Last week, a VidCon 2017 panel, which featured feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian, was met with some drama. The arrival of YouTuber Sargon of Akkad and his entourage of anti-social justice warriors took up the front rows of the event. Anita felt uncomfortable, and this caused her to lash out with name calling directed at Sargon.
She had used profanity as part of the name calling and cited him being a “garbage human.” This caused quite a stir in the YouTube community when tons of YouTubers uploaded their take on the matter, attempting to even have her banned from a Saturday cyber-bullying panel.
Although it was unprovoked at that moment, VidCon 2017 had apologized to Anita Sarkeesian. However, Hank and John Green, the people who run the convention, claimed that she couldn’t be blamed for her reaction considering the history of criticism and harassment she’s received from Sargon and others over the years.
They said that Anita had been a subject of harassment over time which was “cultivated” and “resulted in followers doxxing, harassing, intimidating, and even threatening the lives of the creators on these panels.”
However, they did mention that it was hard to believe that Sargon and the YouTube critics, who arrived at the venue quite early in order to garner the front rows, would not be aware that they would be an intimidating presence.
That said, they arrived at their own conclusion that Sargon and his cohorts were there to intentionally intimidate at the panel, according to One Angry Gamer.
“It is difficult to imagine that this group of people (who are aware that their channels have been base-camps for years of harassment of some of our panelists) did not realize that their arriving early to fill up the three front rows of a panel was going to be intimidating. In any case, it looked like intentional intimidation to most people in attendance, and the panelists were understandably on edge throughout the discussion.”
Hank and John did apologize to Anita for the incident, but they did acknowledge she violated policy when it comes to harassment at the facility.
But is it really a matter of perception as Sargon has a history, according to him, of having viewpoints that are polarized from her own? Can you say that regardless of VidCon’s policy about harassment that the one’s running the show acknowledged the fact she couldn’t be blamed for how she felt?
In a recent tweet, Sargon mentioned that Hank and John never did get back to him regarding his harassment concern.
“Neither @hankgreen or @johngreen contacted me for a statement, they took the abusers word at face value.”
John and Hank did announce they’ll be enacting a new policy, and any footage from the event that is used “to focus the outrage” would result in the person responsible not being allowed back for another VidCon.
“This is a difficult situation to build policy to alleviate, but we ask that all of the people involved consider the power of our actions and statements both online and in the real world. But one specific note, if people attend VidCon to collect footage to later use in videos that criticize not just ideas, but focus the outrage of their followers on individuals, they will not be welcome back.”
Do you think the VidCon 2017 incident with Sargon and Sarkeesian should justify an addition to their policy as previously stated? Is this a good idea because all this negative energy does not accomplish anything outside of outrage and turmoil?
Do you think panels like these should be a platform for silent protests?
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola /Getty Images]