Anita Sarkeesian cancels talk after school shooting threat


Pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian has cancelled a planned presentation at the Utah State University after an anonymous email, sent to university staff, threatened "the deadliest school shooting in University history".

Sarkeesian, the creator of Feminist Frequency's Tropes vs Women in Video Games video series, tweeted to say she had cancelled the talk because—in accordance with Utah's open carry law—police "wouldn't take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event".

The University's news page confirmed the threat, saying, "a number of personnel at Utah State University received an email regarding the scheduled presentation by Anita Sarkeesian tomorrow, October 15, 2014, at USU's Taggart Student Center. The email contained threats to Sarkeesian and those who attend her presentation."

Specifically, the email claimed that, if the event wasn't cancelled, there would be a " Montreal Massacre style attack" made against the university. "I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the email said. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I'm giving you a chance to stop it. You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk."

Sarkeesian later tweeted about "multiple specific threats" made towards her and feminists at the university, and wrote that one claimed affiliation with GamerGate. For those unaware, GamerGate is ostensibly a hashtag protesting unethical practices in games journalism. In reality, it is a noxious and confused movement that has been directly responsible for the harassment of multiple industry and media figures, the majority of which have been women.

Two months ago, Sarkeesian was driven from her home after sexually violent death threats followed the release of her most recent video. Sarkeesian has said that, despite this latest incident, she will continue her work.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.