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Anita Sarkeesian Cancels Speech Following Terror Threats [UPDATE]

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UPDATE (9:13pm): Anita Sarkeesian has cancelled her speech at Utah State University following a terror threat from an anonymous student, according to the school's Twitter account.

Sarkeesian confirmed in a series of tweets this evening:


UPDATE 2 (10/16): Yesterday, Utah State University put out a statement saying they believed the letter was not a credible threat, and that it was "intended to frighten the university into cancelling the event."

Prior to the threat, USU police were already making preparations for security as Ms. Sarkeesian had received threats in the past. After receiving the email, USU police added heightened security measures, including securing the Taggart Student Center auditorium far in advance, ensuring her safety to and from the event, and bringing in additional uniformed and plain-clothed police officers.

Throughout the day, Tuesday, Oct. 14, USU police and administrators worked with state and federal law enforcement agencies to assess the threat to our USU community and Ms. Sarkeesian. Together, we determined that there was no credible threat to students, staff or the speaker, and that this letter was intended to frighten the university into cancelling the event.

The safety and protection of students and those who attend our events is our foremost priority at Utah State. But we are also an institution of higher learning. In this case, the Center for Women and Gender had invited a nationally known speaker to bring her perspective about an important topic to USU. After a full assessment of the situation, the USU administration, in consultation with law enforcement, chose to continue with the event.

When our law enforcement personnel spoke about security measures, she was concerned that state law prevented the university from keeping people with legal concealed firearm permits from entering the event, and chose to cancel. As a Utah public institution, we follow state law. The Utah law provides that people who legally possess a concealed firearm permit are allowed to carry a firearm on public property, like the USU campus.

Original story follows:

Utah State University has enacted security measures following a terror threat this morning in which an anonymous student said he would take "revenge" if a Wednesday event featuring feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian carried on as planned, according to the Utah-based newspaper The Standard Examiner.


The letter, reportedly sent by a Utah State University student this morning, threatened to commit "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if Sarkeesian continues with tomorrow's event, during which she will speak on misogyny and harassment in video game culture.

The university said the event will go on as planned, according to the newspaper. Representatives for the university were not immediately available to confirm this story when reached by Kotaku.


It's yet another horrifying example of the way some people have acted toward Sarkeesian since she launched a Kickstarter to examine feminist tropes in video games back in 2012. Over the past two years, some of Sarkeesian's detractors have barraged her with misogynistic threats and harassment, even going so far as to call bomb threats into the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this year.

Just a few days ago, Sarkeesian tweeted that she received threats for speaking at an event:


Sarkeesian has spoken about facing these threats for years now, though they've taken new urgency in light of the much-discussed Gamergate movement, which received a burst of attention over the weekend after death threats drove the game developer and Gamergate critic Brianna Wu out of her home.

There is no mention of Gamergate in the threatening letter sent to Utah State University.