The Society of Professional Journalists held a panel this past weekend featuring prominent members of #GamerGate, however, the event was prematurely shut down and evacuated due to multiple bomb threats sent in to the event coordinators.
WPLG-TV of Miami reported alongside the Miami-Dade Police that a response was sent out to the Koubek Center at Miami Dade College around 2:30 p.m., following being tipped off to the bomb threat(s) made against the event and the building.
The report claimed someone at the Miami Herald got an email for the bomb threat, and quickly sent it off to the police. Following an evacuation and a police investigation of the building, no explosives were found at the scene.
According to sources at the event, the event was blanketed with bomb threats on social media. These weren’t taken seriously as the entire facility was thoroughly checked and locked the night prior – with a guard on watch throughout the night until it kicked off the following morning.
To be clear, the bomb threat police and event staff actually responded to had a specific detonation time – towards the end of the program. Police responded and evacuated the panel with roughly a half an hour left. At this point, the venue was essentially open and had visitors perusing the facility between the first and second panels – meaning the building was no longer secure.
“As a journalist myself, if someone cares enough to do that it must mean something’s gonna be said that’s going to be interesting,” said Michael Koretzky, the director of SPJ Region 3 and host of the event when speaking to Polygon on the threats sent into the event. “No one calls in a bomb threat or sends harassing emails to a boring debate.”
#GamerGate supporters previously organized a meetup in Washington D.C., only to meet a similar response with repeated bomb threats. This event was the first officially-sanctioned event by the movement, and it probably won’t be the last on the receiving end of bomb threats, if the SPJ event is any indication.