Some of the intricate webs holding together the secrets and dangers of the gaming industry were unraveled the weekend of June 20th. Brave women took to Twitter to share their stories of how they faced grooming, rape, and various other forms of abuse in the gaming industry.
Gaming is a special industry. You’ve got developers paid very little since it’s an honor they get to work on their “passion” in the first place. Teams that are anxious and suffer from panic attacks around crunch times. Being told by your fan base to go and kill yourself because of bugs in the game. It can get kind of grim on all fronts.
I love gaming. It has been a passion of mine ever since I was very young. I remember when I tried to play on my Gameboy secretly in bed, trying to use the streetlights outside my window to vaguely see what I was doing. I remember how excited I’d get to play Castle Wars on Runescape that my hands would get so cold I’d lose dexterity as my character ran with the flag. I remember flipping my sleep schedule when I was around 13 in order to play on the US World of Warcraft servers while living in Hong Kong. I remember countless nights playing League of Legends until 4AM where our 5-man premade would get so passionate we’d have to take a break from each other.
I’ve always known I’d want to join the industry. Even as I heard the stories of how scary Gaming could be, I had aspirations I couldn’t help but chase. After joining the industry, those stories didn’t go away. I had on some occasions been able to verify their claims personally—none of which I want to share because they are quite insignificant compared to many of the other women’s around me. But that said, I wonder if I’d think of them as “insignificant” if I were in any other industry?
The weekend of June 20th shocked, hurt, and disgraced the gaming industry. Women of all walks within gaming bravely shared their stories and named their abusers.
Gamergate was a prominent event back in 2014. Questions around how women were unwanted in the community and actively fought against popped up. Every now and then, a pocket of females will encourage another round of outing predatorial figures in the gaming industry—I’ve remembered at least another two events of this nature within the last 3 years. In this latest explosion, I was both inspired by those brave enough to come forward, but also reminded of the injustice that exists in the industry I’m a part of. It’s heartbreaking.
Kind of like the subject of mortality, the inequality of women in gaming is a topic that exists but you put it at the back of your mind on a day-to-day. Think on it too much and it can get very depressing. But you can’t help but remember it as you attend industry events, or even just simple internal meetings at times. Female coworkers and I would buddy up in order to go to events held after dark. Mind you—I’m not even talking about parties. Just the fact that certain events can happen when it’s dark outside is a cause for precaution.
For those outside of the industry looking in, here are some examples of the stories shared this weekend:
@Mindofsnaps shared her story of her encounters with a prominent Destiny streamer, SayNoToRage. Numerous times, she felt she could not speak out as he was a big name and there would be repercussions for her.
Another one was @ItsMeMollyO calling out Omeed Dariani, CEO of Online Performers Group, an agency that manages online content creators.
It was incredibly strange to then see Omeed proceed to gaslight Molly, as well as the rest of the community:
@TheHaleyBaby spoke out about SatterlizerGames, who I’ve only really known as a Dead By Daylight streamer, but he does have presence on a variety of games as well. She was terrified and shamed for years following what seems to be Satt having drugging and then raping her.
I’ve read so many more gut wrenching stories this past weekend. Some of them quite close to home as the tales did extend outside of the streamer/YouTuber sphere. It did not leave my mind in a great place, surfacing once again the reminder of the realities of our industry.
I know not everyone who comes across my blog is here for gaming. I keep this place as a journal for myself, so the topics are usually very varied. I do want to mention that not all men in gaming are like this. (Nor is it only men abusing their power.) But that said, you never know who is when you’re working in the industry.
Trust the women who come forward. Spread their stories, especially if you’re a man in the industry. Hold other men accountable for their actions. Be aware of how certain “norms” in the gaming industry can be reinforced by your “jokes” and not calling out problematic actions or ways of thinking—and this goes for both males and females in the industry who have coworkers/friends who exhibit this kind of behaviour.
For now, I’m hoping with this recent eruption of testimonies that companies that these guys work for do take proper action. I’m sure many other men who have abused their role in the industry in the past are quaking as they saw the events of this weekend unfold. Obviously, not everyone will be revealed. But I hope the results end up scaring guys into thinking twice in the future about how “bulletproof” they actually are.