Sarkeesian Cancels USU Speech Following Shooting Threats


Anita Sarkeesian, known for her YouTube channel Feminist Frequency and series Tropes vs. Women, has canceled a speaking engagement at Utah State University due to threats of a mass school shooting.

The threats were received by emails sent to several USU personnel, and were directed at Sarkeesian and anyone who attended her presentation. USU made additions to security, including the prohibition of backpacks and large bags, but due to Utah’s concealed carry laws, they were unable to prohibit firearms completely, provided the person carrying the weapon had a valid permit.

Sarkeesian has received similar death and rape threats in the past, which drove her from her home back in August, and it is believed these threats are related to other recent death threats delivered to noted feminist gamers and developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu. The individual or group officially responsible for the threats is unknown. Sarkeesian is being targeted because of her video series and her outspoken, feminist views on the roles of female characters in video games and harassment of women in the gaming industry. Her videos, Twitter, and presentations center around these representations and issues.

The Standard Examiner reports that the threats promised to be “the deadliest school shooting in American history, and the sender states: “I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” and “One way or another, I’m going to make sure they die.”

Sarkeesian’s speech was meant to be today. Though it has been canceled, all USU business will be carried on as normal. Sarkeesian has stated on her Twitter that she did not cancel the event because of the threats, but rather because she felt security was inadequate.

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