Being an amorphous nightmare hate syndicate has its privileges—the ability to lord over a droning ever-presence in your community, for one. But it presents a logistical challenge: A hundred anonymous users cannot compile into a trenchcoat and get a business license or maintain a payroll. The anonymity that is GamerGate’s greatest advantage in its harassment campaign also prevents the construction of a sustainable infrastructure.
As any activist on either side of any issue can tell you, after so many broken windows and death threats, fatigue finds a way. And then you need to make this your job, or help make it someone else’s.
Enter Mike Cernovich, #GamerGate's de facto lawyer.
"Return of Kings," the site referenced by Cernovich, is a blog for "heterosexual, masculine men" dedicated to the idea that "men should be masculine and women should be feminine." It has woefully mistaken actual issues posed to men in a patriarchal society—shame around health that leads to deaths by prostate and breast cancer, a 3:1 ratio of male vs. female suicide—for spells cast on them by promiscuous women.
As a lawyer, Cernovich—who lists having out-alpha maled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in his biographical factoids—has the systemic power and legitimacy that GamerGate requires to maintain an "in real life" momentum. Like Adam Baldwin and Milo Yannoupolis before him, Cernovich has a stated disdain for video games and the people who play them.
His interest lies squarely in a desire to see the purging of women from a sphere—any sphere. Aim small, miss small. And by lending his legal expertise and resources to the struggle, he can tap a tangible and seemingly tireless apathy toward "Social Justice Warriors."
And he's willing to pay for it, to the tune of hiring a private investigator to follow Zoe Quinn.
For those following along at home: The average rate of a private investigator is $40-$100 per hour, including expenses. Depending on where you are, it is slightly more expensive to rent a motel room for a night or take a bus into another state—things you might consider doing if you were being tracked by a PI hired by a rape-denying anti-feminist who gives out pro bono advice on how to actually get away with murder to the boys club blogosphere.
There is a discernible financial benefit to the harassment of women in tech/games; for one thing, it leads to few women demanding better pay in the industry. But typically it doesn't pay you through direct deposit with "lol feminists" in the memo line. The lack of a direct "you can pay bills with it" financial incentive is at times our only tangible defense against harassment campaigns like GamerGate—you cannot trade passion for food and rent, and eventually the fatigue sets in and people go back to their jobs, their relationships, and everything else they've neglected in favor of making crude Photoshops and writing death threats.
But we are facing the real possiblity that soon GamerGate—and all of the ugly white supremacy that comes with it—will become someone's actual job. This is not Davis Aurini making $8,000 a month in crowdfunding to call Anita Sarkeesian names—we're talking about people who will receive a paycheck and depend on a demand for pictures of abuse victims in their homes.
And once stalking women game developers and journalists becomes a job, there will always be someone, for hunger if not politics, at the ready.
The "money game" has no effective cheat code, and women who are being run out of their homes and forced to cancel their talks for fear of the lives of bystanders are resource limited. Crowdfunding efforts to keep certain women safe may come at the cost of GamerGate's future victims' ability to stay safe.
So what can be done to keep money out of the abject crucifixion of women in media by GamerGate?
You can report Mike Cernovich to the California State Bar Association for misconduct, disallowing him to use his status as a lawyer to hide behind the guise of "investigating potential criminal activity" to stalk and harass Zoe Quinn.
You can write in letters of support to media outlets that cover the harassment of GamerGate. Members of the movement are spamming media sites and their sponsors under numerous email addresses to create the idea of a greater demand for coverage that condones and supports their agenda.
You can also document the goings-on of GamerGate on social media—though their membership is secretive save for the white supremacist celebrities who make up that top tier of visibility, their agenda is very transparent.
Transparent and horrifying.