Anita Sarkeesian dealing with federal authorities after receiving death threats (Updated)
In regards to previously reported information, Milo Yiannopoulos has had another conversation with the San Francisco Police Department, during which it was revealed that “the Sarkeesian case’ is indeed being dealt with by the FBI.
Yiannopoulos stated the following (via his Twitter feed):
“I’ve just another conversation with SFPD. They say they are aware that the Sarkeesian case is being dealt with by the FBI. They don’t have records of calls made in August, which may or may not be because the case was handed off to federal agencies. I’ll follow up with the FBI later, but, irrespective of the merits of her complaints, Anita Sarkeesian is indeed dealing with the FBI.“
You can see his initial tweet below:
1/ I've just another conversation with SFPD. They say they are aware that the Sarkeesian case is being dealt with by the FBI.
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) September 12, 2014
If clicked, the above tweet directs to the full conversation.
It seems as though the SFPD may not have any records of Sarkeesian because her complaints were handed off to the proper federal agencies.
However, that is the only information revealed by Yiannopoulos. As such, no further speculation would be appropriate at this time.
This article will be updated further if, or when additional information surfaces.
The original story is below.
At the end of his piece, Aurini requests that readers support a documentary he is working on related to Anita Sarkeesian (The Sarkeesian Effect – Inside the World of Social Justice Warriors) by way of Patreon.
However, the article you are reading now is merely reporting on what his investigation revealed, and is not in support of or against his other projects.
This article is a follow-up to my “Anita Sarkeesian Received Rape And Death Threats On Twitter, Authorities Alerted” article, and, as previously stated, is in no way a smear piece towards/in support of any of the parties involved.
In the wake of the supposed death threats towards media critic and Feminist Frequency creator, Anita Sarkeesian, on August 26th, 2014, many members of the gaming community were skeptical of her response, and of the death threats themselves.
While the threats were not the first to be directed at Sarkeesian, they were indeed the most disturbing, seemingly lending credence to her accusations of rampant misogyny in video game culture and industry.
You can see a screencap of the unsavory tweets below:
Click here to see a larger version of the screenshot.
As previously mentioned, many individuals were highly skeptical of the threats due to the fact that they were sent near the release of her latest video in the “Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games” series, and her request for financial support immediately following them.
Also, many were suspicious of when the screencap of the threats was taken, which was taken less than 20 seconds after the last tweet.
A couple of days after the incident, Anita Sarkeesian posted the following on Twitter:
Naturally, a man known as “Bill” took it upon himself to do some investigating, and discovered that the San Francisco Police Department had no clue in regards to Anita Sarkeesian’s claims.
You can see that particular post here.
Furthermore, another individual, Davis Aurini, decided to dig a bit deeper and get in contact with Albie Esparza, San Francisco Police Department’s Media Relations officer. What Aurini found out is quite intriguing.
You can see his video, and a transcript of the conversation below:
Anita Sarkeesian – The Sarkeesian Effect
Aurini: I’m calling about an incident which occurred in your district on August 26th to a Miss Anita Sarkeesian; she is a prominent cultural critic who received a number of death threats over Twitter, which wound up driving her out of her own home. This has been reported throughout the gaming media, as well as in other mainstream sources such as the LA Times, and The Telegraph-
Esparza: I’m very familiar with the case… the incident. There’s nothing, there’s no record of any incident occurring on the 28th of August [Ed: this would be the date that she reported it, the 26th is when she received the tweets]. I’ve been trying to reach her for the past two days. If you have a way to contact this person and ask them for a case number, we’d appreciate that. There’s no record from our dispatch centre that I called and asked. There’s no record of any report being taken. So, when I saw her tweets it says “authorities”; Anita should make sure she reports to the San Fran police how she did this because there’s no record.
Aurini: She said the officers told her she should stop doing her cultural commentary if she was receiving threats – is this the sort of thing that you would say to a victim of harassment?
Esparza: No, but that’s hearsay. That’s third party information, so I’m not going to speculate on whether or not that was said, but we wouldn’t say that to someone.
Aurini: Would that possibly be disciplinary action, if an officer were to say such a thing?
Esparza: We’re not going to talk about hypothetical situations because that would be hearsay. There’s no record of that incident occurring, so I’m not going to speculate. It’s inappropriate to make comments on that.
Aurini: I have some colleagues who have received harassment in other districts, and the police there recommended that they not respond it, or discuss it online, once the investigations has begun. Is that your department’s policy, and if not, what advice would you give to somebody who was receiving threats?
