The Fine Young Capitalists
The Fine Young Capitalists is an organization that sponsored a video game design contest for women in 2014. They are primarily known for their involvement in the Gamergate controversy after users of the website 4chan provided significant financial support for the project. The project resulted in the game Afterlife Empire; a character created for the game, Vivian James, became a symbol of Gamergate.
The Fine Young Capitalists corporation was created by a partnership between Colombian media developer Autobótika and Canadian organization Empowered Up. It was founded with the goal of helping women and other underrepresented groups get involved in video game design. Its founder is Matthew Rappard, who is the only member who is publicly identified. In 2014, The Fine Young Capitalists started a competition for women to pitch game ideas. The top pitches would be given to an artist for storyboarding, with the art put online for public voting. The winning entry would be designed by Autobótika, with the winner receiving 8% of the profits and the rest going to charity.
In February 2014, The Fine Young Capitalists became involved in a dispute with game designer Zoë Quinn, who criticized the group for its transgender policy and for not paying designers who participated in the contest. The dispute played out especially on Twitter and the website 4chan. After the Gamergate controversy began in August 2014 with attacks on Quinn, 4chan users who disliked Quinn began contributing financial support to The Fine Young Capitalists' Indiegogo campaign to spite her. 4chan users stated that supporting a feminist group's game competition would cast them in a good light while making Quinn look bad. 4chan members soon became the project's major donors, eventually contributing over US$23,000. The Fine Young Capitalists drew criticism for working with 4chan.
For their donations, The Fine Young Capitalists allowed 4chan members to place their logo in the winning game, and to select the charity that would receive the funds. They also allowed 4chan to create a character to be included in the game. 4chan users created Vivian James, a character designed to appear like an ordinary female gamer; her name is meant to sound like "video games". Vivian James met with criticism, mainly for the character's association with 4chan. Allegra Ringo of Vice called her "a character masquerading as a feminist icon for the express purpose of spiting feminists". The character became a mascot for Gamergate.
Other projects by The Fine Young Capitalists included videos about female video game designers, which were sponsored by 4chan users during the development of Afterlife Empire. In 2015, The Fine Young Capitalists worked with pornographic actress Mercedes Carrera to create a scholarship for students studying in STEM fields. Fundraising included a live webcam show featuring Carrera; $11,280 was raised.
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- Ringo, Allegra (August 28, 2014). "Meet the Female Gamer Mascot Born of Anti-Feminist Internet Drama". Vice. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
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- TFYC [@TFYCapitalists] (September 11, 2014). "Final Total from the referral link is $23,601 from /v/ and 4chan" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Kidd & Turner 2016, p. 127.
- Allen, Jay (December 31, 2014). "How imageboard culture shaped Gamergate". Boing Boing. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
- "Afterlife Empire". Valve. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
- Khan, Imad (August 23, 2014). "4chan is actually behind this educational video about women in gaming". The Daily Dot. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- Chandrachud, Neha (January 23, 2015). "These Porn Stars are Getting Naked for Charity". VICE. Retrieved November 12, 2015.