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The war on female speech continues: Jessica Valenti driven offline by threats

Carole Lombard as the Targeted Woman
Carole Lombard as the Targeted Woman

The war on female speech can claim another victory of sorts.

Feminist writer Jessica Valenti — the longtime target of an organized campaign of harassment and slander by Men’s Rights activists and others — has been driven off of social media by death and rape threats posted on Instagram, aimed not at her but at her five-year-old daughter.

Valenti, a Guardian columnist and the author of six books on feminism and sexuality, explained her decision in a series of tweets yesterday:

Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti This morning I woke up to a rape and death threat directed at my 5 year old daughter. That this is part of my work life is unacceptable. 12:04 PM - 27 Jul 2016 2,780 2,780 Retweets 2,408 2,408 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I am sick of this shit. Sick of saying over and over how scary this is, sick of being told to suck it up. 12:05 PM - 27 Jul 2016 689 689 Retweets 978 978 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I should not have to fear for my kid's safety because I write about feminism. 12:06 PM - 27 Jul 2016 1,840 1,840 Retweets 2,707 2,707 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I should not have to wade through horror to get through the day. None of should have to. 12:06 PM - 27 Jul 2016 440 440 Retweets 727 727 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti I can deal with a lot of things, I've taken a lot of abuse over the years. But my child? No. 12:07 PM - 27 Jul 2016 395 395 Retweets 675 675 likes Follow Jessica Valenti ✔ @JessicaValenti Law enforcement needs to get their shit together on online threats. Social media companies need to fucking do something. 12:09 PM - 27 Jul 2016jvt2jvt3At this point, does anyone other than the harassers and their apologists doubt that what we’re seeing is a free speech issue — and, beyond that, a civil rights issue?

Every woman writer knows that the moment she puts her words online she could face literally years of abuse — insults and threats and often outrageous slander — if something she says manages to offend some thin-skinned dude who doesn’t like to see any of his opinions challenged by a woman.

This is even more of a danger if the women in question writes about feminism as anything other than a “cancer,” or offers her thoughts on topics that many men seem to think their gender owns the rights to — from videogames to the Ghostbusters franchise.

If women can’t express their thoughts online without facing the very real threat that their lives and reputations will be ruined by years-long campaigns of abuse and slander that social media companies and law enforcement authorities by and large refuse to do anything about, this is a threat to the free speech of women everywhere.

It isn’t simply a matter of a few “trolls.” The abuse is often organized, sometimes quite openly. The vicious harassment of Valenti began a number of years ago after a video of hers mocking Men’s Rights “activists” caught the attention of the misogynistic hate site A Voice for Men — a site whose “social media director,” Canadian antifeminist Andrea Hardie (aka Janet Bloomfield, aka JudgyBitch), stoked the flames by making up inflammatory “quotes” and attributing them to Valenti, knowing full well that many of her followers would believe even the most outrageous lies about the American writer. (Similar smear tactics have been used against feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian by her enemies, including Hardie herself.)

Valenti is hardly the only woman that AVFM has targeted for organized campaigns of hate — not by a long shot — but AVFMers are so obsessed with Valenti that at a recent AVFM “men’s retreat” the attendees, led by the obviously drunken site founder Paul Elam, shouted out creepy sexual commentary about her and fellow feminist writer Amanda Marcotte; the reason we know this is that Elam, evidently quite proud of his behavior, put video of the bizarre incident online.

The harassment that Valenti and other feminist writers have gotten isn’t just intended to intimidate them into silence. It’s also meant as a warning to other women that if they speak up they could be on the receiving end of a similarly vicious hate campaign.

The harassers are often quite open about this intention. Jack Barnes, a Twitter “activist” who’s contributed numerous articles to AVFM over the years, has repeatedly made it clear that the point of his “activism,” such as it is, is to intimidate all feminists into shutting up.

Sometimes, as I’ve pointed out before, Barnes forgets to put “harassment” in scare quotes.

Jack Barnes ‏@Jackbarnesmra @Shotagonist @niaudesigns @TheFirstPaige no. We harass and abuse feminists. Bigots (feminists) don't deserve to be treated with respect.

