

Well, no. To the person on the receiving end of threats and harassment, “fake” threats feel like real threats, because there is no surefire way to tell whether a threat is coming from an internet comedian or from a genuinely dangerous person.

Even if the overwhelming majority of threats aren’t meant seriously – that is, the threatener does not literally intend to track his or her target down and do them bodily harm – those who get the threats can’t simply dismiss them because, well, what if one of them is real?

So congrats, artist-formerly-known-as-Jace-Connors, you’re a huge dick. For real.

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Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
5 years ago

I say this a lot, but if I could travel back in time and kill one person, it would be Jonathan Swift.

The fifteen year old me who had to read “A Modest Proposal” after lunch and was almost explosively ill in sophomore English thanks you in advance.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

Even if “A Modest Proposal” was never written, I’m sure humanity would have latched onto some other satiric piece as if it were the only one that has ever existed and wore it to the ground.

katz
5 years ago

Even if “A Modest Proposal” was never written, I’m sure humanity would have latched onto some other satiric piece as if it were the only one that has ever existed and wore it to the ground.

I know, but I can daydream.

Salty
Salty
5 years ago

If it walks like a psychotic asshole, talks like a psychotic asshole, posts videos like a psychotic asshole, and acts like a psychotic asshole up until the point it turns around and says “Hey guys, I was only joking!”, does that mean it hasn’t been a psychotic asshole?

Methinks not.

Fabe
Fabe
5 years ago

This could have been hilarious if he had gotten Wu’s permission beforehand.

I would not be surprised if the gators start saying that She was in on it and the whole thing was a attempt to slander them.

opium4themasses
5 years ago

@kirbywarp I remember your story now. Much better than mine. Sorry for the excessive whitespace.

Xanthë
5 years ago

This is like some extreme version of Schrödinger’s douchebag, taken to be a guy who says (or does) offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction he gets. In this instance, I look forward to Wu taking him to the cleaners.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
5 years ago

I don’t think the January 29th accident was the same one he filmed. That one was a car that rolled over onto its roof in the median (thankfully the occupants were OK), and in the video the car is lying on its side on the side of the highway.

That being said, though, it couldn’t possibly have been filmed/staged on January 30th. Two days earlier there was a blizzard in the area that dumped two feet of snow. He would have been sunk in up to his knees, and yet he’s walking around in what looks like a couple of inches of snow.

I don’t know what to make of the video. It seems horrendously douchey to crash his mom’s Prius just to make a prank film, and yet there’s the car, with one headlight ripped out and a cracked windshield, and he’s trying to kick the windshield in. I can’t imagine him being allowed near an actual accident long enough to film that rant. Not only that, there are no records of a Prius rollover on I-295 or I-95 for the month of January. I’m wondering if he got a couple of buddies to help him flip his mom’s car. The angle isn’t really right either, if he skidded on ice

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
5 years ago

Well, that posted before I finished my thought. And now I don’t remember where I was going with that.

So I’ll just reiterate, the guy’s a sleazebag, and I’m not surprised he was able to channel GGers so effectively.

M.
M.
5 years ago

In addition to the dozen other reasons why this asshole can go fuck himself, he can also go fuck himself for both playing off and adding more fuel to the demonisation of the mentally ill as violent, irrational killers.

Because when the world looks at somebody like Elliot Rodger and thinks “Anger issues? Misogyny? Nah, dude was just crazy, you know how crazy people are,” God knows we totally needed this turd to turtle-head his way out from the bowels of the Internet.

“Joking” or serious, this dickwit only cares about himself and his “Lulz” with all the empathy of a dead flounder. If there is any working difference between him and the #Gaters he “Satirises,” I sure as shit don’t see it.

Karl Winterling
5 years ago

I suspect this guy is a sociopath if he seriously thought everything was a “joke.” He needs to be in jail or (at least) put under heavy supervision.

It’s not like no harm comes from insincere threats. It costs around $1,000 to $1,500 to have to temporarily leave your home for personal safety.

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

What a life of privilege that this is the first time after years of this assholery that he feels unsafe.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
5 years ago

You can’t post death threats and then claim you were just joking.

♫Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.♫

skiriki
5 years ago

Yup, this guy is a certified grade A douchenozzle. May he step on Legos and d4s for every night to come.

Magicat (xyzzy)
5 years ago

@Buttercup Yeah, it’s the same guy according to the Portland Herald. According to it, though, he wasn’t working alone — the founder of that “comedy” group, Sam Hyde, was involved. Which makes me wonder: given Rankowski was said to have a 4-year-old’s emotional/social development at 9-10 years old, it wouldn’t be too shocking if he didn’t ‘see’ that they were going over the line, but why didn’t *Sam Hyde* grasp it?

I could only faintly remember the 2004 incident, so I did a little research, and found it’s not surprising people sided against the school. There was a lot of info on both sides, but basically the school admitted it had hoped the ban (which covered the only two public playgrounds in their town) would force the parents to allow an in-house evaluation & “program” or full-time enrollment rather than using the third-party specialists they normally did; it had never suspended NT students for his behavior, and even kids that kicked classmates, brought knives to school, or bullied others only lost recess privileges for 3 days. It also didn’t need to allocate extra staff — one of his parents or home teachers was present & watching at all times.

People should rightly side against him in this case, as it’s a wholly different situation.

Kootiepatra
5 years ago

@ M.

God knows we totally needed this turd to turtle-head his way out from the bowels of the Internet.

“Joking” or serious, this dickwit only cares about himself and his “Lulz” with all the empathy of a dead flounder.

