CometCon, a nerd culture convention in Spain, has faced heavy backlash after banning a GamerGate debate panel from taking place.
The panel, which was due to take place at the convention between the 5th and 6th of March, was banned after an artist requested that the panel be suspended. The artist contacted the event organisers, tweeting, “Hey @CometCon2016… the gamergate controversy is a harassment campaign that seeks to eliminate feminism in the gaming industry…” and later proclaimed the attendees to be “Nazi’s”.
“The debate was at first going to be with several people invited to discuss about it, but we didn’t find anyone against GG who wanted to participate. So we changed it to a small introductory talk, and then i would debate people from the public,” wrote panel organiser Kukuruyo on Reddit.
But then, a spanish webcomic artist known as RataUnderground (he does a comic called art 88/46) discovered it and [tweeted] them we were going to do a nazi rally, that we were sexist and all the usual stuff. His fans and artist friends also talked [to] the organization asking them to cancel the debate.
Now, the organization is not really at fault. I know many of them, they wanted to do the debate, and they don’t like the attack on freedom of speech, but they also didn’t expected the backlash they would get, and they wanted to stay out of politics.
Kukuruyo and his supporters have launched operation #DontCometCon, a hashtag that aims to protest CometCon this weekend while the convention takes place.
“We’re launching an operation to raise awareness about and protest CometCon’s decision to ban Kukuruyo’s GamerGate debate panel after being attacked by social justice crybullies,” states the campaign description. “The Thunderclap is set to go live on March 4th at 2PM GMT and you can participate in it through Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. If the Thunderclap campaign receives one hundred supporters or more by March 4th, it will broadcast a message with massive social media reach on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.”
The campaign has already received over 100 supporters.
The incident is not the first time that a GamerGate panel has been shut down due to social justice pressure. In October, a panel at SXSW entitled “Save Point” was shut down after originally being approved by organisers. Though the event was not labelled under or affiliated with GamerGate in any explicit way, the panel was still shut down for featuring a number of members who had been involved in the consumer revolt movement.
In August, a panel discussion on GamerGate hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists and featuring Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos and writer Allum Bokhari was also shut down due to an anonymous bomb threat, which resulted in the event having to finish early. Attendees at the debate simply took the event outside after the bomb threat and took the opportunity to meet each other.
Disclosure: Kukuruyo has previously worked with Breitbart News, creating an illustration for the article ‘GamerGate: A Year in Review‘.
Charlie Nash is a contributor to Breitbart Tech and former editor of the Squid Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington.