It’s been nearly two years since a mob of entitled straight white males took on the uncreative handle of “Gamergate” (Can we stop with the “gate”s already?) to harass and threaten women in gaming-related geek spaces under the guise of “ethics in journalism.” In that time they managed to bring attention to the ugliness faced by women in the game industry and games journalism and get mentioned as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but they didn’t actually manage to stop video games from occasionally being about people other than them.

That’s because most big game companies have decided to stay on the side of Good. Even Intel, which slipped up by removing their ads from the Gamergate-targeted web site Gamasutra, aggressively made up for it by not only reinstating the ads but publicly supporting other targets like game critic Anita Sarkeesian and the LGBT-geared GaymerX convention.

But while their motives may forever remain unclear, there’s a lot of evidence pointing to a Gamergate victory in the case of Nintendo’s firing of Gamergate-targeted marketing specialist Alison Rapp.

Nintendo provoked Gamergate’s ire with some decisions made in the localization of recent Japanese games Fire Emblem Fates and Xenoblade Chronicles X. All one has to do is step into an anime convention to see that the objectification of women, especially cartoony underage-looking women, is an issue in Japanese media targeted towards young men. And while Japanese media has some very queer-friendly subgenres, as a whole, that culture’s understanding of LGBT issues lags behind ours. But Gamergate, being almost entirely straight white men, felt that changes made to those games to bring them in line with American cultural sensitivities was gross censorship.

The irony is that Alison Rapp didn’t even work on the localization team. Her work on those games was solely on the Marketing side, and she had no say in those decisions. But Gamergate wanted to blame these changes on a woman and mere facts weren’t going to deter them. Late last year they began a dedicated harassment campaign against her with the goal of getting her fired. The bigger irony is that, to this end, they tried to cast her as a pedophile by digging up a paper she had written in college defending those aforementioned oversexualized underage cartoon women – a paper that clearly agreed with them, since one of the changes that upset them was the removal of the option to put a 13-year-old character in a tiny bikini!

But instead of showing support for their employee, Nintendo remained quiet on the matter – until late March, when Gamergate seemingly got their wish. Rapp was fired. The official reason, per their press release, was that she was “holding a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture.” But while Rapp admitted on Twitter to moonlighting under a pseudonym to help pay her student loans, she also said, “Moonlighting is actually accepted at Nintendo. It’s policy.” So while Nintendo’s press release gave lip service to “fostering inclusion and diversity,” the authenticity of their statements on her firing is still questionable.

And in the aftermath, Alison Rapp is still being attacked, and in April her family members were doxxed (an online harassment tactic where one’s personal information such as home address is released to the public, with an implied call for others to use it to cause physical harm). One has to wonder if Nintendo’s actions have poured fuel on this smoldering hate group.

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