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Brianna Wu on the David Pakman Show

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On October 27th, 2014, Brianna Wu was interviewed by David Pakman, a left-wing investigative journalist. Well-known and respected - even by his political opposition - for his investigative work, Brianna Wu went on her show expecting to be treated with kid gloves and given softball questions (much as most interviews with Brianna Wu had gone, especially in regards to her claims that she'd been driven from her home by such things. The Video went up roughly 2 weeks after her initial appearance on the Huffington Post.

You can watch the video at David's Youtube Channel.[1]

The video has gone on to be one of David's most-viewed videos, with well over 220,000 views as of 2017.

Interview Analysis

Brianna Wu was not in a good place during this interview. She was dealing with someone who was going to ask uncomfortable questions. Likewise, Pakman extensively did his homework, and it showed. Wu's traditional canard - that GamerGate was entirely white heterosexual males - failed to get anywhere with Pakman, and Wu was quick to instead force her to focus on her own harassment. Pakman's questioning soon revealed that Wu herself possessed no information that directly linked Gamergate to the offending tweets she received - and as we'd later learn, the incidents she was mentioning - specifically, the Operation FalseFag II Incident and Death to Brianna Tweets were provably a false-flag incident from Wu herself, and a hoax done by Something Awful, respectively.

Pakman then brought up the fact that Wu had no evidence of any connection between the claims and GamerGate, and again, pointed out that of the tweets Brianna has received from GamerGate, over 90% were neutral and roughly 6% positive - meaning that the Tweets Wu claimed were harassing accounted for roughly 4% of the number of Tweets she received via GamerGate. This would later turn out to be prophetic: research done by Women Action Media! into the GamerGate hashtag revealed that less than 0.66% of GamerGate-posting Twitter accounts actually counted as Harassment. When confronted by this question, Brianna attempted to deflect this by claiming that any harassment she received was too much, again citing the Operation FalseFag II incident.

Things begin to unravel for Wu at the 6:45 mark, when Pakman asks her about why she made all the tweets of her harassment public, since when Pakman himself (being a celebrity) has received actionable threats, he was advised by law enforcement to not acknowledge them, so as to not throw off investigation into them. This is something that would mirror the FBI FOIA Leaks that showed that Wu was repeatedly told not to publicize her own harassment, and did so anyway. After taking issue with Pakman using the word "publicize" to describe her actions, Brianna defended herself by claiming that many of her female friends had been "bullied out of the industry," and that her making her harassment public, she would force "the industry" to acknowledge the problem.

Coming at it from a different angle, Pakman brought up that once again, Wu is tarring the overpowering majority of GamerGate - including a large number that publicly decried the harassment Wu did receive - with a broad brush, and asked her to clarify what she meant by "The Industry" - and whether she meant GamerGate (which even within it, Pakman pointed out, had a massive number of people who outright decried Wu's harassment), or her fellow Game Developers, who Wu claimed were silent.

Brianna Wu then proceeded to cite, rather than either Developers or Gamergate, large-scale video game news sites, such as Giant Bomb and IGN. Wu claimed her own actions forced these companies to get involved. Pakman then brings up the fact that Wu has given no information or evidence to conflate the amorphous online harassment Wu has received and said lack of industry response. Wu goes on a lengthy diatribe about how she's been playing video games during the 1980s and spouts the widely-debunked claim that video gaming is inherently sexist and misogynist,[2] and makes the argument that she's being attacked because she's representing women intruding on what heretofore has (in Wu's eyes) been seen as a male-exclusive hobby.

When Pakman agreed with Wu and asked her to make the case how Video Games are in any way different from how different things are predominantly marketed towards males (such as Pornography), Wu makes a long, rambling argument that lack of women in the tech field and the parity between men and women in said field is indicative of a broader problem and indicative of a lack of representation in the industry, an argument that ignores the achievements of very real females in the video game industry.

Finally, at about 16:00, David Pakman asks Wu questions that were sent in by the audience. At this point, the very first question that comes up asks Brianna Wu's own use of sockpuppetry in the now-notorious @BROLOLZ incident. At this point, Wu repeats one of her most notorious mistruths, which is that everyone posting under the #NotYourShield hashtag - a hashtag specifically intended to show that GamerGate supporters were, contrary to Brianna's preferred narrative, a broad coalition of races, genders, ethnicities, and nationalities - is a sockpuppet, and that @BROLOLZ was made to mock this. At this point Wu essentially states that anyone who is not white and/or not male and supports GamerGate does not exist, and furthermore goes on to say that GamerGate supporters were too stupid to understand Wu's high-brow satire.

