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October 2, 2014

Intel pulls ads from tech website after Gamergate pressure

Intel parts ways with Gamasutra, does not support "shifts in editorial positioning".

By Ben Sullivan

Intel, one of the world’s largest chipmakers, has pulled its advertising from game developing news website Gamasutra.

The decision was a reaction to increased pressure from a community of video gamers collectivised under the gamergate movement.

Gamergate, a hashtag popularised on Twitter, is a reference to the backlash in the video gaming community against perceived biased media reporting and accusations of sexism and misogyny. Gamasutra said on Twitter that it was ‘flooded with complaints’ in regards to an opinion piece which was posted on the news site.


Advocates of Gamergate openly campaign against what they see as journalistic corruption and false accusations of sexism. Several high profile female video game journalists have faced Twitter abuse and death threats from followers of the cause.

An email reportedly from Intel in reply to a complaint about the firm’s ads on the Gamasutra website said: "Thank you for voicing your concerns about some Intel RealSense Technology ads that were recently placed on Gamasutra’s site.

"Our ad placements coincided with recent technology launches and campaigns, and we were using a purchase order made much earlier this year before Gamasutra’s recent controversial articles were published. Our ads were not a refelection of supporting certain article stances or shifts in editorial positioning. We have since decided to pull our current ad campaign off Gamasutra."

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CBR reached out to Intel for comment, which replied peddling the line of Intel comms head Bill Calder. He said: "Intel has pulled its current advertising campaign from the website Gamasutra. We take feedback from our customers very seriously especially as it relates to contextually relevant content and placements."

The en masse emailing campaign from Gamergate was dubbed ‘Operation Disrespectful Nod’, and the latest reports from Twitter suggest that the campaign has moved on to target other tech firms advertising on websites publishing articles that align with the opinions posted on Gamasutra.

The articles in question on Gamasutra included an opinion piece titled ‘Gamers don’t have to be your audience. Gamers are over’ written by editor Leigh Alexander.

Alexander said that games culture "is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘game journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences".

Brett Douville, a video game developer for 17 years and an ex-employee of LucasArts, wrote an open letter to Intel criticising the firm’s move.

He said: "I believe that pulling your support over recent editorial choices is a mistake; I believe that you’ve largely been contacted by a group who are not made up of the site’s audience. It’s a shame to see you pull your advertising dollars in hostage to a virulent hate campaign orchestrated by a small number of people who use the Internet’s anonymity as a shield.

"I hope you’ll reconsider. I visit GamaSutra frequently, and I think the editorial choices have always pursued inclusivity in game development. Indeed, I think that’s why it has lasted as long as it has."

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