The GamerGate “movement” has continued unabated since I first covered it here last month. Since then they’ve spread their vitriolic nonsense to other women in game development and even women geek culture celebrities who have dared to suggest that perhaps the game industry should recognize women as an important part of their audience. They’ve also expanded, with no trace of visible irony, to threatening people who claim that they threaten people. In the process they’ve become not only literally but officially a hate group. And despite all this, they still hide behind a claim that their real concern is “ethics in gaming journalism”, a concept that’s been a joke since Nintendo Power first hit the newsstands in 1988. And while it’s tempting to ignore them, to not “feed the trolls”, silence is complicity.

The flash point of this lazily-named reactionary movement was the accusation that a particular woman indie game developer was sleeping with game reviewers for good press. Not only was this false, but she’s since released chat logs of the movement’s original organizers showing they were aware it was false. But by then, no one behind the #GamerGate hashtag cared. They smelled feminist blood in the water, the blood of women who dared suggest that maybe more time should be put into game mechanics and less into breast-jiggle physics, women who dared to ask to be recognized as a part of the audience. And, at the core of it, women who refused to be their property despite a privileged upbringing that taught them women were their prize for completing a level.

Since then it’s become a frenzy. Feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel a lecture at Utah State University when the college refused to ban concealed weapons there despite anonymous but explicit threats of a massacre on campus for allowing her to speak. Game developer Brianna Wu and her husband were forced to flee their home for their own safety when she was “doxed” — a popular practice among cyber-bullies where a person’s personal information such as their home address is publicly published, often with an invitation to others to use that information to cause them harm. Actress Felicia Day, whose career has revolved almost entirely around her identity as a geek and a gamer, was doxed within an hour of posting to her own blog that she was afraid to speak out about GamerGate, proving the exact point of her post. Their actions have been nothing less than genuine terrorism.

They’ve also carried out a campaign of harassment against any media that dares to speak out against them. For the most part this has taken the form of petitioning advertisers to pull their money from ad-dependent gaming news sites. The majority of companies have had the sense to ignore this, but in a widely-publicized move covered up by a half-baked apology, computer hardware giant Intel pulled their ads from Gamasutra. While not as bad as threatening to shoot up a college campus, it does reveal the lie that their movement has anything to do with actual journalistic ethics.

In fact, GamerGate has deep ties with “Men’s Rights Activists” and Neo-Nazi groups on 4chan and ∞chan (or 8chan) message boards. Social researcher Jennifer Allaway outlined for Jezebel how the movement has come to fit the academic definition of a hate group. And on October 16th, based on an article in the Guardian, the Southern Poverty Law Center included them in its Hatewatch Headlines. They are, without question, a hate group, and anyone who genuinely cares about ethics in games journalism needs to get as far away from them as possible and come up with a better name while they’re at it.

Fortunately, the real media is catching on, and despite the usual fixation on “both sides of the story”, this time they’re not fooled. Along with the Guardian coverage, the New York Times ran a front-page article on it earlier this month, and Brianna Wu has been interviewed on CNN about it multiple times. Many game news sites have also found the strength to officially stand up against GamerGate in recent weeks.

GamerGate, regardless of what noble-sounding goals it claims, is the last dying struggles of unchecked privilege. It’s no more than a nerd KKK, and like that group, good people must stand against it whether they are the targets or not. It may not be going away anytime soon, and it may be taking the “gamer” identity itself down with it, but at least now it’s being recognized as what it is: a hate group.