These campaigns of harassment do indeed have a chilling effect. I know female writers who refrain from writing about feminism and other such “sensitive” subjects because of the abuse they know they would get if they did. Feminist writer Leigh Alexander has stopped writing about video games because of the abuse she endured at the hands of GamerGaters and their fellow travelers, many of whom openly rejoiced at the news.

Sarkeesian, meanwhile, has made clear that she’ll be moving on from video games after she finishes the rest of her videos in the Tropes Against Women in Video Games series. “For me, the work of Feminist Frequency has become synonymous with constant daily harassment, death threats, bomb threats, intense public scrutiny and profound violations of privacy that have spilled over into the lives of my friends and family,” she wrote in a Kickstarter update.

The enormous amount of stress caused by the harassment, along with how the project unfolded, took a huge toll on my physical and emotional health. I have been dealing with depressive tendencies for the better part of my life but with my physical health declining and the added pressure of this project, my depression became quite intense. Looking back from a place of greater clarity and balance, I don’t know how I managed to survive from day to day, let alone how I continued to step into the public eye online, in newspapers and magazines, and even on national television. Many of my personal relationships were strained or collapsing, and getting out of bed every day felt like climbing up a mountain. There was no end.

And all of this because she shared her thoughts about video games with the world.

Obviously, not all the victims of this sort of harassment are women. Indeed, I’ve been targeted for abuse and slander by some of the same people who’ve harassed Valenti. Nor are men the only harassers — AVFM’s Andrea Hardie is one of the site’s most vicious attack dogs.

But the people who have been on the receiving end of the most surrealistically over-the-top campaigns of abuse — Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, Chanty Binx, and many others — have been women, with black women enduring some of the worst abuse. And their harassers, for the most part, seem to be male.

That’s what makes this not only a free speech issue but a civil rights issue. Women bear a disproportionate share of abuse online — amongst Guardian writers, eight of the ten who get the most abuse online are women, with Valenti taking the top spot — and women generally have more of a reason to fear the threats they get online.

But women have little recourse when it comes to actually doing anything about this abuse. Police — with only a few notable exceptionsdon’t take online abuse seriously. Social media companies are glacially slow when it comes to shutting down obvious abusers, and arguably even worse about dealing with ban evaders.

I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me pretty clear that women are being denied equal protection of the laws.

That said, it is a bit of an oversimplification to talk about this in terms of the male-female gender binary, as Soraya Chemaly has noted. LGBT folks and others “who defy rigid gender and sexuality rules” are far more likely to be harassed and threatened online (and off) than their cis counterparts. They are also, quite clearly, being denied equal protection.

Threats against women online aren’t just crimes; in many cases they are hate crimes. Unless those who abuse and threaten women online face serious legal consequences for their actions, more women, like Valenti, are going to be forced offline.

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Brett
Brett
4 years ago

That sucks so much. I’ve followed Valenti’s writings for years, and she’s good. Nobody deserves this.

I don’t know how Sarkeesian has kept it up, and I don’t blame her for wanting to move on from video games once the series is done. I just hope it doesn’t follow her into her new projects – if the whole furor over the Ghostbusters reboot is any indication, then that type of G*G stuff is bleeding out of the video game fandom into other kinds of fandoms as well.

Lea
Lea
4 years ago

And they will say it is their speech that is being strangled when they can’t threaten to rape and murder children. Though they know that they are trying desperately to silence women.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

What Lea said. They put free speech up on a pedestal, but only if it’s reserved for them. Then somehow if anyone verbally challenges them on their BS, they’re “being denied their rights.”

Unbelievable.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
4 years ago

@Brett
I do have to wonder if there is anything dudebros WON’T try to claim for themselves as a male only thing. Some of them have tried to do it with My Little Pony for fucks’ sake.

Fabe
Fabe
4 years ago

I do have to wonder if there is anything dudebros WON’T try to claim for themselves as a male only thing. Some of them have tried to do it with My Little Pony for fucks’ sake.

I know,I’m A guy who likes MLP but I avoid the ‘brony’ community due to the toxicity.

