Satire, like the dual-blade light sabre, is a weapon best left to those with years of experience behind them. Just ask Jan Rankowski, as described by Buzzfeed‘s Joseph Bernstein:
The internet knows Jace Connors as a gun-loving YouTube personality who last month became the latest symbol of GamerGate’s escalating extremism when he released a bizarre, rambling video in which he claimed to have crashed his car while en route to the home of Brianna Wu, the game developer who has become, along with Anita Sarkeesian, the public face of GamerGate persecution.
“Jace Connors” is in fact Jan Rankowski, a 20-year-old living in Maine who is affiliated with Million Dollar Extreme, a provocative cult comedy group based in Rhode Island, and far from being the archfiend of GamerGate, Rankowski is himself now the subject of a campaign of harassment.
In an exclusive interview, Rankowski told BuzzFeed News that he intended to satirize “the over-the-top, super-hyper-macho armed GamerGater” but that harassment in recent days, as doxxing forums and GamerGate image boards have started to suspect he is behind the Connors character, has left him terrified…
After the car crash video brought a swarm of attention to the Connors character, users of obscure internet fora (4chan, 8chan, and something called Kiwi Farm), were able to trace the character to videos created by Rankowski and Sam Hyde, the comedian behind Million Dollar Extreme.
And then the phone calls started. “People have been calling my old high school calling my work,” Rankowski told BuzzFeed News, “and saying these nasty things about me. I was made to sign a contract at my job saying I wouldn’t make any of these videos again. I received a letter in the mail with a picture of me from my high school yearbook… It said I shouldn’t have fucked with 8chan.”…
Rankowski says that the situation has given him a new appreciation for the people who were most upset by his actions.
“I didn’t take this situation seriously, but I see what it means now to be in the other person’s shoes. What her life must feel like. I have this newfound respect for the people who are having to deal with GamerGate, Brianna Wu and Anita [Sarkeesian].”…
He had no idea that video was loaded, before it went off in his face! Dude, next step in the initiation is when half the internet lectures you about how what you’re experiencing isn’t actually harassment, it’s about ethics in online comedy. Also, if you didn’t want to be mobbed by starling flocks of internet idiots, why were you wandering around in that neighborhood wearing such a provocative persona, eh?
(Of course, this is when you Internet Sophisticates tell me everybody knows that ‘Jan Rankowski’ is really a cover for the next-level trolling of [insert your speculation here]…)