Feminist Magazine Editor Continues to Be Harassed by Neo-Nazis

These are the guys accusing Shanley Kane of racism. On the left, Young Milo Yiannopoulous. On the right, troll-hacker nerd lord Weev.

These are the guys accusing Shanley Kane of racism.
On the left, Young Milo Yiannopoulous.
On the right, troll-hacker nerd lord Weev.

If you google the name of Model View Culture Founder and CEO Shanley Kane, quite a few headlines catch your eye. There’s “‘Yes, I was a Racist… and I’m Mentally Ill’: Shanley Kane in Shocking Social Media Meltdown”, or “The Madness of Queen Shanley”, or “I taught Shanley Kane how to Troll and I’m sincerely Sorry”.

In fact, Shanley Kane’s Google Search Results are mostly hot takes & smear pieces about her, many of which were written by just one guy: Milo Yiannopoulous. And of the smear pieces Yiannopoulous wrote, most of them rely heavily on just one inside source: Andrew Aurenheimer aka Weev, Internet Famous Neo-Nazi hacker and Shanley Kane’s ex-boyfriend. Although these guys accused Kane of being a former racist, the charge seems hypocritical to say the least. Weev and Yiannopoulous are active, continuing racists, who, (unlike Kane) have never publicly disavowed their racist beliefs.

Weev (real name Andrew Aurenheimer) has a fucking swastika tattooed on his chest. Weev got himself Internet Famous by hacking iPads, demanding ransoms, and by ruining his enemies’ credit scores. In 2005, weev doxed game developer Kathy Sierra, revealing her Social Security Number and home address. This semi-professional identity thief has been spouting neo-Nazi bullshit for years. In a 2008 interview with the New York Times, Weev said:

“Trolling is basically Internet eugenics,” he said, his voice pitching up like a jet engine on the runway. “I want everyone off the Internet. Bloggers are filth. They need to be destroyed. Blogging gives the illusion of participation to a bunch of retards. . . . We need to put these people in the oven!”

I listened for a few more minutes as Weev held forth on the Federal Reserve and about Jews. Unlike Fortuny, he made no attempt to reconcile his trolling with conventional social norms.

Weev never disavowed these beliefs. If anything, his love for white nationalism only intensified during his 2013-14 jail stint. A quick check of weev’s blog reveals he is just as proudly racist nowadays as he was in 2008.

Milo Yiannopoulous is also a racist, sexist, transphobic blowhard, whiling away his fading youth as #Gamergate’s pet journalist and resident gay man who hates gays on the Breitbart News team. When Yiannopoulous is not writing breathless smear pieces about women and minorities, he enjoys his degenerate British culture and the conspicuous consumption of luxury goods. Allegedly, Internet Draco Malfoy is writing a book about #Gamergate.

And yes, he too is a Neo-nazi. In his early twenties, Yiannopoulous published pictures of himself wearing Iron Crosses, and pictures of his favorite Hitler biographies. I’d ask Yiannopoulous how much Nazi costume jewelry a man can own before becoming a Neo-nazi himself, but I suspect the answer is “none whatsoever.”

These two Hitler-loving, women-hating, racist dudes are not what I would consider to be a credible source about anything, but their campaign to flood the Internet with bad press about Kane was taken seriously enough that Valleywag picked up the story. Even Kane’s former business partner jumped on the bandwagon, accusing Kane of mistreating the staff at Model View Culture. (Specifically, Kane’s ex-partner Amelia Greenhall denounces Kane for removing her name from Model View Culture’s founders, although Greenhall quit just four months after launch.)

It is a demonstration of sexism in action that Yiannopoulous’ accusations about Shanley Kane were uncritically repeated by mainstream tech news like Valleywag, without any discussion of Yiannopoulous’s own racist beliefs, or those of his source Weev. It is a demonstration of sexism in action that Yiannopoulous’s festering self-hatred and Weev’s batshit asshattery are disregarded so that Shanley Kane’s mental health can be dissected and opined about by people who never met her. It is a demonstration of sexism in action that Kane’s every move to re-establish & secure her own safety and privacy is seized upon by Yiannopoulous as an example of a paranoid feminist acting unreasonably.

Shanley Kane has been stalked by Yiannopoulous and her ex-boyfriend for months. If, in the end, Yiannopoulous’ campaign against Shanley causes more people to read Model View Culture (e.g. myself) it will be in spite of his attempts to discredit her, not because of them.

