Despite the media claiming that #GamerGate was a harassment campaign, it turns out that those claims are part of a “fake news” cycle… that is, unless the mainstream media like Time Magazine, New York Post and The Guardian can produce evidence that the FBI was not privy to.
The FBI managed to investigate several accounts of harassment that was brought to their attention, and those forms of harassment either turned out to be false flags pointing to a YouTuber, anonymous pranksters, or a joke carried out by youths.
In a Freedom of Information Act document shared by a dedicated citizen who wanted to take a look at some of the information that the FBI were investigating regarding #GamerGate, details about documented harassment were made, and the individuals involved were discussed to some length. While there was some finger-pointing at several Twitter accounts, and some people accused users of SomethingAwful.com being the culprits of harassment (along with members of the Baphomet board on 8chan) nothing concrete came out of the FBI’s investigation.
From the Utah threats, to the anonymous egg accounts sending Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu death and rape threats, to the e-mail threats (of which the FBI suspected in some cases it was the same person using multiple accounts to send the threats due to what they perceived to be similar writing), most of it was done anonymously or in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner. For instance, in one e-mail described on page 16 of the FOIA, the individual threatened to blow up Anita Sarkeesian using “9,000 bombs”. An obvious allusion to the “over 9,000” meme from Dragon Ball Z.
Due to the jocular manner in which the threats were conducted and the lack of any identifiable suspects who actually had intentions to do harm, the FBI closed the case.
In one of the PDF files for the FOIA, the FBI wrapped up the #GamerGate case last year on September 21st, 2015, with the closing statements of the document noting…
“During the course of the investigation, the FBI San Francisco continued analyzing threats [redacted] by sending subpoenas and tracking IP addresses associated with the email and twitter accounts. No additional subjects or actionable leads were developed as the result of the investigation.
“In addition, during the course of the investigation, another victim of “Gamergate”, [redcated] was identified and interviewed by the FBI. [redacted] resident of Boston, MA, was also receiving threats via twitter, email and youtube. Grand Jury subpoenas were also served [redacted]. Due to the use of proxies, no subjects or actionable leads were identified. Based on the videos posted on youtube, SA [redacted] identified [redacted] as the originator of those videos. [redacted] was interviewed by the FBI and it became apparent that [redacted] as a joke. Boston USAO was contacted regarding [redacted] and declined prosecution of the matter.”
The Youtuber they discuss involves a certain Mr. Repzion, who was on the receiving end of a false flag attempt to frame him as the harasser of Anita Sarkeesian. The topic was archived on Reddit last year in 2015.
The FBI closing document also discusses the threatening voicemails sent out, but it turns out that it was two young boys sending prank calls to purposefully upset the victim…
“In May 2015, someone using [redacted]. The caller also left a threatening voicemail. The investigation identified, [redacted] the owner of the Google Voice telephone number [redacted]. The findings of the investigation were provided to USAO in San Francisco and Boston. USAO in San Francisco declined prosecution due to lack of jurisdiction. USAO Boston declined prosecution without giving any explanation. SA [redacted] contacted Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Cyber Crimes, regarding this matter. The Office has already been working with SA[redacted] on the Gamergate investigation. The office agreed to take the lead on the [redacted] investigation. On September 1st, 2015, Indiana State Police interviewed [redacted] […] [redacted] admitted to making threatening calls as a joke. Based on the interview, the Office informed SA[redacted] that the State of MA will not be prosecuting [redacted] and will be closing its investigation.”
So there was harassment going on, but it had no real affiliation with #GamerGate and was basically just trolls, and kid pranksters, and juvenile joking. This information fits in line with the peer reviewed WAM! report, which indicated that only 0.65% of the people on the GG blocklist were reported for harassment, as reported by TechRaptor.
According to the FBI, due to the lack of weight and actionable leads in the investigation they decided it wasn’t worth keeping the case open. They concluded…
“To date, all available investigative steps failed to identify any subjects or actionable leads. San Francisco USAO indicated the San Francisco office of USA will not be able to prosecute any threats against victims or subject that are not located in the San Francisco AOR.
“It is requested that this investigation be administratively closed due to lack of leads. There are no items of evidence maintained by the FBI for this investigation. There are no currently outstanding leads for this investigation.”
This applied to the investigation into the bomb threats at the SPJ Airplay event in Miami, Florida back in the middle of August in 2015, a bomb threat issued at PAX East, as well as the bomb threats targeting Anita Sarkeesian back in late 2014 in relation to the Utah speech she planned to give at the university. The same applied for the anonymous threats sent to Brianna Wu.
The overall theme of the threats seemed to indicate that there were a few trolls looking to get a rise out of people. One of the e-mail messages were signed by someone going by the name of “Glorious Winged Faggot Extraordinaire”, which gives you an idea of the kind of people who were sending the threats.
It’s unlikely this will be reported in mainstream media, but it goes to show that most of the major threats that authorities were contacted about in relation to #GamerGate involved trolls or anonymous individuals doing so for a few laughs.
(Main image courtesy of Scrumpmonkey)