A short-lived online video game encouraged players to “beat up” a blogger researching sexist tropes in the gaming industry, The Huffington Post reports
Though “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian,” as the game was called, was taken down from NewGrounds, a games and animation open-submissions site, 24 hours after being posted, it’s only the latest in a series of online attacks directed at Sarkeesian since she established a Kickstarter fund for a project exploring female representation in video games. Sarkeesian’s project has raised more than $158,000 since being announced in May.
The game’s creator, a 25-year-old Canadian man named Ben Spurr, defended his efforts to gaming news site Gameranx.com, saying, “In a movies [sic], novels, television, and video games, no one is actually being physically harmed. The problem is, you’re seeing this as ‘violence against women’ and not ‘violence against people.’ The game isn’t about ‘punching women.’ It’s about punching a selfish person. There’s a difference.”
The harassment campaigns against Sarkeesian have implications beyond the online world: not only have her Wikipedia page and her website been hacked, but she has had her address and phone number posted on some online forums and been the subject of misogynist memes, some of which she shared on her website earlier this month.
“After struggling with whether or not to make the extent of the attacks public I’ve decided that it’s ultimately important to shed light on this type of abuse because online harassment and bullying are at epidemic levels across the internet,” she wrote.
Watch Sarkeesian explain her Kickstarter proposal, “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” below.
[image of Anita Sarkeesian via Wikipedia Commons]