Anita Sarkeesian cancels Utah State speech after mass-shooting threat


Video game critic, feminist and blogger Anita Sarkeesian canceled a Wednesday speech at Utah State University after the college received an email threatening violence if she lectured, school officials said.

Sarkeesian is a pop culture critic whose series of videos under the Feminist Frequency banner analyze sexism in mainstream video games. Her series has drawn death threats in the past.

The university confirmed the latest threat and said it involved danger to Sarkeesian and anyone who would have attended her speech.


The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the email to the university threatened “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if Sarkeesian were allowed to speak on campus.

Sarkeesian said on Twitter: “Multiple specific threats made stating intent to kill me & feminists at USU.”

The university is working with local and federal law enforcement agencies investigating the threat, according to a statement on the college’s website.

The school announced the cancellation, at Sarkeesian’s request, about 5:30 p.m.

“Anita Sarkeesian has canceled her scheduled speech for tomorrow following a discussion with Utah State University police regarding an email threat that was sent to Utah State University,” the announcement on the university website said. “During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue.”

Shortly after the announcement, Sarkeesian took to Twitter to criticize the gun policy.


“Forced to cancel my talk at USU after receiving death threats because police wouldn’t take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event,” she tweeted. “Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah’s open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches.”

The threatening email, sent by a person claiming to be a Utah State student to various departments and people on campus, promised deadly consequences and specified weapons that would be used, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“I’m safe,” Sarkeesian added on Twitter. “I will continue my work. I will continue speaking out. The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women.”

Campus police could not be reached for comment.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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