Zoe Quinn Releases Incriminating Chat Logs from #GamerGate
"There was a goddamned conspiracy, but unfortunately it wasn't by a purple haired cyborg overlord."
So says Zoe Quinn, the now-infamous purple-haired, cyborg video game developer, who recently took to Twitter to expose the #GamerGate movement as misogyny posing as a crusade for journalistic integrity. As she puts it, "All of this has been orchestrated by a band of folks who hate 'SJW.' That's the real #GamerGate." (SJW is an acronym for Social Justice Warriors, which is a derogatory term for people who use social issues in order to further their own agendas, but has been used by #GamerGate as a word for all feminists.)
She's posted a series of screenshots from chat logs on the image-based posting site 4Chan. 4Chan is the home of many high-profile hacks, including the recent incident involving nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other female celebrities. These screenshots seem to indicate that the "journalistic ethics" portion of the #GamerGate movement is, at least for many, a smokescreen. Among other things, they depict 4Chan members discussing tactics in the "war" against Quinn and feminist critics.
Storify documented these tweets, on a page entitled "#GameOverGate: Zoe Quinn blows #GamerGate wide open":
I guess it's a good time to mention that I've been lurking in & recording 4chan's raid IRC channels for a few weeks pic.twitter.com/30Deh5glJn— Zoë ʻTom-Kunʼ Quinn (@TheQuinnspiracy) September 6, 2014
they even made a bot that posts all of my tweets to the channel. Hi guys.— Zoë ʻTom-Kunʼ Quinn (@TheQuinnspiracy) September 6, 2014
Many #GamerGate supporters have claimed that the movement has nothing to do with anti-feminism. Quinn posted several screenshots which implied that #GamerGate proponents paid lip service to gender equality in order to "defuse" Social Justice Warriors:
In this screenshot, a 4Chan member uses Quinn and video blogger Anita Sarkeesian as examples of why feminism is terrible, getting "3rd world" feminism mixed up with third-wave feminism in the process:
this has pure insanity AND some illegal shit in it pic.twitter.com/rRo5KVFBhZ— Zoë ʻTom-Kunʼ Quinn (@TheQuinnspiracy) September 6, 2014
And then this one:
integrity! pic.twitter.com/PCjWKZxVVj— Zoë ʻTom-Kunʼ Quinn (@TheQuinnspiracy) September 6, 2014
And this one:
this one's just funny pic.twitter.com/bDrBcactz0— Zoë ʻTom-Kunʼ Quinn (@TheQuinnspiracy) September 6, 2014
#GamerGate is also credited with starting the #NotYourShield hashtag, which is directed at SJW's from minority groups who do not agree with the criticisms of games, gamers, or #GamerGate. Quinn provided this screenshot as evidence that #GamerGate created the hashtag in order to "deflect when people started calling out #GamerGate as misogynistic":
Although there are likely reasonable people within #GamerGate (Quinn herself admits this), and these screenshots may not be definitive proof of the intentions of a larger movement, the conspiracy theory is not all that far-fetched. 4Chan users have engaged in several online hoaxes meant to discredit feminists. Most recently, they posed as radical feminists to condemn Father's Day as a patriarchal construct and tampons as tools of male oppression.
This is definitely the funniest:
But this might be the most damning tweet, which includes the statement, "Don't tell me you actually buy the corruption in journalism thing."
According to a 4Chan member, Quinn is taking these screenshots out of context. "Most of it is taken out of context to make us look bad and half the images, what she is describing isn't even taking place. Seriously, just read the logs she posted and the conclusions she comes to. Some very strange connections."
Speaking of "strange connections," let's talk about how this whole scandal started in the first place.
If you've been lucky enough to miss all of this, Zoe Quinn is the developer behind Depression Quest, an interactive fiction about living with depression. It received widespread critical acclaim and several awards, which many in the gaming community (for a variety of subjective reasons, possibly exacerbated by the fact that she's a woman in a male-dominated industry) felt were undeserved. Then, a couple of weeks ago, her ex-boyfriend published a blog post accusing her of infidelity, naming several of her alleged sexual partners. One of these men was Nathan Grayson, a writer for gaming journalism site Kotaku. The internet immediately blew up with accusations that Quinn had slept with Grayson in exchange for positive reviews for Depression Quest, in spite of the fact that there was no proof, in spite of the fact that her ex never actually accused Quinn of trading sex for better reviews, in spite of the fact that Grayson never even reviewed Depression Quest.
Because the internet is the worst, Quinn was subjected to all kinds of sexual harassment and threats of violence, to the point that she was forced out of her home (much like Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian). Hackers found and posted her personal information, which was then disseminated by Firefly actor Adam Baldwin through his Twitter, and his 178,000 followers (Quinn's screenshot rampage also accused #GamerGate of planning this with Baldwin). Kotaku released a statement that no conflict of interest occurred, but the harassment continues.
Many #GamerGate supporters claim that the left-wing media is unfairly portraying them as misogynists, when only a small minority of them are harassing Zoe Quinn and the majority of them are only concerned about ethics in gaming journalism. And for many of them, that may be the primary concern. But the fact is, Quinn's name is the one associated with the movement, when Grayson is the one who supposedly breached journalistic ethics. Zoe Quinn is the one facing harassment, threats, and infamy, while hardly anyone is talking about Nathan Grayson. People care more about what Zoe Quinn does with her body, solely because she's a woman. There may very well be legitimate questions to be raised about ethics in journalism, but those who want to raise them should abandon the #GamerGate movement, as it has become synonymous with the worst kind of slut-shaming.