So Mandy wrote a thing about recent events--if you do tumblr and retumbl things, the original post is here. There's a handy diagram at the end if it's TooLong;Didn'tRead for you.
If you're all Oh Screw This Drama I Wanna Read About Elves. Here's some monsters and stuff, don't say I never gave you nothin'.
With that out of the way, here's Mandy...
|(Got this response a few hours after the post went up)|
So in the Dungeons & Dragons/tabletop gaming community right now there’s a lot of people and groups of people who talk about about harassment of women on-line. How it’s terrible, and what should be done to stop it and who’s doing it.
Right now I am being harassed. And I’ve been harassed about being a gamer for years at this point. And the people in games who talk about how to stop harassment aren’t doing anything. This is because it’s much easier to talk about harassment from anonymous strangers than from people you know. A group of trolls is attacking me and my game group and they are connected to important members of the RPG community.
Here’s the most recent example, from a few days ago:
My boyfriend Zak called out someone for being sexist—largely because me and the other women in my gaming group agreed they were and told Zak so.
How silly of me, it’s been a few years I should have remembered that women who choose adult entertainment for their occupations have absolutely no agency or opinions apart from our work do we?
I am apparently paid to agree with my boyfriend because I have no mind of my own of course.
Sounds like this person got their information about day-to-day workings of the industry from a radical fundamentalist anti-porn website.
This kind of thing is no surprise when you see:
So, my boyfriend who has never hired me to do anything, “exploits” me how exactly? The main people making money off my porn movies right now are me and Kimberly Kane (director)—winner of a 2011 Feminist Porn Award—and a giant porn company called Vivid Entertainment. In fact Kimberly Kane hires Zak to perform in the films she directs, not the other way around.
Now I don’t know the people writing on this forum and have never talked to them. All I know about this person “moths” is they started harassing me on this forum in this same thread in August of 2010, along with lots of other people…
Then they got ahold of my Amazon wishlist, complaining that I wanted electrical cords and a tattoo kit…
Go that? I’m fat and a 5 and Connie is a “stay at home scratcher” because we wanted to tattoo my pre-existing conditions on Zak’s arm…
But this is run-of-the-mill on Something Awful—a forum where you run into things like the following all the time (trigger warning, racism, censored by me)
So, yeah, Something Awful is—unsurpringly—awful. But the internet is full of chan-style troll forums, right? Why care about this one?
Because as I keep reading through the thread referring to me, I see I know someone involved: “Rulebook Heavily” aka minor RPG-scene jerk Andri Erlingsson who shows up on the next page to join in the harassment. And then I notice someone a few pages earlier attacking Zak—“Kemper Boyd” aka Jussi Marttila. And I know someone who could’ve done something about it and chose not to—the forum moderator, another RPG scenester named Paul Ettin.
So now I can actually report harassment by real, identifiable people to a real person. Paul (and fellow Something Awful alum Winson Paine) take this harassment complaint oh so seriously…
These aren’t loose cannons taking advantage of a lax moderator to wreck Ettin’s forum—they’re his friends.
What does Andri “Rulebook Heavily” have to say for himself? And why do we know he’s full of shit?
So, straight up there’s Andri butting into a (friendly) conversation I’m having to harass me—then lying about it. And being backed up by troll friends from—you guessed it—Something Awful.
And what does the larger RPG community—which has been so up in arms about harassment of women—say about this?
Because harassment isn’t real when it happens to porn actresses.
Let’s talk about this deadnaming accusation then. I have nothing to hide, trolls. Let’s dissect this shit, so I can move on to my real point about how all of this works, where this comes from and how it’s been allowed to go on so long. And how come the people who supposedly care so much about sexism in gaming have never ever stood up for me and my girls.
Also “claming they’re fake” Andri-Troll? Let’s see you post some evidence of that.
I can however provide evidence about what happened and why these trolls are trying to use a real serious issue to bolster their pathetic personal grudges.
