I recently read an article in Bloomberg Businessweek that quoted Anita Sarkeesian’s male co-producer, Jonathan McIntosh, as saying, “In the video game industry right now, women don’t want to speak. There’s a real fear, and it really is silencing people.” I’d call McIntosh an ally, and I’m thankful for his work and his statements. But I also think it’s too bad that we have to have a quote from a male game producer/critic to validate what should already be obvious:* Women who dare to have a critical opinion about sex in the gaming world are in real, direct, physical danger. The above quote was buried deep in the article, long after a description of nasty, graphic threats against Sarkeesian (including the infamous threat of mass murder that caused her to cancel a talk at Utah State University), long after a discussion of how female game designer Zoe Quinn “fled her home in Boston and hasn’t been back in months” because of threats of violence. Yes, there’s a real fear. That’s because there’s real danger.
*To be clear, this is not a critique of the article, written by Sheelah Kolhatkar. Rather, it’s a cultural critique, and a testament to Kolhatkar’s understanding of what is required to persuade an audience.