David DePape—the man accused of violently assaulting former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband at the couple’s California home last year—said at his trial this week that online searches for video game instructions have ended in work as his unexpected introduction to a rabbit hole of far-right people and conspiratorial thinking.
KQED news DePape said he would be looking for strategies for winning over a video game director, for example, when he would stumble upon a video that would “be a whole different person, and these people would be talking about how toxic Anita Sarkeesian is.” , repeatedly. and so forth.” DePape said these videos inspired her to do more research about Sarkeesian, the founder of Feminist Frequency who was a longtime target for the amorphous, 4chan-inspired, anti-feminist online scandal known as Gamergate. “I want to find out what’s going on. Here. I want to get both sides of the story. ”
This isn’t the first time DePape has been linked to Gamergate; The New York Times reported last December that DePape’s online posts clearly reference the party as an inspiration for his politics. “How did I get into all this,” Mr. DePape wrote in a blog post. “A player’s gate is a player’s gate.”
In the investigation, though, DePape went into more detail about how Sarkeesian’s online research led him away from his self-described left-wing views and “deeper and deeper and deeper” into the conspiratorial views of podcasters— Far-right activists and YouTubers include James Lindsay, Jimmy Dore, and Glenn Beck. DePape said he would listen to these voices for hours a day while playing silent video games, absorbing a wide range of conspiracy theories involving figures from actor Tom Hanks to agent Adam Schiff (D- Calif.) and California governor Gavin Newsom.
“At the time, I was biased against Trump,” DePape said according to a BBC report“but there’s, like, truth there. So if there’s truth there that I don’t know, I want to know it.”
DePape’s defense team argued these online influences were responsible for his surprise plan to invade Pelosi’s home and confront Nancy Pelosi over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, all while wearing an inflatable unicorn costume and streaming the conversation. DePape said he only attacked Pelosi’s husband when it was clear the plan was collapsing, controversially that can be reduced against the essential legal requirement that assault is retaliation “against an official for the performance of their duties.”
Last year, a group of Democratic lawmakers sent letters to several major gaming publications asking for more information about “player reports of terrorism and extremism encounters in your online games.” The letters that we use in the big part by an anti-defamation league reportwhich said that 20 percent of adult gamers reported that they were “exposed to a higher level of whiteness and themes” through multiplayer games in 2022.