The New York Times has put together a comprehensive series of reports on Gamergate, the poisonous movement that’s transformed politics for the worse. What began as misogyny would soon incorporate white nationalism; what began in video gaming circles would become a mass movement affecting everything.
It’s impressive, powerful and frightening stuff, and the reverberations continue today: what we first saw in Gamergate continues in the US and the UK. It’s in Brexit and in US and New Zealand gun massacres, in the culture wars against LGBT+ people and other minorities, in the lurch to the far right we’re seeing in Europe and both North and South America. It was fuelled by Breitbart, whose Steve Bannon became close to Donald Trump, to Nigel Farage and to Boris Johnson, and it made stars of unprincipled opportunists such as Milo (whose courting of dangerous extremists has since been copied by other right-wingers in the US and beyond). Its tactics became the playbook of the alt-right and the far right; over here, publications such as Spiked clearly take some inspiration from Breitbart (as well as money from the US right).
Gamergate wasn’t the first time white male rage was weaponised online – that goes back at least to the early 2000s, if not before; as the NYT notes, some of the tactics were first used against black women on social media – but it was the first time it became a mass movement.
there is a clear and obvious connection between video games, white nationalist terrorism, and the image board where the El Paso shooter posted his manifesto. That connection is Gamergate, the campaign of misogynistic harassment by aggrieved gamers that began in 2014, and which moved to 8chan from 4chan when the latter refused to allow Gamergaters to use that board for coordinated harassment campaigns and doxing.