The long-running TV series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is known for ripping stories from the headlines (which then are said to not resemble any person in fiction or real life), and so it’s no great surprise that the most recent episode addressed Gamergate, the “movement” of mostly young men harassing women in the gaming industry with slurs and rape and death threats.
In the episode, which US viewers can watch on Hulu, Raina Punjabi (a game designer who is an amalgam of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn) is threatened by men who hate women for seemingly encroaching on their territory (so far, so accurate). It goes downhill from there: the cops desperately want to help and protect the Raina, but she dismisses the threats and continues with her game launch despite the threats. At one point she is SWATted (meaning the men call the cops and tell them someone is at her address with hostages and a gun, so the SWAT team breaks down her door and points guns at her).
Raina still doesn’t want the cops’ help but agrees to let them come to the game launch. At the launch, the cops are unable to stop men from kidnapping her, at which point she is horribly raped and abused as the cops try to find the criminals. In the end, she admits the men have won and she quits the gaming industry.
Obviously, there were a lot of inaccuracies with this episode, so I’ve taken it upon myself to rewrite it using dialogue actually taken from the FBI and police officers I spoke to most recently about actual threats I received last month:
RAINA: Hello, I’d like to report some very concerning and specific threats that have been made against me online.
ICE T: Okay, I can’t promise that we can do anything but I can definitely take a report.
RAINA: Um, okay. Well, first of all, men have posted my address online and are saying they’re going to “SWAT” me. Do you know what SWATting is?
ICE T: Swapping? No, I . . . I have no idea what you’re talking about. Are you reporting a crime, ma’am?
RAINA: No, SWATting is where people call the cops and tell them there’s a gunman with hostages at my address, in the hopes a SWAT team will break down the door . . .
ICE T: I don’t understand. Is there a crime in progress you are trying to report? Because if so you have to call 911.
RAINA: I . . . no, I’m saying that this is a thing that people are saying they’re going to do to me, so it’s important that you know not to break down my door if you get a report like that.
ICE T: Why would someone do that, ma’am?
RAINA: What? I don’t know. They just do.
ICE T: Well I’m not sure what you want me to do about it.
RAINA: I . . . I guess just make a note of it? In case you get a report? So that you can maybe call me before sending a SWAT team over?
ICE T: I guess I’ll write a note down but I don’t know what else you want me to do.
RAINA: Okay, well also there are men specifically threatening to kill me.
ICE T: And is this online?
ICE T: So no one has done anything to you in person?
RAINA: Not yet, no. They’re threatening to rape and kill me.
ICE T: But just online.
RAINA: Yes, just online.
ICE T: Okay, well I’ve written up a report here. We can’t do anything until someone actually does something to you but when they do we’ll be able to consult this report.
RAINA: I have their names and the cities they live in . . .
ICE T: Do they live in New York?
RAINA: No, but one is in New Jersey and another is in Philadelphia . . .
ICE T: Ma’am, we can’t do anything about that. You’ll have to call their local PD and make a report there.
RAINA: And will they be able to do something?
ICE T: They’ll be able to make a report.
ICE T: Is there anything else?
RAINA: I . . . I guess not.
ICE T: Why are you still standing there?
RAINA: Well, there’s still 40 minutes left in this episode.
ICE T: Oh, don’t worry about that. We’ll just flash forward to after you’re murdered. We’ll fill the rest of the show with all of us wondering what we could have possibly done to prevent this tragedy.
RAINA: I hate you.