The gaming industry is seeing a second wave – a second wave of the #metoo movement, that is. As we covered earlier this week, people from across the gender spectrum in the games industry have been posting their abuse survival stories to Twitter and Medium, with multiple sexism, racism, harassment, and even rape accusations against a range of industry notables, from Twitch stars and Mixer employees to Blizzard staff and the (now-former) CEO of the Online Performers Group (though MMO readers are more likely to remember him as a former SOE/NCsoft dev).
While the wave started out with victims outing game developers and editors – Ubisoft and IGN seem to be bearing a lot of the brunt – Twitch itself was accused of knowing about the problem with its top performers and failing to act to protect victims, even as more Twitch streamers came forward to single out abusers with high profiles in the streaming community.
In recent days, the esports casting and competitive community has been rocked with additional accusations. Esports streamer Syndicate and Destiny 2 streamer Lomo both have multiple accusers. In the Dota 2 community, Redditors had to create a megathread to corral all the harassment stories and threads about coping. Wowhead terminated negotiations with esports group Method after stories about one of its members predatory behavior went public. Accusations against Brandon “DmBrandon” Nance led SMITE, which had already cut ties with him, to fully ban him and remove his content from the game, with future compensation for players affected.
A brief message related to the SMITE community. pic.twitter.com/TX3uSkdhEY
— Stewart Chisam (@schisam) June 24, 2020
Disgust for Twitch in particular has led to a petition and day-long Twitch blackout for some streamers today under the #twitchblackout banner. Twitch has made several statements about its ambitions and policies, but it remains to be seen whether it will follow through or vet its platform’s top earners.
The saddest thing about all of this is that if you’ve been in the business long enough, you have a pretty good idea how many victims are still being frightened into silence, #metoo or not. All you’re seeing right now is just the tip of the iceberg.