MIAMI, FL. – August 15, 2015 (Gary Feller) — A journalism conference in Miami was suspended after a bomb threat during a panel discussion on the GamerGate controversy Saturday afternoon.
Members of the GamerGate movement, now a year old, contend that media coverage of social criticism of video games is biased and hope to influence what they call more ethical reporting on the industry.
Police began clearing the Koubek Center in Miami around 2:30 after receiving a “credible” bomb threat. The threat was for the bomb to go off at 2:45. About 75 people were forced to wait a block and a half away while police dogs were taken inside.
The threat was the second in two days for the conference after organizers had the building swept on Friday. An independent security team was hired for the event and locked down the facility overnight, according to Michael Koretzky, a regional director for the Society of Professional Journalists.
The panel, titled “AirPlay: The Great GamerGate Debate,” drew attention on social media Saturday morning as panelists discussed accusations of misogyny and sexism among members of GamerGate.
“This event was to push back against the accusations of GamerGate being misogynist,” said Christina Hoff Somers, an author on the panel. “They’ve run afoul of gaming journalists who they see as dishonest. GamerGate is an effort to resist that kind of twisted journalism.”
Hoff Somers and another journalist on the panel, Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulis, were caught in another bomb threat in May during an impromptu meeting a bar in Washington, D.C., in May.
“It only ever works in one direction,” said Yiannopoulis. “And it’s all directed at GamerGate.”
The panel discussion was restarted two blocks down the street as conference attendees waited for the police to sweep the building for explosives.