AbleGamers believe they became the target of a DDoS attack over the weekend after the charity founders declined to accept funds from porn star Mercedes Carrera because of her connection to the GamerGate movement, according to the gaming and disability charity.
But Carrera tells Polygon she had nothing to do with the issues the site ran into over the weekend and that while she is a GamerGate supporter the live stream adult cam show is not connected to GamerGate.
"In fact, I was unaware any of this was happening until checking my social media on Sunday," she said.
The disagreement started out as an offer by Carrera to help raise funds for AbleGamers, a website dedicated to gaming and disability.
"I chose AbleGamers as I have become friendly with some disabled gamers and wanted to support the mission of providing alternatives in gaming for those who are not fully abled," Carrera told Polygon. "I see the value in disabled gamers having an opportunity to experience a variety of actions they may not have access to in day to day life."
AbleGamers officials said they were initially open to the idea.
"As a sex positive organization, our immediate response was 'Absolutely,'" according to a post on AbleGamers. "We would be honored to be chosen."
"In doing our due diligence we discovered the event organizer was putting together a GamerGate stream that would 'for now' be 'a charity stream' because they 'cannot mention that it is a GG stream as it might shy away BZ (Brazzers) and others,'" reads a statement from the organization.
According to a message on its official website, AbleGamers "became concerned by the lack of transparency in the original emails having made no mention of GamerGate. We became further alarmed as the post continued adding 'GamerGate [h]as just weaponized porn.'"
Carrera said that AbleGamers emailed the coordinators of the event and said they didn't want to receive money from the fundraising because of what they read on the Reddit thread, including someone writing that "GamerGate had weaponized porn".
After announcing it would no longer be involved in the charity event, the AbleGamers website began having technical issues, according to site officials.
AbleGamers representative Steven Spohn told Polygon that a DDoS attack was confirmed by the website's host.
"When we released our statement, we figured it was traffic," says Spohn. "Our server is 'charity level' which means cheap and no DDoS protection.
"When we started getting 'cannot connect to service' on the webpage, we called Liquid Web. Three different phone representatives said that it was in fact a DDoS. We relayed the information to our audience as it was happening. Our website is on a cloud server, sandboxed away from others.
"So, were we?" Spohn continues. "Our host says so. Could they be wrong? Sure. If LW tells us three techs and their top admin were wrong, then we'll agree we weren't [victims of a DDoS attack]. Until then I'm sticking to we were DDoS attacked around 1pm Eastern on Sunday for about 30 minutes."
Carrera is adamant she had nothing to do with the issues, something she goes into in more detail in an open letter on Destructoid. She also said that the fundraiser has never been connected with GamerGate.
"The live stream cam show adult content event happening January 2 is not connected to GamerGate," she said. "However, as I have come out in support of GamerGate's mission of ethics in journalism and resistance to censorship, it is not surprising that the two became conflated on Reddit. However the show itself is not intended to be a GamerGate sanctioned event. "
She added that the fundraiser is still happening and that a partnership is in the works for who will be the recipient of the money raised.
Correction: The article has been rewritten to include comments from Carrera. In attempting to reach Carrera before publication we mistakenly reached out to Brazzers, which does not employ Carrera. We apologize for the mistake.