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MSNBC's Reid Report Covers GamerGate, Sexism in the Industry

| 13 Oct 2014 20:50

Women in the games industry have had to leave their homes because of death threats, and other women have decided to stop writing about games.

Today's episode of The Reid Report on MSNBC discussed GamerGate and invited journalist Eric Johnson and independent game developer Brianna Wu to speak on the issue.

Hosted by Joy-Ann Reid, The Reid Report examined the culture of games from the consumer side and also the industry side. Johnson, a journalist for Re/Code, explained that people participating in the GamerGate hashtag are calling for a reform of journalism ethics. Johnson then said, "But it has originated as and continued to be about undermining women in the game community."

Reid turned to Wu, who is the head of development at Giant Spacekat and recently released the game Revolution 60, to discuss sexism within the games industry as well as the death threats she has received. Wu had to leave her home Friday night and called the police after a person wrote violent tweets containing her address. A person on the 8chan GamerGate board posted Wu's personal information. Wu told Kotaku that she received the death threats within moments of her personal information being posted.

On The Reid Report, Wu explained the games industry is incredibly male-dominated. Statistics show 76% of game development positions are occupied by men while women make up 22% of game developers and people who are transgender make up only 2% of game developers. While women in programming make up approximately 20% of programmers, women are only 3% of programmers within the game industry, Wu said.

Wu is not the only one who has had to leave her home. Independent game developer Zoe Quinn and feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency have both received threats and had to leave their homes. The FBI is now investigating the police report Sarkeesian filed.

"I know almost all the women in the game industry at this point," Wu said on The Reid Report. "All of us are terrified about this. We are terrified about our jobs, we are terrified that we are going to be next, and what we feel is that there is a literal war in this industry on women."

Several games journalists, essayists, and critics have also announced their departure from games after receiving harassment. Seven women in game development published essays in The Escapist about GamerGate and all felt the need to request anonymity.

Wu also pointed out that games media sites are male-dominated and often choose not to cover issues of sexism in the industry. Morgan Ramsay, author of Gamers at Work, found that out of 130,524 articles from 23 games media outlets over 12 months, 0.41% referenced feminism, sexism, or misogyny.

"I love and respect the men that work in this industry, but they have attitudes that they frequently don't understand are antagonistic," Wu said. "And what we need as an industry is a dialogue about this."

Source: The Reid Report

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