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Stephen Colbert takes on Gamergate with Anita Sarkeesian

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Feminist critic appears on 'The Colbert Report' to explain Gamergate harassment

Anita Sarkeesian, the creator of feminist video game critique Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, appeared tonight on The Colbert Report to discuss the Gamergate movement. Ostensibly a "consumer revolt" focused on ethics in video game journalism, Gamergate has been criticized for focusing much of its attention on harassing and threatening prominent women in the gaming industry, with Sarkeesian herself the focus of much of the vitriol.

Targeted by bomb threats, driven from her home by warnings of coming violence, and forced to cancel a recent speech at a university for fear that a gunman would massacre students, Sarkeesian tonight spoke out about the movement disrupting the lives of a number of women in the games industry. She rejected the claim that Gamergate is focused on ethics in video game journalism, and said that served to terrorize women for simply being involved in gaming.

Colbert asked why women couldn't have 'separate but equal' games

Colbert peppered the segment with jokes, poking fun at the biblical imagery conjured up by what Gamergate supporters have called their "traditional gamer lifestyle," and wondering aloud if he was still within his rights to like looking at women wearing skimpy armor. But his trademark approach allowed for some powerful political points to be made: Colbert questioned why men — such as ex-Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe — who have spoken out against Gamergate haven't been threatened in the same way that Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, and Zoe Quinn have.

He also asked why women couldn't just have "separate but equal games," a direct reference to the infamous and racist "separate but equal" law that enabled racial segregation in the United States. The 10-minute segment closed with Colbert asking Sarkeesian whether he was able to call himself a feminist. In order to give himself the tag, and join the ranks of Gamergate's hated "social justice warriors," Sarkeesian queried simply whether he believed in equal rights for women, to which Colbert replied — "sure, I guess."