Avengers Director Offers Support to Feminist Frequency Creator After Death Threats

Joss Whedon says Anita Sarkeesian, who was driven out of her home this week after facing a raft of abuse and death threats, is "just truth-telling."

The Avengers director and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon has spoken out in support of Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian, who this week revealed that online abuse and death threats drove her to contact the police and leave her home.

Writing on Twitter, Whedon urged his followers to watch Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women In Video Games series, which examines gender cliches in the video game industry. "Even if you think you get it, the sheer tonnage makes misogyny seem newly appalling," Whedon said.

"I watched a bunch of women get sliced up in video games and now I'm watching it on my Twitter feed," he added. "[Anita Sarkeesian] is just truth-telling. Deal."

Since Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series debuted, she has faced a raft of criticism, but things got truly terrifying this week.

"Some very scary threats have just been made against me and my family," she wrote on Twitter. "Contacting authorities now." A follow-up tweet read: "I'm safe. Authorities have been notified. Staying with friends tonight. I'm not giving up. But this harassment of women in tech must stop!"

The most recent episode in the Tropes vs. Women In Video Games series, the second part of a program called called Women As Background Decoration, was published on Monday. The series was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2012.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Discussion

1244 comments
wowwow27
wowwow27

when they gonna wake up, illuminati is real!  mlk knew too much. aliens are taking over!

vackillers
vackillers

Really don't care. Enough of this already.

topmounter
topmounter

Who posts 25-30 minute solo dissertation videos to the Internet and expects anyone... especially the gaming community... to sit through them?   Anita Sarkeesian, that's who.  Apparently.

GIF
GIF

The same is true in comics! Creators and developers need to stop writing women like objectified stupid helpless damsels in distress. Anyone with a daughter, girlfriend, wife or mother knows you have to write characters that will do them justice. Its that simple.

lord_high_hippo
lord_high_hippo

Having spent the last couple weeks collectively shooting itself in both feet over and over again, it will be amusing to see what games "journalism" learns from this hilarious debacle.  Indeed far from the notion of "gamers being over", I think it is getting to the point where people might not want to admit to being a games journalist in polite society any more, haha.  I have already seen a few instances of people using the term "doing a Sarkeesian" to describe a form of self-promotion and marketing to the feminist and beta-male demographic niche.  Oh you gotta laugh.

Candyman_GR
Candyman_GR

So i guess its okay when you see men geting sliced in videogames according to her "logic"? If that is not double standard, i really don't know what it is. I really find the way some people think, unexplainable. Video games are just GAMES, not reality. Any gamer realizes that, i think. And in my view, misogynism is not provoked by games, but from real life experiences.

My 2 cents.

Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

This is the absolute absence of objective thinking.

diabloakaSAHA
diabloakaSAHA

Its sad that we're constantly being posted with news about some radical ill informed feminist and literally being told "if you disapprove of her, then youre a bigot and a sexist").

I took the time to watch her videos and I'm quite frankly shocked that people take her seriously. Even a brief background check will reveal that she is indeed a con artist and the recent ongoing drama on #gamergate is so depressing. I (we) have no reason to care or even pretend to about these demagouges who want to influence our games with their selfish agendas. But putting your head in the sand isn't a solution. These vile people , whether they're lawyers ,feminists or religious zealots need to be exposed for what they truly are.

This entire drama isn't about women in games or sexism. We just want game journalists to do what they were doing and just report about games. By posting Anita sarkeesian nonsense they're pretty much politicizing gamers .

But it gives me hope ,since most people in the comment section here are in fact well informed and civil.

immortaltech6
immortaltech6

Way to show your ignorance Joss. Now you'll feel the backlash yourself. 


