By Ila Ananya
Ralph Retort, a website linked time and again to GamerGate, put out another blog post that triggered another huge and vicious attack on Allie Rose-Marie Leost, who works for Electronic Arts’ (EA) motion-capture labs.
The website stated that an “inexperienced” Leost was the lead facial animator for the game Mass Effect: Andromeda, which has been laughed at for its character’s awkward facial expressions. Disgustingly, the website said that she was probably “very experienced”, claiming to have an idea about how Leost got the job—the gif that follows this is of a woman’s face, her eyes closed, sausages landing on her.
This harassment campaign that took off from the unfounded Ralph Retort post resulted in Leost being harassed on Twitter with all kinds of comments, including, “you’re really bad at your job, I guess this is what happens when they employ base (sic) on sex organs instead of talent”, and “can I stick my dick in you so you can learn a few more facial expressions”. It’s an obvious reminder that GamerGate never really seems to have ended—back when it had happened, the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate essentially provided a cover for the systematic harassment of women in the gaming industry. Ever since, there have been both horrifying and infuriating reports about the kinds of threats, including those of rape and death, that women receive in the gaming community.
In Leost’s case, BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn released a statement, clarifying that Leost had not been the lead facial animator on the game, and also condemning the attack she faced. Of course, unsurprisingly, Ralph Retort had more ridiculous things to say about BioWare’s response that only points at his own stupidity.
But even if we for a moment assume that Leost had indeed been the lead facial animator of the project, it’s also important to remember that it’s no reason for her to be attacked in the vicious, misogynistic way that she was. We know the attack would hardly have been the same if it was a man.