Zoë Quinn – At the Center of Gamergate

Posted by Caroline Gerdes on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 11:20 AM PST

Seattle University will host the inaugural Crosscut Festival February 2-3 as part of Seattle U Homecoming 2018. As alumni of Seattle University, you enjoy discounted tickets to the Crosscut Festival.

Zoe Quinn will be one of 70 speakers at the Crosscut Festival.

Zoë Quinn – At the Center of Gamergate

Zoe Quinn

We’ve all read horror stories about dangers lurking online, yet we still call for rides, meet dates and leave passwords or other intimate details in plain sight with the help, or hindrance, of our digital devices. But what if the machines that connect us with the world turned against us? Even worse, what if the threats leapt off the screen and terrorized us in real life? In 2014, this worst-case scenario played out for video game developer Zoë Quinn — and then some — when she found herself at the center of Gamergate.

Gamergate is the dangerous chaos that unfolded after Quinn’s ex-boyfriend launched an online siege against her. In what Quinn’s website calls a blog post “cobbled together from private information, half-truths and outright fictions,” he set in motion a movement with a “rallying cry” for hordes to go after her. Her accounts were attacked, she was doxed (her personal information was released online), her private photos were stolen, and she received death and rape threats.

Instead of fleeing the male-dominated gaming world, Quinn has used her experience as a platform to speak about sexual harassment, hate speech and technology. Since Gamergate, she has testified about online abuse at the United Nations. She recently published a memoir about her experience, “Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate.” And Quinn's most famous online game, Depression Quest, has been played by more than 2 million people.

On February 3, Zoë Quinn will come to Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival, a two-day event that will put elected officials, business leaders and cultural luminaries onstage with the region’s top journalists. Rising political star Julián Castro will headline the festival. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum will also be among the more-than 70 speakers and panelists. Quinn will be part of a panel that discusses the tech industry’s struggle to attract a more diverse workforce.


The event is a partnership between Seattle University and Crosscut, a nonprofit news website dedicated to spurring smart, civil dialog about the Northwest’s most pressing issues. Get your discounted alumni tickets here.

- Caroline Gerdes