Empathy is one thing but someone in his position shouldn't blindly accept one sides story at face value, especially without understanding and researching the community and culture she's bashing. Safe to say he's not a serious gamer and that this whole issue has become a hot mainstream topic to ride and get attention. 

coolbeans1
coolbeans1

Maybe you feel sorry for Anita Sarkeesian, but you realize YOU are the exact person she is trying to harm right? She is trying to nullify your choices as a gamer and make you do what SHE wants. This is how people with no community support, no honest criticism and no integrity bully large groups of people and force everyone to do what THEY want:

1) stretch truth and outright lie to make victims feel guilt (in this case making gamers feel guilty about playing games bc they dont consciously support feminist propaganda). Attack things that are undeniably innocuous like Super Mario Brothers with mind numbing academic jargon and unfounded assertions, once your victims accept your nonsensical attacks on that they will accept anything and you own them.

2) create fake media presence on the web so as to appear to have wide base of support and impressive credentials

3) manipulate media with clickbait videos and essays, the media are a small group of people that desperately want other people to think they are cool and smart, this weakness is what you exploit with your lies and guilt tripping to gain control over them. They have a big megaphone so controlling them is the KEY to making your victims think you are unstoppable force when in reality you are a bully with a webcam.

4) in collusion with gullible media create fake controversy to get publishers to self-censor their games. The government can never and will never do this (pesky Bill of Rights) , besides it is much more effective and satisfying to your power lust to make people censor themselves.

5) if the public has wised up to Social Justice Warrior tactics of lies, propaganda and bullying then go for the ultimate guilt trip manipulation and play up one of the many crackpot (but ultimately harmless) messages you have gotten from anonymous angry nerds into an assasination attempt, dont be afraid to play the damsel in distress that you have spent so much time railing against,  your victims will trip over themselves to be first in defending the exact person who wants to censor and control them.

donnylicious
donnylicious

Forgot to add, Anita Sarkeesian's view is purely opinion.

donnylicious
donnylicious

It's not so much a sexualization of women but a representation of reality. That is how women are in real life. Some games take place in a strip joint, guess what there are going to be strippers there. Some villains kill men, guess what some villains kill women too. There are also games where women are strong and powerful and confident. Also, all the games Anita professes to sexualize women are in under the premise that women are dainty. When we say women can't be depicted as equals to men, IE: getting killed, blown up, shot at, having their throat slit, etc, aren't we then sexists? We say women in games ware tight and revealing clothes, but don't they also in real life? Anita may presume not to see it, but just take a look at Hollywood because movies and pop culture are the inspiration for much of these games.

lord_high_hippo
lord_high_hippo

This is all just clickbait. Yes, yes, no one should be threatened for writing critiques, if that is indeed true, no matter how risible and by-the-numbers indignant leftie they are. Ok, we get it.

And having got it, people, PLEASE just snap out of it, can't you see you are being played? The sound you are hearing outside the Games Journalism Bubble is actual real gamers who do not come from San Francisco either yawning or laughing. Ditto the truly hilarious "don't call people gamers" malarkey.

Laughing? Well yes, it is starting to get positively comical. Not the threats but all the huffing and puffing and petition signing that makes noooooooooo difference to anything other than making the person doing the signing feel good about themselves.

Ah well, I guess I'll just grab some popcorn and watch the fun and wait for the penny to drop.

no_concern
no_concern

Nobody cares.  For all the hype she gets, her viewership is decreasing and her total views are logarithmic at  best. Not really the kind of reaction you'd expect from such a groundbreaking leader with a growing following who is "winning" and stuff.  


Her videos are boring, her game concept video only got 136k views.  As soon as she wraps up her series everyone will forget all about her.


Clovergirl227
Clovergirl227

Victims and sexist supremacists are all that are left in the feminist movement. It just needs to die out. Just like racial groups they only preach hate, supremacy, and talk about how they should get special treatment. It was a good thing, once, but now we live in an age where people under 30 rarely deal with the issues that older people went through in the 1940s and 1970s. We don't need dinosaurs trying to inject old politics into the current society.

