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GamerGate flares on with latest debate focusing on death threats

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Yet another woman has fled her home in response to death threats directed toward her on Twitter, as GamerGate sinks the video game industry into a deeper and more convoluted muck.

The tensions of GamerGate continue to push game enthusiasts to one side or the other.

Individuals on one side decry what they call corruption in video game journalism, warring under the flag of Operation Disrespectful Nod. The other group, branded SJW (Social Justice Warriors), calls for an end to the over-sexualization of women in video games.

Brianna Wu, head of development at Giant Spacekat, is the latest female enthusiast of video games to receive death threats, but it appears the terroristic mortar shells are flying from both sides these days. But first, Wu's case.

Wu allegedly mocked gamers who waved the GamerGate hashtag on Twitter, labeling them sexists. At least one Twitter user responded to the mocking by sending threats her way, leading her to call on Twitter and gaming news sites to take a more active approach to eliminate the dissemination of terroristic threats on their sites.

"We need to get more serious as a culture about making it possible for law enforcement to act in very serious situations like this," says Wu. "GamerGate could very seriously drive most women out of the industry. I realize that's a very strong statement and I absolutely mean it. I don't know a single woman in this field who is not asking herself if she wants to stay."

The threats on Wu's safety follow other notable death threats that prompted video game critic Anita Sarkeesian and game developer Zoe Quinn to flee their respective homes. Quinn's ex-boyfriend accused her of sleeping with video game journalists to gain favorable reviews for her video game, the act which became a catalyst for GamerGate.

Sarkeesian's threats came after she sifted through a long list of video games, searching out each and every case in which a female character was stereotyped. Though her critiques overlook the racist tropes or the overall violence prevalent in the games she analysed, Sarkeesian received the most flack for admitting she doesn't play video games.

"[...]so it's not exactly a fandom, I'm not a fan of video games. I had to learn a lot about video games in the process of making this," says Sarkeesian.

While Sarkeesian and Quinn's cases have received a lot of press and amplified GamerGate's intensity, there has been doxxing from individuals claiming to support Operation Disrespectful Nod, a part of GamerGate that asked those interested to contact companies that advertise on gaming sites to complain about specific articles they disagreed with.

Doxxing is the leaking of an individual's identifying information, such as their real name and address. Some of the latest to be doxxed include self-described feminists who oppose the alleged corruption in video game journalism and aren't on the same page as a Quinn or a Sarkeesian.

"I'm on leave without pay until a decision is made on if I will continue employment at my company. Thanks SJW #GamerGate," states one Twitter user.

Apparently, a child has been doxxed (language warning). And income has been withheld.

As the intensity and frequency of the personal attacks increase on both sides, what was once a fissure in the gaming community is rumbling into a grand rift that's swallowing up the issues championed by both the SJW and Operation Disrespectful Nod.

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