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Anita Sarkeesian Cancels Speaking Engagement at Utah State University Over Mass Shooting Threat


A prominent feminist cancelled her speaking arrangement at Utah State University (USU) after the school would not alter its firearm policy following a terroristic threat.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Anita Sarkeesian and USU faculty members received emails threatening "the deadliest school shooting in American history." The sender claimed to be a USU student, but the school denied Sarkeesian's request to ban concealed weapons at the event, due to state law.

Passed in 2004, Utah passed a law that bars the state's schools from interfering with the law allowing the carry of a concealed weapon. Discussing the threats on Twitter, Sarkeesian said the sender claimed to be affiliated with a group that had harassed her previously.

"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 school said in a statement. "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."

Sarkeesian was going to speak about sexism in the video game industry, focusing on a game called "Bayonetta" in particular. She said it is an example of a game "created specifically for the sexual pleasure of straight male gamers." Known as "Gamer Gate," the group has targeted Sarkeesian for speaking out against video games she deems misogynistic or sexist.

Tim Vitale, a USU spokesman, told the Standard Examiner that an FBI cyber terrorism task force, local police and other authorities also determined that the group behind the recent threat was someone she had dealt with before.

"They determined the threat seems to be consistent with ones [Sarkeesian] has received at other places around the nation," Vitale said. "The threat we received is not out of the norm for [this woman]."

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