That said who hasn't been a victim of a death threat? It's the internet, we all get death threats and insults 10 times a day. Doesn't make it right, but her case isn't special. Spend 10 minutes on CoD and you'll join her death-threat club soon enough.

dacroctopus
dacroctopus

I don't completely agree with everything she says, but she does make some valid points. There is a lack of female lead characters not only in video games, but in the media in general. Most female characters in video games are dependent on a male character to save the day. Which I can see that as being a little sexist and can understand why that might bother some women. Also, a lot of people here are calling her a con artist, but I don't really agree with that. Sure she makes videos and has a donation button next to her video, but no one is forcing anyone to donate. I would imagine people that donate to her must agree with her cause. A politician or a church says things and if people agree with them sometimes they give them money. Does that necessarily make them all con artist? Feminist Frequency is a non-profit organization, so I would hope all the money goes to the organization. If she is in fact embezzling money from a non-profit organization then I hope her crimes will catch up with her. Also, some people are saying that she wrote death threats to herself and there is a link in the comments to a page that "proves" she made them up herself. That page doesn't prove anything, but it does raise some suspicion. It is not uncommon for feminist activist to receive death threats, so I would like to think they were real, but if she did make them up then that is some BS and hopefully the police will find her out, which BTW the article says she did contact the police.  

DrDobalina
DrDobalina

Sarkeesian has been exposed as an outright liar and plagiarist, using other people's game footage in "her" videos. She cherry picks things completely out of context from various vintage games, then presents this mish-mash as evidence that the entire gaming industry is sexist. She locks all her videos so people can't even respond to her laughable assertions (probably because she knows they're indefensible), so what does she expect? She's going to draw fire from all quarters. The worst of it is that she conned the people who supported her on kickstarter, but initially posting example videos that had commenting enabled, and in which she'd actually made some effort, then after she was funded the game changed - locked comments, and stealing footage.


She was even caught on camera admitting she is not a gamer as she "doesn't have time" for that sort of thing. She's just a self publicist. Whedon has always been a bit of a beta male, whose films and tv programs depict powerful women who I assume he'd like to kick his ass in real life. So it kind of follows that he'd be her white knight.

aegis_kleais
aegis_kleais

Whether you believe this is a con or not, on the merits of what was said, there is much truth. As a male gamer, I cannot envision how repetitious the sexualization of females in video games is (though the video does a great job showcasing many instances of this). The thing is, there is a primal part of the male psyche that is equal parts protector and chivalry. We escape to games as a means to exact these feelings in a virtualized world, and, trope though it be, violence against women becomes the instant "hot button" to enrage us. Remember, we're men, we don't have 300 different feelings. Horny, hungry, sleepy... I think that pretty much covers the majority of us; we're simple by design.

The vast majority of what she says is spot, and true, but there's 2 extra counterpoints I have to make. First, the fact that games use unrealistic mechanics such as unlimited carrying capacity, regenerating health, etc., are gameplay mechanics. Not every game is designed to be a simulation, to be as truly realistic as possible. These are functions that aid in the execution of the game itself, and not seen to be anything akin to acceptance of a (sad as it is) unrealistic game world where women were not objectified as they are.

Secondly, I am also inquisitive, aside from just making the fact known, as to what the point of her video was. The development of these games is a multi-million dollar process (many times) and as such, developers will often take the road most traveled vs. forging a new path because once you lose your (simple) audience, your return on investment and potential to cut a profit becomes seriously in jeopardy. I understand that developers cannot assume the actual player's preferences, so to me it only seems normal that they cater to the "lowest common denominator". Again, I'm not seeking to excuse the portrayals, but that may be a major financial reason behind their actions.

