An open letter condemning harrassment in the gaming community has attracted the support of 2,000 gamers and members of the industry.
The letter follows a string of abusive comments and even death threats made against Anita Sarkeesian, who runs the video blog Feminist Frequency. She started a crowdfunded series of lengthy and detailed YouTube videos called Tropes vs Women in Video Games looking at the stereotypical role of female characters (and non-player characters.)
Sarkeesian reported receiving misogynistic abuse right from starting the series, which raised $150,000 in crowdfunding, far in excess of her target of $6,000. Following the latest installment, “Women as Background Decoration”, she says she’s received more significant threats, including one from somebody who appeared to know where she lived.
News of the abuse prompted Andreas Zecher of independent game studio Spaces of Play to begin collecting signatures for an open letter addressing the gaming community as a whole. The letter argued that:
everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened.
It also appealed for anyone who sees harrassing speech to report it to the relevant websites and to publicly highlight and condemn the abuse.
Zecher has welcomed the response to the letter, but warns that it’s not a solution in itself: ” Writing and signing a letter is easy. Making change happen is hard.”