A Toronto-born and educated media critic and feminist blogger has cancelled a speech at Utah State University after learning the school would allow concealed firearms despite an anonymous threat against her.
Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to give a presentation on the portrayal of women in video games on Wednesday evening. She made the decision to cancel Tuesday night.
University staff members had received an email threat on Monday night from an unknown person who vowed to carry out a mass shooting if the event was held. University spokesman Tim Vitale says the FBI told school officials the threat is consistent with ones Sarkeesian receives when she gives speeches elsewhere.
The university said in a statement it consulted with federal and state law enforcement and had determined it was safe to go ahead with the presentation.
But Sarkeesian pulled out after learning from university officials that concealed weapons would be permitted, as long as attendees have a valid concealed firearm permit in accordance with Utah law.
The Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah reported that the threat promised a 'Montreal Massacre style attack' if the talk went on as scheduled.
Sarkeesian, with a master's degree in social and political thought from York University, has authored a blog since 2009 called Feminist Frequency.
A popular and polarizing theme on her blog is a video series called "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games."
The Kickstarter campaign for the series in 2012 saw the Canadian-American subjected to online threats and abuse, including a "Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian" game created by a Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., man.
In August of this year, Sarkeesian said on Twitter that a response to a recent post had forced her to temporarily leave the house she shares with her boyfriend.
To be clear: I didn't cancel my USU talk because of terrorist threats, I canceled because I didn’t feel the security measures were adequate.— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014
I’m safe. I will continue my work. I will continue speaking out. The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women.— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014