The Washington Post recently published an article on December 14th, 2016 entitled “If we took Gamergate harassment seriously, Pizzagate might never have happened.” It was written by Sarah Jeong. It’s rife with misinformation, outright falsehoods, and disprovable lies that are already documented by legitimate sources, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In essence, the Washington Post published fake news about #GamerGate in order to smear PizzaGate.
The article starts with a very easy to disprove falsehood, stating…
“Gamergate started with a man lashing out at his game developer ex-girlfriend through a blog post crafted to incite the Internet against her. The maelstrom of subsequent accusations and threats sent Zoe Quinn into hiding.”
According to Eron’s own words on the actual Zoe Post blog, he states this near the beginning…
Jeong’s article is attributing malice to an action that happens to be false. This is out and out libel.
In an interview with Heat Street, Eron Gjoni clearly laid out the reason why he wrote the post, saying…
“The full motivation is complicated—but mostly, I was worried that people trusted [Quinn], and that she would use social justice principles to enable herself to ruin the careers of other people if she needed to, or take advantage of people. There are things you can accuse people of that you can’t question in those circles.”
Gjoni did appear to be correct, given that by Quinn’s own admission in leaked chat logs she went into the Polaris Game Jam with the intent on sabotaging it with her friends. That story later took on a spin by her friends in the media, where they wrote that Quinn underwent harassment on the production set and that’s why it failed.
Another thing they got wrong is that Quinn didn’t “go into hiding”. Quinn took a vacation trip to Europe that she had already planned earlier in the year, which she mentioned on her Twitter account. This was documented in our previous article about the Washington Post fabricating news about Eron Gjoni. Well, technically they fabricated news on more than one occasion, including making up information regarding the life, work and death of human trafficking activist, Monica Petersen.
Jeong goes on to write…
“Back then, just as in Pizzagate, the mob had no rhyme or reason — some of their targets were Quinn’s friends, some of them were other women in the video games industry and yet still others were simply random individuals speaking out against the emerging harassment.”
This is false. In fact, all of #GamerGate’s supposed “targets” were picked out for unethical behavior, and said unethical behavior was documented on the site DeepFreeze.it. If Sarah Jeong was a games journalist, she would probably have the honor of getting her own detailed profile on Deep Freeze.
The creator of the site, Bone Golem, even made it easy enough for most journalists to navigate, using big buttons and brightly colored pictures so they wouldn’t get lost. One writer even likened Deep Freeze to navigating a PokeDex of game journalists.
Nevertheless, Jeong goes on to bring up one of the more widely covered threats sent to Anita Sarkeesian, where she writes…
“The frenzy reached extreme heights. In 2014, the Game Developers Conference received a bomb threat in response to a scheduled appearance at their awards ceremony by Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist games critic. While her appearance went on as planned, a month later, she canceled a speech at Utah State University after an email threatened a shooting massacre at the event.”
According to the FBI report, there were multiple bomb threats. The FBI deemed the shooting and bomb threats to be non-credible, since they were filled from top to bottom with dank memes, including the threat sender saying he had over “9,000 bombs”, in reference to the Vegeta meme about Goku’s power level being over 9,000. Jeong conveniently leaves that important detail out.
The FBI report also indicated that the only reports they received about harassment in relation to #GamerGate were non-credible. In the case of the bomb threats the report indicated that the writing seemed similar in the threats, and therefore they presumed that it may have been the same person sending the threats. The report also indicated that the individuals may have come from the Somethingawful.com forums.
Jeong also fails to mention the harassing phone calls made during #GamerGate. Yes, harassment did take place during the height of #GamerGate. According to the FBI report, it was two teenage boys from Indiana making the calls. The two boys first heard about #GamerGate after browsing Google News and seeing all the headlines from places like the The Guardian and New York Times calling it a harassment campaign. The boys thought to have a few laughs at the expense of #GamerGate by making harassing calls to Anita Sarkeesian. In this case, it was news media who encouraged the harassment, not #GamerGate.
