Last Saturday, a poorly attended conference about #Gamergate whose name escapes me was cut short when a hacker from /baphomet/ sent a bomb threat to panelist Milo Yiannopoulous. Naturally, the event hall was evacuated and the assorted hacks in attendance continued their discussion regarding ethics in Gamergate at the parking lot. Ultimately, the cops didn’t find anything, and concluded the threat was just hot air.
And, perhaps even more naturally, #Gamergaters blamed “”anti-Gamergate”” and nebulous “”SJWs”” for making the bomb threat minutes after the venue was evacuated. (In fact, the event organizer blamed “”anti-Gamergate”” (including myself) for trying to “shut down” the event before it even began.)
So it seems #Gamergate has picked their bad guy, and is sticking to that story. But their story doesn’t match the facts. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that Baphomet, in particular some guy who calls himself “Eclipso/SWATAnon”, actually sent in the threat, and then framed Gamergate blogger The Ralph Retort. The guy who sent the threat has claimed responsibility for other SWAT attacks. Here’s a recording of a SWAT attack Eclipso made back in January, then posted on Baphomet as proof he made the call.
It’s not surprising in the least. Baphomet, a Gamergate-aligned black board, has a history of hurting people within their parent movement just to cause chaos. At an earlier date, this same Eclipso guy claimed Ralph Retort paid him to send a SWAT team to Devi Ever’s house, just to get back at Ralph for castigating Baphomet on his blog.
There’s a part of me that suspects Gamergate actually welcomes these bullshit Baphomet threats as a way to demonize those who speak out against them. But in refusing to call out those actually responsible, Gamergaters are allowing the worst elements in their movement to get away with criminal activity. The more #Gamergate blames Baphomet’s bad behavior on “”SJWs”” or “”third-party trolls””, the more emboldened Baphites are going to be the next time one of them is dissatisfied with the performance of talking heads like Ralph Retort.
I mean, Baph already doxed Sargon. (Yes, that Sargon.) He & his followers blamed SJWs for it, despite the thread on Baphomet saying “I think it’s time we went after Sargon.” Hours after that thread got started, some Twitter account I’ve never heard of was sending Sargon photos of his house. Call me crazy, but these things don’t seem coincidental, and they don’t seem to be coming from GamerGhazi.
Where will Gamergate draw the line? At what point will the movement’s de facto leaders stop and wonder ‘just who the hell am I doing this for?’ I suppose doxing and fake bomb threats to spoil their meetups isn’t sufficient, or at least, the allure of blaming these things on Arthur Chu outweighs the inconvenience of being stalked and harassed by angry fans.
Let me be clear: SWAT Anon/Eclipso is but one of several examples of really obnoxious behavior at the AirPlay event from Gamergate spectators. The live chat stream for the event was polluted with swastikas and hate speech, until the organizer disabled it for the afternoon panel (which was cut short by the evacuation.) As I anticipated, some panelists were doxxed in the live chat. Eclipso was not the only guy working the event, which, some commentators noted, received the threat just as Milo Yiannopoulous was losing his cool onstage. It would be wrong of me to speculate whether the bomb threat was made as a favor to Yiannopolous, or a ‘fuck you’ to the event’s organizer.
My dislike for any individual #Gamergater aside, I wish no ill upon them. I don’t think they deserve to be doxed, or harassed, or to have SWAT teams sent to their house, because nobody deserves that. But Baphomet seems to be sending a message – and a loud and clear one – that if #Gamergate’s most popular personalities don’t perform the way they want them to, they’ll be next in line for the LW treatment.
And that is unethical as all hell.