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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 leads PC Gamer's UK team. He was previously the editor of the magazine, and thinks you should definitely subscribe to it. He enjoys RPGs and immersive sims, and can often be found reviewing Hitman games. He's largely responsible for the Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.