You might think it cruel to delve too deeply into the private lives of damaged people. But when, say, a video game developer and activist with a history of outrageous dishonesty, whose games aren't up to much but nonetheless always seem to get glowing reviews, gets accused of exchanging sex for positive coverage and other benefits, the public interest is overwhelmingly clear.
Let's be honest. We're all used to feeling a niggling suspicion that "death threats" sent to female agitators aren't all they're cracked up to be. And indeed there is no evidence that any violent threat against a prominent female figure in the media or technology industry has ever been credible – that is to say, that any feminist campaigner on the receiving end of internet trolling has ever been in any real danger. Even in the most famous American case, that of Kathy Sierra, there is no evidence the target was ever at risk.
They're ungallant, obviously, but death threats are sent by bored, lonely people – or simply out of casual malice. What's even more pathetic than taking to the internet to work off your anger, though, is using death threats to get sympathy, or to vindictively pursue your ideological opponents and see their lives destroyed with jail sentences.
While the entire gaming journalism establishment is speaking in one voice, mocking dissenters and tweeting that all men should be killed, readers and those outside the world of video games are scratching their heads, wondering how so many bright people found themselves selling their souls for sex, a few quid in their PayPal accounts, and a warm feeling of standing up to "misogyny."
A lot of these people take to games as a way to escape from the lives in which they see themselves as downtrodden or rejected by women - escaping and moaning at other escapees rather than confronting the root cause of the rejection.
Jenn Frank has purchased and is a supporter of Zoë Quinn’s work, although this is the first article she has written on the developer. Frank has also briefly met Anita Sarkeesian.
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