I just had to take a moment to admire the perfection of your metaphors in this post. Is it all right if I borrow “all the empathy of a dead flounder” and put it to liberal use in my vocabulary? 😀

Jono
Jono
5 years ago

Wonderful. Well, I hope that Kiwi Farms is not going to be praised for this, even though “jade Connors” needed to be exposed. Kiwi Farms is basically a forum of trolls and they spend as much time making fun of “social justice warriors” within feminism as well as autistic people and online autism support groups as they do MRA’s and other areas of the “manosphere”, who they dislike and I admit also probably deserve it.

Melyanna
5 years ago

He just sounds as delusional and potentially dangerous as he did before I knew he is a “comedian”…

Ellesar
5 years ago

“When Wu originally began trying to find “Connors” and pursue criminal charges against him, “I felt guilty,” she says. “It was clear from the videos that this was someone suffering from mental illness. I thought they needed professional help more than prison. Now finding out this is joke by this person that redoubles my effort to put him in jail.””

I really hope she gets her wish.

This idea of harassment or abuse as satire is really pissing me off. A target of satire ‘should’ be a person in power who is fucking over someone or the world in some way. Not ordinary people who are easily made vulnerable. Satirical targets are usually political figures, rich and powerful people, prominent people in the media etc etc. To single out someone who is already getting flak, but not actually doing anything particularly controversial (as far as I can see Wu designs game, whilst being female) is the poorest idea of a target for ‘satire’.

Spindrift
Spindrift
5 years ago

@Ellesar

From what he said I don’t think Wu was the target of the satire, rather she was the target of the threats that he claims were satire. The satire itself was meant to be on the gaters. Wu was just a means to an end, a prop, someone who’s peace of mind he didn’t consider, or considered insignificant enough to go ahead with his act.

So I don’t think she’d qualify as a satirical target. It’s another case of her being the target of violent threats.

Ellesar
5 years ago

Spindrift – but the whole thing about the car race and the rifle was aimed directly at her. She may not have been the original target, but she became a target. Even if it was to ultimately show us in clear relief just how ridiculous gamergaters can be (as if we need a crappy comedian to point that out!) she was right in the middle of it, so even if she wasn’t HIS target he used her, and made her a target.

I am not the kind of person to take threats online seriously, but when you have a bit of a public profile it must be quite different. Even if ALL the threats are hot air, the sheer volume must be horrible. The stuff I have seen aimed at AS beggars belief.

Naomi Harvey
5 years ago

The lives of people in a theatre when you shout “fire” are potentially at risk too. People are crushed to death in stampedes all the time. Neither option is a good idea.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

Unfunny asshole is unfunny.
But he had us all going, right? So doesn’t that just prove how awesome he is? -_- No.

It’s about as clever as the kids who rang up my Nana’s school with a bomb hoax while she was a teacher there in the 70s. It’s what a 12-year-old would find amusing… until they were expelled and had the police knocking on their door.
And the school had to take the anonymous threat seriously, evacuating the kids and sending staff around the desks to look for the bomb(!), even though it was only kids playing a prank… because a threat is a fucking threat.

Whose benefit are these assholes doing this “comedy” for, anyway? It’s only funny if everyone is in on the fucking joke and it’s clear that the character is an alter-ego performed for effect. It’s only safe to laugh when it’s obviously all been staged.

Character comedy is hard, but I’m sure Mr Rankowski’ll have plenty of time to hone his alter-ego in jail. Maybe Brianna Wu would be kind enough to have some Mr Bean episodes sent to him so he can learn the difference between putting on a comedic persona and being a complete jackass.

Spindrift
Spindrift
5 years ago

@Ellesar

I fully agree that she got targetted, I just think she was targetted with threats, not satire. Unless his intention was to mock Wu with satire I don’t think she’s technically a target of satire. Kind of like if you were to steal someone’s bike to go out and throw a pie at someone else, the person who’s bike you stole didn’t get pie in the face, they got robbed.

I guess I just take issue with calling her a “target of satire”. What she got was a lot worse than satire, she was threatened and used as an unwitting prop, simply so this guy could have his jollies poking fun at gaters. A cruel means to an ends.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

@opium4themasses

@kirbywarp I remember your story now. Much better than mine. Sorry for the excessive whitespace.

No! No no no no no! Yours was great! I just shared mine because yours reminded me of it, and I was proud to have found such an old comment!

The whitespace was fine!

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

I have seen an alleged comment from him* elsewhere, in which he expressed great amusement at Wu’s having taken time and effort to seek legal protection from ‘a figment of my imagination’.

If he’s being harassed by Goobers over this, I hope against hope that he will learn something from the experience. Even if it’s as basic as ‘I shouldn’t do things like this’.

*At this point, I’m not inclined to believe this cruvveling wahoonie about anything.

Spindrift
Spindrift
5 years ago

It’s certainly hard to take his word on anything at this point.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
5 years ago

@Robert That sounds pretty dubious. So according to Rankowski, if I dress up as some fictional character and go murder somebody, I can get out of the charges by simply announcing that the victim was murdered, not by me, but by a figment of my imagination? And therefore was not murdered in reality?

katz
5 years ago

So this should be obvious, but even if your “satire” is proving a legitimate point and directed at a legitimate target, you still aren’t allowed to commit a crime.

Like if a politician says pepper spray is a harmless food product, you still can’t go pepper spray him in the face and go “quit crying, it’s just a food product.” Because that is still assault.

M.
M.
5 years ago

@Kootiepatra

Hah, of course. ^__^;; (And thanks!)

skullbearer
5 years ago

I never saw ‘fake it until you make it’ taken this far before.