Opinion

Jeopardy Man Arthur Chu Takes A Stand Against Helping Abused Porn Star And Family

There are some who say that rape is the worst thing that can happen to a person, that rape, as a physical violation, is even worse than murder. Rape is dehumanizing, and for many the experience leaves an indelible mark on their psyche; it is a burden that they carry for the rest of their lives, one that doesn’t just disappear after the assailant has walked away or is imprisoned. This is one of the reasons why rape is viewed as the most heinous of acts, across the broadest social spectrum. Rape — in the minds of judges and convicted murderers alike — is considered vile.

On January 19, such an attack is alleged to have taken place in Las Vegas. According to police, porn actress and mother-of-two Cytherea was raped at her home by three attackers. They were part of a gang of five, ranging in age from 16 to 18, who went to her home to commit a burglary. Once inside, they are alleged to have beaten up her husband, held her family at gunpoint, and raped her. Since that time, she’s been afraid to leave her house and is unable to return to work.

It’s a nightmare scenario, but it could have been even worse were it not for the fact that the suspects have all been arrested and are due in court in pretty short order, February 23. When news of Cytherea’s ordeal broke, her colleagues immediately started a fundraiser to help defray medical and living costs while she and her family recovered. The initial goal was $10,000, which was met ahead of schedule. The plan now is to continue the fundraiser. It is the noble and correct thing to do in the circumstances; only the worst sort of person could take issue with such an endeavor, a person lacking the most basic ingredient of human empathy.

His name is Arthur Chu.

Chu came to national notoriety on the game show Jeopardy!, where he amassed $298,200, the fourth-largest winning total in the show’s history. He went on to trouser an additional $100,000 in the 2014 Tournament of Champions — bringing his overall total to just two grand shy of $400,000. While Chu’s style was a winning one, it was also wildly unpopular. A man who describes himself as a “genius” on his website, Chu caused considerable consternation among a conservative viewing public and TV critics. His tactics and behavior on the show were considered unsportsmanlike and undermined the game’s spirit.

As unlikely as it may sound, the controversy became so great that Chu was forced to defend his playing style in the media. In a CNN interview, Chu said, “It’s a game and we’re playing for real money… I understand if you find me an unpleasant person, but ultimately it’s $10,000 or more every time you win a game of Jeopardy! and my primary concern up there was taking home the money for me and my wife.”

Obviously, this is eminently commonsensical. $398,000 isn’t exactly small beer; it’s a lot of money and it’s silly to blame Chu for wanting to make his family’s life easier. So what if some people didn’t like how he played the game — he made his family’s life better. Good for him. It is unreasonable to ignore the legitimacy of his unconventional approach given what he achieved. But it’s also unreasonable not to acknowledge that Chu admitted that he’s unlikeable.

Yet Chu is more than merely unlikeable.

He’s an asshole.

To those familiar with Gamergate or the numerous starlets of internet porn (or both), the name Mercedes Carrera is a familiar one. Carrera is a well-known and well-loved actress — the star of countless movies and also a vocal supporter of Gamergate. This latter fact is one for which she has been routinely harassed and verbally abused, with the former used to direct further insults, often from members of the feminist sisterhood.

When Carrera learned of Cytherea’s ordeal, she joined the fundraiser. “Right now Cytherea is afraid to leave her home and afraid to leave her children. Her boys are six and seven,” says Carrera. “This is a really big blow for her, but the great thing of so many people coming out to support her is that she feels loved and appreciated, so hopefully it will be a big boost for her.”

If a recent YouTube video from Cytherea is anything to go by, Carrera is right: Cytherea broke her silence and thanked fans and those who offered support.

Twitter messages from Chu were anything but supportive. Instead, he sought to go on the attack, posting message after message questioning Carrera’s motives, bizarrely accusing her of manipulating Cytherea’s trauma as a means to spite Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu.

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Here, Chu refers to the efforts to help a victim of an alleged rape and assault as a “stupid charity.”

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It gets worse. Chu also refers to Gamergate’s fundraising work for cancer charities as “stupid shit.”

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In the post below, Chu accuses Gamergate of “weaponizing” Cytherea’s situation — a claim rubbished by Carrera.

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What Chu didn’t realize in his haste to make his feelings known was that Carrera had never tagged any of her posts with Gamergate. The thought hadn’t crossed her mind. “Arthur Chu needs to see a psychiatrist; I’m not kidding,” says Carrera. “This is a person who said that ‘Je suis Charlie’ should be ‘Je suis Zoe Quinn.’ He has created an ideological line, an us-versus-them mentality. He literally has such a little amount of empathy that he can’t see that I’m supporting a friend and colleague of mine who went through an horrific event, and he dares conflate that with Gamergate because I have friends who are Gamergate supporters?”

It’s a tough criticism to deflect and one that will remain unresolved, at least in this article. Arthur Chu declined The Daily Caller’s invitation for an interview.

Yet, as awful as all of this is, it’s not the least bit surprising. Chu’s online presence is a trail littered with obnoxious comments, nasty sniping, and outright pettiness. He has advocated doxxing; he has compared Gamergate supporters to murderers such as Elliot Rodger, and as difficult as it may be to believe, he has even written about standing by and doing nothing when he knew rapes had been committed.

“But I have known nerdy male stalkers, and, yes, nerdy male rapists. I’ve known situations where I knew something was going on but didn’t say anything — because I didn’t want to stick my neck out, because some vile part of me thought that this kind of thing was ‘normal,’ because, in other words, I was a coward and I had the privilege of ignoring the problem.”

It is commendable that Chu acknowledges his cowardice, a cowardice demonstrated in the same breath when he qualifies his culpability, making strong allusions to the normalizing effect of that most favored feminist fairy tale — rape culture. Bogeymen aside though, maybe Chu’s admission offers some hope; maybe in the recognition of this terrible weakness he can see it for what it really is — part of a greater pattern. If there is to be redemption for Arthur Chu, this is where it must begin—by admitting he’s wrong, by owning this behavior.