Last night, feminist critic and YouTube host Anita Sarkeesian, who is currently in the middle of a lengthy project dissecting sexist tropes in video games, was forced to cancel an upcoming speech at Utah State University, after an anonymous letter threatened a mass shooting should her speech proceed. Sarkeesian canceled after officials were unable to make sure there would be no concealed weapons at her speech. Utah law allows for concealed carry with a permit.
To be clear: I didn't cancel my USU talk because of terrorist threats, I canceled because I didn’t feel the security measures were adequate.— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014
Though the threat on Sarkeesian's speech was almost certainly the work of a disaffected, unaffiliated troll, it plays into a larger trend involving the critic — she does pretty much anything, and angry threats, often from self-described "gamers," follow.
Artist, programmer, and game designer Deirdra "Squinky" Kiai noted the irony here:
1999: gamers demand we stop blaming school shootings on videogames. 2014: gamers threaten a school shooting because videogames.— Dead Cousin Squinky (@TheSquink) October 15, 2014
Kiai makes a devastating point. Much of modern gaming activism grew out of efforts to stop the demonization of video games in the wake of school shootings in the 1990s. But as a result of this, gaming activists now tend to see any criticism of gaming as a threat of their hobby being censored or even banned. And when this combines with feminist critics offering even the mildest of criticism of how the industry treats female characters, it's a recipe for hateful misogyny and awful behavior.