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Gamergater uses hacked Patreon data to threaten supporters of a Gamergate critic

A black hole of media ethics: Sam Smith and Milo Yiannopoulos at a #gamergate London meetup (Screenshot from Smith's blog)
A black hole of media ethics: Sam Smith and Milo Yiannopoulos at a #Gamergate London meetup (Screenshot from Smith’s blog)

Randi Harper is one of the women that Gamergaters love to hate the most. A software developer, she became Gamergate Public Enemy #4 — after the troika of Sarkeesian, Quinn, and Wu — when she developed a BlockBot that enabled Twitter users to easily shield themselves (insofar as this is possible) from possible Twitter harassment at the hands of Gamergaters and others of their ilk.

This little bit of software garnered her many months of vicious harassment herself, and ultimately a three-part smear series on Breitbart by Gamergate’s pet “journalist,” Milo Yiannopoulos.

Now one Gamergater is going after Harper’s Patreon supporters, using personal information taken from the crowdfunding site when it was hacked earlier this month. 

After finding the names and addresses of Harper’s several hundred Patreon supporters in the leaked data, British blogger Sam Smith took it upon himself to “warn” these people of Harper’s alleged crimes against decency by sending a mass email to everyone he found on the list.

But to a lot of people — myself included — his supposedly friendly warning read more like a blackmail attempt.

One of the recipients of the email shared it with me yesterday. It starts off in a decidedly unfriendly manner:

I am the author of the major blog www.matthewhopkinsnews.com. I am sending you this email because your name appears in a list of people who donate to a Patreon operated by a person called Randi Harper. The list was confidential but has been hacked and placed online by unknown third parties. As a result of the leak you may be named, so please read this email carefully.

Smith — who goes by the name “Matthew Hopkins” online, styling himself as a sort of digital reincarnation of the original “Witchfinder General” — then lays out what he sees as Harper’s ethical failings, linking to Yiannopoulos’ three-part smear job as proof. Among Smith’s complaints:

Harper has … admitted to drug abuse, including attempting to smoke meth from a broken lightbulb. She also irresponsibly dyed her dog blue and accidentally allowed it to lick up her drugs.

Dyeing a dog blue may annoy the dog, but if done properly it will not harm it. And literally billions of human beings on our blue planet have used drugs at some point in their lives.

Now we come to the blackmaily bit, which Smith insists is not blackmaily at all:

You are supporting a person who is associated with some of the vilest imaginable extremism. …

As a responsible journalist, I can assure you I shall not be publishing the list. However, some of you may work in regulated roles with responsible access to information, vulnerable adults or children. There may be a lawful public interest in my contacting the relevant authorities (including an employer).

Smith went on to ask Harper’s supporters if they, personally, “endorse her extremist views” and if they felt “aggrieved at Ms Harper’s failure to safeguard your personal data.” (Never mind that it was Patreon’s job, not Harper’s, to protect the data on its servers.)

If Smith’s email was intended to rattle its recipients, it seems to have succeeded. The person who sent the email to me reported that “[i]t left me quite shaken and furious.”

If the email was intended to scare donors into abandoning Harper, it has apparently backfired in a big way. Indeed, Motherboard reports that, according to Harper,

Smith’s efforts has had the opposite effect: her backers have responded by doubling, and sometimes tripling their donations. Her campaign has jumped more than $1,300 a month in donations after the emails went out.

For his part, Smith insists, as he did in a post yesterday, that his email wasn’t intended to be threatening. He had simply

decided the ethical thing to do would be to warn the people concerned, reassuring them I would not release the data and also what might happen, as I thought the Patreon boilerplate warning insufficient.

That bit about there being “a lawful public interest in my contacting the relevant authorities (including an employer)?” That was

actually just boilerplate legal language related to UK law. Obviously I am analysing these supporters and in some limited circumstances I might be required to report things – for example if they were a risk to a child. As a person who may wish to enter a regulated profession, I would be expected to cooperate with the authorities. Far from being a blackmail demand it is just standardised ‘cover-yourself’ legal language.

I will have to consult with the monkey lawyers flying out of my butt on that one.

Some Gamergaters have insisted that Smith isn’t really one of them, which is a bit silly, considering that he is a regular on the KotakuInAction subreddit — one of Gamergate’s main hubs of activity — who happily posted a photo of himself hobnobbing with Yianopoulos at a #Gamergate meetup in London last April.

