Let’s talk about Adam Baldwin at Supanova, an Australian pop culture convention. I’ve debated a few days about posting this but my voice is being dismissed as simply agitating, so I’ll bring it home.
I have worked in the games industry. I know a few women in the games industry and maintain casual internet friendships with a few more. I know women games journalists. I know a lot of women gamers.
Gamergate, which Adam Baldwin started and supported, has made a lot of us angry. It is transparently an organised attack on women and if you think differently, you’re wrong. No debate will be entered in to.
I spoke out against it online. My partner, a tech journalist spoke out against it. And the both of us copped flak. Just reply after reply ranging from faux ‘oh be reasonable’ to personal insults, each one tediously stupid. Me? An SJW? Don’t make me laugh.
Then, the doxxings, the death threats, all that appeared. Go check it out. And that shit gets your attention. Would it happen to me? To us? But I’m stupid and mean so I kept going. I was, after all, having fun watching people who knew nothing about ethics, journalism or video games try to argue against them all. Never once hitting the actual real questions about ethics in video game journalism. I also never really took seriously any threats to my physical safety and even getting my bank records would result in nothing but the revelation I’m poor as hell.
My nudes, of course, would have made me world famous and redefined male physical beauty for generations.
I spoke to some of my women friends in the industry about it, curious why I wasn’t seeing their names come up on the old twitter and facebook.
Most of them had remained silent for very simple reasons. They stayed out of the debate because they were simply afraid to speak up. Imagine being afraid to weigh in on an important discussion in your line of work in case someone called a bomb threat in? Or viciously implied they were going to rape you, murder you and then posted your home address? This, of course, happened. A woman my partner is internet colleagues with had to, on police advice, run from her own home. Let’s not forget that 4chan, one sort of home base for gamergate at the time this was raging, had a member kill a woman and post photos on the site. It was no joke, no game.
Gamergate was and is something real that happened to my friends and colleagues.
People I know and love. Scared for their safety because as women with a kind of job, they were fair game.
It would be a gross exaggeration to realistically claim I was in fear for my life. I wasn’t intimidated. But for a few weeks there, I know people who were. This was something that happened to people I know, for realsies. People I hold solidarity with. And if you think you wouldn’t be afraid, wait until it happens to you.
That’s Adam Baldwin to me. During all this, he protested innocence and pointed his thugs at women, dog whistling all the while.
Let’s leave aside the homophobia, the Islamophobia, the anti-unionist rhetoric, (though a rich man who’s wages, safety and security are ensured by no less than three film industry unions being anti-union is… distasteful.) Although we shouldn’t. Gay people have been indispensible to SF since day one. Let’s not even go into his hastily deleted support for the English Defence League, the far-right group with a long history a violence.
This is not a free speech issue. This is not “tolerating” diverse ideas. There’s been conservative guests before, will be again, that’s fine. Be as Tory as you like. No one went after Hercules… We can argue, then talk about how cool Batman is, like you should at a pop culture convention.
Mr. Baldwin’s actions were grossly irresponsible and that’s the best possible interpretation.
Conventions are spaces that are supposed to be safe. Suddenly, here is someone who has endangered women in games, perhaps the largest, economically at least, signifier of pop culture in the world celebrated and financially rewarded.
The man who enabled and participated in a movement that threatened my mates. I’ve guested at Supanovas, I’ve spoken at Supanovas and I’ve enjoyed Supanovas. I do not believe this can be the ethos of Supanova. I do not believe Supanova has so little regard for the women this man made afraid and intimidated.
His presence at such an event is shameful and, I think, a mistake.