Last month, the long-running and much-loved Supanova Expo announced it would bring star of Firefly and Serenity, Adam Baldwin, to Australia to appear at the convention and speak. After the announcement, a petition popped up which called for the expo’s organisers to revoke the invitation due to Baldwin’s views on #GamerGate and his association with online threats and bullying. After much consideration, Supanova has made the decision to keep Baldwin on the program.
Image: Frazer Harrison/Getty
So what has Baldwin done to annoy so many people? Well as mentioned, he’s a prominent supporter of #GamerGate, and was the first to use the term “GamerGate”. GamerGate has been associated with rape and death threats online, as well as “doxxings”. According to supporters of the movement, it’s about “ethics in gaming journalism”.
After concerns were raised about Baldwin’s attendance, a petition popped up online calling for his removal from the convention. At the time of writing, that petition has attracted 5861 signatures and continues to grow. Despite the outcry, however, Baldwin will be kept on the bill with the promise that he won’t discuss the #GamerGate movement.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement on Supanova’s Facebook page:
To exclude someone from Supanova for their views, even if we don’t share them, goes completely against the spirit of the expo that we’ve presented all these years as all our stars appear to discuss their work in pop culture, not their personal political or ideological viewpoints. We similarly embrace all our fans, whatever their various pop culture passions may be, and that inclusiveness is at our very heart.
Baldwin said that “pop culture conventions are inappropriate venues for controversial topics, so I will respectfully not be discussing them at Supanova, or its related events”.
The point of the petition is not to boot Baldwin from Supanova Sydney for his views, but because of the kind of audience his views may attract. As Mark over at Kotaku points out in his report, it’s about people feeling safe.
Sure, Baldwin may have promised not to bring up #GamerGate, but that doesn’t mean some of his misogynistic fans who don’t mind throwing abuse around on the internet in the name of “ethics in gaming journalism” won’t be in attendance, and that’s the problem.
Read more here.