Esparza: If somebody receives a threat – and we’re talking specifically online: text messaging, twitter, email, that type of stuff – it’s important to document it. So they should somehow save – either a text message or an email or a tweet – if they can capture that and bring it to the police station as evidence, that would be booked. It’s very important that they document it, as long as can do so safely. It’s very important because, again, if they don’t do it and this continues, you never know what can happen. At least document it, if the person has any leads we will do our best, we take it seriously when somebody makes threats against someone’s life, so we would ask that they file a report, bring the evidence, so we can initiate an investigation.
Aurini: Would your department handle online harassment, or is this the sort of thing that you would pass on to the FBI or somebody else?
Esparza: Well, certainly it depends on the nature of the threat. Typically, for a threat our department would handle it. If it’s anything more significant – as far as maybe local domestic terrorism, that kind of stuff – it would move to the FBI or federal agents, but typically the city would handle it.
Aurini: If it was an online anonymous account – we don’t know who the person is, it’s a fake account – would you possibly pass that on because it’s not a local issue, such as a domestic violence issue between a local couples
Esparza: We would certainly investigate it if we feel that it’s something that is happening on a larger scale, we would share with our regional partners or even federal agents. Every case is an individual and the needs are different, but typically it’s something [garbled] it would be shared amongst our law enforcement partners.
Aurini: You said you were trying to get a hold of Ms. Sarkeesian because you’ve never heard of it? You would like the case number that she would have received if she reported it as she claims?
Esparza: Right, so I do have a report for Ms. Sarkeesian was a victim of threats as well, but this was back in March of this year. So that’s the only record I found. But there’s nothing as of yet for August.
[~20 seconds of audio redacted; Anita’s contact information was mentioned]
Esparza: The things it says on her tweets, she reports “authorities” but there are multiple police agencies in San Francisco, so I want to make sure she reported the harassment to the local police, and I did call the local precinct where she lives, they don’t have any records of an investigation with her name currently. The only thing that came up in my system was a case from March of this year.
Aurini: So you are the public representative for the entire San Francisco area? All of the districts within?
Esparza: San Francisco PD, yes.
Additionally, Twitter user, @Nero (also known as Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos), has been conducting a similar investigation into Anita Sarkeesian’s death threat incident, and has posted the following tweets (listed in chronological order):
San Francisco Police Department has confirmed to me that it received no complaint from Anita Sarkeesian in August, as she claims. #GamerGate
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) September 11, 2014
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) September 11, 2014
Yiannopoulus has also stated the following:
“On Monday morning I’ll be submitting a FOIA request to the FBI, to see what, if anything, they’ve discussed with Sarkeesian.
FOIA stands for “Freedom of Information Act.” You can see what it entails below (from FOIA.gov):
“The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.”
It will be interesting to see what information the FOIA request reveals.
Now, a pertinent question would be, “What if Anita Sarkeesian didn’t report the death threat incident to the local (San Francisco) police department, but the FBI instead?” However, that would be another article entirely.
If what Esparza, the SFPD’s Media Relations officer, says is true, then what exactly is going on? Did Anita Sarkeesian fabricate the entire thing only to gain media attention or financial support for herself? Or is this some major communication breakdown?
What can be said, regardless of the situation, is that what the gaming industry (and culture) truly needs right now is transparency and integrity. It doesn’t matter who you are. Game journalist, reporter, developer, publisher, programmer, et cetera. It’s irrelevant. If you are going to voluntarily be part of an industry that relies primarily on its community for financial support and interactive feedback, honesty and forthrightness will do wonders for both sides of the party.
As for this Anita Sarkeesian situation, you can be sure that this won’t be the last you hear about it. I’ll update this article accordingly if, or when relevant information surfaces. Hell, if the the above information (or any article I publish that touches on hot-button topics based on outside sources) turns out to be fake or unreliable, I’ll take that shit right down.
But I believe readers are interested in this type of information. I’ll leave it up to you to read, digest, and subsequently form your own interpretations of current video game industry/culture events.
With that said, let me know what you think about this information. Have your own theories? I’d love to hear them. Got flaming hate to throw at me? I’m ready. Whatever it may be, you can be assured I’ll stick to my guns to the end.
That last bit may have been a little heavy handed, and a tad bit too cheesy, right? Fuggit.
I leave you with the words of the great Harry Waters (acted masterfully by Ralph Fiennes in Martin McDonagh’s film, In Bruges):
Erwin Murillo is a graduate of Union University. He has a Bachelor's of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Exercise Science and Wellness/Sports Medicine, and is currently enrolled at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Occupational Therapy Program. As buff as he is nerdy, you can find him either throwing around iron in the gym, or working on his latest video game article...sometimes both. Follow him on Twitter @DesertFoxJr or email him at [email protected].