I have a question I want to pose directly to the feminist community online and in the world at large.
In particular it is addressed to the writers and editors of Jezebel.com, feministing.com, Double X, feministe.us, Pandagon, “Free” Thought Blogs, The Good Men Project and individuals such as Amanda Marcotte, Jessica Valenti, PZ Myers, Tory Shepherd, Jaclyn Friedman, David Futrelle, Lindy West and any and all of the entities and individuals who identify as feminist advocates.
Do you welcome thieves in your community?
Just as importantly, do you welcome them into your community by intentionally refraining from calling them out when they steal?
The question is not as rhetorical as it sounds. It is actually a bit of a test from my childhood memories of my Uncle Floyd. Yes, Uncle Floyd was a real person; a quiet but sometimes colorful character who had a propensity for summing people up in sometimes abrupt fashion.
One of the many “Floydisms” that I grew up with was quite simple and direct. “Show me a liar and I will also show you a thief.”
So far in life I have not been misled by this little gem of wisdom, which brings me, and all of you, to Anita Sarkeesian.
I recently found the following posted to the internet. It contains some very compelling information that she, one of your BFFs, one of your chosen ones, is quite literally a thief. Since reposting permission was granted in the article itself, let me just share it with you in full.
Hello. I am the professional artist who painted the Princess Daphne image that Feminist Frequency/Tropes vs Women has been using as part of their logo and branding in several places online.
Here’s one of several online examples: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/566429325/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games
My original artwork is here: http://atomicginger.blogspot.com/2009/05/princess-daphne.html
I don’t have a record of licensing this image to Feminist Frequency for commercial use. Do you have any relevant paperwork showing that your company has legitimately licensed this image, and that this is a simple misunderstanding instead of intentional copyright infringement?
Since you state in interviews that the video series infringing on my copyrighted work is non-profit: do you also have valid proof of 501(c)3 status, or a transparent breakdown showing that the Kickstarter campaign’s net earnings (including derivative opportunities such as paid speaking engagements & site donations) are not being used to benefit any private shareholder or individual.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but content creation is how I make my living and professional reputation. I typically do not license my work or lend endorsement in situations where there isn’t the utmost transparency. I would greatly appreciate a speedy response (within 24 hours) so we can proceed to resolve this situation.
Thanks for your time,
(FYI, letter is based on these open source letters, and remains open source for anyone who it might help. Feel free to use.)
To perhaps shed light on Sarkeesian’s reaction to this inquiry, the following was also posted by the OP at cowkitty.net
Long Story Short: You stole my art, used it for commercial purposes, and won’t even respond to my polite inquiries.
Financial and legal complications aside, I hope you understand that you’ve taken away my personal voice and ownership as a fellow content creator. Without my permission or knowledge, you’ve taken my work out of context to use for your own agenda, leaving me no control over how my work is seen or used. I found myself surprised to be incidentally supporting and endorsing a campaign I had no prior knowledge about.
Content is gifted, donated, licensed, commissioned, and purchased. It should NOT be stolen.
On one hand, it’s super cool to know that my art was in a TedTalk. (!!!) But on the other hand, you googled “Princess Daphne”, downloaded my fan artwork from my own blog website, removed the background & signature, placed it into a branding logo, and continued to use this stolen work even AFTER raising $150k on Kickstarter.
Ok ok, benefit of the doubt. Copyright law can be complicated. Maybe you thought that any images on Google must be free to use however you want. Honest mistake, no harm no foul?
Except that I (and several of your supporters) have tried to contact you to nicely resolve this via your website, Twitter, and even Kickstarter. Unfortunately, there’s been no response from you of any kind. I’d assume you were away from the computer, except you’ve still been actively engaging on social media during this time.
Honestly, I don’t have the time/energy at the moment to try to get you to notice me. I do hope one day you’ll attempt to resolve this situation, and fully understand why stealing is not only morally wrong, but also detrimental to content creators of all mediums.
I’d still really like to resolve this issue, so I hope you find the time and consideration to one day respond to the original letter I sent you, re-posted below.
Now, here is the problem, among many. Regardless of the merits of Anita’s assertions about video games, the fact is people who do art “for a living” generally lead very spare lives. So much talent in the world, so little money to pay for it. Not that it would matter a bit if Tammy was rich like The Donald. Stealing is stealing.
It is just that it seems so particularly atrocious for someone who raised over $160,000 for a project (with a fundraising goal of $6,000.00) to go about pillaging the intellectual property of others–and this is not the first time she’s been caught at this. Anita appears to be in the habit of taking what others created, erasing their identifying markers, selling that product as her own, and then not even bother to acknowledge it or respond to inquiries about why all of this happened.
This is what a feminist looks like?
Sorry, that time I was being rhetorical.
Everyone in the men’s rights community, and a quickly growing portion of society at large, know that feminism is an ideology peddling in lies. From the wage gap, to the facts about DV and rape; even our history itself has been shaped by rampant falsehood into something it never was, for profit and power.
This brings us back to my Uncle Floyd. And this also brings us back to you, feminist community. Now that the cat is out of the bag (yet again) on Anita Sarkeesian, I want the world to see which one of you has the integrity to stand up and insist that she find a way to resolve this, and that the victim of her thievery is compensated for her loss. Or I want the world to see what I suspect is the truth; that not one in the lot of you has any integrity.
You will remain silent, broadcasting the message that stealing is a viable path to spreading your message. Or, perhaps, you will attack Tamara Smith for having the audacity to protect her intellectual property and stand up publicly to one in your crooked crowd. Or maybe one of you will attack me for calling you out on your corrupt standards and try to turn the subject to something other than the fact that Anita Sarkeesian is a dirty thief operating with your blessings.
You will prove that there is no honor among thieves, nor among liars.