Any lingering doubt over whether the Gamergate movement is dedicated to anything other than misogyny and intimidation was eliminated early Thursday when Felicia Day’s personal information was dumped online. Day, a known gamer and actor, said she was nervous about making any kind of public comment on the controversy for fear of being targeted, only to find her most sensitive information dispersed online moments after her remarks were published.
“Doxxing” happens when a group of online vigilantes upset over slights perceived or otherwise scour the Web for a target’s personal information, publishing it with malicious intent. Day, who has expressed her love of video games and is recognizable as one of the starts of the show “Supernatural,” took to Tumblr to explain that she, as someone famous, has chosen to remain silent on Gamergate because she was afraid that the mob would focus on her.
The Gamergate movement purports to have its roots in complaints over ethics within gaming journalism, though that reasoning was quickly dwarfed by the number of hateful tweets and messages sent at female journalists and creator. Developer Zoe Quinn said she was forced out of her home after suffering threats from gamers furious over allegations that she cheated on a former boyfriend with a journalist in exchange for better coverage. Media critic Anita Sarkeesian was similarly driven from her home after a small number of gamers threatened to conduct a massacre at Utah State University if the school hosted a Sarkessian lecture.
Thousands of other, less-prominent women who have spoken on the issue have received similar treatment.
“I realized my silence on the issue was not motivated by some grand strategy, but out of fear that the issue has created about speaking out,” Day wrote on her Tumblr. “I have tried to retweet a few of the articles I’ve seen dissecting the issue in support, but personally I a terrified to be doxed for even typing the words ‘gamer gate.’ I have had stalkers and restraining orders issued in the past, I have had people show up on my doorstep when my personal information was hard to get.”
Minutes after she posted the note, an anonymous user left a comment beneath her post with information they claimed was her address and personal email. The entire comment section has since been removed.
The attack on Day inspired a wave of anti-Gamergate messages, with those participating asserting that the notion of Gamergate being a thoughtful examination into media ethics is little more than an excuse to harass women. Chris Kluwe, the former Minnesota Vikings kicker, was among those criticizing Gamergate participants.
“None of you f***ing #Gamergate tools tried to dox me, even after I tore you a new one. I’m not even a tough target,” he tweeted. “Instead, you go after a woman who wrote why your movement concerns her.”