In fact — regarding harassment and #GamerGate — there’s a basic rule for Kotaku In Action, the #GamerGate hub on Reddit, which reads…
“KotakuInAction is a community that condemns willful censorship, exclusion, harassment, or abuse. It is a community that organizes to hold the media accountable to the concept of artistic freedom by standing up for the artist, the developer, the writer, the filmmaker, and all who enjoy the freedom to create, explore, and expand. It is a community that allows the exchange of information, supports the ongoing discussion of media ethics, and protects the right of the individual to embrace their personal interests in entertainment and fandom.”
Jeong fails to mention any of this in the article. In fact, the FBI couldn’t find any credible threats reported to them in relation to #GamerGate, hence they closed out the case due to a lack of evidence. This also ties into a peer reviewed report from WAM!, which indicated that #GamerGate wasn’t a harassment campaign and during the period of research they only found that 0.65% of the people on a #GamerGate list were reported for harassment, as reported by TechRaptor.
Jeong continues on, writing the following…
“Proponents claimed their movement was about “ethics in video game journalism” — namely, that certain games had received better reviews thanks to the sexual perfidy of their female creators. Such allegations were baseless and quickly disproved, but that’s hardly the point: The idea that any video game review merits death threats is patently absurd.”
Actually, not all of the “sex for coverage” claims were baseless and none of them were disproved (if so, Jeong can always update the article with included citations). But two major examples include Nathan Grayson from Kotaku who was romantically involved with a developer he wrote about on multiple occasions without disclosure, as outlined in his Deep Freeze profile. And executive editor Tyler Wilde from PC Gamer, who was romantically involved with an employee from Ubisoft while positively covering the company’s games, as outlined in his Deep Freeze profile.
Other cases of unethical behavior included promoting games in reviews while receiving affiliate commissions from links used in the articles. We covered various sites making money on games without disclosure, including Gamespot, VG 24/7 and VideoGamer.com.
Additionally, #GamerGate worked with the Federal Trade Commission in outing multiple instances of Gawker Media and their subsidiaries promoting products using affiliate links to earn commissioned revenue without disclosure. The FTC used more than 50 pages worth of #GamerGate and Kotaku in Action material during their ongoing investigation into Gawker Media.
Jeong fails to mention any of this in her article; promoting a fake narrative about the claims of unethical behavior from journalists being “baseless”, even though the evidence and facts say otherwise.
Jeong even goes so far as to rewrite history about Sarah Nyberg, who was part of an expose on Breitbart where Nyberg admitted to being a pedophile. The media has been attempting to cover for Sarah Nyberg in their attempts to downplay pedophilia, where Jeong writes…
“One anonymous poster attracted enough ire from Gamergate that she was outed as a woman named Sarah Nyberg and smeared as a pedophile. Nyberg’s loved ones received threats, her sites were hacked and her employment has been repeatedly targeted.”
There was no smear about pedophilia… in Nyberg’s own words it was stated…
“Most pedophiles wouldn’t be dangerous if society didn’t treat them the way they do, […] “There’s nothing wrong with being a pedophile,”
The logs are available online for anyone to read what Nyberg says about little kids, pedophilia and sex with children.
The Washington Post and many other outlets who were exposed as being propaganda peddlers for the Democratic National Committee — as revealed in the e-mails from Wikileaks — have been running disinformation campaigns for quite some time.
This added smear against #GamerGate and PizzaGate is just more of the media’s continued efforts to obfuscate the truth, bury the facts and mislead people by literally publishing fake news about things that are simply not true.
TL;DR: Peer reviewed report and FBI report indicates that #GamerGate is not a harassment Campaign. #GamerGate has worked with the FTC to get a bunch of website ethics policies updated. Washington Post published false info about #Gamergate, claiming it was a harassment campaign. Mainstream media continues to peddle fake news to feed outrage culture.