During an at-times contentious discussion on Thursday’s edition of NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook, “Gamergate” writer and Breitbart.com associate editor Milo Yiannopoulos argued that the gaming community is being attacked from the outside by “feminist bullies” who want to neuter and sanitize video game content.
These feminist agitators, Yiannopoulos said, are opportunists, seizing on a moment of cultural uncertainty in gaming to inflict their “authoritarian left” agenda on a community that neither wants nor needs to have its values questioned and reassessed.
“It’s not borne out by facts to claim that the Internet is in any way a specifically hostile place to women,” Yiannopoulos claimed, saying that according to one Pew Global Research poll, men reported being harassed and abused much more often than women.
Writer Arthur Chu said that Yiannopoulos is being ridiculous.
“Anyone that’s ever gone on X-Box Live or gone into team chat in a game and has seen the way women are talked about and the way that women who are playing there have to keep their gender secret in order to avoid being harassed for it, it’s a commonplace mainstay of the culture,” said Chu.
A caller named Kyle asked what people like Yiannopoulos object to if all women and people of color are asking for is to see more characters like themselves in the medium.
“What they’re asking for is representation,” said Kyle. “More, better characters. At the end of the day, people are asking for better stories, better characters, better writing to elevate gaming up to a higher level of art. That’s really what they’re asking for, so I’m curious what the objection to that is.”
“Well, that isn’t the request, obviously,” Yiannopoulos replied. “That’s a misrepresentation.”
“This is not an issue of making games a ‘higher art form,'” he went on. “What people are worried about — and I think with some justification — these wrong criticisms will influence game developers to introduce tokenism into games, which nobody is really asking for.”
“We’re talking as if women tiptoe into this sphere,” Yiannopoulos said, “and are suddenly assaulted by this wave of misogyny. Well, let’s just be completely honest with ourselves here. Some of the feminist critics — and I will say that there is no justification whatsoever for the doxxing, there’s no justification whatsoever for abuse and threats and the people who do it should be punished and incarcerated where necessary.”
“However,” he concluded, “this isn’t happening out of the blue to women who innocently tiptoe into this subject and get barrages of abuse. These women are professional provocateurs.”
Host Tom Ashbrook mentioned that Yiannopoulos had called the women targeted in Gamergate “sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners” in his “Feminist Bullies” column.
Yiannopoulos replied that he is aware that he is a provocative columnist and that when he gets angry emails, he accepts them as part of the job.
“What I don’t do about it,” he said, “is play the victim, set up a Kickstarter page, which so many of these women do, asking for money and sympathy and do a press tour.”
He was referring to women like feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian, who was hounded from her home by threats of rape and murder and was prevented from speaking at a Utah university because of an anonymous threat to bomb and shoot up the event.
Game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu have had to go into hiding after hostile gamers published their private information online and inundated them with threats like, “I’ve got a K-bar and I’m coming to your house so I can shove it up your ugly feminist cunt” and others.
Actress and avid game fan Felicia Day published a single Tumblr post expressing her fear of Gamergate’s angry, anti-woman tone only to have her personal information published online minutes later.
Listen to audio from the program, embedded below: