Last week GayGamer.net, a news-gathering site and meeting place for the gay gaming community, was attacked by homophobic hackers.
39-year-old Flynn DeMarco, GayGamer.net’s founder and editor-in-chief, started the site just over a year ago. It already records an average of 15,000 to17,000 unique users a day and is a major source of gaming news and information.
Flynn spoke to PinkNews.co.uk from their Atlanta offices about their techno hate crime ordeal.
When did you realise you were under attack?
The mini DoS (denial of service) attacks started around Wednesday of last week.
I noticed that I was getting server reset notices and I thought it was just my connection.
Then I started getting emails from readers and then I knew there was something going on. Then Friday night late our chat room and forums were flooded with hate speech.
I was at a party and was able to use the host’s computer to block the IPs, but then the attacks must have started again because when I got home around 2am, we were shut down completely by our service provider in an attempt to block the attacks permanently.
Do you have any idea who might be responsible?
We don’t really know as of yet, but we have IP addresses and we are looking into it.
How much damage have the attacks done to the site?
Well, besides taking us down for two days, causing me and my staff a lot of stress and more importantly, denying our community members their place to congregate, it wasn’t so bad.
If anything, it kind of helped us. This story has been on game sites and news sites all over the internet.
I would think it’s safe to say that many more people have heard of us now than had five days ago.
Our numbers are up and we’ve had over 50 new forum members in the last 24 hours. I think the down time also really helped galvanise the staff and made us really realise how important it is that we are here.
So, in the end I would have to say that the attacker’s plan kind of backfired on them. They may have taken us down for two days, but now we’re back and better than ever.
What made you start GayGamer.net?
I really wanted to make a safe place for people of all walks of life to come to experience, enjoy and talk about games with people of a similar mentality.
All too often you see “gay” this and “faggot” that thrown around in the comments and forums of other sites and a lot of us just don’t want to have to deal with that sort of small mindedness, no matter what your sexual orientation.
It’s true that our site is more oriented towards the GLBT community, but we have a large number of straight readers as well. GayGamer.net isn’t just stories about gay video games, it’s about video games seen from a gay perspective.
Is there a lot of homophobia in the gaming community?
It’s hard to make a sweeping generalisation, but yes there is a lot of homophobia within the community.
I will clarify this by saying that the homophobia doesn’t come from within the industry itself or from the people who write about it, but rather from the game players themselves.
The amazing support we received when the site was down came from all over the industry including people who make games, game writers and players, both gay and straight.
But, there were also the people who felt like they still needed to spew their hate about this incident out in the comments on other sites.