But it is worth noting that the overwhelming majority of those posting about Smith’s email blast on KotakuInAction since word of it got out earlier this week have been strongly critical, blasting it as the sort of thing that (in their mind) only evil anti-Gamergaters would do. (Never mind that they haven’t.)

Of course, Gamergaters (and the mythic “third party trolls” they like to talk about so often) have been doing far worse to Sarkeesian, Quinn, Wu, Harper and many others among Gamergate’s favorite villains for more than a year now.

Still, the reaction to Smith’s blackmail-that’s-not-really-blackmail-honest suggests that at least some Gamergaters have a few sickly shreds of decency still living deep inside them somewhere. I can only hope they can nurse their decency back to full health before they ruin the lives of more people in their attempt to rid the game world of anyone and everyone who disagrees with them.

And I hope Patreon brings the full force of its lawyers down on Smith.

 

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Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

… actually just boilerplate legal language related to UK law.

Did somebody say “Alan”? Because I think I just heard somebody say “Alan.”

RELEASE THE ALAN!

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Dear Milo Yeah-NOPE-oulos: Please do not wear any more blond wigs, or bleach your hair. It does not suit you. Love, One Who Cares.

YoullNeverGuess
5 years ago

This is the least important part of the post, but *dyed her dog blue*? That was worth mentioning? That’s like saying, “this person steals from the blind, and also eats broccoli. In other words, a monster.”

Heinz D
Heinz D
5 years ago

Translation of email: Pretty nice place you have here. It would be dreadful should something happen to it. ::smashes the mirror:: Oh, now that is a shame.

magnesium
magnesium
5 years ago

Gamergate really clutched their pearls at the dog getting it’s hair dyed thing. They’re so good at shitting on women and getting inconsistently outraged about high profile animal issues that you’d almost think they were PETA or something.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

Smith’s efforts has had the opposite effect: her backers have responded by doubling, and sometimes tripling their donations. Her campaign has jumped more than $1,300 a month in donations after the emails went out.

Sam Smith: http://38.media.tumblr.com/2fc412b4b171a699dd10e63bcbfb35a1/tumblr_inline_nu4fuoCnL11r5so7y_500.gif

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago
Bina
Bina
5 years ago

I thought Sam Smith was a gay pop singer. A cute one.

This one’s not him.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I knew before I even read the post that the gaters were going to no true Scotsman this one.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
5 years ago

It’s all about ethics in journalism.

Really.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I thought it was about ethics in dog fur fashions?

brooked
5 years ago

I’m kind of shocked David didn’t quote the title of the blog post, “Ethical Journalistic Treatment of Randi Harper Patreon Leak”, because it’s so ridiculous even for a hardcore gamergate panderer. I can’t quite tell if that title is deliberately sarcastic or merely unintentional self parody, but I’m leaning towards the latter.

It’s cutely phrased to imply Harper is behind the leak that she is in no way responsible for.

It comically mentions ethics while the post ends with this pompously-worded cowardly threat:

A full analysis of the list and any responses received will be forthcoming although I will of course refrain from publishing leaked contact details. It may be that there is a public interest in naming a small subset of donors. A longer piece will be coming in due course, after taking appropriate advice and considering any correspondence received from the persons on the list. Watch this space.

Yeah, “public interest”, that’s the ticket. Sorry dude, you can try to pretend you’re being a muckraker but it’s obvious you’re just a piece of shit.

OoglyBoggles
OoglyBoggles
5 years ago

The best part is that after a year

They still don’t do anything regarding changing the games industry

Also fuck Total Biscuit for being a front leader for them, the shrewd cunt

I’m just glad that he suffered by having all his channels be blocked and removed the ability to comment, proving what a coward he is

I also hope that this guy gets taken down so hard he’ll be crying tears in some vlog as his cash goes down the drain and possibly put on bars.

The Old Hack
The Old Hack
5 years ago

I got that e-mail. I doubled my monthly contribution to Randi. I am self-employed and am looking forward to hearing his arguments as to why I should fire myself.

Falconer
5 years ago

@OoglyBoggles:

Also fuck Total Biscuit for being a front leader for them, the shrewd cunt

All right, I’m going to be that guy.

No gendered insults, please.

And yeah, we know what it’s supposed to mean “in England.” Sorry, this blog is accessed from more places than just ol’ Blighty.

anon
anon
5 years ago

So have the gators cut off their tail to get out of this?

Shaenon
5 years ago

A major blog, eh? Sounds important.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

I am the author of the major blog http://www.matthewhopkinsnews.com.

