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One of Gamergate’s most prominent voices, Ethan Ralph, was arrested recently on two counts of assault on law enforcement and one count of obstruction of justice.
He allegedly “assaulted a deputy,” according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office report.
Ralph is well-known within the online Gamergate community for a website he runs, The Ralph Retort. It’s a Rush Limbaugh-esque take on the world of video games.
Gamergate, a group known by many for both its online harassment campaigns and its vehement denial that it’s involved in online harassment campaigns, has mostly fizzled since its inception in the summer of 2014. But websites like The Ralph Retort have kept it alive; Ralph is most well-known for encouraging his followers, ex-Gamergaters, to target people and institutions.
As game developer Brianna Wu writes on The Daily Dot, “Like many women in the game industry, I’ve been doxed by [Ralph] multiple times. In December of 2014, after receiving death threats so extreme they were the basis of a ‘Law & Order’ episode, I had pictures of my house, my car and even my pets’ names published by Gamergate on Medium. The post was so extreme that it caused Medium to re-evaluate its policies on publishing private information. After the post was taken down, Ralph was eager to republish it.”
The reported altercation started when police “responded to this location for a report of an intoxicated male sleeping in the lobby.” When sheriff’s deputies tried waking up the person, he reportedly “assaulted a deputy.” Ralph is being charged with obstruction of justice and two separate felony counts of assault of law enforcement.
Ralph’s Twitter account remains active, as does The Ralph Retort website – he wrote in a post on his website (reportedly dictated from jail) that, “Effective immediately, I’m taking my leave of absence from my position as Editor-in-Chief.”
If convicted, Ralph faces a maximum sentence of five years per felony count, and a maximum of one year for obstruction of justice – a maximum total sentence of 11 years in prison. He’s currently being held without bond at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center in Virginia.