Brianna Wu accused of fraud by Patreon supporter

Self proclaimed “Godzilla of Feminists” Brianna Wu is being accused of fraud by an anonymous Patreon supporter. The basis of the accusation is connected to the stated purpose of the Patreon goal. Here is what Wu posted on Patreon:

Here’s where you come in: If you appreciate what I do, please chip in so I can hire some help with the Women in Tech advocacy I do. I need someone to help me with the medial parts of dealing with my attackers so I can focus on my work, making and shipping games. I imagine we’ll also have them work on women in tech advocacy.

Wu’s Patreon supporters collectively give $2,184.70 each month. This helps with paying for the full-time employment of a person named Natalie O’Brien.

This is what the anonymous Patreon supporter wrote on Medium:

In various publications, Brianna has mentioned a woman named Natalie O’Brien. She has claimed that Natalie O’Brien is a pregnant woman who she hired as an administrator. I now believe that Natalie O’Brien may not exist and that Brianna Wu has simply pocketed the money for herself.

In my humble opinion, complaining about possible fraud on Patreon is a lot like swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and then complaining about getting wet. Fraud is always a real possibility with Patreon because there are no mechanisms in place to make sure money is actually going to the stated purpose.

Fraud becomes even more of a possibility because it’s connected to Brianna Wu. This is not be the first time Wu has been accused of not telling the truth.

My advice to anyone wanting to give to a cause and they want to make sure the money is going to that cause, stay clear of Patreon. Look instead for organizations who’ve been vetted by the IRS as bona fide non-profits. These organizations must file reports with the IRS every year that show how much money they take in and how they use the money. These reports are made available to the public.

By all means give money to people on Patreon if it makes you feel good. Just don’t expect any kind of verification or proof. That’s not what Patreon does.

Brianna Wu had blogger removed from RavenCon panel for taking her picture

RavenCon, a science fiction and fantasy convention, is taking place this weekend in Richmond, Virginia. One of the guests is Brianna Wu, iPhone game developer and vocal critic of GamerGate, the leaderless consumer revolt against unethical behavior in the video games industry. Wu claims GamerGate is a hate group and that she has received over 80 death threats from members of GamerGate.

That’s what she claims.

Brianna Wu conducted a panel Friday night at RavenCon called GamerGate 101. Before the panel officially began, she ordered event organizers to remove a prominent GamerGate blogger, Ethan Ralph of The Ralph Retort, from the panel. The reason? Because she discovered that he had taken her photo and posted it to Twitter.

She ordered convention organizers to remove him from the GamerGate 101 panel audience and to also have him removed from the convention. The organizers removed him from the panel, but not the convention. One of the organizers then announced to the remaining guests that there would be no recording or pictures taken during the GamerGate 101 panel.

I’ve never heard of photos not being allowed during a panel at a convention. I have taken photos at convention panels many times. The opportunity to take photos has always been one of the reasons I like to go to comic book and science fiction conventions.

If this no-photo rule was in place for the GamerGate 101 panel, why wasn’t it announced ahead of time?

RavenCon has no rules against taking photos. In fact, they have a rule that states they may use photos and other media recordings taken at RavenCon:

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The rule seems to imply that attendees are more than welcome to take photographs at RavenCon. If the GamerGate 101 panel was under different rules, rules different from everywhere else within the confines of RavenCon, than they owed it to everyone involved to make this rule known.

I can understand that Brianna Wu doesn’t like Ethan Ralph. I totally get that. He’s been very critical of her and her positions on his blog. One might argue that he has been as critical of her as she has been about GamerGate. That doesn’t mean she should have the right to have him removed from a panel. Having someone removed from a panel because you don’t like things they have said, seems inconsistent with free speech. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Brianna Wu doesn’t believe Ethan Ralph has the right to express his views and opinions on his blog.

Instead of kicking Ethan Ralph out of the panel, imagine how much more educational the GamerGate 101 panel would have been if Brianna Wu had invited him to take part. If the goal was to educate the audience on GamerGate, something the name of the panel certainly implied, what better way than to have one of the more prominent GamerGate bloggers, someone who even lives there in Richmond, share his views and opinions too?

What a wasted opportunity.

Ethan Ralph has posted a video of the incident on YouTube.  Check it out if this is something you’d like to see.

Brianna Wu looks for someone to ‘throw down’ at PAX East

If you have a very particular set of skills, skills you have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make you a nightmare for people who make fake threats on Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet, than iPhone game developer Brianna Wu has an offer for you. She’s seeking someone to attend PAX East, a giant gaming convention in Boston organized by the folks at Penny Arcade, to serve as security for her and her iPhone game design company, Giant Spacekat (CSX).

The person needs to be a gamer (why?) and willing to “throw down” if called upon. She will provide a badge.

Here’s a screen grab from her Twitter post:

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There’s many, many reasons it’s hard to take anything coming from Brianna Wu very seriously. This is one of those reasons.

If she truly needed security she would privately seek out the professional services of a licensed, and more importantly, bonded, security service. She wouldn’t just go on Twitter and troll for someone willing to “throw down” if called upon. Also, that’s not the way private security works. The function of private security is to get between the client and the threat and to immediately get the client away from the threat. The goal is to put time and space between the threat and the client, it’s not to engage or “throw down” with the threat.

She’s since taken the tweet down. I don’t know if this means she realized it was a bad idea to troll Twitter for private security guards, or if it was because she was able to find people to for her private security team and she simply doesn’t need anyone else.