My last point I'll state, and I give her some credit, because it is true for a seemingly larger sect of gamers, but she stated these points almost as if to say that it was shaping the way people think. Personally, it DISGUSTS me that anyone could treat women that way in real life. And the very thought that someone would think that a game could convince me otherwise insults my intelligence and will. However, that's where I differ from other gamers. To her credit, there do seem to be more and more people with wills so weak that their personalities and behaviors actually ARE susceptible to being altered by this objectification of women in games. And that in and of itself, it also a terrifying reality. Developers can never be sure of the mental maturity of their players. Anyways, that's just my take on everything; to each his/her own.

hexadecimal255
hexadecimal255

When ever one of these articles shows up, i instinctively thin "Would you?" i guess that's part of the problem.

hexadecimal255
hexadecimal255

I'm certain that of all the media and social systems she could have chose, gaming would be the one to send death threats. Not one country in the world has equal rights, truly EQUAL rights. I think she is brave in standing by her guns but is firing at the wrong target, get this woman an aim bot.

megaapple1
megaapple1

"misogyny" Never understood why people hate women

therealzorvan
therealzorvan

And now we know Joss Whedon is an uneducated tool.

veemonro
veemonro

STOP BREATHING LIFE INTO THIS CON ARTIST.


Yes thats right. She is a CON ARTIST.

She got 150.000$ to make research into games and then post a series of yourtube videos. Not only did she post just 4 videos a year (for those monney). She also did no research what so ever, and that is clear when you analyse her videos.

She claims that hitmam absolution is a game that has you murdering hookers. I mean come on!!! Everebody who played hitman knows thats not the case and the game punishes you severely for killing civilians and not killing your target.

But can you point that out to her followers? No. Because she bans her comments, all of them so that no constructive criticism can go through.
She then gets payed by bioware in order to "give her imput for dragon age 3" .
This is how she makes her monney.

And the moment she looses in popularity she gets death threats? Really? This is the internet.  I get death threats every single time I open dota2.
If you get death threats that you think are legitimate you know what you do? You go to the police. You dont whine about it on the internet and when you scroll down you see a huge yellow DONATE sign on the page.

But she is not worried about death threats. She just wants your cash. And jurnalists love her because people keep CLICKING the article about her and make them money.

Seriously call her out for what she is. A crook. A con artist. A person that is here to take your monney.

TruSake
TruSake

@topmounter maybe if she wore a swimsuit, instead of a flannel shirt, I watch the video.

donnylicious
donnylicious

@GIF There are plenty of comics and video games with strong, confident, female protagonists. To ask whether they're good characters is another topic unto itself. Are any comic or video game characters, male or female, really ever good? Really good writing is rare in any media.

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

@Candyman_GR She would rather see women as women than see them as human beings, all whilst preaching equality. Women getting cut up is different for her, because they're women! It's different than men!


What's that you say, they're both humans? Why, yes. Yes, I would like to talk about human rights... for women.


Hypocrisy and double standards, through and through.

ngpainter
ngpainter

@coolbeans1 you trust the government? the bill of rights is just a piece of paper. the government does what it wants. ever heard of net neutrality? You just made a bunch of vague arguments not actually pointing out the flaws in her argument. I have failed to see anyone actually do this. It is easy for pseudo intellectuals to sound smart without actually saying anything. What is a social justice warrior? Why is wanting justice an assumed negative in your view? If she is that, what does that make you? An anti justice advocate? I'm sure if you were on trial you would want justice.  Its just conservative rhetoric. We do not live an equal society now, and we have never lived in an equal society. Guess what? It doesn't exist anywhere in the world because human beings are dumb, selfish, and violent. So the question remains if we as human beings want an actual discussion about the reality of the world we live in, or prefer to remain in a comfortable bubble of assumptions based ideological bullshit. The simulacra remains in tact I see.

Zombies101
Zombies101

@donnylicious I agree with you but she doesn't deserve death threats. Kind of sickening that someone would threaten her just because they disagree with her.

mecher3k
mecher3k

@Clovergirl227 

But look all these game critics that have been killed by those evil sexist disgusting (male) gamers!

See how many I posted!

Candyman_GR
Candyman_GR

@dacroctopus 
With all due respect, there are games with female leading characters, and more coming on the way (Alien Isolation, Rise of Tomb Raider and Mirror's Edge 2 for example).

