The Fine Young Capitalists. You probably never heard of them and without #GamerGate it's likely you might not ever have. They're a pro-feminist group currently running a charity Game Jam to help get more women into the gaming industry. The Game Jam sees females pitching ideas to which the game community votes on the idea and the female-led design team called Autobotika, from Columbia, will turn that idea into a reality. It's a novel way to bridge positive female inclusion with community support within games culture. Gamers love the idea, but the media hasn't been very kind... at all.
In a recent interview with APGNation, Matthew Rappard spoke up on behalf of The Fine Young Capitalists, pouring forth a lot of information regarding the group's bumpy road throughout the year, their run-in with those associated with Silverstring Media, as well as getting support from one of the most unlikely places.
Earlier this year they tried launching the Game Jam to help get more women into gaming, but ran into opposition from a group who felt as if the whole thing was “transphobic”. The incident took place due to a lack of understanding on the side of the attackers and they suffered a similar fate to the WizardChan community. In the case of WizardChan, the incident was recently rectified in an updated post over on The Escapist.
Nevertheless, TFYC experienced harassment and had some personal information posted publicly without consent. If you search on Google, you'll find that before August, there were only two sites that covered them: Game Politics and GamesIndustry.biz.
According to Matthew...
“We were aware that there might be some blowback. We did not expect his level of blowback, specifically the claim of being transphobic. One business partner, not wanting the rest of his work to be referred to as transphobic, left the project. He was planning to contribute $10,000 dollars.“
According to Matthew, he tried contacting multiple media outlets to try to get coverage for their IndieGoGo campaign, but was ignored. During this time, The Fine Young Capitalists IndieGoGo was hacked and shutdown multiple times, as noted by Tech Crunch.
Things finally kicked into gear when actor Adam Baldwin – who became an active participant in advocating better ethics in games media – sent out a tweet of support after finding out that the group was not being covered by games media, and was constantly under attack for unknown reasons.
The campaign also found its strongest support from imageboard 4chan. A specific board on 4chan, known as /v/, donated $5,000 at the start and had an opportunity to create a female character for the game that TFYC and Autobotika would make. 4chan named her “Vivian James”, as a play on words for “video games”. As noted by Rappard...
“When I awoke, I had received a letter [..] explaining that 4chan shouldn’t donate to women’s projects. I wrote a response on twitter saying that /v/’s love of games transcended gender barriers and that they were welcome. This resonated with /v/ and they asked if they could get a referral link and pool their money to reach the most expensive perk, which was to be a logo in the game. We said yes and over the next couple weeks /v/ managed to raise over $22,000 through their referral link.”
After finally getting restored, TFYC tried reaching out to major media, including Kotaku...
“Kotaku’s Jason Schreier contacted us after our Indiegogo page got hacked on Aug 25.“...
I reached out to Jason regarding reasons why an article was never published, but received no response. Schreier did, however, post the following response on Twitlong explaining why Kotaku won't be publishing anything about their campaign any time soon, stating...
“There are certainly compelling reasons we might report on it, and normally, I'd contact all involved parties and try to dig into the truth about what happened. But this situation is not normal by any means. And we're hesitant to A) publish an article that would encourage or facilitate more harassment of ANYONE; B) cover a story that heavily involves someone who had a now-very-public relationship with one of our reporters. Maybe in a few months, when things have simmered down, that will change -- and if another outlet writes a thorough, fair, honest account of what happened, we'd certainly consider linking out to that -- but for now, I don't feel comfortable trying to tackle that story on Kotaku.”
Unfortunately, major gaming websites have continued to steer clear of The Fine Young Capitalists. Additionally, others have been encouraged not to support TFYC as well, including notable comic book artist Gail Simone, who almost attempted to show support for the charity but was advised not to, in order to avoid upsetting the anti-#GamerGate crowd. The Fine Young Capitalists also have been on a social media block list (under the handle TFYC) by some major media outlets.
(Vivian James concept image courtesy of TFYC and 4chan)
As mentioned in the interview, they're moving forward with their IndieGoGo. With the money they've raised with the help and support of 4chan, the denizens of /v/ requested that TFYC do a series highlighting females in the gaming industry, such as the one below.
The group has also received support from Facepunch Studios and some members of Reddit. In fact, the Reddit community donated enough to come up with their own character who they named Gilda Mars.
Moreover, Matthew goes on to say...
“I was surprised that 4chan was so interested in the project. To this day we receive more referral traffic from 4chan than any other page. We feel this project resonated with /v/ because it’s so game focused and we treat them with respect. When /v/ designed Vivian James and asked if she could be placed into the game, we said yes because we liked the character.”
With 16 days left on their IndieGoGo campaign, the group has accrued more than $60,000 on a goal that requires $65,000. They're very close to hitting that goal.
Throughout all of this they have avoided mudslinging and getting involved with vicious attacks – despite being hacked, attacked and shutdown multiple times. The gaming community has rallied around their cause with great fervor.
Closing out the interview, Matthew states...
“The point of TFYC was to show that women had good ideas and that men support them. People often forget the second part. To every guy out there that supported us, thank for showing that so many men actually care about women’s issues. For the women that are just hearing about the contest, remember that we want you making games just as much you do.”
You can check out the entire interview over on AGPNation.
You can find out more about The Fine Young Capitalists, their goals, their ideals and what they hope to achieve with the Game Jam by visiting their official website.