Geek Feminism Wiki

This is a timeline of sexist incidents in geek communities including:

See Timeline of geek feminism for the development of geek feminism itself.

(Mary Gardiner explains the reason for this list in Why we document, originally on the Geek Feminism blog.)




















  • October
    • Penny Arcade announces Dickwolves tshirts; Courtney Stanton announces Dickwolves Survivors Guild tshirts in protest




  • October
    • Codemash sexual assault
    • standingwithDNLee Biologist and science writer Dr. Danielle N. Lee responded to being called a "whore" after politely declining to write for free. The Scientific American blog network removed her blog post about it without consulting her, with the excuse that it "verged into the personal."
    • Reports of harassment of Scientific American bloggers by editor Bora Zivkovic surfaced around a year ago, but in October 2013 several women wrote in public naming him and describing his patterns of bad behavior.
    • SF hacker group advertises "Hackers and Hookers " costume party. When called on it, they issue a classic non-apology (both advertisement and apology archived at link).
    • Kent James, a core reviewer for the open-source Thunderbird project, wrote a blog post with the subject line "Real Men do Build Engineering". Despite knowing that this was sexist (the original post included the question, "So, are there any Real Men out there (or even Real Women) that want to be a hero, and save our project?"), in a comment, James stated "I decided to remove comments that disputed my use of the term 'Real Men'." (In an example of the Many bad things in the world silencing tactic, he implied that it was acceptable for him to insinuate that men are more likely to understand build engineering than women are because an organization exists that uses the term "real men" and claims to fight domestic violence.)
    • At the ACM CIKM 2013 conference, a presenter showed a slide (photo) with the text "Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it... (Dan Ariely)" The conference did not have an anti-harassment policy posted on its web site.
    • The Special support for women thread began on Linux Australia's discussion mailing list.



  • January
    • Milo Yiannopoulos (a leader of the Gamergate coordinated harassment campaign) published an article disclosing personal details about tech culture critic Shanley Kane's past romantic relationships; the article was reposted by Valleywag.[1]
    • The Feminist Software Foundation trolling continued, with a phony Straw-feminist operating system called "ToleranUX".[2]
    • Plaxo co-founder Minh Nguyen was arrested for the murder of his ex-wife's husband.[3]
    • ZeroFox gives a talk entitled Mascots, March Madness & #yogapants: Hacking Goes to Collegewhich discusses various means of social media exploitation, while emphasising "well-endowed women," and many mentions of "yoga pants" leading to audience cheers and yelling "when do we get to the yoga pants" and similar.[4] Speakers, when contacted on twitter, insisted that they were presenting an objective view on soft exploits ("the reality is social media attacks involve sex & food as targeting "[5][6]) and denied any wrongdoing. [7]

      Harassment ensues[8], and the person who raised the issue was chased off Twitter by people directed to her by blog posts[9], et cetera.

    • Jace Connors car crash: Connors, known as a supporter of the Gamergate coordinated harassment campaign (and target of trolling himself) crashed his mother's car while he was on his way to Brianna Wu's house. He was armed at the time.
  • March
    • In a presentation on "biohacking" at the CanSecWest security conference, Jan Krissler used a closeup of a pornographic image of a woman giving a blowjob (slide #37 from the deck posted here) to illustrate that high enough resolution photographs can be used to bypass retina scans. Most of the penis in the image was blocked out, but there was no ambiguity as to the content of the image. Also, in the presentation by Patrick Wardle from Synack, one of initial slides had a table of terms being defined with each having a simple art stye depicting women's body parts/sexual activities so as to explain the security terms (the terms included implant, hooking, backdoor, etc., which are valid security terms that he sexualized). Two of the images had black bars to supposedly censor them, but he explained that he was willing to provide the slides uncensored to those who ask him for them. Additionally, he used the justification that the US is uptight about sex as a reason for it being acceptable to include sexual content in a technical security conference. Both current online copies of the slide deck have this slide removed from them. Later the same day, and ironically immediately following a lightning talk which included one on the topic of respecting women members of the infosec community, several witnesses reported that there was a stripper at the official conference party.
    • Michael Robertson, founder of, tweeted that white men dominate Silicon Valley because "Science tells us men & women are biologically different including their brains and skills."
    • On March 8, Linus Torvalds committed a "Code of Conflict" to the kernel. It was signed by 60 kernel maintainers and initiated as a patch by Greg Kroah-Hartman, one of the developers involved in the Kernel Civility Incident in July 2013.
    • Context 28 is cancelled after extended fallout from bad handling of a harassment incident at Context 27.
  • July
    • French Wikipedia discussion about removal of a domestic violence mention on Thomas Piketty page.
    • Andrea-ritsu's tumbler post on Nintendo's Fire Emblem Fates. (here too) [TW drug, consentment] The author explains that the scenario allows the player to "drug" one of the lesbian character to make her see women as men. The author is targeted by Gamer Gate proponent.
    • Jessie Frazelle's blog post describing the harassment and threats she received as a Docker core maintainer is published. She later leaves her position at Docker to join Mesosphere. Mesosphere's CEO is Florian Leibert, who assaulted Noirin Plunkett in 2010.
    • Ellen Pao resigns from CEO position at Reddit. Users wanted her to step back as CEO, officially because she was hold responsible of Victoria Taylor (Ask Me Anything creator) eviction in the company but this narrative is put in question. On the other hand Ellen Pao removed some fat shaming and racist subreddits and this makes her unpopular for some communities. This article [TW:Online abuse] sums the situation up.


  • March
    • Neil deGrasse Tyson tweets that any species for whom sex was painful would go extinct, then doubles down and defends his statement in an interview. Leaving aside non-human species, sex is painful for many humans, especially women. Minimizing or denying this is an example of rape culture in practice.
    • Dragos Ruiu, operator of the CanSecWest security conference, hands out cards advising attendees to perform a "Slut Check" for wireless access points with poor authentication
    • YET ANOTHER Game Developers Conference (GDC) party features sexualized women dancers. This time they are wearing schoolgirl uniforms and the party is sponsored by Microsoft.
    • Adam Shostack confronted at RSA 2016 Conference in SF - accused of drugging a woman at ISC2 Security Congress 2014 in Atlanta. This is the third complaint against him as documented at ADAMSHOSTACK.COM and includes hospital records of the woman who had an allergic reaction to something she believes was put in her drink and a video clip of part of the confrontation by her angry boyfriend.
    • Lambdaconf incident
  • August
  • October
    • Harassment incident involving Babak Nivi, AngelList founder and board member at poolside party - precise details unclear as covered by non-disparagement agreement, but reported on by NY Times here.
  • November
  • December
    • Prominent Drupal event in Germany intended to give away issues of the German edition of Playboy to all attendees as part of the swag (along with industry-related material). They removed the magazines after complaints and issued an apology. The Drupal Community Working Group subsequently issued a statement on the matter.
    • A senior Oculus executive was arrested in Washington State after soliciting sex from a police officer he believed to be a fifteen-year-old sex worker.