Here is where the deadnaming supposedly took place—it’s was edited as soon as someone pointed out to me that the person using multiple online names was trans—I did not know this beforehand and there are quite a lot of different pseudonyms being used by this one individual. (Because chan-style trolls do that sort of thing.)
It’s the part about Mikan aka tablehop aka something else now. Who is Mikan? Surprise surprise—a troll from the same Something Awful subforum that’s attacked us on and off for 4 years. Mikan hates anything connected to tabletop gaming’s Old School Renaissance or “OSR”—that is, Mikan hates people, like me, who play old versions of Dungeons and Dragons and (like my boyfriend) have the temerity to blog about it.
These are the kinds of brilliant contributions to game theory you can read in the complete log of Mikan’s trolling here. (Note: some of that is Mikan, and some of it is stuff Mikan posted just to make fun of it.)
So, as you go through what’s below, remember: this is a troll who paid money to join a troll forum and hang out with people who call random porn stars fat, rate their appearances on a scale of 1-10 and allege they are drug-bound mannequins with no opinions of their own all because they play the wrong kind of Dungeons and Dragons.
Let’s be clear here: I do not know or have ever spoken to this person. All these various names were used and still IN use when I posted my blog. I made no assumptions about nor did I refer to gender in my post. The names were not private—Both the supposed “dead name” and the new name were in use online. This was changed just hours after it was pointed out that I had posted about the ongoing harassment I was getting.
So what really happened?
Trolling—courtesy of Mikan’s friend and fellow forum member Tom Hatfield.
Zak has explained before:
Mikan apparently claimed (through an intermediary) that she’d contacted me before I wrote my blog post. But that makes no sense—we don’t talk and never have. And, as Kirin (author of Old School Hack and curator of Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor tumblr) and Gareth (of Adamant Entertainent) explain here…
So, yeah, this is the situation. We play D&D with transfolk, we support them in the community, we have never said or done any different. And, of course, what do I gain from outing someone? Nothing. I want to discredit her trolling (which the rest of Something Awful will pick up whether she is around or not), not her gender expression (which is local to her). What do Mikan and Mikan’s troll friends have to gain by clinging to a debunked lie? Sympathy and attention—because the only attention these “game designers” have ever gotten is from harassing us.
I’ve never hung on on troll forums and talked shit about people who play different editions of games than I do. I happen to be an adult performer who plays D&D, we also made a webshow about it. That’s it.
If I have a history of anything but defending myself when people attack me and my gaming group I want to see it.
The accusations about me and my gaming group have been thoroughly refuted at this point. We’re past that yet the harassment won’t stop. They just will not leave me or my group alone.
And what do the alleged activists in the RPG scene do about this harassment?
That exchange there happened while I was hospitalized due to my stomach and intestines being paralyzed. Poor me.
Oh yeah, ignoring anti-porn misogyny sure helps you make gaming more inclusive doesn’t it? These people, who often call themselves advocates of inclusion. have personal (and petty) problems with my gaming group which I’ll remind you is mostly comprised of LGBT women, women with disabilities, and women of colour.
Connie, Satine Phoenix and Kimberly Kane—half-elf rogue, elf rogue, half-elf barbarian.
So why don’t gaming gadflies and big indie designers like Fred Hicks (at Evil Hat), GeekyLyndsay, David A Hill Jr (Machine Age Productions), Ryan Macklin (Paizo), Bruce Baugh (Onyx Path), Elizabeth Sampat, Wundergeek, Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline (who employ Something Awful members Ettin and Kai Tave at RPG.net) and Tracy Hurley care that these attacks and the people inflicting them originated in a troll forum?
Because long ago we irritated them by playing a different game than them and refusing to let them lecture us about how we’re wrong and because we wear chainmail bikinis on Halloween and aren’t ashamed. Because, for example, Wundergeek and David Hill have real problems with tentacle hentai—and I made a live action tentacle porn because I wanted to. So who cares if I get harassed? I’m the wrong kind of feminist.
And whenever I’ve tried to reach out to them, like when I was in the hospital and I asked a mutual acquaintance to help me address some of this built up hate with GeekyLyndsay, nothing comes of it. I reached out to an intermediary because I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. They’ve done nothing.
