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A retro gaming champion harassed women for years. Then he killed his ex-girlfriend

By David Futrelle

Rudy Ferretti was known in the male-dominated retro gaming community as a champion gamer — and as a raging misogynist who ferociously harassed women. He once made a homebrew game in which the goal was to kill women.

Last week, he allegedly gunned down his former girlfriend Amy Molter before turning his gun on himself.

To those he harassed and threatened over the years, this dramatic final act of real-world violence did not come altogether as a surprise.

In a lengthy story on the tragedy, Wired examines his life and his long history of abuse of women online. Cecilia D’Anastasio writes:

Longtime members of the retro and arcade gaming scene say they warned community leaders and even police about Ferretti’s threatening behavior for years. For close to a decade, they say, Ferretti had harassed, stalked, and threatened gamers, particularly women, pushing some out of the niche gaming scene entirely. He flashed guns in tirade YouTube videos, and bragged on Facebook about bringing one to an event at the Museum of Pinball in 2017.

Arcade game collector and researcher Catherine DeSpira and video game historian and storage auction buyer Patrick Scott Patterson—two of Ferretti’s most public targets—say they collectively contacted police in different states a half-dozen times to report Ferretti’s threats against themselves and others. They say those attempts ultimately had no effect. All the while, clusters of retro gamers across the country egged Ferretti on in private messages and on forums, leveraging his apparent instability and misogynist inclinations against women they didn’t want in the scene.

It’s a horrifying story from beginning to end; I urge you all to read it.

H/T — Catherine DeSpira (@CatDeSpira) and Rhuu

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
3 months ago

So, this guy basically was a loaded gun that pretty much anyone could aim at pretty much anyone else? Especially, though, at women?

Almost like a mini-Trump, then.

And of course the police took threatening behavior from a white male about as seriously as they ever do …

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
3 months ago

@Surplus

And of course the police took threatening behavior from a white male about as seriously as they ever do …

Well, you know, it’s an individual problem. It’s not symptomatic of any larger issue. There’s no way to know who’s just blowing off steam and who will be a real threat! Boys will be boys. Now, if he was black, then you know that would be a real threat. There’s definitely a systematic problem there, all the violence in the community, and how terrible those people treat their women… smh. How can we ever figure out a problem like this? There’s just no knowing when someone who has decades of reports against him should be required to stop that shit and, I don’t know, not be allowed to have an easy murder weapon.

sunnysombrera
sunnysombrera
3 months ago

not be allowed to have an easy murder weapon.

Haven’t you heard? The solution to bad guys with guns is good guys with guns! /s

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

@Big Titty Demon

Well, you know, it’s an individual problem. It’s not symptomatic of any larger issue. There’s no way to know who’s just blowing off steam and who will be a real threat! Boys will be boys. Now, if he was black, then you know that would be a real threat. There’s definitely a systematic problem there, all the violence in the community, and how terrible those people treat their women… smh. How can we ever figure out a problem like this? There’s just no knowing when someone who has decades of reports against him should be required to stop that shit and, I don’t know, not be allowed to have an easy murder weapon.

https://www.theonion.com/no-way-to-prevent-this-says-only-nation-where-this-r-1835173950

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Meanwhile white male “leftist” bros like Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim are vigorously defending this guy

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/19/us/politics/aaron-coleman-kansas.html

Because the one thing every group is in common apparently, is that abusive white men always deserve every chance and women who object are hateful harpy bitches.

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
3 months ago

I hope they kept evidence that they warned the police. Now would be a good time to publish that evidence and get some cops fired. Hell, the family of the victim might want to sue the police.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
3 months ago

@C.S.Strowbridge
Hell, the family of the victim might want to sue the police.

