New Leaks Reveal Crash Override Network’s Online Harassment

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By Ian Miles Cheong | 5:25 pm, September 13, 2016

Crash Override Network, the organization founded by Zoe Quinn in the wake of GamerGate, was recently outed through leaked chat logs as being anything but a support network for victims of online harassment. Instead, the Feminist Frequency-supported outfit was shown to be running active operations against its political opponents, motivated by pettiness and spite.

Thanks to yet another leak, Heat Street can now reveal that Crash Override Network operated a Trello board to compile dossiers on its targets—people who disagreed with members of CON—and even proposed methods of action against them, some of which were put into action. As a former member of CON, I can personally verify that the leaks are indeed real. I had access to the Trello board and contributed a few comments to entries made by its other participants.

The Trello board contained dox of its target—a method that its members were extremely vocal against in public. Just last month, a supporter of GamerGate and erstwhile dunker of social justice warriors, Mombot, was the subject of a doxing threat supported by CON member Israel Galvez and an individual who goes by @9_volt88 on Twitter, whose tweets are widely shared by members of the games press.

The board, which is referred to multiple times in the previous chatlogs, was ostensibly created to archive incidences of harassment, but it contained dossiers of journalists, YouTube influencers, and a feminist organization known as The Fine Young Capitalists, which had crossed paths with Zoe Quinn prior to GamerGate.

The leaks reveal that the board, at least during the January to February 2015 period, had dossiers on independent journalist David Pakman, who conducted a number of interviews at the height of GamerGate with detractors of the consumer-driven movement, including Brianna Wu, Arthur Chu, and CON member Chris Kluwe. Pakman also interviewed John “Totalbiscuit” Bain, feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, and pro-GamerGate games journalist Jennie Bharaj on the issue.

Both Bharaj and Bain had dossiers of their own on the CON Trello board. Jennie Bharaj had previously appeared on HuffPostLive to express her support of GamerGate, and she managed to land in the “anti-abuse” organization’s crosshairs after she publicly inquired as to whether CON member Veerender Jubbal was being harassed for his Sikh ethnicity. She was informed that Jubbal had created the defunct #StopGamerGate2014 hashtag. As the Trello leak shows, Israel Galvez was actively monitoring her feed and instructed her to delete her inquiries. When she refused to do so, it was enough to land her on the list of harassers and earn her a dossier. For the record, Bharaj is also Sikh.

John Bain’s public denial that he was doing anything to conduct harassment was taken as evidence that he was threatening to “weaponize” his large Twitter following. He simply tweeted that if people really believed his 390k followers were “misogynist harassers,” the last thing they’d want to do is antagonize him. And yet antagonize him they did, with little to no blowback for their actions. Many of his Twitter followers even called it—that his detractors would be obtuse and paint his statement as a threat.

As an organization, CON planned a series of actions to take against some of the persons named on the Trello board. Among them was an attempt to get The Sarkeesian Effect, a documentary made by two YouTubers critical of Feminist Frequency, removed from Patreon. In an update by her boyfriend Alex Lifschitz, the board shows that Zoe Quinn had personally called up Patreon to discuss the site’s Terms of Service on August 18, 2014, only two days after the now infamous “Zoepost” went live. The update is listed under the board’s entry for The Sarkeesian Effect.

Beyond that, the organization focused most of its attention on shutting down 8chan by seeking to cut off its revenue via Patreon and Gratiplay by claiming the anonymous forums hosted child pornography.

The Trello board eventually lost steam and stopped updating, but CON’s targets have remained in their sights and have seen no end to close scrutiny and whisper campaigns against them. GamerGate may have won the ethics war, but who will notice if its supporters have their lives silently ruined behind the scenes by such a vindictive organization?

That’s one of the reasons Heat Street exists.