Feminist gamer won’t speak at Utah schools until guns prohibited

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LOGAN, Utah -- Anita Sarkeesian, a popular online video game critic and outspoken feminist, is outraged at the way the Utah State University handled terroristic-type threats that were made against her if she spoke at the university this week.

Wednesday, Sarkeesian spoke to FOX 13 News after death threats and Utah's laws regarding guns on campus prompted her to cancel an appearance at Utah State University.

Sarkeesian expressed her frustration with the school.

“I have had threats at other events, and each time that happens I take it very seriously and usually the location I’m speaking at takes it very seriously," she said. "So, this was the first time I had ever declined to do an event."

The feminist writer was scheduled to give a discussion on how women are portrayed in video games Wednesday. But Monday evening, someone sent an email to the school, threatening “a Montreal massacre style attack” if Sarkeesian did not cancel.

“I thought it was pretty reasonable to ask for a metal detector or pat down to ensure that there would be no firearms in the auditorium,” Sarkeesian said.

However, Sarkeesian said Utah State University’s response was minimal and maintains the school didn’t even tell her about the threat, Tweeting that she found out about the threat from social media after arriving in Utah.

While USU was working with local law enforcement to increase police presence at the event, they could not guarantee guests wouldn’t bring in a firearm. Due to state law, school officials said they had to allow people with concealed carry permits to exercise their right to carry.

“Not being able to do something about that, or take precautionary measures, in terms of preventing firearms in the lecture hall, is completely outrageous,” Sarkeesian said. “This was direct, specific, credible threats that were specifically stating the types of weapons that they would use about a mass shooting.”

According to Salt Lake City defense attorney Greg Skordas, the university would have been within their legal rights to restrict firearms to the specific location, given the threats.

"I don't think anyone can read state law to say that a person can carry a firearm on a university campus at all times, for any reason,” explained Skordas. “There are certainly some exceptions to that, and this case seemed to have some basis for people to consider those exceptions."

USU Spokesman Tim Vitale said the school believes it was following the state code; however, it will review the law, again.

Vitale contends they did everything within their authority to ensure the safety of Sarkeesian, as well as students and staff.

Related stories:

USU students rally to support feminist who canceled speech in face of security concerns

FBI investigating terror threat against Utah college, feminist writer


  • someone

    I don’t think it matters if the threats were credible or not. Imagine if she did speak and someone shot people and set off pipe bombs in the auditorium. Threats against lives should be a big deal and it makes sense that she canceled over one.

  • Gorge

    This lady seem to be complaining all of the time. The threats she received were awful and I can see why she didn’t want to speak, but to point the finger at USU is pathetic. The real problem was the person who sent the threats not the school.

  • Matthew Cooley

    She should probably give up this worthless crusade. To die for something fictional is no way to die. I understan the feminist point of view, but it is better to choose something more fruitful to conquer, rather than complaining about video games. I don’t agree with the death threats. I don’t agree with Anita’s point of view.

    Now it’s almost an inescapable mess. Stop while your ahead.

    • Mike

      Matthew – “To die for something fictional is no way to die.” — fictional, what?! How can you call her crusade worthless, after evidence like this?
      How thick are you? You realize she can’t speak her mind or discuss her critique without having her life threatened, right? She is a perfect illustration of how women do not have equal freedom of speech. She is fighting for equality so that women can have equal safety in society, equal freedom of speech, and equal representation in media and entertainment. She is living proof that women have not yet been granted equality.

  • bob

    Her liberal “logic” says more than her speech could have. Her idea of empowering women is to disarm them.

    When someone threatens to shoot the place up that’s the perfect time for the audience to be packing. Disarming the law-abiding and then putting up some of those cute little signs in which liberals place so much faith is not a solution. Anyone who wants to do that is going to do it regardless of signs, metal detectors or rent-a-cops.

    Ladies, so-called “feminists” want you to be perpetual victims, not grown ups.