For example a few i remember, Mass Effect series (optionaly a female character, but it counts for me), Tomb Raider, Noone Lives Forever, Mirror's Edge, etc. And a few games have mixed characters (both males and females like Left for Dead, Dead island, the upcoming Borderlands pre-sequel, etc).
Certainly not a majority, but they exist. And most of them were good games too!


Cheers.

generalnene
generalnene

@dacroctopus You do realize the reason they call her a Con Artist is because she lied?

She was supposed to purchase games and play them and then review them.

She did not buy the games and worse,she used other You Tubers videos as proof she did play the games and then reviewed them.

All the while keeping the money for herself.

Investigate before looking the fool.


veemonro
veemonro

@aegis_kleais The thing is SHE SET THOSE DEATH THREATS TO HERSELF!

here is the proof http://www.returnofkings.com/42602/did-anita-sarkeesian-fake-death-threats-against-herself

This is how she makes monney. She posts a video, claims she gets threats, then shows up the big yellow donnation box in order for people that don't know better and feel sorry for her to plede her monney.

It is damn right sickening.

There are also so many wrong things in her video that i would LOVE to adress them , but guess what? I can't comment on her videos because she has disabled the comments.

Furthermore if you look for anita on youtube you will find thousands of videos made by people that are debunking her claims, that are explaining why she is saying is wrong and provide facts and evidence that go against her theories. But she fails to adress even one of them, she ignores all of them.

These latest threats come in an effort to move the scandal away from zoey quinn a person who was caught having sex with journalists in order to get her game green lighted on steam.

This is a friend of anita. Another friend of anita who works as an editor at gamasutra was caught having another company that was suposed to give "Advice" to indie developers.

So how does it work? Well easy. If you're an indy developer, you pay monney to that company. And in turn gamasutra gives your game very favorable reviews.  This is the equivalent of a bribe. You're PAYING jurnalists to give you good grades and douping people to buy your game. 

This person just wrote an article on gamasutra saying how gamers are basement dwellers who are mysoginists and they are evil to the core. 

These people all are hand in hand, taking bribes from indy gamers, donations from people who are duped and its proven that sometimes. They even give bad press to people who disagree with them in ana tempt to shut them down. If you want more info i can provide you links . Like this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJf6sFThGbs&list=UUxXUQuvoiIAlpM2osoAitjQ 

This is a close friend to anita sharkesian mind you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km3DZQp0StE&list=UUWB0dvorHvkQlgfGGJR2yxQ

hexadecimal255
hexadecimal255

And then explain to her slowly and patiently how to use it.

Infini22
Infini22

@megaapple1 I didn't understand it either before I grew older... and I'm living with one too.

therealzorvan
therealzorvan

@codeman101360 Yep, but the mass media like Gamespot and inbred idgits like Sarkeesian's supporters don't want to see anything that shows they're less than intelligent.

loafofgame
loafofgame

@veemonro People know this, but they just like to come here and say it in a comment, hoping that their words might affect some individuals who are still in doubt. Don't worry, though, whatever financial backers she has, they are not in here. This place is just full of people who fell for the click bait. GS thanks you.

donnylicious
donnylicious

@Zombies101 @donnylicious If someone has to resort to death threats, if they're even real, it just shows that they can't come up with an intelligent counter argument.

henchman_72
henchman_72

@veemonro @aegis_kleais Grab your tinfoil everybody, conspiracy is afoot. The whole industry is in on it. Hell. Joss Whedon is perpetuating this even further by talking about it. And now, the movie industry is joining the conspiracy. Crap! Must, buy tinfoil faster.

loafofgame
loafofgame

@veemonro Oh wait, you were talking about attention, not money. In that case you have all the people who hate her to thank. She's being called out for all kinds of things. Of course, most of these people fail to restrain themselves in the process, which makes it easy to shuffle them aside as misogynists, but they do generate a lot of traffic. If you want to seriously get rid of Sarkeesian, I would suggest you first start criticising all those people who can't control themselves. They are ruining it for the people with legitimate complaints.

generalnene
generalnene

@henchman_72 Nice deflection.

