Police in Washington cleared out a restaurant Friday night following a Twitter bomb threat made against a gathering of GamerGate supporters, with two prominent figures associated with the movement there to speak.
The Metropolitan Police Department of Washington D.C. confirmed to Polygon that officers evacuated the restaurant, Local 16, in response to information received from the FBI. A threat made over Twitter said the building would explode, a police spokesman said.
Police arrived at 9:30 p.m., searched the area, found nothing and left at 11:50 p.m. Attendees tweeted pictures of police at the scene (above) and said they were told by officers there that a bomb threat had been made against the building.
An investigation into the threat is ongoing.
Those at Local 16 at the time of the evacuation included Christina Hoff Sommers and Milo Yiannopoulos, of the American Enterprise Institute think tank and the online publication Breitbart, respectively. Both have written about GamerGate and have criticized liberal and feminist critiques of video gaming, calling them politically motivated and egged on by a liberal media agenda.
Both Sommers and Yiannopoulos, who traveled to the event from London, accused anti-GamerGate supporters of making the bomb threat. D.C. police could not specifically describe the Twitter threat, but earlier reports pointed to this threat from a since-deleted account about two hours before police responded.
#GGinDC, as the gathering was hashtagged, was to be the first official get-together in the United States for GamerGate supporters. Yiannopoulos on Saturday also said he obtained an email sent to Local 16 in advance of the meetup, and said its writer, Arthur Chu, implored the restaurant to cancel the event. (Chu is a noted GamerGate critic; in October he wrote this for Salon, saying its supporters have given gamer and geek culture a bad name.)
Chu on Twitter later said "I don't go to bars and restaurants that pass along my emails to people who hate me and I encourage my friends not to do so," and obliquely criticized Local 16, but he denied being involved in any threat against the gathering.
GamerGate has been accused, collectively, of online harassment and making similar bomb threats against its critics and their events, charges its supporters vehemently deny.
The movement, which deliberately has no central leadership, is a backlash to what its supporters perceive as unprofessional or agenda-driven behavior in the gaming specialty press. However, figures like Yiannopoulous, Sommers and others have also sharply criticized feminist and other socially progressive criticism of games and their role in pop culture. Opponents of GamerGate call the movement misogynist and innately hostile to women, minorities and other marginalized groups of persons.
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