So when Tom Hatfield (“wordmercenary" on the Something Awful and twitter) wrote his article full of totally disproved accusations about us, they just sent it along and spread it around, because for them it’s a small leap from “Had a different opinion about sexy art, or what kinds of games to play, or made us feel bad” to “is guilty of hate crimes”. They piled on it and shared it and now that everyone knows it was a lie straight out of this misogynistic troll factory of a message board, they still refuse to apologize or admit they did something wrong.
If, unlike them, you’re interested in where it all actually got started, you can watch the major memes of the witch-hunt form over the course of 40 pages in the Something Awful forum right here, in response to the news of Zak working on the 5th edition of D&D. Few if any of the forum members ask each other for evidence, of course, and they trust each other completely as they begin to spin sickening violent fantasies:
"Let’s find out where a disabled porn star lives and attack her caretaker.”
Here you can watch more known personalities—see Paul Ettin’s fellow RPGnet moderator Kai Tave join in the harassment as well as Alex Norris aka “Lemon Kurdistan”—one of the first people to take the harassment to twitter in the day following the announcement. As the days go on in thread, you can see members also attack Dungeon World designer Sage LaTorra and D&D lead designer Mike Mearls for not believing them.
They searched for months to find anything anything over the line any of us ever said or did so they could send it to Wizards Of The Coast (the company that publishes D&D) or even to post on-line and couldn’t find anything incriminating. Just a lot of arguments about games and art that they were sore about not winning instantly—and a lot of random bad things that happened to them that they try to (and can’t) connect to us having vocally disagreed with them. Anon sent you a mean email? Must be those porn people. Your dog ran away? The porn people “incited” it to. As if no-one would ever have a problem with UK-porn law style kinkshaming like “harem anime is pathetic and disgusting. Fetish anime ditto. Hentai ditto.” or straight up idiocy like “OSR people smell their own farts” unless we told them to have a problem with it.
And, on top of that, we’ve repeatedly told anyone reading us not to harass anyone. Somebody “found” Zak asking his friends to help stop someone on Twitter naively spreading Tom Hatfield’s post (“tweet at him, send him links”)—that’s about the extent of our horrible conspiracy.
Meanwhile we’ve got mountains of evidence of trolling and sexist attacks against us going back years and they don’t care. Some of them still disingenuously pretend Tom’s article’s true (and refuse to discuss it or give any evidence):
…”extremely established journalist” who never sourced anything and couldn’t get the article published by any real news source. A Something Awful troll with friends and a blog, in other words.
Of course, most of this is phrased as attacks on Zak and “his” opinions. When you attack Zak’s positions as if he’s the only one who holds them, you intentionally pretend we don’t exist, aren’t intelligent, and don’t back him up 100% or that we’ve “internalized the patriarchy”. Pretending our opinions are a result of Zak pulling the strings is one of the most sexist thing I can imagine and the holier-than-thou RPG community has been comforting itself by doing it since we showed up.
I want to stress this: You have a problem with that man, you have a problem with me. You have a problem with all the girls I’ve played D&D with. When you ignore his questions and concerns, you ignore ours.
Which is nothing new: You always have ignored what I have to say, what Connie has to say. You ignore any woman gamer who doesn’t buy into your white knight bullshit excuses for harassment. Most of the time when Zak is attacked by white knights he’s QUOTING me saying something pro-sex feminist. Or Connie or KK or Karolyn or Laney, or Stoya or Molly Crabapple, or Charlotte or Scrap (trans) or Contessa’s Stacy Dellorfano (who’s super fucking clever and should be listened to) etc etc etc.
If there’s these little ” ” symbols that’s a direct quote. Those symbols exist for a reason. So I am speaking for myself. Which is exactly what these trolls hate—-and do their best to discredit and ignore. It’s disgusting and disingenous. What Zak’s doing that’s being labeled so often as sexist is REPORTING what I and my friends actually say. But nobody wants to get in a fight with an lgbt feminist in a wheelchair about these ideas, so they take the extremely sexist step of assigning my words to him.
