On Tuesday night, Feminist Frequency host Anita Sarkeesian canceled a speaking event scheduled at Utah State University, after the school received an anonymous email threatening a “Montreal Massacre”-style attack–referring to the brutal 1989 shooting of 28 people (including 14 women who died) by a self-anointed anti-feminism crusader–if the video blogger was allowed to speak.
In the note, a copy of which has been obtained by the Standard Examiner, the author wrote that “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for the sake and the sake of all the others they’ve wronged.”
“I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” said the email, which was received by several university members. “I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.” (The email is in full below.)
Local police working with the FBI’s cyber-terrorism task force said it was likely safe for Sarkeesian’s talk to proceed, noting that the threat was “consistent with the ones (she) has received at other places around the nation.” They added: “The threat we received is not out of the norm for (this woman).”
Sarkeesian, however, tweeted that she canceled the appearance when she requested either pat-downs or metal detectors. But because of Utah’s open carry laws, “police wouldn’t do firearm searches.”
The threats are the latest in an ugly line of attacks on women who critique the gaming industry, as part of a general backlash organizing under the hashtag #GamerGate. (Deadspin‘s Kyle Wagner has an excellent essay on the whole thing here.) Though the email threat to Utah State did not mention #GamerGate, it fits a sad trend in increased intimidation toward its critics. (On Saturday video game developer Brianna Wu fled her home after receiving a string of death threats on Twitter.) On Saturday night, Sarkeesian tweeted that “At this point supporting #gamergate is implicitly supporting the harassment of women in the gaming industry.”