    • Jim

      Bob, there was a threat of a mass shooting.
      Don’t you think it would be pretty irresponsible for her to go ahead with the talk?

      • Tim

        She’s a coward. Let a “threat” back her down from the getting out what she feels is important. Smh, very un-American. Feminism is not as important to her as she says and apparently femenists in Utah are not very important to her.

  • William

    This women is just stupid, I’m at usu currently and I’m glad she didn’t speak. All she does is complain and point fingers. In reality she is just this months flavor soon enough everyone will forget about her in general.

    • Michael

      Fairly sure if she keeps getting death threats it will actually give her more evidence that women are badly treated by video games. As it is, the harassment and threats are not slowing down, and she is gaining more and more publicity.
      I salute the work she does. The harassment is unjustifiable.

  • J

    the university had many options they could have explored to keep everyone safe. blaming the school for hiding behind a “utah law” seems a little short sighted on both sides of the argument. The school could have done more, they have rights. Heck anyone can deny entrance to an event to concealed permit carriers-they may not have the law behind them-but the permit holders still have to leave. (found that to be an interesting part of the law) not saying that is what the school should have done, but I do think they had more options at their disposal they chose not to investigate.

    • ReacherJ

      You’re statement is a bit inaccurate. Yes, any private entity can deny entrance to a person with a firearm. However, government entities in Utah, which includes public universities, cannot deny entrance to any one lawfully carrying a firearm, open or concealed. The only exception is state court houses. If this event was held at a non-government-owned location, then a firearm restriction could have been implemented.

      • bob

        Legally, the only private entities that can ban guns, as such, are churches. And only if they officially register that intent with the State.

        A private business, for example, can put up “No Guns Allowed” signs, but it’s legal to ignore them. I ignore them all the time. So does every other CCW permit holder. We know what’s legal and what’s not.

        A private entity can ban a PERSON, for whatever reason, including knowledge that the person is carrying a gun.

  • TheOtherBob

    Anita Sarkeesian won’t speak at Utah schools until guns are prohibited? You won’t be missed honey. Please don’t let the hit you on your backsides as you exit the limelight.

  • DanH

    So an anti-gun feminist is demanding protection by armed males as well as making everyone else conform to her beliefs with threat of arrest by those same armed males. Yeah, that makes sense.

    • Mike

      She didn’t “demand protection”. She asked that guns would be forbidden in the conference hall since she had received a threat of a mass shooting. The school refused to do pat downs or use gun detectors, so she cancelled for her own safety and the safety of others.

      • bob

        So we only have civil rights until some idiot makes a comment on the internet?

        “Pat downs” only provide the first targets. They don’t stop a determined crazy. And what’s a metal detector supposed to do? “Beep” to confirm that, yes, those ARE gunshots you’re hearing?

        Guns stop guns. Not wishful thinking.

    • Mike

      So – what’s your point? Women gets threat of mass shooting. Woman makes responsible safety requests to avoid possible catastrophic outcome. School is unable to provide safe area for conversation. Woman cancels visit.
      Men on the internet complain because…..? What responsible person would have taken that risk?

  • TheOtherBob

    Anita Sarkeesian represents the thought process of the typical liberal female. Certainly she’d feel safer in Chicago, Detroit or Los Angeles where there are more of her kind.

  • Drama Llama

    There is too much drama already about everything these days, I hope this llama never comes back to utah if thats how its going to act.

  • Christopher Beebe

    This is COMPLETELY outrageous, a school unable to ban weapons of any kind due to a Utah law! And as a result, it forced a feminist speaker to cancel her speech AND refuse to ever speak at Utah schools again until the schools are allowed to ban weapons.

    • bob

      The school is owned by the State of Utah, genius.

      You’re probably one of those mouth-breathers who think putting up a “No Guns” sign keeps guns out.