ViolinlessHoax
ViolinlessHoax
4 years ago

This is a really good article! Thanks for this. I will put it in my favorites folder so I can later share this with some of my friends who are still “on the fence”, as the colloquialism goes.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

And, of course, in the replies to her tweets are dudes saying it was just one little itsy bitsy threat and she’s a little speshul snoflake if she can’t take it and it was just on the internet and internet threats aren’t real gosh why are intersectionals such babies yadda yadda yadda blahblahblahblaaaaaaaaaaaah

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

That’s a powerful article, David. Thank you for that; I hope it wasn’t too painful to write.

As always whenever Lea posts, I can only say one thing: “What Lea said.”

Fabe
Fabe
4 years ago

@Lindsaylrene

Yet they still consider the harassment of ‘gamergate’ to be a rational response to simple criticism and a free to play game about depression

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
4 years ago

I don’t think any of the GG attack squad could put up with one-tenth of the abuse they’ve directed at other people.

dlouwe
dlouwe
4 years ago

What Lea said. They put free speech up on a pedestal, but only if it’s reserved for them. Then somehow if anyone verbally challenges them on their BS, they’re “being denied their rights.”

Well like, it’s not as if they’re telling Valenti she shouldn’t be able to say those things – just that they’ll harass and abuse her until she stops! It’s way different! /s

Seriously though, I feel like that’s at least very close to their thoughts on the matter. If you ask someone to not say something, you’re infringing on the concept of “free speech” – despite being completely benign and unenforceable, it’s the principle of the thing. But if you hurl abuse at someone for something they said, that’s just everybody free-speeching all over the place, and if someone elects to stop speaking, that’s just the free-speech-market at work.

Freemage
Freemage
4 years ago

Some day, I’d like to see one of the victims of online abuse streams like this sue Twitter or Facebook for breach of contract (for obviously failing to enforce their own ToS on the abusers unless the target is high-profile enough to have clout).

The issue, I think (IANAL), would be damages–those tend to be hard to demonstrate in a case like this, since there’s no money being paid to social media sites by the users in the first place. But even a finding of breach with no damages attached (if such a thing is something the courts would do) might be useful and embarrassing to the company, forcing a more aggressive enforcement policy.

And if there was a finding and no change, the company could end up facing punitive damages further down the road, since failing to account for prior findings is something that gets weighed in punitive rulings.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

Something bad is gonna happen. Singularly bad, I mean. Something that can’t be blamed on anything else. Something big. There’s gonna be a ‘dogs and hoses’ moment. Nothing’s gonna happen until then, and, because nothing’s gonna happen, that something bad is gonna happen. Thinking about this makes me feel all kinds of gross…

Michael P
Michael P
4 years ago

Brett, I’d say that Gomergate-style behaviors and views aren’t bleeding out into other fandoms so much as coming to the surface. The reactionary shitlords in comics or science fiction fandom, for instance, may have been emboldened by GG, but I can attest that they’ve been present for a long time.

lkeke35
lkeke35
4 years ago

My mind likes to attach patterns to everything and has attached this to the general acting out of, lets be extra clear about this, mostly White men, because they are primarily the ones desperately trying to re-establish authority, (they never had in the first place), by trying to bully everyone into submission.

This is the end result of fifty years of social and racial progress, this whole massive toxic masculinity meltdown. There have always been pockets of this but it seems to have reached some kind of peak, where White men are so incensed at the idea of other people living freely without their say-so, that they seem to be having some kind of mass collective howl of bitterness.

It would be fascinating to watch if it wasn’t so terrifying to the rest of us.

So this is what they’ve come to now, threatening to kill and rape children, to make women and other marginalized people shut up?

Axecaliber: You and I are in agreement on this. Thinking about it makes me feel stones in the pit of my stomach. Something bad is gonna happen. Their behavior will get worse.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
4 years ago

… that’s it, I’m out. If I’m needed, I’ll be in the corner drinking whisky, smoking weed and trying to rip a hole in the ground to crawl into forever.

