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Gamergate: Feminist and video game critic Anita Sarkeesian cancels college speech after threats

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Feminist and video game critic Anita Sarkeesian canceled a speech at Utah State University after receiving threats of a violent mass shooting and the university's refusal to prevent concealed weapons at the event.

Sarkeesian is no stranger to such threats, and has seen many come in after creating The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project, which points out what Sarkeesian believe is rampant sexism in video games. She has received many threats, both of rape and death, but this threat is decidedly different as it doesn't threaten just her, but also those attending her lecture.

The threat came as an email to the university and threatened "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if Sarkeesian's speech was not canceled.

"Feminists have ruined my life, and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all others they've wronged," says the email. "A Montreal massacre style attack will be carried out. I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs."

Sarkeesian's lecture was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. today at the university's student center. However, even after receiving the threat, the university did not seem to take the threat seriously.

"After a careful assessment of the threat it has been determined it is similar to other threats that Sarkeesian has received in the past and all university business will be conducted as scheduled tomorrow," USU officials said, before the cancellation.

Sarkeesian, however, was still open to giving her lecture, but only if the university took certain precautions and ban weapons from the event.

The university, however, wouldn't budge, and stated that it could not comply with Sarkeesian's requests due to Utah state laws that allow anyone with a permit for a concealed weapon to carry it in public. And, unfortunately, the university's student center is a public venue.

Although Sarkeesian's speech may have continued at a private location with beefed up security, no such suggestion was ever made by the university or the state of Utah, and in the end, Sarkeesian canceled her appearance.

This latest threat comes on the heels of GamerGate, which started out as criticism of video game developers, but quickly devolved into a hate group promoting violence against women, including threats and harassment to Sarkeesian and others.

Many have spoken out against these threats, bullying and harassment. Although death threats on the Internet are still a federal offense, no one has yet been arrested or charged with any crime. 

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