Game developer Brianna Wu has called to attention a new threat targeted at her from a person who claims to be a "Gamergate vigilante."
Wu is no stranger to death threats, having received a total of 43 of them in the last four months since the Gamergate controversy erupted. However, the latest threat to take her life reaches a whole new level of bizarre.
On Twitter, Wu posted a link to a YouTube video from a man who calls himself Jace Connors, although a statement sent by Wu to Jezebel says it is not his real name. In the video, Connors, who has a YouTube name of ParkourDude91, is seen shrieking almost unintelligibly next to his mother's wrecked Prius flipped to its side on the road.
Connors says he was on his way to Wu's house just outside of Boston to expose her as a corrupt gamer by racing against her on camera. He claims the car he was driving flipped over because Wu had positioned a sniper meant to kill him.
"I suspect Brianna Wu rigged my mom's Prius to crash and/or kill me to silence me from being a Gamergate vigilante," Connors is heard saying. "The crash happened today while I was driving to Wu's house (in order to expose her as a corrupt gamer by racing her on camera.)"
On Monday, Connors challenged Giant Spacekat, the indie game company of which Wu is the CEO, to a rap battle. He also says Giant Spacekat sent him two death threats.
— Jace (@ParkourDude91) Feb. 2, 2015
Guys @Spacekatgal just sent me another death threat. This is getting serious, she has a gun . I'm fleeing my home right now wish me luck — Jace (@ParkourDude91) Feb. 2, 2015
Guys I just got TWO death threats in a row from @Spacekatgal, Says she has TWO guns and is driving to my house with TWO cars to kill me HELP — Jace (@ParkourDude91) Feb. 2, 2015
Wu says she had been concerned about Connors for months, and though she had contacted the authorities, the response was unsatisfactory. Last Friday, one of Wu's friends contacted her and showed her a Skype log of Connors who said he was on his way to Wu's house with what appeared to be a rifle, and so she got in touch with the Arlington, Massachusetts police department, who took her statement.
This is serious stuff. This man has other videos where he is brandishing firearms, and one with a knife threatening to kill me.
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) Jan. 31, 2015
I need law enforcement to arrest this person, and the state of Massachusetts needs to get him some serious professional help. — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) Jan. 31, 2015
Wu believes Connors, having admitted to have a history of schizophrenia, is mentally ill. On his Tumblr account, Connors says he is a former U.S. Marine. On Twitter, he is a former Navy Seal. And on YouTube, he says he is a retired member of the U.S. Armed Forces. One of his videos shows him talking about sending a friend to Israel to rescue rapper Tupac Shakur, who died in 1996. He is also fond of posting videos often brandishing a knife or an Airsoft gun which he says is a replica.
Recently, Connors seemed to have set his sights on Wu, whom he believes is threatening to kill him after Wu posted a picture of her newly bought racing motorcycle on Twitter.
"I challenged Brianna to a street race for #Gamergate and right after that, this happened," he says. "I am posting this for evidence of attempted murder. I didn't realize it at the time, but the timing was too perfect."
Connors seems to be adamant about his cause for "social justice." He even has a name for it: Wu-pocalypse. He says Wu is but a small part of his grander plan to bring down the criminals in the gaming industry.
Wu says she is alarmed at how law enforcement authorities are dragging their heels over the issue. Although she calls on her Twitter followers to stop throwing names such as "crazy" or "nuts," she believes Connors, whom she calls The Commander, is a danger to himself and to society and should be given the professional help he needs.
Does a woman have to get murdered for law enforcement to take the online harassment of women seriously?
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) Jan. 31, 2015
"I have to be honest. I'm not sure what needs to happen here," she tells Jezebel. "The Commander is clearly mentally ill, and I'm not sure if he'd be better helped through jail time or through time with mental health professionals. But it's clear he's a danger to himself and others currently. It's my hope in speaking out that law enforcement will get involved and get this man the help he needs." On Monday, Wu said on Twitter that she is speaking with members of Congress who are concerned about the lack of action of the police.
Delighted to tell you, I'm in contact with members of congress. They're deeply bothered by the collective lack of action by law enforcement. — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) Feb. 2, 2015