This post likely isn’t directed at you. I believe that fans of BWHQ are aligned in vision and values. So this message is pointed farther out, at the faceless, writhing mass that’s poisoning my world and the world of my friends right now.
Last month, I was the guest of a conference called XOXO at which I had the pleasure to see Anita Sarkeesian speak. I also had the chance to meet her in person and have a short discussion with her. She’s a smart critic of games and culture. Any of you who know me know that I live for conversations with smart people who think deeply about matters close to my heart. And my brief conversation with Anita was enough to leave me impressed and excited for her future work.
In fact, I was so enthusiastic, I tweeted out my fannish glee. In my circles, this is a normal thing to do.
Within an hour, I received a dozen prank phone calls on my cellphone, in addition to a few ominous tweets. They even sent (inedible) pizza to my house.
At the time, it was an annoyance. These tools were running down my phone battery. I was not—and I am not—scared of them. More important, it was insignificant compared to the bile Anita received from them for speaking at that same conference.
But as the behavior has continued to spiral out of control over the past few weeks, I felt it was important for myself and BWHQ to say something publicly.
We stand with Anita and every other person who is being harassed online and off.
We stand against harassment, silencing, threatening and abuse.
And if you are someone who has tweeted hurtful things, angry things, offensive things at anyone because of the games they play or make, because of the way they express their thoughts…
We stand against you.
Burning Wheel HQ is made up entirely of men. We will never suffer the abuse and harassment that any woman in the gaming industry suffers in her lifetime—whether a part of this controversy or not. We are privileged to be able to absent ourselves from these discussions.
But not this time. This time we step forward to stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends and colleagues and say to you: If you hate them, then you hate us. Our mission and values are inextricably linked to theirs and diametrically opposed to yours.
If you number among those to whom this post is addressed, I urge you to stop and think. Dig deep. Reflect on yourself. Let go of your anger because it poisons you.
Stand with us instead.
Luke and all of BWHQ