“Major”?

Harper has … admitted to drug abuse, including attempting to smoke meth from a broken lightbulb. She also irresponsibly dyed her dog blue and accidentally allowed it to lick up her drugs.

Where did she do that? Can anyone independently confirm this, or is it pulled out of that ass’s ass?

epitome of incomprehensibility

This is the least important part of the post, but *dyed her dog blue*? That was worth mentioning? That’s like saying, “this person steals from the blind, and also eats broccoli. In other words, a monster.”

Apparently she didn’t just dye her dog blue, she IRRESPONSIBLY dyed her dog blue! Adverbs are important!

Bibulb
Bibulb
5 years ago

Having received one of the emails (hell YES I’m backing her), I’m rather bugged that Patreon hasn’t said anything about this specific issue.

And in regards to sourcing on the “drug abuse and irresponsible dog dyeing”, Encylopedia Dramatica is really useful for these kids – if they need it to be “satire”, “DON’T TAKE IT SERIOUSLY – IT’S ALL A JOKE!”, but if they need an excuse to harass, “LOOK WHAT WE FOUND ON ED!”

Sascha Vykos (@sacshavykos)

“Smith — who goes by the name “Matthew Hopkins” online…”

That’s interesting.

benfromcanada
5 years ago

Fuck GamerGate.

takshak
takshak
5 years ago

I have English relatives… in fact 100% of my relatives are English. the “cunt” is just a casual, minor insult thing? complete bollocks. no, it doesn’t carry the “weight” as it does in north american english, but it’s still fucking bad.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
5 years ago

Apparently she didn’t just dye her dog blue, she IRRESPONSIBLY dyed her dog blue! Adverbs are important!

If they weren’t, Lolly’s would have gone out of business years ago.

Tessa
5 years ago

actually just boilerplate legal language related to UK law. Obviously I am analysing these supporters and in some limited circumstances I might be required to report things – for example if they were a risk to a child. As a person who may wish to enter a regulated profession, I would be expected to cooperate with the authorities. Far from being a blackmail demand it is just standardised ‘cover-yourself’ legal language.

OK… To me, this is just as creepy as blackmail. So he has the list from the patreon hack, and if that isn’t enough, he’s now blatantly stating he’s going to be researching into their private lives… and if he “just so happens” to believe he needs to report them he will. Why does he feel he has the right to start stalking these people? (Don’t answer that, it’s obvious)

Kit Fowley
5 years ago

It’s all about ethics in sending vaguely threatening emails to people they don’t know whose addresses and names they found in a leak from an illegal hack job.

Shaenon
5 years ago

Yes, Gamergaters, phone a bunch of strangers to warn them that someone they vaguely know may be tangentially connected to someone else who is… wait for it… a FEMINIST! No doubt they’ll be horrified.

A similar bizarre incident happened before the Hugo Awards, when one of the Sad Puppies got so riled up over known liberal David Gerrold being selected as an MC that he called the Spokane police to “warn” them that Gerrold was coming to their city. He later apologized, I assume because the conversation went something like this:

Puppy Guy: Alert the city! A dangerous liberal is attempting to penetrate your borders!
Cop: Dangerous how?
Puppy Guy: He posts feminist memes on Facebook! And he said mean things about the Sad Puppy movement!
Cop: I don’t know what that is.
Puppy Guy: Never mind. Just arrest him!
Cop: Why?
Puppy Guy: I told you! He’s a feminist!
Cop: And we should arrest him for that why?
Puppy Guy: Free speech!
Cop: To protect freedom of speech…we should throw a man in jail for saying things you don’t like.
Puppy Guy: …Did I mention he’s gay?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
5 years ago

Let’s pretend, for a hilarious moment, that that bit about required to report people in certain professions. Having been a psych major, having a friend in one of those professions, and having this come up with one of my psychs, I call bullshit. It is factually incorrect. Yes, certain professions are mandatory reporters, not sure the details outside the US, but here it basically means that if a doctor, related profession (eg nurse, psych, etc), or teacher finds out about certain potential threats, or actual harm, they have to report it to the police. A teacher being told that the student is being abused, a doctor finding out about an imminent threat of sucide, things like that. Fucked up as this may be, there’s no duty on anyone not in the same mandatory reporter position, to report on a mandatory reporter. In other words if you go golfing with a doctor, and he mentions having done drugs in the past (to dyed a dog), you have abso-fucking-lutely no legal requirements to do a damned thing with that information, if you’re also a doctor and he’s still using, then he’s a threat to patients and you, as a mandatory reporter, have to report that (to the hospital may be sufficient, check details for your profession, etc).