I guess investigating something has to be a conspiracy because it did not fit your little box of thought?

veemonro
veemonro

@loafofgame @veemonro I don't think that is the case. I don't think its because people hate her that she is getting attention from the director of avengers.

In fact I am going to go so far as to NOT see avengers 2 when it comes out. Yeah I know, im too hardcore like that, but anybody that gives suport to a thief and a crook and puts her on a pedestal is not worthy of my money.

Hitman was my favorite game. Trashing it like that and calling me (the player) a guy who likes to treat women like objects and who gets off for killing them , is VERY sexist and offensive, and i wont stand for it. Especially not when it is coming from a con artist.

Also everebody that is famous is getting death threats. Angry joe, total biscuit, every single one. Its the internet. There is no way you can defend yourself from a 13 yr old behind a keyboard.
But to play the victim card and to cry about it instead of going to the police is sickening.

Just because you have a vagina it doesn't give you a free pass to play the victim card, because i dont see the article in the media where total biscuit was beeing cuddled because he was getting death threats.

henchman_72
henchman_72

@generalnene @henchman_72 There is no industry wide conspiracy. Just because there's an innocuous connection between people does not mean a larger problem. And consider the actual exposure people like Anita and Zoe get. They are not some sole decision maker when in comes to gaming proprieties. 


And you can find any supporting info for your cause because people want to believe just about anything no matter the size and weight of empirical evidence. If she is just reducing the whole gaming industry and community to a self imposed common denominator, then she should stop. But I don't think she is. And that there is merit to what she says.


If she is or will ever speak on baseless claims, then her role will naturally be reduced or disappear all together. There is no righteous cause by preventing someone from having an opinion. The world at large is not dense or unintelligent. But to claim that there is some worldly conspiracy pushing an agenda based on innocuous relations is just...not a favorable opinion.

loafofgame
loafofgame

@veemonro I don't know. It sounds to me that Whedon is supporting Sarkeesian on a very superficial basis. It's easy to look at this from the outside and see all those one-liners by angry gamers as confirmation for Sarkeesian's claims. The people looking from the outside might have to look a bit further than that, but honestly, as a commenter just count to ten, don't use swear words and don't be so aggressive. It really isn't necessary and it will only give ignorant people the proof they need. Everybody is blaming each other without looking at their own flaws.

Bear with me here, but I'm afraid that women will always have more of a right to use the victim card than men. So much of our lives is determined by the physical advantage men have over women. Men will always be a significantly bigger threat to women than the other way around. It makes gender equality absolutely impossible. Total Biscuit and Angry Joe are men; therefore they have less credit. They're part of the naturally dominating group. One could say that is unfair, but since we are rational animals and men generally still exploit their physical advantage, we will always have these skewed gender relations in which the woman is a victim and the man an aggressor. A man can defend himself against men and women. A woman can only defend herself against other women. Hitman is therefore a potential threat to women. Hitwoman is not even a minor threat to men.

Pit all women against all men and the men will crush the women. And that difference has dictated (and still dictates) how both genders treat each other. And that's why feminism is still around, even though some people might claim it has lost its purpose. Women will always have more of a reason to complain about and fear men.

But don't get me wrong, you have every right to be upset, since (I assume) you are not a man who would abuse his physical advantage and/or treat a woman unfairly. And it is not unreasonable to find it annoying and questionable if a woman in a relatively safe position uses the male threat as an excuse and perhaps even exploits that threat. But you can't guarantee that no man will kick her ass (when given the chance) for speaking her mind and when that situation comes along she will always be the weaker force. A woman has more reason to be afraid of stuff like this than a man. That might be hard to bear for the men who pose no threat whatsoever, but well, you should maybe also look at your fellow men who can't control themselves.

Sorry for the long text.