In what has to be a facepalm-worthy moment, Felicia Day, a stalwart and prominent figure in the gaming community, had her personal information disseminated less than an hour after writing a blog post expressing her reluctance to speak on Gamergate for that very reason.
Felicia Day, of course, is best known for her roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and The Guild, a web series based on her life as a gamer. Day has also starred in the Dragon Age web series Redemption, and done voice work for Fallout: New Vegas, Guild Wars 2 and Dragon Age II: Mark of the Assassin.
Yesterday, Day wrote a piece on her Tumblr page titled ‘The Only Thing I have to Say About Gamer Gate.” Contrary to what you might think, Day’s piece was not a vicious, balls-to-the-wall condemnation of the Gamergate crowd, but a measured, entirely reasonable confession about her discomfort with the whole situation. In it, she laments that the knee jerk reaction from the most deranged elements of the movement has made her cautious and less enthusiastic in her attitudes towards fellow gamers, something that she despises herself for:
I have allowed a handful of anonymous people censor me. They have forced me, out of fear, into seeing myself a potential victim.
And that makes me loathe not THEM, but MYSELF.
Her most important takeaway is a plea to anyone reading to not allow the same people writing death threats and other assorted shenanigans to in any way to cloud their perception of videogaming and gamer culture:
I realize that letting the actions of a few hateful people influence my behavior is the absolutely worst thing I could do in life. And not an example I want to set, ever.
So to myself and to everyone else who operates out of love not vengeance: Don’t abandon games. Don’t cross the street. Gaming needs you. To create, to play, to connect.
Less than an hour after posting the article, a user going by the name of “Heloise” posted Day’s personal address and email in the comments section, nonchalantly remarking “It’s public domain information, hardly secret.” That comment, along with the entire comments section, was removed. There hasn’t been confirmation from Day herself if the information posted was indeed genuinely hers.
Over on KotakuinAction, a Gamergate gathering place on Reddit, the top rated comment on this matter reads:
Her whole letter was kind of heartbreaking. She wasn’t coming after us with vitriol, she’s just the product of the kind of fearmongering that has been pushed by people in the media looking to protect their positions and radicals looking for a cause to circlejerk over. Nobody here wants her to be a victim. Nobody here wants her to feel like a victim. But the Anti-GG side has reacted to her expression of pain and fear with a kind of sickening glee. To them it’s a good thing. To them it is a victory.
Many of the other comments express similar sentiments, bemoaning the fact that a fringe group of lunatics is the one leading headlines regarding Gamergate in major news outlets.
So what’s the solution, then? How do the people under the Gamergate banner advance their cause and get their real concerns aired without being condemned as a bunch of sexist, morally vapid crazies? The answer lies, perhaps, in something NFL punter and self-avowed gamer Chris Kluwe said in a recent Reddit AMA: The members of Gamergate who are genuinely serious about their cause and are fed up with being painted negatively in the media can no longer hide in the anarchy and animosity of the internet. They must make themselves known, band together under an organized movement, not a hashtag, and from there make their grievances known.
The people criticizing Gamergate, gaming culture and calling for an end to gamer identity have names, faces, and organizations they work for, and the only way their views can be combated properly is not through usernames and anonymity, where doxxing, death threats, and curse words have as much say as intelligent, reasoned arguments, but through putting oneself on equal footing with the opposition.