On Weaponizing Charity

I haven’t written anything on #GamerGate recently.

Everyone involved in this movement is doing what they’re best at to try to be the change they want to see in the world. For some it’s tweeting; maintaining a presence online for something you believe in. For some its livestreaming, making videos or engaging in citizen journalism to try and gather information that isn’t being seen elsewhere. For me, it’s writing. I’ve started writing more and more about video games, trying to be calm and cogent, to provide a sincere voice. I to want to help heal this industry by providing good writing about the games industry, then the market can decide who they want the voices to be. For this reason I haven’t used this blog as much over the last couple weeks. But I feel compelled to say something today.

An accusation was levied at #GamerGate supporters that we have weaponized charity.

The belief is that 70,000 dollars raised for The Fine Young Capitalists to get a game made by an all female team is spite money. 5,000 dollars raised for a suicide prevention charity, that doesn’t count. 17,000 dollars raised for bullying prevention is tainted because of who’s wallet it came out of.

What this man sees as “weaponization” I see as sincerity. Every time someone donates money to a worthy cause they are saying “I care about this enough to make a sacrifice for it” no matter how small that sacrifice is, it demonstrates compassion and a desire to see change. To say that we don’t care about the causes we’ve donated to, that it was to spite someone, that it was complicit in harassment is a slap in the face to everyone who decided that these causes were worth their time and their money.

Detractors like the man pictured above say that charity pushes like the PACER anti-bullying campaign are just for PR. They believe that we are so toxic, so abhorrently evil that we need to donate 17,000 dollars for bullying prevention just to make us look better. Two that I say two things. First,

What is wrong with that? People looked at how we were being perceived, as misogynists, as harassers, as obtuse shit-slingers and we said, “Instead of arguing with these people about how terrible we are, how about we put our time and money towards a good cause” If it helps people see that we are not all assholes, then great, but the important thing is; THE CHARITY STILL GETS THE MONEY. We raised 17,000 dollars for bullying prevention. Someone said that Nerds deserve bullying, we agreed that was abhorrent, and that we could demonstrate our feeling on the matter of bullying, on harassment by donating thousands of dollars to charity. We weren’t just trying to look better, we are proving that we are better than you say we are. We are people same as you, and we realize that one of the most powerful things we can do as people is speak with our wallets. So we gathered together and said “This is what we are about”.

Secondly, you seem to have an impressive idea of what we are. There is not a cabal, a darkened boardroom where Milo Yiannopoulos, Internet Aristocrat, Jayd3Fox, Christina Sommers and Total Biscuit decide what we are going to do. This came about because we saw someone who was mocking us, calling for us to be bullied and we all said individually “Thats pretty terrible”. So a few people decided we could help by donating money. Other people thought it was a good idea and they donated too. It wasn’t a calculated move, it wasn’t our position as an organization, it was a nice thing to do that got popular because a large group of people all agree bullying is wrong, same goes for suicide prevention being important and wanting women to develop video games. We don’t have PR agencies on retainer, nobody is crafting a script for us, this was a good thing that just happened and your seeming hatred of it makes us think we we were on the right track.

Finally, I want to say something directly to you Alex, and by extension everyone who believes the raising of money for charity is something that needs to be examined, analyzed and broken down for motivations.

What the hell is wrong with you?

Are you so set in your warfare mentality that you cannot admit a good thing happened? Are gamers so ingrained in your psyche as the enemy that you cannot admit that some of them are good people? Are you so selfish that you believe thousands of dollars given to prevent bullying of children, hundreds of dollars given to alleviate hunger, thousands given to prevent suicide should have gone to a cause that you can approve of?

Its fine to hate us, its fine to call us scum but don’t you dare say that money that came from the hands of people who were bullied is tainted. Don’t say that money from depressed people to prevent suicide is a just a ploy. Don’t say that money donated by women can’t help women succeed in this industry because those aren’t the women you approve of.

I sincerely hope you grow up.

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