She’s not entrusted with the care of potentially vulnerable people, she’s not a mandatory reporter, and even if by some absurd chance this tool is, previous drug use is not a thing that needs reporting! Pretty much the only situation I can imagine this load of crap applying in is if you work for the FBI or such, they do not look fondly on any association with anyone who’s used drugs…otoh, having your data leaked is kinda more an issue!

In epically short: full of crap, and so wrong it hurts.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

@Argenti

I think that what Smith meant was that he is thinking about maybe entering a profession that has the UK equivalent of mandatory reporting, which would obligate him to report when he enters that profession, and he’s using this vague aspiration as an excuse to issue a threat.

Of course, in the US mandatory reporting does not by any lights require anyone to go out and stalk people to find out if maybe there is something reportable going on. Which is what he’s threatening to do. I sincerely doubt that UK law is super-different from US law in this respect.

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

Did somebody say “Alan”? Because I think I just heard somebody say “Alan.”

RELEASE THE ALAN!

latsot (@latsot)
5 years ago

I know it’s a bit tedious to drag all this up again, but what the hell:

@takshak:

I have English relatives… in fact 100% of my relatives are English. the “cunt” is just a casual, minor insult thing? complete bollocks. no, it doesn’t carry the “weight” as it does in north american english, but it’s still fucking bad.

I’m English and you’re right but I don’t think any of the people who defend the word “cunt” argue otherwise. They tend to argue that it isn’t a gendered insult. They are still full of shit, of course.

Fruitloopsie
Fruitloopsie
5 years ago

Actually it’s about ethnics in terrorism

Tessa
5 years ago

Policy of Madness:

Of course, in the US mandatory reporting does not by any lights require anyone to go out and stalk people to find out if maybe there is something reportable going on. Which is what he’s threatening to do. I sincerely doubt that UK law is super-different from US law in this respect.

And this is just a list of names and addresses from the internet. How would that even work within society if it’s as he suggests? Anytime one of these people with these jobs (or apparently aspiring to have one one day) learns of a new name and address, they must by law research the individuals in question for anything reportable? How would they ever get anything done?

Tessa
5 years ago

On a side note, I wonder if we’ll see the rest of the Gamergaters totally throw him under the bus and suggest it was all a conspiracyscam and that he was working with Randi all along in order A) to tarnish the name of GamerGate, and B) for her to gain sympathy as a “professional victim” to increase her support. An elaborate false flag…

Micharion
Micharion
5 years ago

You know with Totalbiscuit being basically the Ringleader of this Circus of Complete Stupidity it is very odd that they complain about women dying their hair. Correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t TotalBiscuit’s nominal friend Dodger dye her hair almost weekly? I say nominal since he made it quite clear that he only cares about others when it will benefit himself and he will try and guilt trip them if they say anything bad about him.

rugbyyogi
5 years ago

My understanding of UK law…limited though it may be… is that it is far less onerous on mandatory reporting. While the US has had mandatory reporting for a long time, the UK doesn’t have such rules. I coach kids. I had to have a background check. I had to take a safeguarding course delivered by my sport’s governing body. There was lots of stuff about dodgy behaviour, but there was nothing about mandatory reporting – there was an ‘ought to’ but it was more about speaking to your own club’s child welfare officer and that position is certainly not recognised in law.

And remember that’s reporting about suspicions of CHILD ABUSE. Which is more serious than dying your dog blue (though I admit I disapprove, but hey ho) or using unsafe drug taking apparatus (I also disapprove). I’m pretty sure that I’m not even morally, never mind legally, obliged to report someone for rumours of drug use or for poor dog grooming choices. Though I admit, I would probably take a picture of such a dog and share on Twitter with a WTF?

What I am sure about is that the UK has laws on blackmail which Mr Smith may have fallen foul of.

Carayak
Carayak
5 years ago

Speaking of internet harassment, check out this nonsense: http://www.inquisitr.com/2461580/peeple-developers-get-a-lesson-in-harassment-on-twitter/
A site intended to let you post “reviews” of people, which will allow you to set up profiles in their name, using their cell-phone number, and text you with any comments people say about you, whether you like it or not.