  • Concerned Mom and Gamer

    There have been so many female developers targeted and even driven out of their homes lately because of these threats. As a parent, I don’t want my kid going to a talk where the school doesn’t take their safety seriously. This is completely irresponsible of USU. And the title of this article is completely irresponsible as well. She didn’t ask for guns to be completely prohibited– she asked for it to be prohibited at her talk which got a direct and yes CREDIBLE massacre threat! Get your story right.

  • Adam Gale

    Publicity stunt to give this liberal a chance to scream about gun control. Personally, I’m glad her special brand of stupid and cowardice isn’t going to be speaking here ever again.

    • Derpydoodah

      “special brand of stupid” – actually I think she’d have to be pretty stupid to risk her life (and the lives of others) just to give a seminar. She did the right thing. Why you are you even angry – are you disappointed you didn’t get to see her head blown off?

      • bob

        The right thing? Really? LOL!

        Well, now we know how easy it is to get liberals to shut up. Should have thought of this before.

      • derpydoodah

        “now we know how easy it is to get liberals to shut up” – Why do you condone these deaths threats?

  • Tim

    She’s a coward. Let a “threat” back her down from the getting out what she feels is important. Smh, very un-American. Feminism is not as important to her as she says and apparently femenists in Utah are not very important to her.

    • hisser

      Maybe your *average* person is more in danger from the fed… Sarkeesian is one of the most targeted people on the web following Gamergate. And she received a very specific death threat about this event.
      To suggest she is in no danger is dishonest and naive.

  • PharmBoy

    The school not telling her is somewhat irresponsible, but for her to say that the school didn’t do enough to provide a safe environment is ludicrous. USU arranged with the local police departments to increase the police presence at the venue and cover all entrances, they had banned all bags so no one could carry a bag full of weapons in, and they had plans in place to do a sweep of the venue just before the speech to check for bombs and weapons placed previous to the speech. It seems to me that the school took this threat seriously and did everything they could to provide reasonable security while allowing students their 2nd amendment right to bear arms, especially when those students have a CC permit.

    • wtf man

      I think if she didn’t want to risk her life, she should be free to make that call.
      Maybe the school did “all they could”, but it’s pretty crazy they couldn’t even prevent guns being taken into the lecture hall, considering the very specific threats which had been made.
      I’m from the UK and just the idea of carrying a gun is unthinkable, let alone into a school building! Most of our police do not even carry guns. Why you nutty Americans are so in love with guns is beyond comprehension. It is madness.

  • whereibelongsf

    This is the most ridiculously one-sided and misleading headline. She received a death threat by someone bragging that he was going to bring an arsenal of guns to the event and kill everyone. She asked security to set up metal detectors and confiscate any firearms, including those people could legally carry, and they refused. She would be incredibly irresponsible if she went forward with the event given the threat and the school’s refusal to adequately provide security for the event. But I guess that doesn’t feed into your narrative, so whatever.

    • wtf man

      You are right. The headline is a lie. It’s sad how even popular media outlets are slurring her reputation now.
      I suppose in a way it is good though… anyone who has followed her from the start knows she is legit, and this treatment just further points out how the world treats vocal women differently😦
      “Anita’s Irony”, through-and-through.

  • J

    You can believe she is a coward if you’d like. Earlier this year an awards event that intended to recognize her contributions to the game industry received an email that contained a credible bomb threat if she went through with accepting her award. She walked on stage and accepted it. That takes cajones.

  • lotsoflove

    This is Utah we believe in are guns! I hope it stays that way. I think this Anita Sarkeesian should have stepped up and said what she had to say. It looks bad to back out because of a threat, must not really mean that much to you Anita Sarkeesian. “We despise and abhor the bully, the brawler, the oppressor, whether in private or public life, but we despise no less the coward and the voluptuary. No man is worth calling a man who will not fight rather than submit to infamy or see those that are dear to him suffer wrong.”
    ― Theodore Roosevelt

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