It’s been over a week since Vidcon has come and gone, and the discussion on one of its highlights (for lack of a better word) is still ongoing, as I discussed in a previous post.
Everyone knows it by now, that Sargon of A Cad attended a panel Anita Sarkessian was on alongside other content creators such as Franchesca Ramsey and Kat Blaque, taking along with him several of his
cronies friends circlejerk back patters like-minded companions to sit and occupy the first two to three rows.
Alexandra Erin had this wonderful thread on what went down that I invite everyone to read and think about, especially if you think that there was nothing wrong in what Sargon did.
So YouTube non-personality Calgon of Kumquat made a career for himself whipping up harassment narratives against feminist cultural critics.
— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) June 28, 2017
Anita herself recounted what went down as well as sharing her thoughts on the matter on the Feminist Frequency website.
And Polygon has an excellent article talking about the situation that I also highly recommend.
Now, as for the other side, those on the side of Sargon and his ilk, one thing I’ve been hearing said is the sarcastic reply of;
“Oh, sitting at a panel is harassment?!”
“Attending a con is harassment now?!”
And a friend on Facebook pointed out what this line of argument is, which is to take a single action out of context of what’s happening around it, making the person they’re debating against appear to be overly sensitive. By doing this, they hope to appeal to a lot of ‘centrists’ and other middle to left leaning folk and get them to listen to their side.
Except, attending a con and sitting in at a panel is harassment, because it’s part of a pattern of abuse that Sargon and his ilk have partaken in for years now. Heck, with this little stunt at Vidcon, I believe we can add stalking to Sargon’s list of actions taken against Anita.
This is someone who engages in targeted harassment while winking at his fans not to harass others, and it reminds me entirely too much of the actions taken by Anti-Abortion, Anti-women protesters who publish the private information of doctors and patients at Abortion clinics and take pictures of the license plates of their cars.
“Someone should really go and talk to them!” they shout from the front lines to their supporters. “Here’s how to contact them! This is where they live! Not that you should do anything violent or anything, but well, we can’t control how others might react or think or do!”
It’s the same line of thinking not just with professional harassers like Sargon, Thunderfoot, and Davis Aurini, but with the hate movement Gamergate, when they’re not trying to derail the conversation with cries of virtue signalling or talking about how it’s really about ethics in video game journalism.
They may not tell their followers to harass and attack, stalk and send death and rape threats to basically anyone who they deem a threat to their hobby, but they sure as hell aren’t doing anything to prevent it either.
And what I find worse, and yes there is a whole other level of garbage to garbage humans like Sargon, is that they get paid for this.
This is a screengrab right from Carl’s patreon page. Over 6300 dollars a month he gets for him to rant on about how feminism is a cancer, make false accusations over articles he can’t even be bothered to read from beginning to end, and cherry pick from debates to support his own side.
And people happily give him the money for it.
I mean, look at that tagline: creating arguments. If that’s not a tacit admission of constructing drama rather than further intellectual discussions, I don’t know what is.
No, not all the harassment comes from Sargon and his followers, and this started LONG before Anita Sarkessian ever created Feminist Frequency or its huge, successful Kickstarter on Tropes Vs Women in Video Games. Heck, harassing women has long been a thing in our society and is online and offline. Ask any woman, and more than likely they’ll tell you about the harassment they face in every day life, from the simplest “Hey, smile for me!” to being followed in cars and into coffee shops, being begged and threatened for phone numbers and dates.
So it certainly struck me when someone on Twitter pointed out that Anita did was to confront her harasser in person, to call him out in public and point out what he does. That is a hard thing to do for some, because they’re very aware of their physical safety, and I can only commend Anita on her bravery and restraint.
Lord knows if it was me, I might have jumped over the table and started a riot, seeing the face of my harasser smirking at me.
But then again, I’m a guy, and my privilege is that if I were to do that, I’d be praised and celebrated. As a woman, Anita Sarkessian, and women everywhere when confronting the sexist and misogynistic bullshit that permeates their lives, has been called any number of names based on the sexism that calls such women screeching, irrational, and overly emotional, to name a few.
Of course, Hank Green, one of the founders of Vidcon, has his share of the blame to shoulder. He should have been aware of who was attending Vidcon, both as attendees and panelists, and not put Anita Sarkessian, Kat Blaque, and Franchesca Ramsey in danger.
And while that might seem like an overly dramatic reach, partly because I doubt Sargon himself would ever want to face the consequences of taking any physical action against Anita (or that he would want to personally, seeing as how responses to feminists are his bread and butter) , one has to take into account the kinds of people that Sargon and his ilk cater to.
In short, much like the fiasco at SXSW back in 2015, Vidcon shows us that online harassment is a very real thing, and that women are REALLY fucking sick of telling everyone it is.