Before that though. Is there anywhere support messages could be sent ? Seems like Jessica Valenti could use them right now.

Bazia
Bazia
4 years ago

As a woman who has received threats too, I would like to thank you, David, for your passion for justice and excellent journalism. You deserve a Pultitzer for your work.

Joel
Joel
4 years ago

I’m sure these scum are celebrating their “win” and all it took was threatening to rape a five year old. “It’s about ethics in child rape”
I’ve been threatened on Twitter (by followers of Elam and Barnes after getting into a Twitter fight)
But if they went to threatening my kids I’d be calling the cops.

KafkaNoMore
KafkaNoMore
4 years ago

I don’t know if she already did, but if not, JV should involve the police/courts into this.

Threatening to rape a kid is the lowest of the low these human garbage sacks have pulled by now.

It should not pass without consequences, both for them and for social media that is allowing such abuse in the first place!

It makes me sick to my stomach to watch this meltdown of toxic masculinity. Yuk yuk yuk!

KafkaNoMore
KafkaNoMore
4 years ago

On a side note, I remember when the toxic branch of youtube atheists organized “Everybody draw Mohammad day”, to insult Muslims, and how they then cried around when some of the organizers got death threats. How the evil Muslims are taking away they freedom of speech and freedom of expression by threatening everybody that attacks the Prophet Mohammad and forcing people into hiding.

Basically, MRA/MGTOW/PUA and other losers behave towards women like the most fanatic Muslims behave towards blasphemy.

It is also ironic, how these very same MRA/MGTOW/PUA and similar losers will be the first to jump on the hate-speech (ups I mean free speach) wagon to call Muslims terrorists.

Toxic masculinity knows no irony when it melts.

Loquora
Loquora
4 years ago

Where can these horrible excuses for people go from here? When you’ve threatened to rape and murder a child for what her mother says, how can you possibly get worse? What new low is there to reach? The only thing I can think of is action on these threats and the possibility chills me to the bone.

ViolinlessHoax
ViolinlessHoax
4 years ago

mostly White men, because they are primarily the ones desperately trying to re-establish authority, (they never had in the first place)

This is true (imo). On top of that, they have learned throughout their lives that there are virtually no consequences for their actions, no matter how stupid or cruel. They can get away with it, hell, they have for years now. And when some dudebro somehow does face sudden unexpected consequences (like lose his job or get arrested) for something he did or say, it’s excuses here and conspiracies there and “it’s all the OTHER’s fault!” everywhere.

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
4 years ago

The level of compartmentalization from her haters is detestable as well. They try and portray her as being weak for withdrawing after “One mean tweet” while ignoring the massive shit-mountain she receives that goes unaddressed, unacknowledged, and unpunished.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
4 years ago

@ViolinlessHoax

excuses here and conspiracies there and “it’s all the OTHER’s fault!” everywhere.

“And I would’ve gotten away with it, if not for those meddling OTHERS !”

TiredTexan
TiredTexan
4 years ago

And remember how vicious us feminists were when we dared to criticize a European scientist’s shirt with half nude women all over it? We were terrorizing that poor guy by pointing out that his shirt was sexist, destroying his life.

It’s about who gets to have an opinion, and only white males are allowed. If anyone else has an opinion that is contrary to theirs, terrorism is just fine with credible threats of rape, murder etc. all fair game, and complainers just be weak, whiners.

But complain about a shirt, and all of a sudden, we’re terrorizing a poor man.

snork maiden
4 years ago

I have a prediction that if Andrea Hardie addresses Valenti’s harassment at all, it will be to accuse feminists of having done the same thing to a proGG blogger named Lizzyf620.

I predict this because one of the lies Hardie likes to pedal repeatedly is that a woman blogger who went by the handle Lizzyf620 gave up posting online because feminists and SJWs posted sexualized images of her child and made threats online. While it is unfortunately true that this woman received such harassment, and was also doxxed, and did withdraw from social media, there is no proof that feminists or SJWs were behind it. In fact this was more a case of GG eating its own because GG is more about hating women than it is about ethics.

I’m just putting it out there, to show that misogyny threatens all women who express opinions on the internet, even the non feminist ones.

It’s horrible to hear how bad the harassment suffered by Valenti has got.

Paradoxical Intention - Resident Cheeseburger Slut

leftwingfox | July 28, 2016 at 2:22 pm

The level of compartmentalization from her haters is detestable as well. They try and portray her as being weak for withdrawing after “One mean tweet” while ignoring the massive shit-mountain she receives that goes unaddressed, unacknowledged, and unpunished.

Why is it that they only seem capable of focusing on one thing at a time when it comes to feminists, and then project that we’re only capable of caring about one thing?

They’ll only talk about the death/rape threat that Valenti mentioned. (Never mind the fact that they’re ignoring it’s to her five year old child)

They’ll harass Chanty Binx for one thing she did years ago.

They focus on a handful of bullshit lies about Anita Sarkeesian, evidence be damned, to the point where if you ever get into an argument with someone who is a G*Ger, you can have a prepared script and links ready to copy and paste to prove them wrong.

Then they turn around and say we don’t care about men or whatever because we’re not dropping everything to cater to whatever it is they want us to do, or talking about things they find important.

At this point, I think they just want us all to drop dead on the spot, because that’s most likely the only thing that will actually satisfy them. Oh, wait, then they can’t harass us anymore. That’s not fair! [/sarcasm]

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

I really do fear that it’s going to take a murder related to online harassment – and a murder of someone prominent at that – in order for law enforcement and social media companies to finally do something. I hope it doesn’t happen, but I fear that it will.

Orion
Orion
4 years ago

I haven’t followed Valenti for a long time, but she was a big influence on me when I was 13. This is a sad day.

Dove
4 years ago

Noooo… not Valenti! I love her writing. 🙁 I hope she feels better.

@weirwood Come on, even a murder of someone prominent won’t cause a change. 🙁

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

OT:

I just saw a specialist doctor here in America about my heel pains. He wasn’t able to tell me anything that I didn’t already know. Instead, he started explaining to me how lucky I am to be able to access the capitalist, for-profit health care here in the states, and that I must be tired of my regular socialized medicine. Unironically. While attempting to charge me thousands of dollars for x-rays and MRIs. The appointment itself cost approximately 20 times what I would pay to see my regular doctor back home. Afterwards I asked for a copy of my medical records, and learned that they’d charge me for that too. At that point I was like fuck it, I’m gonna go spend that money on ice cream instead.

Last time I try to deal with the medical system in the US. -_-

Bazia
Bazia
4 years ago

Judgybitch has written an article about how she too is being silenced as a woman with opinions on the net. It’s awful how she has suffered, having to spend her precious time inventing lie upon lie, and going to the crossbow store and learning how to kill seven flies with one blow!!! It totally makes up for her harassing and defaming Valenti for so long because she too has suffered!!! At least she’s not a wimp who runs away just because some dudebro threatens to rape her child!!! Anyway, David, Judgybitch seems to completely agree and have your back on this!!! http://judgybitch.com/2016/07/28/bye-now-jessicavalenti-quits-twitter/

Lea
Lea
4 years ago

There have already been murders related to online harrassment. Remember way back in the day on YouTube when a fan of Venomfangx (that kid Thunderfart liked to pick at) who shot and killed another Youtuber after stalking her. She was not, in his estimation, a good Christian woman AND she wouldn’t fuck him. So, he shot her. His videos are probably still up. Tony…something.
There are likely other murders no one pays any attention to.
Most abuse survivors endure abuse via social media when they leave their abusers. Abusers often enlist other people to help them harass and stalk their victims. Survivors call those people flying monkeys. When women are killed by an abusive s.o. , it doesn’t even make the news.

Freemage
Freemage
4 years ago

KafkaNoMore: (I’m going to be risking a bit of a derail here, and apologize for it.) You glossed over some of nuances of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”. The history is a bit more convoluted than just a bunch of MRAtheists getting together and deciding to piss off Muslims.

0: It’s important to note before getting started that the prohibition against depictions of Mohammed is not universal within Islam’s many sects, and where practiced, is meant as a bulwark against the dangers of idolatry–the concern is that adherents might come to worship Mo instead of Allah, or even worse, the physical portrayal of the Prophet. This isn’t all that different from the way some mainstream American Protestant sects view the Roman Catholic crucifix in all it’s torture-porn glory. So it is a bit absurd for this particular tenet to be enforced against non-Muslims, who would not be in any danger of worshiping either the painting or the man depicted.

1: A Danish newspaper ran several editorial cartoons that did, indeed, depict Mohammed. Many of the portrayals were actually sympathetic–they took the view that Mo would be appalled by the acts of terrorism. Others mocked some of the more outrageous beliefs of the most extreme Islamists (such as the infamous 73 virgins thing).

2: Several extremist imams went on a rabble-rousing crusade. Part of this entailed adding other ‘cartoons’ to the mix–most of the add-ons were far more vulgar, disgusting and appalling than the editorial cartoons.

3: This led to anger and upset in the insular community of conservative Muslims (many of whom accepted the imam’s word about the nature of the cartoons). That led to protests, violence, and eventually the murder of one of the cartoonists.

4: In reaction, the South Park apatheist glibertarians decided to enter the fray, doing a show about how afraid everyone is to depict Mohammed. The show was actually pretty decent, and by SP standards, even a bit nuanced.

5: In response to bomb threats, Comedy Central ran the episode, but put a large censor bar over the depiction of Mo. Parker and Stone disliked it, but agreed CC had the right to do so. Some half-wit proceeded to try to do a car-bombing as an act of protest anyway, but it was a complete flop.

6: At this point, an American college student suggested, only semi-seriously, that there should be an EDMD. Her specific suggestion was that the cartoons be completely inoffensive, beyond offending the imam’s outrage of people who are not Muslims violating a doctrine that isn’t even universal among Muslims. The archetypal EDMD drawing was a stick figure with a word-balloon reading, “I’m Mohammed!”

7: The idea caught on, and the first EDMD was basically a college student thing on a lot of campuses, mostly in the form of chalk drawings like the one above. Sometimes, the stick figure was replaced with a toaster or a banana, still claiming to be Mohammed. Some Muslim student organizations responded appropriately–they went around and, rather than eliminate the drawings or issue threats, added the word “Ali” to the word balloons, so that now the toasters were merely claiming to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Clever, funny, and briefly gave me some hope for humanity in general.

8: Eventually, angry backlash caused the originator to call it quits. Around that time, the MRAtheists and their white-supremacist cohort took up the idea, and morphed it, as expected, into something utterly appalling, putting on displays of anti-Islamic art just to try to provoke a reaction.

The current form of EDMD is thus, much as you describe it. However, it’s worth remembering that it was once a moderately clever way at poking fun at the notion that non-practitioners of a religion are in any way bound by the tenets of that faith.

Snork Maiden
4 years ago

@Bazia,

I stand corrected. Judgybitch Hardie didn’t even hide behind other victims of harassment, she put her own victimhood forward instead.

I love the way she warns David of ever showing up on her doorstep, as if he or anyone else cares enough about her to ever bother travelling to her tiny little corner of Canada.

Judgy’s dox was in the public domain for almost a year before anyone tried to harass her with it. Even when she came to London and anyone could figure out where she would be at that conference, not one person showed up to protest against her (I know this because if anyone had, she’d be shouting about it from the rooftops)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ freemage

As you say the specific prohibition against depicting the prophet is to avoid the risk of ‘shirk’ (which incorporates that idolatry aspect).

There’s also though within Islam a general prohibition against depicting any naturalistic imagery in any media. That obviously includes people. The theory is it impinges on God’s monopoly on creation. It’s pretty much identical to the rules in some branches of Judaism; like how Hasidic Jews won’t use cameras or allow their picture to be taken.

Not every Muslim subscribes to that of course; but it’s part of the reason there’s such a tradition of abstract art in Islam.

Lea
Lea
4 years ago

JB is trying to use this as an excuse to draw attention to herself?
Of course she is.

What else would she do?

