Earlier today, Slashdot posted a tweet promoting an article entitled "'GamerGate' Proponent Kills Ex-Girlfriend, Commits Suicide" which attempted to establish a link between the movement and Rudy Ferretti, a notorious figure in the retrogaming community known for his gaming skills, mentally unstable behavior, harassment of multiple individuals, and now a murder-suicide involving his ex-girlfriend.
I don't know about anyone else here, but before today, I'd never even heard of this guy in the last six years until his named popped up this morning. So what's going on here? Well, what follows is the truth, near as I can figure.
If you google "Rudy Ferretti" and "GamerGate" and eliminate results that don't include both search terms together, you get a grand total of 46 results. Of those results, 37 of them (80%) refer to the current murder-suicide he was involved in. Similar results are observed if you search for "Rudy J. Ferretti" and "GamerGate". Unless he had some nickname or pseudonym that he was more popularly known by, I'm unable to find any connection between him and GamerGate…with one single exception, which I'll be getting to next.
If you eliminate all results from before August 19, 2020 – the day that articles covering the murder-suicide first appeared – you get exactly one result: a blog post from November 30, 2016, more than two years after GamerGate started.
The aforementioned article, "Radical Felines: When Harassment Becomes a Game" by Cat DeSpira, one of the targets of Ferretti's harassment from the retrogaming community, mentions GamerGate three times (boldface emphases mine):
Unbeknownst to me at the time, an underground sociopolitical movement against feminists in tech and gaming was underway across America, led by an illusive bunch of internet chan-trolls so far removed from the classic scene that it's a wonder the bigotry of this movement even surfaced in the classic arcade scene in the first place. The movement later came to be known as Gamergate in 2014 and it made national and world headlines, spawned TV episodes and ruined lives. Ferretti and Datagod drew excessive inspiration from it and branded me a "radical feminist" just so I'd fit the mold although I'd never written a feminist-related article in my entire life. joelwestgamer backed up Datagod like the buddy he was, lending a important sense of credibility to what would have appeared to most as a just another unimportant drama if he hadn't.
2014 is the year I'll always remember as the year I lost my identity; a year of unending harassment, defamation, social media raids, online attacks and project sabotage by Ferretti and his mob of Gamergate-copycats, many who had previously been my friends.
Having known other women who've been harassed online, and especially ones who endured the Gamergate siege of late 2014, I knew that sympathy for the victim runs thin eventually; that after a period of time your supporters -even your tried and true friends- lose faith in you and grow frustrated by constantly seeing and hearing you being defamed.
In other words, there is no link. DeSpira makes nebulous claims of Ferretti and his associates "(drawing) excessive inspiration from GamerGate" and being part of a "mob of Gamergate-copycats" while parroting the gaming press and mainstream media's false narrative and offering absolutely zero evidence of any connection between him and movement other than a single screenshot of his YouTube Channel homepage showing that GamerGate numbered among his interests.
So where exactly is this "Rudy Ferretti was part of GamerGate"/"Rudy Ferretti was a GamerGate proponent" narrative coming from? Well, one look at the original Slashdot article and two very familiar names pop up.
The first is established aGGro Cecilia D'Anastasio, who wrote an article for "Wired" about the incident August 19, 2020. But even she doesn't link him directly to GamerGate, saying only that the movement "gave [him] new fodder to fuel his idea that women […] were out to destroy the purity of the arcade gaming scene" while (unintentionally) reinforcing the idea that any connection he may have had was based on his warped and deluded understanding of it (which itself was based on the false mainstream media narrative).
The rise of the GamerGate campaign in 2014 gave Ferretti new fodder to fuel his idea that women—specifically "radical feminists," as he wrote in multiple blog posts and said in YouTube videos—were out to destroy the purity of the arcade gaming scene. Around that time, he referred to several women as "feminazis," and, in one post, explained that GamerGate existed for people like Catherine DeSpira.
The other is notorious anti-GamerGate proponent David Futrelle of "We Hunted The Mammoth", who, oddly enough, doesn't even mention GamerGate at all in his writeup of the murder-suicide and largely regurgitates D'Anastasio article.
So, in a nutshell, Slashdot contributor EditorDavid essentially made up the connection between Rudy Ferretti and GamerGate based on little to no evidence.