On The SXSW SavePoint Panel, And Why I Will Not Be Censored

Font Size:

Before I begin this tale, I ask the reader to reflect on a few questions. First, what is harassment? Further, one might want to ask what censorship is, and whether it is an overt mandate, or can be subtle and subversive. What have you observed related to your own interests and hobbies that might have been attacked by the culture of political correctness? Is social pressure a just reason to be silent oneself or to silence others? Should emotions been taken as facts, or feelings be used to justify slander?

You may be aware of the ongoing South by Southwest controversy regarding the SavePoint panel. I have refrained from telling my side of this story until all of the information was clear, but I will no longer remain silent as I believe it is not only my right, but also my responsibility, to call out hypocrisy where it is most evident.

SavePoint was created with the intention of discussing various issues facing gamers today. It was organized by The Open Gaming Society, and is to include notable journalist Lynn Walsh and games developer Nick Robalik. I’ve also been slated to appear on the panel from the onset, having been a prominent public proponent of gamers during the GamerGate controversy. SavePoint is intended to be a neutral event and an opportunity to tackle the issues of censorship, politically correct culture, and GamerGate, in an intellectual atmosphere.

Those plans were derailed when SXSW allegedly received threats regarding the presence of our panel and it was cancelled. Another panel, headed by radical feminist and anti-GamerGater, Randi Harper, also met the same fate. Although a disappointment, it seemed reasonable that SXSW would make a decision that would lessen their risk and liability, as we can all imagine the concerns for the well being and safety of their patrons and the expense of running such an event.

As an aside, to fully grasp the irony of Randi Harper heading a summit on harassment, one must know a bit of her backstory. While I do not have the space or inclination to delve into the ridiculousness of a woman who once doxxed a debt collector’s family as retribution for being reminded of her unpaid loans running a harassment summit, I don’t have to since Milo Yiannopoulos already gave a thorough fisking of her here and here.

A few days later, we were told that SavePoint had been reinstated and moved to a new day. The preceding events had inspired the organizer of SXSW to determine an entire summit on “online harassment” was appropriate and had invited SavePoint to attend in conjunction with Harper’s panel and added in a host of other, mostly female, commentators of the social justice variety.

Fantastic! Now I would not only finally have the opportunity to address the false claims made against me by the anti-GamerGate faction, but I could also sit down and have a valuable discussion regarding the difference and relationships between disagreement, mockery, political parody, insults, personal attacks, freedom of speech, and legitimate online harassment as defined by law.

No sooner had I finished that thought than Randi Harper took to Twitter in a fit of frenzy. She and her ilk denounced SXSW for requesting she sit in a room with people she deemed “harassers” and likened the panelists and me to “domestic abusers.” When I inquired as to the grounds and basis for her accusations, she ran right to the patriarch of the event and cried about harassment. The astounding irony of radical feminists appealing to the “daddy” of an event for help is always laughable, and Randi did not disappoint to amuse. We saw this same behavior when Anita Sarkeesian ran to the UN to ask for censorship of mean tweets. 

The public fit went on for quite some time, and the organizer acquiesced by moving SavePoint, once again — this time back to gaming day. It was also requested of me by the event patriarch to not “harass” Randi via social media. Evidently, inquiring as to why one is being libeled publicly is “harassment” to the lead “harassment” panelist.

These events of course add to the growing concern about censorship and hysteria in conversations regarding online communication and gaming. The “harassment” summit has devolved right back into the kind of echo chamber that those who oppose free speech are known for creating.

As for SavePoint, I will be a participant in the panel on its reinstated day and happy to do so. I welcome discussion and discourse wherever it may be had, and unlike others I do not renege on my commitments because I find the circumstances to be less than fully amenable to my own personal agendas.

But I ask, for the sake of western civilization, are these the people who should be given the reins of discussion about safety and civility online? Women for whom guilty until proven innocent is fair and the tribunals of 17th-century Salem would seem just? Women whose temperament was written about in The Crucible and whose illogic led to witch hunts and executions? Considering my augmentations and proclivity for survival, I am assuredly buoyant, and am to be deemed a “witch” by hysterical harpies whether I swim or float.