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Black out Steam access for 1 hr to protest the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian & threats against women in games.

This petition had 858 supporters


On August 25, Anita Sarkeesian posted a new "Tropes vs. Women" video cataloguing violent imagery against women in games. This post came in the context of a recent post by an ex-boyfriend of Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn alleging sexual infidelity. In response to this (and to subsequent claims of professional impropriety), Quinn's twitter, as well as websites belonging to Fez developer Phil Fish, who spoke up in Quinn's defense, were hacked and taken down. Upon Sarkeesian posting her video, she and developers posting in support of her were personally threatened to the point that Sarkeesian had to leave her house for her own safety. 

Polygon article

Kotaku article

Here's a screen capture of harassment Sarkeesian received.

Image calling for the boycott of developers who support Sarkeesian's work (including Tim Schafer, Christine Love, Bioware, and EA.

The people who're involved in making these threats claim to be doing so because of issues of journalistic integrity. Whether or not this is true is beside the point: no one should have to endure sexualized harassment and rape threats period, and especially not because of their views about video games.

Whatever your opinion about Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian and their work or character may be, it's unlikely that you agree that death and rape threats, personal intimidation, hacking of public accounts, etc. are legitimate means of responding to personal grievances you have with them. There has been literally no institutional repercussion whatsoever (beyond the above & similar articles) against the gamers who've made these threats, creating a culture in which it's okay to continue to make such threats. To be silent in the face of this is to choose secure profits over the safety of prominent women (or prominent anyone, frankly) in the games community.

If the games community as a whole refuses to police itself, we feel that games distributors and the industry as a whole should make some gesture strongly condeming this kind of intimidation.

Closing Steam access for a one-hour period, or a comparable gesture, would be an extremely effective way (along the lines of the SOPA blackout protests) to communicate that the games community needs to police itself, to hold itself to a basic standard of decency, in order for that community to continue to exist.

"Do not threaten people with rape or death for their ideas about video games" seems to be a statement that one can unambiguously support. A sixty-minute long call to silence, backed by Valve and Steam, would be a powerful means of supporting it.

Jeanne Thornton



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