Debunking Anita Sarkeesian following Hank Green’s VidCon apology

A lot of people have been eagerly awaiting an update from Hank following the disaster that was the “Women Online” panel focused on the harassment and abuse women receive online. Through some sort of cosmic joke, Anita Sarkeesian ended up on the panel and it didn’t take long before she put on a marvelous display of hypocrisy by pointing at a member of the audience and proudly proclaiming that he was “human garbage”.

So why the controversy? The targeted member of the audience was none other than Sargon of Akkad, a famous YouTuber that dissects news and videos pointing out the errors and mistakes made. This criticism presented by Sargon and others is according to Anita plain harassment. I’m not sure if this was an intentional way to get a new victim card from the deck, or just a demonstration of her inability to control herself, but the outcome so far might be worse than the incident.

The SJWs out there will gladly tell you that Sargon have made a living harassing her for the last 4 years, but that is pretty easy to prove wrong by just checking his videos on YouTube. Only about 4% of approximately 780 videos are about Anita, so that’s debunked.

In the VidCon 2017 Debrief that Hank posted after the event, we find the following:

  1. He told [Anita] that her comment had violated our policy, but that he understood that there was a broader context (which to be clear, we were blissfully ignorant of until this weekend, and remain inexpert in.)
  2. He apologized to [Anita] for not having been more aware of and active in understanding the situation before the event, which resulted in her being subjected to a hostile environment that she had not signed up for.

The problem is that Anita should have never been invited had VidCon done their research, which is interesting in its own considering Hank and John Green who are behind VidCon are also behind shows such as SciShow which is centered around research. But instead they just grant her a carte blanche and a gold star for effort.

Her bio on the VidCon site makes her sound a lot more friendly. It reads:

Anita Sarkeesian is an award-winning media critic and the creator and executive director of Feminist Frequency, an educational nonprofit that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces. 

The cringe-factor is high, considering nobody at VidCon appears to have a clue of what she has been up to, and how much money shey has scammed of people. I’ll try to explain some of the controversy surrounding her. But don’t just take my word for it, as all of this can be independently verified. So please, do your own research. The truth shall set you free!

As Feminist Frequency, her jolly bunch of bandits is a nonprofit they have to file a form 990 to the IRS. The 2014 form (which was submitted late 2015) can be found here and the 2015 form here.

Some of the interesting numbers: During 2014 they collected almost $412K with a net revenue of $384K left in the bank. They paid $26K in “wages” for the fundraising done, and Anita was paid about $19K, meaning roughly $6/hr. We can also see that in 2013 they collected a measly $18K and had $20K in assets, which raises the question: What happened to the $160K collected in 2012 for the Tropes vs Women series? To go on, in 2015 they pulled in another $112K. And keeping the steam up, in 2016 the number is $207K. So, in 4 years they have collected a total of over $900K. That’s about 30 limousines or 4 brand new helicopters. In the same timespan, they produced about 50 videos.

To provide some contrast, in 2011 SciShow had a total production cost of $400K, producing 192 episodes in a single year.

Note also how the mission statement reads: “Feminist Frequency is a not-for-profit, educational organization that provides comprehensive analyses of modern media and advocates for the just treatment of all people online.” Lovely nuggets of irony there.

In an interview with Mashable, she explained that”It’s never been about video games. It’s always about social justice. It’s always been using feminism to talk about these things.”

Further criticism was raised when it turned out most of the media (including artwork) used in the tropes series was taken and used without permission from artists and YouTubers. And that is despite the original kickstarter stating “Your support will go towards production costs, equipment, games and downloadable content.”

The videos were full of flaws and red herrings, and people started to tell her just that, and this is when the “harassment” started. I’m putting it in quotes, as her definition of harassment is more than fuzzy. As an example, have a look at these tweets taken from her blog post one week of harassment on Twitter. I don’t condone the language used, but these tweets are essentially telling her she is wrong.

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She has disabled comments on her blogs and all her videos, blaming the inflow of increasingly frustrated comments. As a matter of fact, when she was interviewed by CBC she told them straight out she had no interest in a discussion with her critics, as “it isn’t criticism, it is harassment!” (See the audio clip at the bottom of the article, at around 7 minutes in)

In a video from 2010 she stated: “I’ve never been a fan of video games, I actually had to learn a lot about video games in the process of making this [referring to a video]. I would love to play video games, but I don’t want to go around shooting people and ripping of their heads.” Because supposedly that’s what all games are about.

Her most iconic statement is also quite relevant as to her character; “everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic, and you have to point it all out.”

I am not going to say anything about Hank at this time, as there is still time for a reversal including a suitable punishment. He said that they have given people second chances before, but with no repercussions and an apology I’m not sure this counts as such. As a fan of both the VlogBrothers (Hank and John) and the SciShow series, I hope they can dodge this bullet without staining the reputation of the show.