Welcome back to Jaggy’s Corner where I talk about various topics in the gaming industry. Today, however, Jaggy’s Corner is going to be much more serious as it covers a heavy topic. As a result, before I move on I’m blatantly telling you that this post is a TRIGGER WARNING. I cover sexual harassment and surrounding topics. I have linked to a couple of peoples’ accounts with individuals within the gaming community. Each of these also carry trigger warnings. I’ll do my best to reduce specifics that might needlessly hurt our readers, but I’m not going to pull punches.
Sexual Harassment Allegations – Where It Began and the Conversation
On the weekend, one woman posted a Tweet about sexual harassment experienced by a well known Destiny 2 player “SayNoToRage”. As the weekend progressed, a lot of allegations were made through many Twitlonger posts. To date, both men and women have come forward with stories of sexual harassment, rape, or coercion (like BDSM for example).
During the course of the weekend many well-known streamers, partners, and YouTubers were called out. A Twitter user JessyQuil began compiling a list of all those accused, the accuser(s), and the link to the allegation. Unfortunately, this list is quite long and shocking to several people in the gaming community.
Among the list of accused persons are: Ryan Morrison (The Video Game Attorney), Cryaotic (YouTube/Streamer), WitWix (streamer), Sjin (Formerly of the Yogscast), HJTenchi (streamer), wgrates (streamer), Kasper (Charity Streamer), ProSyndicate (Streamer), and Hassan (Twitch Staff). This list is not exhaustive as there are many other cases of sexual harassment.
What’s Happened Since?
After days of reading horrible detailed accounts of several sponsors of these gamers have rescinded their deals. A well-known group the Online Performers Group (OPG) lost a lot of its key members, a group that consisted of many high profile streamers and YouTubers, which forced them into an interesting situation. Another group ceased operations as a result of the allegations. Finally, Twitch updated its policies in an official blog post and began investigating the allegations leading to the Banning of several streamers like iAMSp00n, WarwitchTV, and BlessRNG (So far…).
But Wait! There’s More!
Another allegation was written about a Twitch Staff member who is Accounts Director and in charge of Strategic Partnerships. While this particular accusation has not been dealt with (that we know of), it shows that the gaming community needs to be more accountable. We should not be silent anymore. Ubisoft posted a response after several allegations involve multiple staff members.
I can only hope that things will improve from here but I have my doubts. Companies tend to follow the money and not care about anything else, but what do I know? In order to survive in the world, money leads the charge. And many of these allegations can be difficult to prove because we all know how the court system handles things… For those that don’t know, someone compiled a list of statements made by judges in the American legal system. Go on. Read some of those awful and ridiculous statements. Then tell me why you think most people don’t step forward with allegations of sexual offenses.
The nuclear fallout from these accounts doesn’t just extend to those that have sexually assaulted members of the gaming community. I’ve read several allegations of non-sexual harassment among the other allegations. In fact, I can even tell you some stories…
Harassment doesn’t just come from men to women, it comes from all persons of all walks of life. It also doesn’t just extend to the gaming industry.
A Personal Story
When I was younger, I became friends with a couple of business owners. For the most part, these people were amazing and wonderful people. Anyways, I was invited out to lunch by a business owner to talk. I believe this was around the time I was in finance, so I hoped he would become a client. We went to a place not far from work to his friends’ restaurant. It wasn’t open to the public on that day and everything seemed.
While we waited for the chef to make our meals, the restaurant owner asked me to follow him so that he could show me something. I followed, not really thinking anything of it, but I was rather hesitant. He took me to a back room and proceeded to grab my breast. I backed away and told him that this wasn’t acceptable. He said something along the lines of ‘Oh sorry, you’re not married so I just assumed it was okay’. Let that sink in. BECAUSE I WASN’T MARRIED IT WAS ACCEPTABLE TO HIM. Why? Apparently, this is how things are done back home.
That’s just one instance that happened outside of gaming.
Another Personal Story of Harassment
Inside gaming, I’ve been in multiple long distance relationships. Many of them failed horribly. The one situation that always angers me the most is my encounter with ‘Zankorian’ during my WoW days. (This is going back many years by the way. Don’t try to find this person now. I highly doubt that he could be found.)
Zank and I in a ‘relationship’ for several months. We were friends and guildies prior to this, so he was ‘good’. The two of us would talk every day, we’d raid, we’d laugh, we’d play music, etc… I stopped focusing on real life as I was so infatuated with the guy.
He was from Florida and he was Hispanic, a fact that worked for me because I like the Spanish language and I would be able to practice with him. Anyways, after being together for a few months he began asking me to react sexually to him when we were on Skype. He also had my actual phone number so sometimes this happened outside of Skype. He would ask for nudes as well. I told him that I never do those kinds of things and I wasn’t comfortable with the idea. I refused. (Keep in mind this happened after being sexually harassed multiple times and raped.) With each conversation, he would persist and I would continue to say no. I thank the stars I never met him in person…
One day he stopped messaging. He wasn’t on WoW. No one had heard from him. He wasn’t on Facebook (though I did find his other FB account where he was fully active so I knew he was just avoiding me for some reason.) I didn’t know what happened. Did I piss him off? Was I wrong to not give him anything? Was I the bad person?
After about a week of no interaction, one of his ‘brothers’ messaged me and said, “Hi. Alvaro says that we needed to message you. He’s in the hospital. He’s in a coma”. Color me shocked. I was confused and scared. What happened? Did he get into a car accident? Was this an induced coma or not? I hadn’t taken a lot of time between my previous relationship and the new one with Zank. Was I about to lose everything?
Another week went by. I learned several facts like:
- He wasn’t in a coma
- Alvaro pretended to be his own brother
- He was secretly in a relationship with someone else (a person who I’m actually good friends with… This is actually a whole other story on its own.)
- His name was not Alvaro
- Most of what he told me was a lie.
- He was active on Facebook but under a different name
I can’t imagine what would have happened if I ever went to Florida or if I had sent him nudes. And while this specific situation only extends to WoW, and not a YouTube idol or Streamer, sexual harassment is VERY prevalent in the gaming space.
Final Thoughts From this week
While I know that many women and men have come forward to tell their stories, I have to say that I respect their bravery, especially those who have been very detailed. It’s never an easy thing to admit sexual harassment or any kind of harassment, but now people can choose what happens moving forward. Twitch has already banned a few offenders and is investigating others. Gamers have banded together to protect each from the awful bad apples. Sponsors have dropped their deals with certain individuals across the board.
Frankly, we need to talk more about harassment in gaming. We need to believe more of those stories and not hide anymore. Do not let anyone be responsible for your success or downfall. And most importantly, don’t blame yourselves for others being assholes. If I could offer a piece of advice based on multiple experiences, it is this: if you are feeling uncomfortable and have a way to escape, DO IT. If it feels like a bad situation, get out. That is especially true if you’ve been drinking.
I’m always available to listen, no matter how significant that may be.
And now I’m ignoring Twitter for a week.
Until next time.