It’s a dodge to pretend that Zak’s using a “but my friends are black” type argument when he isn’t. That’s a pretty nasty way to twist what me and my game group’s other women are saying. We are women speaking from experience as much as any other woman.
So what happens when women who have opinions and beliefs like mine go online and try to engage directly? I’ve posted about this before but it looks like I’m just going to have to repeat myself until the end of time. We get White Knighted. Here’s a bunch of people doing it, with moderator Paul Ettin helping.
These guys think Frank Frazetta art keeps women from interacting with the rest of the hobby online? No—it’s the behavior of real-life men, like this shit on the forums that keeps women away from gaming.
This sexism is unsurprising considering RPGnet still runs ads like this on its front page and claims it couldn’t possibly change ad servers:
This is nothing new—long before all this, if you read through the comments here you can see another anti-sex White Knight (the Greg the post is addressed to) who later became a Men’s Right’s Activist….yeah ‘cause they’re not sexist at all right?
None of the people in the hipster gaming scene helped out with Greg. They also didn’t help when we were kicking the conservatives out of the old school community (which worked very well, thanks) after we were attacked on the blogs for doing I Hit It With My Axe. None of them showed up to defend us from sexist harassment on the forums when the show went live and the internet exploded with accusations that we were being paid to pretend to play D&D. We were being called Fake Geek Girls before Fake Geek Girls was a thing and where were they? And where are they now?
They only care about their own.
And let’s address this “marketing strategy” bullshit. Zak is an artist. He has work in the MOMA and the Whitney. I dare you call up his gallery and ask how much a painting of his sells for. Go on, I’m waiting. Our livelihood, it doesn’t come from gaming. This is our hobby. We play to enjoy ourselves and when we make a webshow or Zak makes a gaming product it’s because we want to share our hobby and our fun with other people. There’s no marketing strategy here. Perhaps you were confused by statements like “if you’re going to attacks us it only benefits us so you should probably stop”. Or “If there’s gonna be controversy, may as well take advantage of it” but Zak and his game publisher aren’t the ones on forums making people constantly talk shit about me or my friends.
And because these people are upset by the fact that women won’t fall in line they will overlook any fact you put in front of them. This is our “original sin” as far as they’re concerned:
Oh, really? Zak discovered your forum because a podcast was “snickering”. Actually Zak came and had a talk with your forum because the people on the podcast were being sexist, condescending fucks and he came to ask for an apology—which he got.
This kind of “support” from the indie rpg community almost made me want to stop doing I Hit It With My Axe altogether. They could not have pushed the women of DIY D&D away harder. We were playing our game because we wanted to, not because we didn’t know any better.
Bradley’s explanation is completely accurate and fair—but when it’s time to attack someone, these indie gamers never go back and check anything.
So, what are you going to do—keep complaining that you got in a fight about dice once and we were mean to you, or stand up and apologize for enabling these harassers over and over and over?
These Something Awful trolls are harassers.
Paul Ettin is a harasser.
Andri Erlingsson is a harasser.
Jussi Marttila is a harasser.
Alex Norris is a harasser.
Kai Tave is a harasser.
Tom Hatfield is a harasser.
Everyone who forwarded the attacks on us is enabling and supporting their harassment. And you need to go beyond ”Well we don’t support harassment of anybody” and stand up and admit you were wrong and you’ve been ignoring it and these are the people who have been doing it.
If you mean what you say about inclusivity in gaming and not supporting harassment or trolling then accept and respect the fact that we want to be left alone to play our game and be ourselves. We don’t deserve to be subjected to years of ongoing misogynistic attacks and bizarre speculation because of our gender, occupation, or choice of fucking game or because you can’t relate. And it adds insult to injury to continue to deny my experience of these attacks just because we happen to be different.
Maybe you’ve made some mistakes.
Here’s the reaction so far…
So a woman didn’t actually write the thing she wrote about being harassed —her boyfriend wrote it for her? Classic sexism guys, classic.