I read, with some dismay, what has been going on with Randi Harper (aka @freebsdgirl) lately.
For those who aren’t up to date on Internet drama, apparently some dude strolled by her work over the weekend and Tweeted out a picture of himself hanging out in front of it. I know I have been critical of Harper here in a couple of pieces I have written on my website, but for me, that’s just having a difference of opinion. You’re allowed to disagree, and I doubt she’d ever really read my shit. I’d never think to go out and take pictures that are meant to intimidate someone.
Because that’s what it is meant to be: intimidation. I’m willing to be skeptical or give the benefit of the doubt in most circumstances, but there’s really no other way you can twist it. It sucks and anyone trying to defend behavior such that probably doesn’t understand the implications of doing something like that.
I’ve worked in the bar industry for a number of years now. I’ve gotten to work with a number of awesome people who have had a super positive impact on my life and have been the source of a lot of awesome memories. Some of those co-workers were women who have had to be put into a number of, frankly, shitty situations.
There was a girl I worked with who had a guy come up to her and started asking her questions about her life. Well, that’s a bit of a misnomer. The guy was asking questions, but he was essentially telling her that he had all sorts of information about her. “Are you still living at [address]?” “How is your other job over at [location there]?” “What about your mother, Susan?”
It was frankly one of the weirdest/creepiest things I had heard about. Apparently this guy had gotten infatuated with her and dug up all sorts of information about her, but since she had a boyfriend and wasn’t interested in this guy, she rebuffed him as politely as she could. When he started pulling 20 questions on her, she was understandably freaked the fuck out and quit. I believe the police were involved.
There have also been a couple of instances where guys (usually drunk ones) will hang around outside the bar after we’re closed, hoping to talk to a girl that they were hitting on. These guys are usually chased off by our security staff long before they become a problem, but there have been a couple of instances where we’ve had to call the police because they just wanted to “talk” to a girl. We have a mandatory rule where every female who works in our establishment has to be walked out by door staff, and it’s because of shit like this.
There are other, non-women specific stories, too. Like the guy who was hopped up on drugs and was asked to leave because of his erratic behaviour. He did so, but was found about a half a block down the road from our bar waving a machete at passing cars.
Generally, I’d like to think that a lot of this can be chalked up to people making really stupid decisions thanks to the help of liquor. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be working an office job like a programmer and having to deal with shit like this. Particularly when these idiots are having an open discussion about it on Twitter and are talking about bringing weapons “just in case.”
I have nothing against Harper as a person. I don’t necessarily agree with some of what she believes in, but that’s okay. I would assume she’d never wish actual fucking harm on me and I would absolutely never desire the same of her.
If the only way you can articulate your disagreement with someone is by doxxing them (directly or indirectly) or by trying to intimidate someone with threatening-but-not-really pictures, you need to rethink your argument, and then probably see a mental health professional.
I still think that the “ethics in gaming journalism” is an important discussion to be having. But do folks really need to be rallying around a hashtag? Aren’t we mature individuals capable of having discussion and discourse?