She doesn’t even have the sense to maybe pipe down a bit, considering her part in hounding a woman off of social media with blatant lies. Oh no. She’s sure this is a good time to crow.

She has no idea how she looks to everyone outside of her little little bubble.

Freemage
Freemage
4 years ago

Alan: Ah, thanks for the expansion, there. I think I might have heard that at one point, and forgotten it.

Still, the imams aren’t running around upset about people using cameras and other such–it’s solely the depiction of Mo that they’ve decided is now a ‘thing’ meriting death-threats.

Handsome "These Pretzels Suck" Jack (formerly Pandapool)

led by the obviously drunken site founder

Hey, man, let’s not do that. Let’s not bring alcoholism into this. Substance abuse isn’t a fault of character, it’s not indicative of whether or not someone is a good person.

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko
4 years ago

@Handsome Jack

Isn’t it an aggravating circumstance when yelling about blowjobs on youtube though ?

I mean, as an abuser, I’m especially careful about what I do when intoxicated, and even though I know not everyone can be that careful… well, eventually he sobered up, didn’t he ?

If that was sarcasm (honestly can’t tell, guess why ? ’cause I’ve had a few.) then I apologize for taking it too seriously.

Orion
Orion
4 years ago

I believe you’re the first person to mention alcoholism, Jack. David didn’t say that Elam is a drunkard or is alcoholic; he said that in the video, Elam appears to be drunk. Which he does.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Freemage + Alan
Ooh, I didn’t know that. By the time I’d heard of DMD, TFoot and AA (the latter of whom I was still subbed to at the time) were being all… internet atheisty about it. Didn’t know there was an extra step in between South Park and YouTube shittery

ETA: Seconding Jack. It’s really not necessary to point it out. Not nice. He doesn’t deserve nice, but still…

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

Elam himself also confirmed that he was very drunk at the time. Presumably he was sober when he decided to upload the video to youtube, though.

Handsome "These Pretzels Suck" Jack (formerly Pandapool)

Oh, I’m sorry. I definitely misread that, like, somehow I missed the video part completely. Ignore what I said.

I mean, I wondered why no one said anything. I didn’t wonder enough.

chesselwitt
chesselwitt
4 years ago

I’m really getting to the point where I just want to say fuck humanity and move to Ceres or something.

TiredTexan
It’s about who gets to have an opinion, and only white males are allowed. If anyone else has an opinion that is contrary to theirs, terrorism is just fine with credible threats of rape, murder etc. all fair game, and complainers just be weak, whiners.

This. The only ones allowed to have, or at least voice, an opinion are cis white men in their view. Because those are people, don’t you know, and the rest of us are just some lesser creatures that shouldn’t be allowed to speak about the things that actually affect us. It might make the “real” people feel bad that they aren’t God’s perfect creation and/or the center of the universe. And if we dare not to stay in our “rightful” place, then they feel that they are justified in putting us back there.

One time I was at my mom and stepdad’s and in regards to something on TV that I don’t recall, my stepdad said, “I’m tired of all this he/she stuff.” I really wanted to tell him that’s because he’s an old white guy and has never had to deal with any of this shit and has the luxury of saying he doesn’t want to hear about it.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
4 years ago

Sarkeesian, meanwhile, has made clear that she’ll be moving on from video games after she finishes the rest of her videos in the Tropes Against Women in Video Games series. “For me, the work of Feminist Frequency has become synonymous with constant daily harassment, death threats, bomb threats, intense public scrutiny and profound violations of privacy that have spilled over into the lives of my friends and family,” she wrote in a Kickstarter update.

Which is unfortunate, because she was one of the few people on YouTube who treated videogames seriously as an art – it’s why I see so much of the reaction against her as anti-intellectual. They either project many things they’ve internalized about videogames onto her, whether she’s actually made such a statement or not (she usually hasn’t), or have to start making conspiratorial claims about how she somehow ripped people off with her Kickstarter (nevermind no one was forced to donate to it).

A lot of her critics may as well be reading from the same script because, by God, I’ve never heard a single one of them make a genuinely profound and constructive argument against her work. It’s entirely possible to but, at this point, almost all of it completely misses the forest for the trees or mischaracterizes her claims to an absurd degree to “make a point.”

