In this week’s episode of NBC’s crime show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” a female game designer appeals for police help after she gets death threats in advance of her high-profile game launch. For the prominent targets of the real-life drama we now know as GamerGate, including Arlington resident Brianna Wu, the story strikes dangerously close to home.
Wu previewed the episode, and in an essay for women’s news publication Bustle, wrote how she saw the character as a reflection of her own ongoing experience with the online mob known as GamerGate:
I gave in and watched the preview today. The main character appears to be an amalgamation of me, Zoe Quinn, and Anita Sarkeesian, three of the primary targets of the hate group called GamerGate.
As she has done several times in the last few months, Wu called on law enforcement and the FBI to track down her harassers and hold them accountable for the hundreds of the treats that she and other GamerGate targets — Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian among them — have received. (The FBI may be looking into the issue. Or it may not.)
In the crime show episode, the game designer wants the launch to go on, despite the threats. But Wu writes that her own experience has dimmed the fire that drew her to gaming in the first place:
The reality is, this circus has sucked every bit of joy from a career I once felt destined for.
It appears that each time Wu speaks out for herself, she does so at high personal risk, and the target on her back gets bigger. Perhaps Hollywood has imagined a better a outcome for women in tech who fear for their safety.