Anne Rice wins the heart of Gamergate

Based Anne RiceVampire Chronicles author Anne Rice has become an unlikely cause célèbre for the controversial Gamergate movement following an online dispute with activist Randi Harper.


Anne Rice’s shaky relationship with online reviewers goes back to 2004, when she went to Amazon and posted a lengthy rebuttal to the people who criticised her book Blood Canticle. The incident prompted Neil Gaiman to write the memorable lines “I think Anne Rice going on Amazon and lambasting her critics was undoubtedly a very brave and satisfying thing for her to do, was every bit as sensible as kicking a tar baby, and, if ever I do something like that, please shoot me.”

Since then, Rice appears to have kept a watch on the rights and wrongs of Amazon reviews. Last week, she linked to a post from Stop the Goodreads Bullies on Twitter:

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The blog post in question refers to a review by feminist activist Randi Harper of Vivek Wadwha’s book Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, in which she condemns Wadwha for harassing women on Twitter – without actually reviewing Wadwha’s book:

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Amazon “reviews” that don’t review the product are against site rules, and so Harper’s comments were deleted.

Rice clarified her thoughts in an interview with Breitbart:

“I have no particular interest in Ms Harper”, wrote Rice. “My concern has always been bullying on book review sites and online bookstores. She wrote a “review” which was not a review, but a personal attack on the author. It was reported and removed. The issue has never been whether this is a nice person or a bad person. The issue is honest authentic customer reviews as opposed to bully attacks.” Responding to claims that she had banned Harper from her Facebook page, Rice said “I found her posts to my page combative and hostile and disruptive. So I deleted and banned her. Again, it’s the issue that matters.”

Where does Gamergate fit into this? Well, Randi Harper happens to be one of the more outspoken opponents of the campaign. And so, pro-Gamergate sites such as The Ralph Retort and Reaxxion gleefully reported on the dispute. Someone added fuel to the fire by attributing a fake tweet to Rice; the culprit has not been identified, but this did not stop some people from blaming the incident on “SJWs.”

The Gamergate subreddit KotakuInAction also got in on the, erm, action:

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Well, whatever you make of Gamergate, you’ve got to hand it to them: they know how to defy a stereotype. Neckbeards and Doritos are passé; eyeliner and black nail varnish are where it’s at.

One wonders if Gamergate’s newfound infatuation with Anne Rice will lead to The Vampire Chronicles being re-evaluated in light of the ongoing culture wars. You could say that the Queen of the Damned was the original Tumblrina – she did try to #killallmen, after all.