Thunderf00t and The Amazing Atheist’s obsessiveness over her is weird to me – given neither of them care about videogames, even TAA espoused the notion that he thinks violent videogames cause people to be violent. Hell, Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich also shit on videogames and the people who play them. It’s telling GGers and their ilk treat these people as figureheads while nonetheless faulting Anita Sarkeesian for not being a “true fan.” I can’t help but think many of these people are like Davis Aurini, where they haven’t really watched her videos and are basing their critiques on second-hand accounts they heard from someone else. Even though she uses examples from games that actually back up her point, I’m constantly hearing how she’s taking things “out of context”…even when showing clips from dozens of titles as proof…

Then again, I just think these people can’t stand videogames being analyzed as anything other than a consumer product. If they actually cared about videogames as an art form – they wouldn’t make such bewildering demands like having “objective reviews.” At that point, you probably can’t understand or appreciate any form of art except in the most mechanical way.

If they lived back during the times movies first became a thing, they’d be those arguing about how all these creative types are ruining the novelty of moving pictures with their concern over things like “narrative” and “characterization” and “themes.” God forbid that any film be about something of importance or interest than just a shiny object to stare at vapidly with mouth agape, to actually engage the audience on any level besides the most superficial…

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@chesselwitt
“He/she” like discussions of gender in general or like transpeople specifically? You’re right either way, I’m just a bit confused

Somewhat related to family thinking/saying the wrong things: I’ve recently been having conversations with my brother about Mammoth type stuff, mostly revolving around the election and vidya. He’s pretty ‘both sidesy’, so I’m trying to break him outta that. Also, he has this annoying habit of conceding everything except for 1 meaningless point (chosen seemingly arbitrarily) he refuses to budge on. He’s not entirely unreasonable, so we’re making progress…

KafkaNoMore
KafkaNoMore
4 years ago

@Freemage

Thank you for taking the time to explain a little bit more about EDMD.

I remember that it was started out of (if we can say) noble reasons, but it turned into a hate-fest lead by MRAtheists.

I also remember that some of the participants complained about death-threats etc, and somebody went into hiding.

But yeah, what I tried to say is that MRA/MGTOW/PUA and MRAtheists are the same as fundamental religious people, in this case Muslims.

They will threaten, harass and intimidate individuals that disagree with them to the same extent religious fundamentalists would. All with the goal to silence people.

But on the other side, they will be the first to scream about how (their freedom of speech) is being taken away by “terrorist Muslims”. While they are the terrorists themselves.

Fundamentalists (of any kind) seem to be the same everywhere. Power-hungry mostly men who seek to dominate and intimidate, hateful and fearful of women. Sometimes they are accompanied by the occasional woman that tells them what they want to hear because she suffers from internalized misogyny.

@NickNameNick

Thunder00t and the Amazing Atheist’s obsessiveness over her is weird to me

It shouldn’t be. It makes them money. Thunderfart has a patreon, his audience pays him to do such videos. The Amazing Farteist also makes money on being an online duchebag.

The “normal” videos they have don’t get nearly the same attention as the anti-feminist outrage videos.

Funk
Funk
4 years ago

Saw a tweet earlier today from a woman who had blocked a guy that was stalking her online, only for him to find out where she worked and send her a postcard about him being blocked. She didn’t want to take it any further – which is totally up to her and completely understandable considering the barriers that go up as soon as someone tries to go through the proper channels of reporting it as a crime – but it was just a really depressing thing to see first thing in the morning.

Regarding “free speech” – I just don’t get it. I don’t expect a newspaper to publish an angry, disjointed threat in the form of a letter, and I certainly wouldn’t claim that if I were to send such a letter in, that the choice of the editors to not print it somehow curtailed my freedom of speech. I expect my comments to be moderated – that there’s no mods as such on certain platforms of social media simply means I am given the responsibility of moderating myself, instead of taking it for granted that someone will do it for me. It’s like these guys literally have zero level of self-control.