1:45 pm EDT, May 19, 2015

Fans quit ‘Game of Thrones’ as rape fallout continues

High-profile fans and media outlets are quitting Game of Thrones in the wake of Sunday’s rape scene.

The scene in question has rocketed to the top of Game of Thrones‘s long list of controversial scenes, and left the internet shuddering in its aftermath. Watching Sansa Stark be raped by her new husband Ramsay Bolton (while Theon was forced to watch) has compelled many viewers to quit watching HBO’s epic fantasy series.

Among these viewers is U.S. senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who often works on issues facing women. Fed up with rape scene, McCaskill called quits on the “rocky ride” of Game of Thrones.

Senator McCaskill is not the only professional letting go of Game of Thrones. Jill Pantozzi, editor-in-chief at geek-culture feminist hub The Mary Sue, has officially decided to pull all coverage of the series.

“After the episode ended, I was gutted. I felt sick to my stomach. And then I was angry,” Pantozzi writes, in an article explaining her decision. “My next thought was, ‘I’m going to have to spend part of the next six months explaining why this was a bad move over and over.’ Not only will there be those who hand-wave the scene simply on the basis of artistic integrity, there will be those who still don’t consider it rape.

Related: George R.R. Martin says Game of Thrones and ASOIAF are still moving towards the same ending

The upsetting frequency with which rape has been employed on Game of Thrones contributed heavily to Pantozzi’s decision. In addition to Sansa, Daenerys, and arguably Cersei Lannister have been victims of sexual violence on the show — as have a disturbing number of minor and background characters.

“There’s only so many times you can be disgusted with something you love before you literally can’t bring yourself to look at it anymore,” Pantozzi explained. “That is where I currently find myself in relation to Game of Thrones. The staff of The Mary Sue feels the same. You may feel differently.”

Pantozzi’s statement is a strong one, and suitable for the gravity of recent events on Game of Thrones. As expressed in our response to Sansa’s rape, the show’s reliance on the rape and sexual violation of female characters has become a distinct and deplorable habit. We at Hypable will continue to provide coverage of Game of Thrones in the hope that matters will eventually improve, but fully support our fellow fans who can no longer conscience this upsetting trend.

Game of Thrones season 5, episode 7, “The Gift,” airs on Sunday, May 24 at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.

Have you considered dropping ‘Game of Thrones’ in the wake of Sansa’s rape?

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