Terror threat against feminist Anita Sarkeesian at USU

Wednesday , October 15, 2014 - 6:08 PM7 comments


EDITOR’s NOTE - This story has been updated here.

LOGAN — Utah State University plans to move forward with an event featuring a prominent Canadian-American author, blogger and feminist, despite threats of terror, a spokesman said Tuesday evening.

The decision came after several staff members received an anonymous email terror threat on Tuesday morning from someone claiming to be a student proposing “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if it didn't cancel the Wednesday lecture.

The email author wrote that “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they've wronged.“

USU officials have consulted with federal, local and state law enforcement and determined it’s safe to allow Anita Sarkeesian to give her presentation, said spokesman Tim Vitale.

In order to determine the degree of risk the letter posed, police ran the information they had through the FBI cyber terrorism task force and a number of other statewide database analysis information centers. 

”They determined the threat seems to be consistent with ones (Sarkeesian) has received at other places around the nation,” he told the Standard-Examiner. “The threat we received is not out of the norm for (this woman).”

Despite getting the OK from federal and state agencies to hold the event, that doesn't mean they won’t be taking extra safety measures.

“We are taking every precaution, including having extra security at the event, and are not allowing large bags or backpacks inside,” Vitale said, adding it will continue to assess the situation up to and after the lecture. Although the letter purports to be from a student, authorities don’t believe it came from a university student.

The email was sent to Ann Austin, director of the Center for Women and Gender Studies, along with several others, according to a spokesman for the center. 

Sarkeesian is the author of the video blog “Feminist Frequency” and the video series Tropes vs.Women in Video Games, which analyzes how women are depicted in pop culture. Sarkeesian will be speaking at 11:30 a.m. in the Taggart Student Center Auditorium.

The email was a warning to all staff and students at USU if Sarkeesian’s talk wasn’t canceled “a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out” against those in attendance, students, staff and the women’s center. 

“I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the email continues. The threat is “giving (USU) a chance to stop it.”

The threats increase throughout the letter, saying at one point that even if security is increased it won’t save anyone and feminists on campus won’t be able to defend themselves.

“One way or another, I’m going to make sure they die,” it said.

Sarkeesian poses “everything wrong with the feminist woman” and that is why she is being targeted, the email states. “She is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU.”

The writer ended the email saying they would never be found, but everyone will soon know their name.

“I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”

The FBI is currently investigating death threats made against the woman in March at Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco. An anonymous email was sent in March to 25 award ceremony organizers that stated. “A bomb will be detonated at the Game Developers Choice award ceremony tonight unless Anita Sarkeesian’s Ambassador Award is revoked. We estimate the bomb will kill at least a dozen people and injure dozens more. It would be in your best interest to accept our simple request. This is not a joke. You have been warned.” 

Threats and others like this have been reported to be part of a recent trend in the ongoing video game culture known as Gamergate, which began in August.


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