Warning: This post deals with issues such as sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Please proceed with caution.
I never thought I would ever make a post like this on this website. I try to keep this website, and all of my Warcraft social media, purely about the game and helping players. However, with recent events occurring within the gaming, esports, and content creator spaces, I feel compelled to add my voice in support of the victims. Additionally, I want to amplify their voices by posting links to their stories below.
I recognize it is impossible to understand what it is like to be a victim of sexual misconduct as someone who has never experienced it. I am trying to learn how to be as supportive as possible. I likely will make mistakes in this post about how to view and/or word things. If this is the case, please let me know via Twitter or in the comments below.
EDIT: Since the creation of this post, a spreadsheet has been created which has documented most of the stories posted within the gaming community over the past week. Click here to view the spreadsheet.
There have been several seriously disturbing revelations over the past week. The first thing I read about today were the stories from Natalie Casanova and Kaitlin Witcher. The videos were difficult to watch (strong TW on those links), and I cannot come close to understanding what those women went through.
After watching and reading about these stories, I started to see more stories coming forward about abuse in the gaming community. Some of these hit very close (too close) to home. There have been a series of allegations levied against members of Method and the Method organization as a whole. First, 2Alexmae5 talked about her experience with a former Method personality. Method has subsequently severed all ties with this person. However, the issue remains that these allegations, and others, were known by higher-up executive members of the Method organization for years. Now, once the allegations have been made public, they have taken action.
Furthermore, other problems have surfaced regarding actions by Method personalities. Annie Fuchsia posted her experiences with a Co-CEO of Method on Twitter. She had also alerted the Method organization of the abuses taking place, but no action has yet been taken in this situation.
EDIT: Since making this post, Method has placed the Co-CEO mentioned above on unpaid administrative leave.
Additionally, Llama, a former Dota 2 caster and analyst, came forward with her story of sexual assault by another Dota 2 personality on twitter. The perpetrator has acknowledged his actions and apologized for them. I used to watch this person’s stream; but I think it is important for many people in the community to recognize that just because you like a content creator or personality, that does not mean they are a good person in their private lives.
Many people have immediately responded by attacking several of the victims today and defending the alleged assaulters. This is not limited to just random twitter and reddit commentators. Some big name content creators and community members have attacked the victims and supported the accused. I am purposefully not linking to them here, as my intent with this post is to amplify the voices of the victims.
Unfortunately, the instinctual response for too many people online has been to condemn the victims and support the accused simply because they have watched this person for years and cannot imagine them truly committing such a horrible act. To those people, I stress that the person you see on stream, in video, or at events is not the same person behind closed doors. And it is imperative that people separate their opinion of the internet personality with that of the real life actor.
Many people have been erroneously using “innocent until proven guilty” online today. Below is a tweet that sums up my opinion:
When someone comes forward with their story about being sexually abused, harassed, assaulted, etc., your first response should be support and understanding – not condemnation. When someone opens up to you, or the community as a whole, that is not the time to start a public trial to adjudicate if that person’s story is true or false. This person clearly believes that they underwent some trauma, so it is most important to offer support. Leave the adjudicating to the legal system.
This is still a developing situation, so it is hard to know what will happen next. Many organizations are still formulating responses. First, it is most important to support the victims and amplify their voice and message. Second, I think it is important to hold the people and organizations who swept these allegations under the rug accountable for their actions. Nearly all of the accusations which I linked to above were reported to people in power with the responsibility to take action. Yet, none of them did anything until the stories were posted publicly; in some cases, years later.
Finally, I want to link to some resources which have been shared on social media. RAINN has a toolkit available for friends and family for supporting loved ones after sexual violence. This same organization has an anonymous hotline for survivors to seek support and assistance – 800.656.HOPE (4673).
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am privileged enough to have never personally experienced sexual violence. I recognize this and tried to make the most thoughtful and considerate post possible, while also keeping the spotlight on the voices of the survivors. However, if I posted something problematic above, please reach out and let me know via the comments below or on Twitter.