As prosecutors build their case by digging into the online history of alleged Paul Pelosi hammer attacker David DePape, they’re finding that the 2014 Gamergate furor was his gateway from hippie nudism to QAnon-Pizzagate trutherism.
The Paul Pelosi hammer attack suspect David DePape has pleaded not guilty to the October 28 assault, and as the Chronicle reported earlier this month, DePape’s attorneys are considering “vulnerability to misinformation” as his defense, not unlike a certain insanity plea used in the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. But that argument can cut both ways, and there’s no guarantee a judge or jury would be sympathetic to a defense that someone got addicted to video game chat rooms and online trolling.
The New York Times reported Sunday that prosecutors are also looking into DePape’s online history, and finding that he seemed to become radicalized during the 2014 Gamergate brouhaha, when misogynist harassment campaigns fueled an antifeminist right-wing backlash.
“How did I get into all this,” DePape said in one online forum inn a quote obtained by the Times. “Gamer Gate it was gamer gate.” He referred to Gamergate as a “consumer led revolt against communism,” and equated women in gaming with “wokism.”
Not long after the attack, we learned that DePape had a long relationship with Berkeley nudist acitivist Gypsy Taub on and off between 2000 and 2015. That relationship apparently ended badly, and fueled DePape’s alleged evolution from the Green Party-member camera guy at Taub’s attention-grabbing public stunts to an active QAnon chat group poster with deteriorating social skills and coping mechanisms, who eventually became homeless in Berkeley. (We also learned last week that DePape is the father to two of Taub's kids.)
And it’s no accident that underemployed white men who spend gobs of time playing video games were groomed into the QAnon movement. Steve Bannon himself noted, “You can activate that army,” Bannon said, according to the Times, quoting a Bloomberg Businessweek interview with Bannon by Joshua Green. “They come in through Gamergate or whatever and then get turned on to politics and Trump.”
DePape’s isolation into video games culture is confirmed by carpenter Frank Ciccarelli, who often employed DePape. “So he disassociated, and he dealt with his feelings by basically playing computer games whenever he wasn’t working,” Ciccarelli told the Times. “He had no friends. He had no social life.”
The Times also notes that some of DePape's mindset likely came from some of the far-left thinking that Taub encouraged — namely the idea of a "shadow government" and a sinister cadre pulling levers behind the scenes. And Taub was a 9/11 truther going back to 2001/2, when she first met DePape.
But it seems the breakup with Taub and the toxic gamer stuff may have triggered his sharp shift toward right-wing conspiracies — and the vilification of Nancy Pelosi as a leader of it all.
Image: CA DMV via CNN