Canadian-American feminist cancels talk after “Montreal Massacre style” threat

Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a scheduled talk at Utah State University after receiving threats related to “GamerGate”

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Thursday, Oct 16, 2014

A screen capture of Anita Sarkeesian in a recent YouTube video from her Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games series.

A screen capture of Anita Sarkeesian in a recent YouTube video from her Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games series.

On Tuesday, a cowardly would-be domestic terrorist and woman-hater forced prominent Canadian-American feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian to cancel a scheduled talk at Utah State University.

The Standard Examiner reports that the event, which would have been hosted by Utah State’s Center for Women and Gender Studies, had to be cancelled after Sarkeesian and university staff received anonymous emails promising a “Montreal Massacre style” mass shooting if the event proceeded as planned.

Sarkeesian confirmed via Twitter that she had been forced to cancel her speech due to security security fears.

Sarkeesian is best known for her “Feminist Frequency” blog and Tropes vs. Women In Video Games video series on YouTube, which document and critique sexist and stereo-typical depictions of women in video games. As The Verger recently reported, the series’ thesis is that video games mainly “portray women as damsels in distress, ornamental eye candy, incidental victims, and other archetypes that tend to be written in service of and subordinate to male players and characters.”

Sarkeesian is right. Women currently lead important countries such as Brazil and Germany. They lead important provinces such as Ontario and British Columbia. Progressives should be insisting that strong women be celebrated and portrayed as equals.

The author of the threatening emails, who claims to be student at Utah State, disagrees. Via the Standard Examiner, the would-be domestic terrorist’s letter:

This is a warning to all staff and students at the Utah State University. 

“On Wednesday, October the 15th, a woman named Anita Sarkeesian is going to be speaking at the Taggart Student Center. This event is being organized by campus feminists at the Center for Women and Gender Studies.

If you do not cancel her talk, a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out against the attendees, as well as students and staff at the nearby Women’s Center. I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs. This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history, and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.

“You have 24 hours to cancel the Sarkeesian talk.  You might be foolish enough to just beef up security at the event, but that won’t save you. Even if you’re able to stop me, there are plenty of feminists on campus who won’t be able to defend themselves. One way or the other, I’m going to make sure they die. 

“You’re probably heard of a man named Marc Lepine. He was a hero to men everywhere for standing up to the toxic influence of feminism on Western masculinity. We live in a nation of emasculated cowards too afraid to challenge the vile, misandrist harpies who seek to destroy them. Feminism has taken over every facet of of our society, and women like Sarkeesian want to punish us for even fantasizing about being men. This is why I’ve chosen to target her. Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she’s going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I’ll write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you’ll bear witness to what feminist lies and poison had done to the men of America.

“I’m a student here. You’ll never find me, but you may all soon know my name. Feminists have ruined my life and I’ll have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they’ve wronged.

You have 24 hours. Use them well.”

The Montreal Massacre refers to the December 6, 1989, shooting spree by Marc Lepine at Montreal’s École Polytechnique. That day, Lepine, who also also claimed that feminists had ruined his life, gunned down 14 women and before taking his own life. According to the CBC News, Lepine “separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, ‘I hate feminists.'”

Every year, Canadians commemorate the Montreal Massacre through the annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

This isn’t the first time Sarkeesian has faced threats of violence as a result of her work. Since 2012, the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games project has ignited a cascade of rape threats and deaths threats against Sarkeesian. In March, an anonymous e-mailer threatened to blow up the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony “unless Anita Sarkeesian’s Ambassador Award is revoked.” In August, Sarkeesian called the police and left home after receiving death threats.

According to the New York Times: “Bomb threats for her public talks are now routine. One detractor created a game in which players can click their controls to punch an image of her face…

“The threats against Ms. Sarkeesian are the most noxious example of a weekslong campaign to discredit or intimidate outspoken critics of the male-dominated gaming industry and its culture. The instigators of the campaign are allied with a broader movement that has rallied around the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate, a term adopted by those who see ethical problems among game journalists and political correctness in their coverage. The more extreme threats, though, seem to be the work of a much smaller faction and aimed at women. Major games companies have so far mostly tried to steer clear of the vitriol, leading to calls for them to intervene.”

Sarkeesian has the last word:

Sarkeesian is an inspiration and global role model.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.