The First World Mentality of the Anita Sarkeesian Bomb Threat

Anita Sarkeesian

A bomb threat was called into the Game Developers Choice Awards that threatened at least a dozen on Wednesday the 19th in March. The threats were sent to several of the organizers. “We can confirm that approximately 25 of GDC’s organizers received an anonymous email early in the morning of Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 during GDC 2014,” the organizers said in a statement.

What was the reason for the bomb threat? Someone was demanding that the feminist pop culture critic of video games, Anita Sarkeesian, have her Ambassador Award revoked. Yes, someone was actually so angry that a feminist won an award that they decided to threaten innocent lives.

The message reads as follows:

“A bomb will be detonated at the Game Developer’s Choice award ceremony tonight unless Anita Sarkeesian’s Ambassador Award is revoked. We estimate the bomb will kill at least a dozen people and injure dozens more. It would be in your best interest to accept our simple request. This is not a joke. You have been warned.”

Well that threat was taken seriously and the police were called to sweep the place for explosives. San Francisco Police Department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Division, sent officers and bomb-sniffing dogs to the Moscone Center where the event was being held. As to be expected, there was nothing found. The organizers for the event did however take extra precautions by conducting random bag checks.

What is the award for?

“…an individual or individuals who have helped the game industry advance to a better place, either through facilitating a better game community from within, or by reaching outside the industry to be an advocate for video games and help further our art.”

Most people have come to the conclusion that it was a prank by a troll. Of course this turned out to be an empty threat, but it is very telling. Someone was so mad that a feminist was awarded for making criticisms of video games that they were willing to take the chance of being arrested and prosecuted for making threats. They felt it was important enough to make a threat that would waste a significant amount of man-hours and tax payer money. Causing this very serious situation was considered an appropriate response to someone criticizing video games.

Typically, when this happened Sarkeesian herself was attacked by various misogynist forces. They accused her of using this incident to promote herself. They accuse her of using this to make money. The hatred towards women in these actions is astounding. Someone threatens her in a very public way, and she is accused of using it to get attention? That is tantamount to Al-Qaeda calling American sorrow and outrage over the 9/11 attacks as attention seeking. It makes absolutely no sense. What this reveals is that no matter what harassment she suffers, these misogynists (closet ones and real ones) always try to turn everything against her as though it was her fault. This is no different than blaming a battered woman for the beating she took.

The great irony here is in the divergence between the words and actions of misogynists. They continually claim that sexism is over, women’s oppression is gone. Yet whenever someone mentions it they act like this (to varying degrees). The proof of the continued need for feminism can be found in the comment section of any feminist video, blog post, or news article. Every time they scream that sexism is dead they end up proving that it is alive and well.

I couldn’t think of a more First Worldist mentality thing to do. With global suffering from hunger, poverty, and war, this was the most important thing on this person’s mind. The drive to cause disruption to a functioning system, even as small as convention, was wasted on criticisms of video games. This was more important than say poor nutrition causing nearly half (45%) of deaths of children under five – 3.1 million children each year. 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone. The true outrage in this person’s eyes was someone daring to criticize video games. This speaks to the mentality of First World people and the unbelievable amount of suffering they can ignore from the capitalist imperialism they benefit from. Capitalist alienation at its most transparent, a petty entertainment commodity is literally more important than child hunger, or labour enslavement. Why? Because First World privilege from imperialist plunder is not important. How dare she criticize video games!

There are people who work in producing electronics in the Third World in horrible conditions. There are conditions that cause suicides, serious health problems, literal slavery, and in some cases forced abortions. The worst of human rights abuses can be found in these places. These facts about global inequality that benefit a First World gamer are totally acceptable in their eyes. But if some woman dares question the content of the game, that deserves indignation and illegal actions committing harassment. The truth is laid bare here: global suffering means nothing to the First Worlder, but the questioning of male privilege is a crime. This is the mentality of the First Worlder; this is why they cannot be revolutionary, why they can never be relied upon to end the global suffering they directly benefit from.

The Third World must liberate itself out from under our domination.


Bomb Threat Targeted Anita Sarkeesian, Gaming Awards Last March, Kotaku

Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition, The Lancet, 2013

Two Minutes to Learn About School Meals, WFP, 2012