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'Speak up against the harassment of women'

'Speak up against the harassment of women'

October 16, 2014 | By Kris Graft

Feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian has insisted that those in the video game industry publicly denounce harassment of women in games.

"Game studios, developers and major publishers need to vocally speak up against the harassment of women," she said in a front page article in The New York Times today. Sarkeesian is known best for her Feminist Frequency videos.

Her comment to The Times comes as game developers, journalists, and players have been embroiled in controversy surrounding #GamerGate; a group bound by a Twitter hashtag that is ostensibly about game journalism ethics and "consumer advocacy," but has ugly underpinnings in harassment of women involved in video games.

As the mainstream media picks up on #GamerGate and online harassment of women in games, major game studios and publishers have been eerily silent on the matter, even in the wake of high-profile instances of harassment against women in the male-dominated game industry.

The Times article comes after death threats against Sarkeesian, who cancelled her talk at Utah State University this week, and developer Brianna Wu, who left her home after receiving graphic death threats over Twitter.

Harassment of game developers, men and women, is nothing new, although over the past few months, harassers' intensified focus has primarily targeted women. Last month, following another strain of harassment, the International Game Developers Association issued a statement denouncing the behavior. The problem of harassment has become so serious that the FBI has become involved.

Yesterday, the Entertainment Software Association, which represents companies including Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Konami, Sony, Ubisoft, and Activision Blizzard, spoke out against online harassment, stating, "Threats of violence and harassment are wrong. They have to stop. There is no place in the video game community--or our society--for personal attacks and threats."

Asked by Gamasutra if the statement should be considered a direct denouncement of #GamerGate, an ESA rep simply replied, "We believe the statement speaks for itself."

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

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