A digital artist claims supporters of “Gamergate” attempted to harass her by sending a SWAT team to her former home in Portland, Oregonlive reports.
Grace Lynn, a transgender woman now living in California, says the prank call was phoned in by supporters of the video game movement.
Ostensibly about “ethics in gaming journalism,” Gamergate grew out of accusations by the ex-boyfriend of video game developer Zoe Quinn, who claimed in a series of blog posts that she had cheated on him with gaming journalists in order to garner positive reviews for her games. The movement devolved into a series of attacks on women in the gaming community, including threats of rape and murder against high profile women such as developer Briana Wu and critic Anita Sarkeesian.
According to Lynn, she was once a member of Gamergate but became disenchanted with the extreme misogynistic turn it took.
“I was a misogynist,” she said. “I felt degraded as a trans-woman. I grew up with the stupid, stupid idea that women had privilege. So I joined in. I thought I was punching up at other women who were more privileged than I was.”
After attempting to get Gamergaters to rein in their attacks on women, she claims she became a target.
“I became a target because I am one of a dozen people who is fighting Gamergate in a vocal way,” she said. “They try to take us down with doxxing and swatting. And it’s all come to a head this month.”
Last week, Portland officers received a call around midnight saying that an armed man was holding residents hostage inside in a home formerly occupied by Lynn.
As officers were developing a plan to contact residents, they learned that the call was probably a hoax, and later confirmed that everyone inside the home was safe.
“That’s not how we operate,” police spokesperson Sgt. Pete Simpson said. “Patrol officers are going to go assess a scene based on what they see. We don’t roll out a SWAT team just because someone calls 911. We need more than a phone call.”
Lynn says the hoax, called “swatting,” was intended for her, noting that postings on a forum on the website 8chan described the plans to “swat” her.
They said they were weren’t members of Gamergate, but Lynn says they are supporters of the movement, according to OregonLive.
According to Katy Bartzen Culver, an associate director for the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, what happened to Lynn isn’t unusual.
Lynn is “speaking out and saying things that are pretty measured,” Bartzen Culver said. “For that, she becomes a direct target of some pretty vile communication. The question is who has the power to keep this community accountable?”