Documentary ‘GTFO’ Focusing On Harassment & Bullying Of Female Gamers


If you aren’t familiar with the whole Gamergate scandal from 2014, where female gamers, game developers and a a particular woman, Anita Sarkeesian who created a Youtube series exposing the sexism towards women in the gaming industry, you can see a breakdown by reading this article.

The thing about Gamergate is that it isn’t something to be brushed off as just a bunch of dudes ganging up on girls in the name of fun, we’re talking about serious online harassment, bullying and trolling to the extent that some of these women targeted have had their personal details leaked onto the internet (an act that is called “doxxing”)and some have even been threatened with extreme acts of violence.

It is an ugly underbelly of society that is being increasingly shown as a trend that cannot be ignored by authorities any longer. But for the rest of us, we are sometimes left wondering why there is a huge population of game addicts who are hell bent on keeping women out. Are they threatened that this previously male-dominated “boys club” is now being diversified and enabling game developers to create games that are targeting women?

There probably isn’t just one answer, all we know is there is a LOT of anger being directed at these women.

A new documentary which premiered at SXSW called ‘GTFO‘ (yes that is abbreviation for “get the f*** out”) aims to shed more light on what female gamers actually experience when it comes to online harassment and trolling.

The documentary takes place in 2012, the same year the story of a woman being sexually harassed during a gaming tournament went viral, and aims to blow the lid on the misogyny that drives much of the harassment in this $20 BILLION industry.


A press release by the filmmakers state women have actually surpassed the percentage of male gamers and now make up 52% of the game-playing audience.

“In recent years the gaming community has grown more diverse than ever. This has led to a massive clash of values and women receive the brunt of consequences every day, with acts of harassment ranging from name-calling, to cyber-vandalism, and death threats,” states the press release.

“Through interviews with game developers, journalists, and academics, GTFO paints a complex picture of the video game industry while the systemic and human motivations behind acts of harassment. It delves into such topics as the portrayal of women in video games, the history of women in gaming, the experiences of women in the industry itself, the culture of games, and the discouragement of young girls from participating.”

The docu features people like the aforementioned Anita Sarkeesian, and female game developer Brianna Wu who was viciously targeted online throughout the gamergate saga.

There are many who like to discredit those who claim that women are disproportionately targeted, which is something this film wants to address.


“While it is true that many people get verbally abused while gaming, the film highlights women for two reasons: most attacks women experience are specifically targeting their gender, and when women in the industry come forward they often experience much more criticism and backlash than their male counterparts,” said filmmaker Shannon Sun-Higginson about her docu.

And as for being worried about whether she will now face similar backlash for making such a documentary, she made sure to ask some of the film’s subjects how to protect herself.

Shannon’s motivation for making this film is simple: she wants the non-gamer audience to understand the phenomenon of sexism in gaming, and also put a human face to the name that online harassers are targeting.

“Often when people write hurtful messages online I don’t think they realize there is a living, breathing human being on the receiving end. I also hope the film is a wake-up call for gamers and game industry folks who don’t realize how bad this problem can be, and that it motivates people to address this issue and continue the conversation beyond the movie,” states Shannon.


In an interview with the New York Times about her film, Shannon says she is wary of how exposing a problem like this to non-gamers might deter any future female gamers from participating.

“My biggest fear for this movie is that it scares young women away from this industry, which is really growing and thriving right now. Obviously the more women and the more diverse people in general who join the industry, the better,” she said.

But she also knows how important it is to shed light on something in the hope that it will not continue. Also, the need to spread awareness is more important than just a hashtag that was trending on twitter for a while in 2014.

“I do worry that the general public will focus too much on GamerGate and say, ‘Look at this crazy thing that happened’. It was a terrible, terrible thing, but it’s actually symptomatic of a wider, cultural, systemic problem.”

She wants the world to know that there are grown men who are behind a lot of harassment, not just young boys, and that the increase and influx of female gamers cannot be stopped.

You can watch the trailer below, and read more about this important documentary by going to their official website, and checking out the resources available.

Here’s to the girl gamers who are not allowing harassment to stand in their way of doing something fun. Thank you Shannon Sun-Higginson for making this docu, we hope it is going to be a game-changer!

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