Video game developer, Brianna Wu has announced her exit from PAX East 2015 due to violent threats being made against her and staff members. She is the co founder for the indie studio Giant Spacekat and has received numerous death threats over the past couple of months.
Wu has been put in the epicenter of the Gamergate controversy that has been stirring in the gaming community in recent months. Last October she and her husband were forced to flee their home after her home address was leaked online. Since then the threats have not stopped with Wu herself stating that she has received up to 46 death threats and has attempted to get law enforcement involved but with little to no luck.
“GSX has continually attempted to get support from law enforcement with prosecuting the individuals behind explicit and detailed death threats. I’ve had 46 sent to me in the last 5 months. They often target me by name. The most frightening ones say who, what, where, why and when I will be murdered.”
The decision to withdraw from the event came down to a group vote. Wu stated while she and her husband felt they could “accept the risk” she could not make that decision for the rest of her team.
“We had a conversation as a team, and they voted. They do not feel comfortable with this. As their leader, I heard that and I’m going to respect it.”
Initially Wu had difficulty getting into contact with PAX officials and it wasn’t until after her public announcement of Spacekat’s withdrawal that PAX East reached out. Though she states that it doesn’t appear to be a “conscious decision on their part to ignore” them. Penny Arcade representatives released a short statement, on Polygon, outlining their safety protocols for panelists, exhibitors, and PAX attendees. While they cannot divulge specifics about their security program attendees can expect to see Boston PD in addition to the events house security and bag searches for everyone that enters the building.
Even though the Giant Spacekat team will not be attending Wu did state that she will participate in the PAX East panels and will be available for press meetings. To read Brianna Wu’s blog post please visit their website.