Anita Sarkeesian cancels Utah campus appearance after threats of a "Montreal-style massacre"

Sarkeesian was willing to go on with the show at Utah State University -- as she's done after all the other death threats that she's received as a speaker -- but wanted attendees checked for firearms. Ogden, UT cops refused, citing Utah's open-carry firearms law. At least one of the threats cited Gamergate.

Sarkeesian is creator of the critically lauded Tropes vs Women in Video Games Youtube series, through which she documents the sexism and misogyny shot through many beloved games titles and places them in wider context. In order to prove that games and gamers are not sexist jerks, Sarkeesian's critics have rebutted her by harassing her with rape and death threats, driving her from her home at one point.

The threat, which Sarkeesian and other USU officials received early on Tuesday via e-mail, was later published by Ogden, UT newspaper the Standard Examiner, and it warned officials to expect "a Montreal Massacre-style attack," referring to the 1989 shooting spree at a Montreal university involving a killer who railed against feminism. Similarly, Tuesday's threat used anti-woman slurs and repeatedly mentioned feminism, including such claims as, "Women like Sarkeesian want to punish us for even fantasizing about being men."

USU officials initially responded to the Standard Examiner's report by claiming the speech would go on as planned by the school's Center For Women And Gender, complete with security precautions like not allowing backpacks into the venue. However, that changed with USU's announcement later that day claiming that Sarkeesian herself canceled her appearance after learning that "if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue."

Death threat forces cancellation of Sarkeesian university speech [Sam Machkovech/Ars Technica]