After terrorist threat, feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian cancels lecture at Utah university


*Trigger warning*

Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency was scheduled to give a talk at Utah State University tonight. But she was forced to cancel after someone threatened to commit “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if the event went forward and the state’s conceal-and-carry law prevented the police from taking adequate security measures to address the threat. 

I think it’s worth showing the anonymous threat in full:

f43adaf9-0a46-46d6-9026-cc0f0acf8df0-1This threat is not at all unusual for Sarkeesian. She gets shit like all the time. Earlier this summer, death threats drove her out of her home briefly. Someone threatened to bomb the Game Developers Choice Awards if they honored her, but she went ahead with the event anyway. As Sarkeesian notes on Twitter, the only reason she canceled this time was that she’d requested pat downs or metal detectors but because of Utah’s open carry laws, police wouldn’t do firearm searches. And as #GamerGate continues, other women in the gaming community are facing similar harassment. Developers Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn both fled their homes recently after receiving threats that included their home addresses.

We live in a world in which it’s considered normal that women who critique video games–VIDEO GAMES, for fuck’s sake–face regular threats to their life. As Amy Roth notes at Skepchick, we have a name for this: “This organized, dedicated, on-going, online harassment is terrorism directed at women in an attempt to silence them. And when women don’t shut-up, the threats escalate.” I’ll echo Sarkeesian: “The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women.”

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation