In 2017, actress Kathy Griffin became the subject of controversy from both sides of the political spectrum after tweeting a photo of herself holding up a mask of then-President Donald Trump. The mask was designed to be bloodied, as if Trump had been beheaded.
Griffin claimed at the time that the tweet was little more than an edgy joke, but faced insurmountable backlash from the public who interpreted the photo as an implied threat or call to violence.
Griffin was dropped by a number of clients after the photo was uploaded. Squatty Potty cancelled her contract as a spokeswoman while CNN forced her out of their annual New Years' Eve coverage which she co-hosted with Anderson Cooper.
Griffin apologized for the tweet, but later retracted her apology.
On Monday, however, Griffin took to Twitter to ponder whether the outrage over the photo was the result of the so-called Gamergate controversy, which she said she was just learning about.
The Gamergate controversy began in 2014 after game developer Zoe Quinn was accused of having sexual relations with a video game journalist in exchange for good reviews. Critics of Gamergate suggested that the accusations were not only false, but that they were fueled by a general culture of sexism within the gamer community.
The controversy shook the world of video games to the core, growing in scope over time to encompass a general backlash against progressive politics being applied to video games. A number of prominent online figures began to garner attention for their responses to the controversy, including feminist YouTuber Anita Sarkeesian and "classically liberal" YouTuber Carl Benjamin, commonly known by his screen name "Sargon of Akkad."
Ultimately, the controversy resulted in the politicization of the gaming community, and helped lay the grounds for the "culture war" which rages between the left and the right today.
The controversy had nothing to do with Kathy Griffin, who is not involved in the gaming community. It is unlikely that the backlash against her original tweet was a result of the controversy.
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