Social Media can have a very dark side where bullies taunt, threaten and endanger another. One example of this appeared recently with the Beat up Anita Sarkeesian game.
Anita Sarkeesian is an American blogger who has raised money to research “tropes vs women in videogames” with a Kickstarter project. She now has almost 7,000 backers and has surpassed her goal of $6,000 to over $158,000. The project is to examine how various games during the history of the gaming industry have use their female characters with the use of a video series.
Sarkeesian has been targeted by harassers as she raised funds to research the representations of women in video games. Threats of violence, sexual assault and death against the young woman have appeared on Social Media, her Kickstart page and her own website. One of the most vile attacks has been in the form of the game, Beat up Anita Sarkeesian by an alleged man, 25, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The game allowed players to hit an image of Sarkeesian which resulted in black eyes and other injuries.
The maker of the game, which has been removed from newgrounds.com, alleged that Sarkeesian is scamming those who have backed her. The authors commented the following:
"Anita Sarkeesian has not only scammed thousands of people out of over $160,000, but also uses the excuse that she is a woman to get away with whatever she damn well pleases. Any form of constructive criticism, even from fellow women, is either ignored or labelled to be sexist against her.
She claims to want gender equality in video games, but in reality, she just wants to use the fact that she was born with a vagina to get free money and sympathy from everyone who crosses her path."
The backlash has hit in Toronto as well. Stephanie Guthrie, a founder of Women in Toronto Politics, tweeted about the game and outed its creator, Ben Spurr, who went by @Bendilin on Twitter, to find herself being sent death and rape threats. Bendilin's twitter account has since been suspended. Those threats lead the young woman to turn to Toronto Police Monday.
Spurr's opinion of women is evident in a screen capture of the now suspended Bendilin account by Canoe.ca.