That’s like the one thing that doesn’t even work for white people. Blue lives > all other lives. I should check if there’s a ballot measure to end qualified immunity here, actually, we had more than one before and it always failed…

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Oh, for fucks sake. Apparently “poverty makes men sexual predators” is the class conscious position now.

https://twitter.com/arthur_affect/status/1296968336627003392?s=20

Continued from my earlier post.

painteyelash
painteyelash
3 months ago

@WWTH

Wow. Way to excuse his behaviour. The weird thing is, girls/women are poor too but somehow don’t threaten boys with their nudes or tell kids to kill themselves or call them fat because of that. Hmm.

To claim that being from a poor or working class background creates a gross view on girls is juuust not right. He clearly did it because of some power trip and because he lives in a society that want naked women everywhere but also want to use their body as a power move. Not because of his background.

painteyelash
painteyelash
3 months ago

I can’t say that I am surprised by this murder, and of course he was a Gamergate supporter. Poor woman, for fucks sake :/

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

Re: the class argument
This is yet another reason why class reductionism is harmful. The idea that being from a working class background makes someone a misogynist (or a racist, or any other kind of bigot) seems very popular in class reductionist circles, but in addition to excusing bigotry it’s also extremely classist to imply that being poor makes someone hateful. Add that many marginalized groups (racial/ethnic minorities, LGBT people, etc) are more likely to be working class, and it also becomes discriminatory in other ways.

For a group that claims to champion the working class, reductionists sure have a low opinion of them.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
3 months ago

It looks like the Intercept is misusing real social phenomena to make a silly, untrue point. It’s quite true that people in areas of concentrated poverty often turn to the so-called “informal economy” (crime) when the formal economy leaves them behind, but sexual predation is not really a symptom of that? We’re talking more along the lines of drug dealing, gang activity, and theft/burglary when we think of the sort of crime we see as a result of structural poverty – the kind of crime that comes with a paycheck, so to speak. Drug use (mentioned in the quote) is a maladaptive reaction to adverse life situations and probable outcomes. Sexual crime that has an economic payoff (prostitution/pimping) is something we see, but your standard not-for-profit sexual assault transcends class lines and as far as I’m aware is not localized to areas of high poverty.

They’re just taking something that’s true (some crime results from structural poverty) and extending it to a sexual predator as though sexual predation were part of the crime pattern caused by concentrated poverty, an elision that hides a lot of assumptions in it that aren’t backed by data.

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

@PoM

your standard not-for-profit sexual assault transcends class lines and as far as I’m aware is not localized to areas of high poverty

It’s a very common racist idea to claim that neighborhoods in poverty (which often have racial minorities) are rife with sexual assault. This is mostly a method of selling fear and shifting examination away from wealthy white men. By telling white women that poor black men are a threat to them and that they need white men’s protection, society reinforces white supremacy and patriarchy and downplays actual predators.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I admittedly didn’t look up the paper that Intercept referenced, but I’m guessing that it was more referring to property and drug crime that sexual assault. You’d also imagine that a leftist would want to look critically at a study that affirms stereotypes about marginalized and maligned populations because studies can be biased, but I guess if it fits the narrative, it’s just assumed to be true.

Anyway, it always amazes me that the white male dominated class reductionist faction of the left thinks the same thing of women and feminism that men’s rights activists do. That most men are working class, but most women are wealthy and privileged and out to get humble working class men with false rape accusations and affirmative action lawsuits.

Salguod
Salguod
3 months ago

I’m a big fan of retro gaming so I was completely aware of this guy. It’s absolutely not surprising.

It sucks a hobby I enjoy is infiltrated by such toxins.

I really hope those he victimized get all the support they need

Kevin
Kevin
3 months ago

Some of the advertising of early home consoles and games was misogynistic, I’m old enough to remember that, and while I can’t give chapter and verse, I know I saw advertisements aimed at boys, which depicted girls as undue competition for their attention, which they could otherwise be directing to gaming. Given that, I’m not surprised at such attitudes being rooted in gaming communities.

