In the gaming world, Brianna Wu has earned a reputation battling the online harassment campaign known as Gamergate, a fight that led to rape and murder threats from the darker recesses of the male-dominated realm. Now the 39-year-old Boston-based software engineer is setting her sights on another male-dominated institution: Congress. Wu, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, said she made the decision almost immediately after the November election.
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“On election night I was standing 30 feet from where Hillary should have accepted the presidency. I had planned to go back to Boston and work on shipping our next game, but I knew I couldn’t do that,” Wu said Thursday in an email to The Associated Press, calling President-elect Donald Trump “an incredible threat to the United States and American values.”
She’s said she wants her campaign to focus in part on privacy rights and online harassment, but also on the wider economy which she said is rigged against Massachusetts families.
Wu is lead engineer at the video game company Giant Spacekat. She rose to prominence after becoming a target of Gamergate, which has subjected several women in the video-game industry to misogynistic threats after surfacing in the summer of 2014.
The threats became so intense that Wu and her husband had to leave their home. While Wu says she wants to run for one of Massachusetts’ nine US House seats, she has not announced which one. She said it will be in the greater Boston area and she won’t challenge Rep. Katherine Clark, whose district covers a swath of the city’s northern and western suburbs.
Clark has championed bills in Congress aimed at cracking down on the kinds of online harassment that Wu faced. Clark said earlier this year that she began fighting online harassment after hearing Wu’s story. As a political novice, Wu faces the daunting challenge of unseating an incumbent Democrat.