On July 5th, Guild Wars developer ArenaNet fired two employees, Jessica Price and Peter Fries, for their interactions on Twitter with a streamer. The firings were announced in a forum post by ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien, where he characterized their interactions with the streamer as “attacks on the community” and, later, an act of “hostility.”

The aftermath of ArenaNet’s actions has rippled across the gaming industry, both at the company and within the development community at large. Internally, multiple developers at ArenaNet tell The Verge that they felt let down by their employer, who, they say, walked back their branding about inclusion and standing against harassment, and caved to the whims of an internet mob. They describe a chilling effect in their place of work, a frustration and fear shared by many other professionals who make games. Toxic sectors of the gaming community have crowed about the firings as a triumph and a demonstration of their power to control and punish the people who make the games they love.

Female developers across the industry have also subsequently reported sometimes coordinated attempts to get them fired on the basis of their social media presence — attempts they believe were inspired by the ArenaNet firings. One developer, who asked to remain anonymous because of potential backlash from online mobs, learned that her employer received form letters touching on her social media presence. Rather than specifying her name, some of these letters had been botched and simply said “%FEMALENAME.” Speaking to The Verge, she says these messages began arriving…

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