Hank and John Green, the heads over the annual VidCon event, finally broke their silence about the events that transpired at this year’s convention, where content creator and feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian called out fellow YouTuber Sargon of Akkad, using profane language and labeling him as a “garbage human”. The organizers of VidCon acknowledged that the language was strong, but they decided to apologize to Sarkeesian for having to face off against Sargon and other YouTube critics, claiming that those in the front row were there to “intimidate”.
In a Medium post about the rules and regulations of VidCon, they noted that Sarkeesian did violate their “No Harassment” rule by specifically pointing out and harassing Sargon of Akkad, who was sitting in the front row at a panel she was on, but they went on to say that it was understandable due to a “wider” context and for the fact that it looked like the audience members were there to “intimidate” the panelists…
“This year, we had a contingent of attendees (some who paid, some who snuck in with fake passes) who had been either perpetrators of this harassment, or had, for years, watched as the outrage they cultivated resulted in followers doxxing, harassing, intimidating, and even threatening the lives of the creators on these panels.
“It is difficult to imagine that this group of people (who are aware that their channels have been base-camps for years of harassment of some of our panelists) did not realize that their arriving early to fill up the three front rows of a panel was going to be intimidating. In any case, it looked like intentional intimidation to most people in attendance, and the panelists were understandably on edge throughout the discussion.”
For those of you who have not seen the video, it’s all over YouTube. You can view the video from Barbara4u2c below to get an idea of what happened.
Hank Green specifically talked to the panelists after the session ended, explaining that she had violated their policy regarding harassment, but that he understood there was a “broader context” that he was “blissfully ignorant” of until that weekend.
According to the post…
“[Hank Green] apologized to her for not having been more aware of and active in understanding the situation before the event, which resulted in her being subjected to a hostile environment that she had not signed up for.”
VidCon organizers also warned that they would not tolerate YouTubers collecting footage to criticize others on the panels or generating “outrage” based on what’s said. They mention…
“This is a difficult situation to build policy to alleviate, but we ask that all of the people involved consider the power of our actions and statements both online and in the real world. But one specific note, if people attend VidCon to collect footage to later use in videos that criticize not just ideas, but focus the outrage of their followers on individuals, they will not be welcome back.”
According to Sargon of Akkad, he was never contacted by Hank or John Green about the incident, and they only conferred with Anita Sarkeesian for her side of the event.
— Sargon (@Sargon_of_Akkad) June 27, 2017
VidCon wasn’t the only one paying lip-service to Anita Sarkeesian after she verbally attacked Sargon of Akkad over the weekend. Polygon and the Daily Dot, among others, also published pieces defending Sarkeesian and claiming that #GamerGate and the alike were to blame.
Polygon’s article states…
“[Sargon of Akkad/Carl Benjamin] has made his name dismissing her feminist documentary work such as Tropes vs Women in Video Games, which details the cultural biases of video games. He is a hero for many in the hate group GamerGate, a rough assemblage of misogynists, racists, conspiracy theorists and right-wing ideologues who have spent years harassing Sarkeesian and anyone who publicly supports her work.”
“[…] Sarkeesian says it’s clear that Benjamin and his entourage were there to intimidate her. “He had come with several others and together they took up roughly the first two rows. Of course he wanted to be seen, and I knew, because he was filming the panel, that he would use it to harass me and potentially drive harassment to my co-panelists, so I used the first question as an opportunity to let them and the audience know what was happening.”
Sargon of Akkad was on the Joe Rogan show on Monday, June 26th, 2017, and had mentioned to Joe that the media would defend Sarkeesian after the events transpired.
The articles defending Sarkeesian’s behavior, and VidCon organizers John and Hank Green apologizing to her has enraged some members of the gaming community and content creation community, with many calling out the Greens for employing double standards.
Talk about double standards. So abusing someone in public by calling him Garbage Human is okay as long you agree with their ideology. #Gross
— Krazyowl🦉 (@krazyowl) June 27, 2017
“Yeah she broke our rules but she’s had history with this guy.” And? Hank green, I want to like you, but this was a horrid choice.
— Tristan Garnett (@LocustDrone25) June 27, 2017
WOW. You didn’t even TRY to get both sides. If you want to let anita off, fine, but wow that was so one sided. I can’t even right now.
— Red (@RedVexeDesigns) June 27, 2017
With outlets and organizations adopting one-sided reporting and biased coverage of the event, some believe that it will only continue to mobilize the outrage that led to events like #GamerGate.