It annoys me that Yiannopoulous and Weev can put on 3-piece suits, appear on the TV news, and be listened to as professionals in their respective fields; while Kane is disregarded and minimized based on the Breitbart News articles written about her. Weev in particular is feared, even; other journalists tend to recite his various hacking achievements like a litany of conquered foes. But I’m not frightened of these guys, and I don’t take them seriously. Because once you strip away the hair bleach and nazi tattoos, Yiannopoulous and Weev are basically just two bullies nursing a grudge. And the worst thing you can do to a bully is mock them.

Edit: Added a photo of Weev and Milo.

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The Fine Young Capitalists: Inept Charity or IndieGoGo scam?

What drives me to write about the internet troll horde is how often its characters do the very same things that they decry. For example, Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter campaign and subsequent video series “Tropes vs Women in Video Games” are commonly denounced as scams, failures, or unacceptably poor products. Sarkeesian stands accused of being a ‘professional victim’, who profits from having her business singled out for harassment by an angry mob. In the eyes of her aggressors, Anita is a liar who distorts her image to appear more progressive and marketable to the public.

I find it hypocritical that Feminist Frequency is routinely denounced as a scam by a movement plagued by much scammier crowdfunding operations, many of which seem to merely enrich whoever’s collecting donations. I find it hypocritical when causes that are by-haters, for-haters, are held up as an example of the “empowerment” of women or the good work Gamergate has achieved. And this brings me to the Fine Young Capitalists.

This is what a feminist looks like?

This is what a feminist looks like? (Source: Matthew Rappard’s Google+)

The Fine Young Capitalists (TFYC) are an opaque and ill-defined company, who in fact may be just one guy named “Matthew Rappard”. His mission statement is to “create the means for production” for women in the video game industry, but in practice TFYC generates more drama than content, and seems to more interested in stirring the shit than sitting at the table. To date, TFYC has created the means of production for six women at a price of approximately $80,000.

Matthew Rappard’s company’s logo looks like a feminist logo, or at at least it would, if feminist logos looked like posters for blaxsploitation films. The business model, it seems, is for Rappard to instigate slapfights with prominent feminists via social media, so that people who dislike those feminists will donate to his feminist-looking company out of spite. Rappard’s products, if I had to name them, are #Gamergate fanart and the illusion of inclusion. In reality, TFYC benefits a only a token number of women.

Instead of teaching women how to make games, TFYC proposes to make games for them, using their ideas. Many women compete for their game idea to get produced in an American Idol-like online selection process. Once a winner is selected, TYFC hires some other women (offshore, at a cut-rate price) to do the work of actually coding the game.

This is like the Barbie Dreamhouse version of women making video games. On the front end, women compete against each other so their game idea will get selected. On the back end, women code the game as third-party contractors, with no ownership of the product they are making. At the end of the day, the women who can’t make games still can’t, and the women who can are simply getting paid for their piecework. Both the women on the front end and the women at the back end remain dependent on TFYC to develop and fund these projects, which does not sound that empowering to me.

TFYC has done a lot more to damage established women in tech than it has to incubate new talent. For example, Rappard alleged that game developer Zoe Quinn doxxed him, which was not the case. (For those interested, Rappard seems to have been doxxed by a games reporter named Jonathan Ross.) Ultimately, Rappard retracted the allegations Quinn doxed him, posting a catty non-apology entitled “On Apologizing for Getting Punched in the Face”. 

But if I was cynical, I would wonder if Rappard blamed his getting doxxed on Quinn because the Zoe Post was popular on 4chan. And I would wonder if 4chan only started donating to Rappard because he would inoculate them against accusations of sexism with his Potemkin village of a feminist company.

Thankfully I do not have to be cynical, because there is evidence that that is exactly what happened. In fact, TFYC created Gamergate’s gamer-famous cartoon waifu Vivian James as a reward for the many 4chan backers.

TYFC’s first (and to date, only) funded game, Undead Empire, ships August 14. Looking at the trailer, it doesn’t look like a game that cost $71,000 to make. It looks like a reskin of The Sims with some tycoon elements. It looks like the kind of women’s game that would get made if white dudes controlled every aspect of its production. It also kind of looks like TYFC tried to make the game as cheaply as possible, so they could keep the rest of the money they raised. At least, I think cheapskatery would explain why it’s only available on PC and Mac, when its graphics scream “mobile game.”

For what it is worth I do not believe Matthew Rappard is a bad person. He may have even started TFYC with the best of intentions, and just gotten caught up in the whirlwind of anonymous #Gamergate money. I just wish he would stop pretending to be a girl on the internet, or that his brand is somehow empowering to women. It is not, and he is not, in fact, Rappard tears down women who actually work for workplace equality and gaming.