A few months ago, a small contingent of “social justice warriors” (SJWs) began a petition to get Adam Baldwin removed from the celebrity guest list at Supanova Con in Perth, Australia. They collected signatures from just over 6,200 people, and for what? They cited “numerous instances of harassment and abuse toward women.”
In earlier discussions of #GamerGate, I had the chance to speak with Adam Baldwin personally. He clarified that his intent was never to unfairly smear anyone, but to help bring more attention to the dirty dealings within the gaming/gaming journalism communities.
In response, fans struck back with a counter-petition that quickly racked up over 6,500 signatures. They claimed that the movement to get his invitation revoked was political in nature and that capitulation to such pressure was indicative of a lack of support for free speech from Supanova.
Why do I bring this up now? After receiving notice of the online petition, the organizer Daniel Zachariou at Supanova released the following statement:
While we wish Adam Baldwin's attendance in Supanova in Sydney and Perth this June wasn't a controversial issue, it clearly is, and the reasons why are now understood. We ask for your patience and understanding while we deal with the developments…
… We only ask that you don't villify or attack one party or the other for holding differing views in the process. We're one community of fans here, that have come together from various areas of pop culture, and Supanova is as much your space as it is ours.
Therefore, please help us work through all this, together, sharing your voice and thoughts, but do so in a manner that ultimately helps rather than agitates. Heals rather than antagonises.
We call on you, our friends, to be caring and accepting of each other as we work our way through your responses.
Supanova 2015 is scheduled to be in Sydney and Perth in June, and as of this moment, Adam Baldwin is still scheduled to appear at both.
An ocean away in Calgary, Alberta, the story is slightly different. The Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo (CalEx) is one of the largest pop culture conventions in Canada, and fans come from all over Canada and the United States to attend. This year’s convention seemed no different from the start.
Enter the Honey Badger Brigade.
The Honey Badgers are a group of self-proclaimed anti-feminists dedicated to ensuring that the excessive focus on “women’s issues” does not overrun issues faced by men – and all gamers, regardless of gender. They advocate equal rights and true strength of character for women, and equal compassion for men.
They latched onto the #GamerGate movement largely because it has helped to expose the false narrative and accompanying underhanded “journalism’ regarding the problem of rampant sexism in video gaming. They purchased booth space at Calgary Expo to promote the Honey Badger Brigade’s Radio Program. And that’s when the trouble started.
Alison Tieman (@TyphonBlue), Honey Badger and graphic artist, was allowed to speak during a “women in Comics” panel. She clearly and politely explained why she was not a feminist. The next day, security arrived at the Honey Badgers’ booth.
They isolated Ms. Tieman from the rest of the Honey Badgers, and forced her to turn off the recording device she had in hand. The told her that, due to the fact that she and the Honey Badgers had harassed other Expo attendees, they were to vacate their booth and leave the premises. The alleged harassment, they claimed, had been reported in over 25 social media complaints - but no evidence was ever presented.
The worst part is that CalEx and other similar pop culture conventions are a major source of income for graphic artists like Alison Tieman. Banishment from CalEx and all of their shows across Canada is not just a disappointment or even a humiliation – it is a loss of livelihood. You can hear the story in her own words as well.
The anti-GamerGate crowd claims to be all about equality for women, especially in the gaming community. I noted the irony here: