At this point in time, it's safe to say that anyone still protesting about GamerGate probably doesn't remember why it started. What seemingly began as a protest against corruption in video game journalism quickly devolved into a series of attacks against some of the preeminent women in the industry - since then, it's splintered off in all directions, with some still fighting against corruption, while others claim it's (somehow) about censorship.
It's safe to say that, for most people, GamerGate is something to forget and move past. Unfortunately, some people are refusing to let it go: the Honey Badger Bridage, a men's rights group, was recently removed from a Canadian comic book convention for disrupting a number of different panels and associating with GamerGate.
The Calgary Expo is one of the biggest conventions of its kind in Canada. For most attendees, the Expo is just like any other convention: see some panels, maybe show off some cosplay, and just sort of geek out.
However, it seems that the Honey Badger Brigade's motives were a bit different: reports of the activists disrupting and derailing panels to try and push their own agenda started popping up yesterday. According to a report from The Mary Sue.com (via Kotaku), Honey Badger members were actively trying to throw a 'Women in Comics' panel off of its original subject:
"We were about fifteen minutes into the panel when a woman in the second row stood up and identified herself as a Men's Rights Activist. She and her male companion both came to raise issues they felt would not be covered by our panel...They also accused us of presenting all women as victims, which was an outright lie and derailing tactic.
Their questions did take up quite a bit of time at the panel and served to derail the topic onto another tangent, which was frustrating for the panel and for those in the audience. It's what they came to do, and in part, they succeeded...
I truly believe in freedom of speech, but coming to a panel with the entire purpose of derailing it and shooting down the voices on the panel isn't constructive. It appears that was their plan for the expo, to come and to loudly take over the spaces of other people - although it was not violent or threatening, it's disrespectful, disappointing and offers a prime example of why these panels need to exist in the first place."
If that weren't enough, Honey Badger merchandise clearly and prominently displayed the GamerGate logo, which many attendees (and people in general) associate with the worst kind of online harassment. It wasn't long before people noticed:
— soha (@sokareemie) April 17, 2015
Thankfully, the Calgary Expo was quick to respond. Accusations that the Expo has endorsed a 'GamerGate booth' were quickly shot down, and it wasn't long before the Expo took action and removed the group from the show floor and banned them from future events. Of course, there was some backlash from atendees on the show floor, but the Expo was quick to remind everyone at the show that the Calgary Expo was dedicated to being a safe environment for all, and one that supported equality for everyone.
@EzraTwitch The events reported are accurate. #CalgaryExpo is a positive and safe event for everyone, and the exhibitor was asked to leave. — Calgary Expo (@Calgaryexpo) April 17, 2015
Naturally, the Honey Badger Brigade has lashed out, with numerous press releases and statements condemning the Expo for forcing the group to leave. Were it not for the fact that the group clearly and blatantly violated the Expo's Terms and Conditions, they might have had some ground to stand on.
— Calgary Expo (@Calgaryexpo) April 17, 2015
Thankfully, the group was removed from the Expo before it could do any real damage, and with any luck, the rest of the event will go smoothly. It's just a shame that a few people tried to ruin it for everyone else - and it's great that they weren't able to cause any real damage.