Harassment Must Stop, Says E3 Organiser in Response to "Gamergate"

"There is no place in the video game community--or our society--for personal attacks and threats.”

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The Entertainment Software Association manages the E3 event
The Entertainment Software Association manages the E3 event

The Entertainment Software Association, the games industry trade group that manages the annual E3 event, has called for an end to online harassment amid a bitter row between gamers on social media.

In recent weeks, a diverse range of people have been using a hashtag on Twitter as a platform to air their criticisms of the games media. Some have used this "Gamergate" tag to allege that media outlets are too close to the companies they cover, while others have used it to scrutinse the media's stance on issues of sexism and diversity.

However, the "Gamergate" row on social media has coincided with the targeted harassment of female games developers and critics, and supporters of them, leading some to believe that the hashtag is both an incentive and catalyst for online abuse.

The feminist games essayist Anita Sarkeesian, for example, on Tuesday decided to cancel a university speech after an anonymous phone call threatened a "massacre" if her talk went ahead. Sarkeesian, who regularly publishes images of threats of sexual violence she receives, recently abandoned her home after one harasser appeared to have found her address. Meanwhile, a recent awards show that honoured Sarkeesian's work was issued with a bomb threat, warning of casualties if Sarkeesian picked up the prize.

Now the US's key games body has called for an end to the harassment. On Wednesday, an ESA spokesperson said "threats of violence and harassment are wrong. They have to stop."

In a statement to The Washington Post, the ESA Added: "There is no place in the video game community--or our society--for personal attacks and threats.”

The ESA represents some of the games industry's biggest publishers, and lobbies for their causes in Washington. ESA members include Activision, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft and Nintendo of America.

The statement coincides with a separate campaign on Twitter to bring an end to the GamerGate row. On Wednesday, more than 90,000 tweets were generated on Twitter with the hashtag #StopGamerGate2014

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