Ironically, I found out about it through a post made by a guy who posts about SJWs and “#AllLivesMatter”. It’s good to know that he isn’t far gone enough to not realize what a huge boon this would be for internet harassment.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
5 years ago

Policy of Madness — even then all he knows is names and addresses, for those of us old even to remember phone books, that doesn’t mean shit. Knowing they donated to someone is barely worth sparing a glance. Even if he might enter one of the few professions that require disclosure about drug use among acquaintances (and the fbi is the only one I know of) he doesn’t know her! That’d be like saying that you have to disclose knowing that, idk, Whitney Houston did drugs — clearly absolutely pointless. Unless it’s pub quiz night that is absolutely worthless information.

Basically, there are zero ways this is anything besides a just this side of legal threat.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
5 years ago

“And remember that’s reporting about suspicions of CHILD ABUSE.”

There are a few other things here, but yeah, all of them involve actual physical danger to a minor or a believable threat to “self or other(s)”. Questionable grooming choices and past behavior are irrelevant.

Ben
Ben
5 years ago

Even if he might enter one of the few professions that require disclosure about drug use among acquaintances (and the fbi is the only one I know of) he doesn’t know her! That’d be like saying that you have to disclose knowing that, idk, Whitney Houston did drugs

Hah! Honestly, even though #GamerGate is and always will be a great big pile of shit, I never get tired of the ridiculous model of society, like Orwell and Pynchon making out in a funhouse mirror, that they have to devise in order to explain how their gut instincts for the way that thing should be really are that way. What conceivable type of occupation, besides secret policeman, would require that you divulge any and all criminal activity that you’ve ever heard about in your adult life?

Bazia
Bazia
5 years ago

This is malicious and probably tortious.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
5 years ago

I work for a company with very strict employee security, government oversight, and restricted access to sensitive information, and I’m trying to imagine my manager’s reaction if he got an email revealing that I once donated a small sum of money to someone who dyed their dog blue. After the initial WTF?, the welkin would ring with merriment.

He seems to think everyone who’s donated is supporting terrorism and should go on the OFAC list.

Moocow
Moocow
5 years ago

So a regular who posts on the Gamergate subreddit and goes to the Gamergate meet up is not actually a gamergater.

Sure, why not. At this rate, the number of ‘actual gamergaters’ will be zero.

Also, now that we have a gaming topic, I have an excuse to post this:

http://the-artifice.com/chrono-trigger-feminist-game/

Thoughts? I had forgotten about many of the more progressive elements of this classic game

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

…I don’t understand the “This person admits to having done meth!” thing. Is it supposed to be a smear? Because I’m straight-edge, and my reaction to finding out that someone did those kind of awful drugs would be:

“That’s terrible! Are they okay now? Are they getting the help they need? Addiction is such a hard thing to struggle with, I hope they’re in a better place in their lives now.”

There are a lot, a lot of arguments against doing meth, etc, but the moralistic “you’re a bad person if you do drugs!” one never made sense to me.

I’d only really judge a person if they were, like, driving under the influence or otherwise threatening the lives of others.

Zeb Berryman
Zeb Berryman
5 years ago

Why the fuck would you compare yourself to the Witchfinder general? He framed people for crimes they didn’t commit and got them burned at the stake for it for it. There was eval a popular (Although sadly probably untrue) legend that Hopkins was eventually put to his own trial and burned at the stake. Is that also what this guy wants?

Latte Cat
Latte Cat
5 years ago

How is dying a dog’s fur irresponsible……?

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
5 years ago

What a little turd.

rick
rick
5 years ago

Love how all these schmucks endlessly reference the “this is how I feel about it cause I don’t know much about it” Yiannopoulos like he’s some sort fount of wisdom. He’s right wing populist pap at its worst.

Moocow
Moocow
5 years ago

There are a lot, a lot of arguments against doing meth, etc, but the moralistic “you’re a bad person if you do drugs!” one never made sense to me.

Hmm, not only that but I think gators are a lot more likely to be drug users themselves. So it makes zero sense as, you say, that they would bring it up

I can only think of one explanation: Gators think their various ideological opponents would judge her as a bad person based on drug use.

James Haynes
5 years ago

Smith’s efforts has had the opposite effect: her backers have responded by doubling, and sometimes tripling their donations. Her campaign has jumped more than $1,300 a month in donations after the emails went out.—————–Now where Have I seen that before.

Sarkeesian first gained national attention when she launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the series and was subsequently subjected to a prolonged, intense online harassment campaign. That harassment inadvertently contributed to her massive Kickstarter success—her goal had been to raise $6,000 and she wound up with almost $160,000.

Vaas: Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is?

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