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Driven from her home, dev speaks out against harassment, irresponsibility

October 14, 2014 | By Kris Graft

October 14, 2014 | By Kris Graft
More: Indie, Video

Just days after receiving graphic death threats that drove her from her home, game developer Brianna Wu of independent game studio Giant Spacekat (Revolution 60) met the alleged facilitator of her harassment head-on in a video segment on Huffington Post.

In a panel discussion that included Wu and Fredrick Brennan, the 19-year-old founder of the website 8chan, Wu argued among other topics the responsibility that website holders have when it comes to death threats and doxxing.

“Basically, 4chan banned the subject of GamerGate - I don’t know if it was because they were worried about opening themselves up to civil liability; I think they could tell peoples’ lives were starting to be threatened," she said.

Wu said when #GamerGate supporters were booted from 4chan -- a popular imageboard website fraught with controversy -- that 8chan “gave these people [GamerGate] a home to voice these opinions that were too extreme for 4chan. Think about that.”

GamerGate has been the source of controversy for months now, affecting game developers, game media, and players. While ostensibly about championing for ethics in video game journalism and acting as a “consumer advocacy” group, proponents of GamerGate have been unsuccessful in erasing its underlying sexist and misogynistic history. In recent days, the mainstream media has been reporting on GamerGate, highlighting its association with misogyny and sexism.

Wu has directly attributed her death threats to GamerGate, having spent more than a day watching 8chan users in a GamerGate forum plot against her. She said death threats and doxxing came from 8chan after she tweeted a few innocuous memes about GamerGate, poking fun at it. GamerGate overall has responded to her accusations by following its M.O. when it comes to such accusations — members denied responsibility, either blaming a lone, anonymous outlier not associated with the group, or blaming the victim herself.

Brennan, who stated he legally has no responsibility for what happens on his website, said on Huffington Post, “If she was really scared, she would’ve went to the police instead of Tweeting.” Entertaining this comment, Wu said she Tweeted after she had contacted authorities.

Wu added, “Fredrick is delightfully oblivious to … the legal environment he exposes himself to.”

[Disclaimer: #GamerGate proponents recently organized and successfully executed a campaign to have our ad partner Intel pull an ad campaign.]

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