Next, Pakman asks Brianna if Wu will make public the results of the police investigation into the Death to Brianna Tweets. Wu says yes. Almost a year hence this interview, Brianna Wu has yet to release these results, for reasons that are now patently obvious. Sadly for Brianna Wu, the FBI ultimately did make that information public, and it showed that none of Brianna Wu's alleged death threats and harassment were in any way actionable, nor did they come from actual Gamergate supporters.[3]

The next question that comes up is the subject of Milo Yiannopolous - a controversial right-wing journalist who is nonetheless respected for his work exposing various cases of journalistic malfeasance and being a staunch proponent of free speech. Milo provably had an interview lined up with Brianna before Pakman, which Wu cancelled on at the zero hour. Brianna Wu goes on to explain that the reason she cancelled the interview was that Milo marginalized the fact that Wu was on the run and forced to leave her home due to the Death to Brianna Tweets. While Brianna Wu did, indeed, have to leave her home, it was for only one night - the entire event was quickly found to be a hoax. Despite this, Wu claimed to still be on the run - while conducting this very interview from her home.Brianna Wu then goes on to proclaim how traumatized she had been by all of this nastiness, and how she was forced off the internet (despite having multiple devices that could easily connect to the internet remotely) and despite provably being in her home during the interview.

When Pakman asked if she would be interviewed by Milo if something could be worked out, and brought up the seven questions Brianna Wu was asked that she didn't like, Brianna Wu, dropping any and all pretense of reasonability, accused David Pakman of running a "hit piece." When Pakman asked to discuss that (rather serious) allegation, Brianna deflected by claiming she felt like she was "on trial." Wu continued to press the assault on the issue, eventually backing off, but not before claiming that yes, indeed, she felt Pakman had, by asking her actually hard questions, created a hit-piece on her.

All in all, Brianna Wu came across as disjointed and incoherent throughout the entire interview, often failing to answer questions or answering them badly. Her behavior generally indicates that she does not know how to deal with a viewpoint that is not 100% in lock-step with her own (something we saw earlier during the Hotwheels Debate), exemplified by her accusing Pakman - who had been nothing but polite and open - of running a hit-piece because he dared to ask questions Wu wasn't ready for.

Aftermath

In the aftermath of Brianna Wu's interview, Brianna became openly hostile and declared that Pakman, in asking her questions that weren't what she was expecting, was engaging in bad journalism by putting such a traumatized victim on trial and asking her questions that weren't softballs. Almost immediately Brianna Whipped up the support of her mob, and it became quickly apparent that the bulk of GamerGate's opposition had come to the conclusion that in being willing to hear out both sides, he was giving support to the side they didn't like, and this apparently means that he's automatically an enemy.[4] This only got worse when Pakman continued to interview literally anyone from either side he could get on his show to get more information - quickly he wound up getting Arthur Chu, an Anti-GamerGate activist who had likewise voiced the opine that giving any voice whatsoever to GamerGate was enabling harassment of its victims.[5] Within a few months, Anti-GamerGate elements had taken to openly attacking Pakman and declaring him "an MRA apologist" and lumping him in with GamerGate supporters, despite Pakman himself being neutral.[6]

Perhaps the most interesting follow-up to Pakman's interview with Wu occurred in the wake of Wu's article, however.

Pakman would go on to interview Milo Yiannopolous, the journalist who Brianna Wu purportedly snubbed the interview of on ideological grounds.[7] During the Interview, Milo brought up that Wu has a legendary history of dubious actions and outright dishonesty, which is why he was dismissive of her claims and skeptical of her claims to have been driven from her home. The discussion of Wu's meltdown at the end of her interview with Pakman revealed that at no time did Brianna Wu contact any of Milo's staff or producers, continuing to appear on other shows and continuing to respond to other tweets. It is worth noting that for this interview, Milo was willing to censor his questions and indeed, even vet them in advance for acceptability, and Wu still was a no-show. He then discussed her appearance at PAX East, after Brianna Wu declared that she "didn't feel safe because of Gamergate" and allegedly was on the run and in fear of her life.

References

  1. David Pakman Show - Brianna Wu and #Gamergate
  2. Forbes - Peer-Reviewed Study Finds No Link Between Video Games and Sexism
  3. One Angry Gamer - FBI Closes Cases Due to Lack of Evidence
  4. Gamerghazi - Whatever happened to Pakman?
  5. David Pakman Show - Arthur Chu Interview
  6. Gamerghazi - FUCK OFF PAKMAN! STOP GIVING SHITHEELS PLATFORMS!
  7. David Pakman Show - Milo Yiannopolous Interview