When it comes to home brew game ideas about unpleasant activities, I think Lynda La Plante beat him to it by about 17 years with crime drama Killer Net, the key mover of the plot being a serial killer selecting victims and framing others for the crimes by distribution of a game containing malware.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
3 months ago

@WWTH : my cynic ass would say that poverty is a source of sexual crimes, because if they were richer they would not get caught.

@Kevin : gaming ads have been choke full of sexism of a very long time. It’s hard to say if it’s the ads that created the misogyny or the other way around, but nowaday they feed each other.

Moggie
Moggie
3 months ago

@Kevin:

Some of the advertising of early home consoles and games was misogynistic, I’m old enough to remember that, and while I can’t give chapter and verse, I know I saw advertisements aimed at boys, which depicted girls as undue competition for their attention, which they could otherwise be directing to gaming. Given that, I’m not surprised at such attitudes being rooted in gaming communities.

Say what? It sounds like you’re describing advertising aimed at kids young enough to be receptive to the “no girls allowed in our treehouse” message. But the retro gaming community is mostly middle-aged men, who should have done a whole lot of growing up since their first game of Pac-Man. Stop making excuses for toxic male behaviour.

Beyond Ocean
Beyond Ocean
3 months ago

For a group that claims to champion the working class, reductionists sure have a low opinion of them.

I think one of the people in the twitter thread linked here said it best: they think of working class as noble savages; that need to be gently converted to the faith of Marx.

That, or they are cynically saying to themselves “if the populist right is doing so good by appealing to bigotry, we should be doing the same but for communism!” The end justifies the means, since in their view all bigotry will be magicked away once capitalism is overthrown.

Alan Robertshaw
3 months ago

@ Kevin

Lynda La Plante beat him to it by about 17 years

Just to make us feel really ancient; that was actually 25 years ago!

(My law school dissertation was about the criminal potential of the “DARPAnet“)

Sheila Crosby
3 months ago

I remember reading a book on forensics a very long time ago. One fingerprint expert had her database separated into “sexual predators” and “everyone else” because there was almost no overlap.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
3 months ago

@Sheila Crosby : I need more context, because there is indeed no overlap between sexual predators and non-sexual predators, but that seem tautological, so a subtlety probably escape me.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 months ago

Slightly OT but not by much:

There’s a guy on Reddit who wants to date a Twitch streamer because he’s never met a girlgamer before, apparently. His chosen strategy? Stalk her online to see where she works out and spends other non-gaming time, and try to insert himself into her life somehow. Because IMing her and saying, “Hi, you seem really cool – can we meet?” is a nonstarter for him.

Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
3 months ago

Thanks, Glenn Greenwald, for giving me yet another reason to hate your guts.

numerous
numerous
3 months ago

Moggie: the middle-aged retrogamers today are the very same people who were targeted with that advertising in the 1980s/90s.

I didn’t read it as excusing their behaviour, just describing the fact that the scene has been toxic for quite a long time.

Moggie
Moggie
3 months ago

@VP, it’s amazing that in this year of our lord 2020, guys are still acting like women who are into gaming and Star Trek are the rarest of orchids. Not that that’s the most noteworthy thing about that story, because holy shit stalking etc. But, you know, just look around?

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 months ago

@Moggie

Yeah, no kidding. We’ve always been here. We helped save the original Star Trek, for crying out loud.

Dalillama
3 months ago

And indeed create the original Star Trek.

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

I also found it a bit funny that he mentions Star Wars as an example of nerdery that no non-nerds would get. Literally everyone I know has seen at least one of the movies. I’m not trying to knock Star Wars fans or the movies themselves, but they’re not exactly a secret, and women who like them aren’t rare at all.

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

O/T but related:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/19/us/politics/aaron-coleman-kansas.html
In Kansas a 19-year-old Bernie Bro won the Democratic Primary for State House but he has a long history of misogyny. I know some of our regulars live in Kansas, so they might know more about this.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
3 months ago

@Ohlmann:

my cynic ass would say that poverty is a source of sexual crimes, because if they were richer they would not get caught.

If you’re poor, it’s rape; if you’re rich, it’s “20 minutes of action”?

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

O/T, but remember how William Shatner had a meltdown over being called “cis” a few weeks ago? Just checked and he’s still at it. Is Will going to be the next Glinner?

Schnookums Von Fancypants, Assailed by Gynocratic Powers
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Assailed by Gynocratic Powers
3 months ago

To echo earlier comments and add a bit, if it wasn’t for Lucille Ball going to bat for Star Trek TWICE there would be no Star Trek. And of course the Star Trek convention scene was ran by women as well. Unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me how easily they’re erased from the conversation.

Kevin
Kevin
3 months ago

@ Moggie

I think you misunderstand me. I’m not trying to excuse the toxic behaviour of these bozos, I’m trying to work out some of the sources of it.

@ Alan

I was under the impression Ferretti’s home brew game dated from 2015, but I may have misread the article.

Alan Robertshaw
3 months ago

@ Kevin

Ah gotcha. Maths was never my strong point.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 months ago

@Naglfar

Re Star Wars, I agree. “May the Force be with you” has been part of popular culture for decades, and you don’t have to have seen even one of the movies to get that it’s akin to saying “good luck” or “God bless” or “fare well.”

I fell in love with Mr. Parasol’s nerdy qualities (and his other fine features) because he’s a Doctor Who fan, liked cyberpunk, and enjoyed learning about new-to-him SF things, which meant I got to introduce him to Babylon 5 in time for us to watch the last episode together and cry about it (‘cos it’s devastating being a newlywed and watching a fictional couple struggle with the knowledge that one of them is dying first).

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

That Aaron Coleman guy is quitting and has decided to show how much he’s grown by blaming feminism for his woes
https://twitter.com/Aaron4KS37/status/1297413515863625728?s=20

I look forward to the inevitable Intercept article from Glenn Greenwald or Ryan Grim about how feminists hate poor people and are trying to destroy the left and wish Coleman luck in his future career as an MRA and alt-right YouTuber.

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

@WWTH

I look forward to the inevitable Intercept article from Glenn Greenwald or Ryan Grim about how feminists hate poor people and are trying to destroy the left and wish Coleman luck in his future career as an MRA and alt-right YouTuber.

I’m expecting any minute some streamed rant from Vaush or Xanderhal talking about how “wokescolds” (the new “SJW” for pseudoleftist bros) ruined his campaign. And the inevitable “ThE lEfT iS eAtInG iTsElF” takes from snake emoji posters.

rv97
rv97
3 months ago

Maybe they should pause and take a look at how women (at least those who aren’t abusive to others) are making these guys look bad, and try to perhaps emulate these women as role models. I can think of many ways women make these men look pathetic.

I’d say men too, but I worry some men may be complicit in the abuse, regardless of their involvement in gaming.

I’m sorry, but how do we make men (and some of those who aren’t) see that what is deemed normal attitudes for them is downright ugly both on the inside and outside, when taking on more wholesome attitudes are “only for women”? I think men are almost deliberately making themselves look bad for the sake of it. I’m just starting to lose faith in humanity.

@Naglfar

I hope Shatner and the like get the message that “cis” is already normal and they change their minds accordingly or something. I don’t seem to see the same offense taken by straight people when they’re called “heterosexual” and derived terms, although it can confuse people sometimes.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
3 months ago

@rv97:
Considering the way Shatner doubled-down after being told by actual autistic people that supporting ‘Autism Speaks’ was a bad way to help, and deliberately went to smear at least one of the people trying to talk sense into him, I don’t hold out much hope for him ‘seeing the light’ on something that’s obviously even more personal to him.

https://respectfulinsolence.com/2017/04/06/its-a-strange-world-after-all-orac-vs-the-shat-and-fake-news-over-autism-speaks/