[Updated] Gamergate death threats: request to prosecute

On 21 May 2015 I wrote the following letter to Ohio prosecuting attorney Ron O’Brien:

Dear Mr. O’Brien,

Apologies if this adds to a flood of correspondence in your inbox today.

I write to add my voice to those who will be calling, on Brianna Wu’s behalf, for you to prosecute the man responsible for the death threats mentioned in this article: “Gamergate Death Threat is a Slam Slam Dunk for Prosecutors. Will They Act?

Unlike many of those who will also be writing to you, I’m not personally a great fan of the particular brand of feminist politics subscribed to by many anti-Gamergate commentators. I don’t subscribe to the narrative that death threats and other abuse of this nature are an extension of mainstream masculinity or “rape culture”, as many of those commentators do. You may have similar feelings.

It’s precisely for that reason that I feel compelled to write. Prosecuting those responsible for such threats, if legally appropriate, would not only protect the innocent, it would also underscore what many reasonable people would believe to be the truth: that threatening violence against women is not masculine behavior; it is pathological, even criminal behavior that will be punished.

I wish you all the best in your work.


Ben Hourigan

Update: 23 May 2015

Late last night I (and I believe many others) got this reply from the prosecutor’s office:

I received an email from you re Brianna Wu.

A police report or investigation as to Brianna Wu has not been filed  or referred to this office. That is the normal method to report a crime, cause an investigation or seek a prosecution.

Brianna Wu has had no contact with anyone in this office or the cyber stalking unit of the city prosecutors office. Brianna Wu has not provided any evidence to this office, including any tapes of phone calls allegedly received. Brianna Wu stated online that the alleged caller could be identified if a subpoena was merely issued yet a cell, landline or phone number is not in possession of this office for that purpose; and the proper method to accomplish that is through law enforcement not online posts.

The local FBI office has referred nothing to this office regarding Wu nor contacted us indicating they intend to do so. For unknown reasons Brianna Wu chose to post something online regarding such threats stating they came from Columbus and it was within our authority. Yet she has never had contact of any kind or nature with this office.

As a result, this office received a number of emails and phone calls that wasted time and resources to respond to concerned persons who apparently observed these postings.

Brianna Wu herself says that despite interaction with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, her complaint appears to have fallen through the cracks because an employee handling police reports on her behalf was misdirected.

Wu’s tweets now appear to indicate that the case will now be pursued.

So perhaps the post at the Mary Sue, and the ensuing flood of emails and calls on Wu’s behalf, wasn’t a waste of time after all.

Author: Ben Hourigan

Ben Hourigan is a novelist from Melbourne, Australia. His books Kiss Me, Genius Boy and My Generation’s Lament are Amazon category bestsellers, and are available wherever good books are sold online. Ben also works as an editor, copywriter, and self-publishing consultant at his own firm, Hourigan & Co. For news and book release updates, sign up to his email newsletter.