The latest gaming industry #metoo callouts impact Twitch, MMOs, MOBAs, and esports

    
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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.

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.

Source: SMITE, Reddit, Kotaku. With thanks to Bruno.

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traja

It is certainly good to see consequences for some truly heinous actions by some. There being a real chance of getting caught will hopefully discourage the behavior in the future. On the other hand I do worry about the power of the tool that we are creating with this.

To seriously hurt someones career you no longer need to be able to convince law enforcement and legal professionals but only a part of a large group of laymen. Something as easy to fake as a copy paste of an email or a screenshot of a chat history is widely accepted as evidence with no verification. Similarly many accept anonymous testimony.

It is scary how easy it would be to create a fake that would appear to have more evidence behind it than most real stories do.

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Bruno Brito

I mean, yeah, i concur, but this is a consequence of assault victims being treated horribly for ages in the courts of law. They tend to keep to themselves, or they end up ridiculed, ashamed.

What we’re seeing here is really new. And while the power scares a bit, It’s also refreshing to see we as people, have the power to debase truly awful people who were otherwise untouchable.

We still live in a world where of 1.000 sexual violence cases, only 5 criminals MAY see punishment.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I spent my 20s in Hollywood in the 70s. The 70s was the decade of sexual liberation, not just in Hollywood, but everywhere. Hot tubs were very, very popular and AIDS was not a thing yet.

I lived on Hollywood Boulevard. I worked on the Boulevard as well, my place of employment being a block shy of Hollywood and Vine, about six blocks from where I lived. I rarely made the six block walk without catcalls, whistles, and horn honks. This was the benign behavior. There were the weeny waggers, who would drive slowly along beside me, showing me their stuff; the pimp runners, as I called them, who’d follow me down the street, asking me if I wanted a job. There was one short, skinny pimp runner who was always very nervous, probably a drug addict, who hit me up at least once a month, sometimes on Hollywood, sometimes on Sunset, never seemed to remember having seen me before and really pretty pathetic. Runners weren’t pimps, they just worked for them, hunting vulnerable young women on the streets.

As a young woman, there was almost no where I could go that I was not the object of some form of what today we call sexual harassment. From flashers to foot fetishists, men’s sexual appetites were everywhere on display. Hollywood was literally awash in sex. My husband, always fiercely protective, one night threw a man through a plate glass window for harassing me. The fellow apparently thought I was alone and therefore easy prey.

Everyone in Hollywood, and this is not much of an exaggeration, was about to be famous. And rich. At least that’s what it seemed like from the way they talked. They were going to be seen, their agent this, their agent that, the pie in the sky. After all, that’s why we were there. And people were wiling to do an astonishing number of bad, even illegal, things to be rich and famous, all of it involving drugs and sex.

Life in Tawdry Town taught me a lot of things I didn’t know I needed to know. The one that fits here is that there is an indisputable and almost un-detachable connection between power and sex, between fame and sex, between wanting to be rich and famous and sex. Power and fame are an aphrodisiac. People want one to have the other. Even if it’s just a little bit of power or even just perceived power, it’s a lever to get more. More power, more fame, more sex. As tired a trope as this is, it is also true.

I’m not the least bit surprised that this dynamic is at work in the gaming industry at large and all the hangers on and wannabees, hoping their channel, their commentary, their whatever, will make them powerful and grant them sexual favors. There’s nothing new at all in this. It’s just as ugly now as it was when I was young. Just as predatory, just as manipulative.

I was lucky to leave Hollywood and my starry-eyed twenties with mostly fond memories and some insights that have served me well through the years. But as I say, I was lucky.

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Sorenthaz

The one that fits here is that there is an indisputable and almost un-detachable connection between power and sex, between fame and sex, between wanting to be rich and famous and sex. Power and fame are an aphrodisiac. People want one to have the other. Even if it’s just a little bit of power or even just perceived power, it’s a lever to get more. More power, more fame, more sex.

And if Jeffrey Epstein was any indication, that notion potentially goes to the most disturbing depths of depravity.

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Bruno Brito

I wonder if that’s a consequence of power or a motive to have power. Because having money and power allows you to experiment more with different tastes. But at the same time, these people could be damaged individuals before their ascension.

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Sorenthaz

It could be a lot of potential things I guess. It sounds like it was used as a price of entry so that if someone ever fell out of line it could be used against them as blackmail. How it was done I guess we won’t know anytime soon unless more information comes to light from investigations or so on.

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Bruno Brito

Pretty much. Maybe both. I know that some people were fucked up before getting the means to hurt other people, and there are also people that got more corrupt as power entered their lives.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I guess Swifty got caught up in this as well, apparently he had an Ex that had buyers remorse, evidently there’s another Streamer named Mia Rose that said she’s got tons of dirt on the person that’s going after Swifty across multiple mediums including media which brings the accusers credibility into question; went down an Asmondgold Rabbit Hole an hour ago to learn about this while he ranted and wrathed about Blizzard being hypocrites and people jumping to conclusions ruining good peoples careers with out proof, etc etc.

Yeah it isn’t fair but this is the world we live in now, unfortunately no one remembers the people that turned out to get swept up in the momentum that were actually innocent as the focus just switches towards bigger targets like Harvey Wienstien or Kevin Spacey (mean while others might never recover from the damage done if they turn out to be innocent or decent folks).

Look I’m not claiming Swifty is or isn’t guilty, that’s not my place to make; how ever I do know what it’s like to be falsely accused of something and that leaves a stigma that blemishes you in other people’s eyes for ever (I’m still resentful about it and it’s been over half my life ago by this point).

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losludvig

PSA: If you like not having nightmares maybe don’t look up the allegations against method josh

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Loopy

While i applaud absolutely brave souls who have mustered the courage to tell their stories and break the wall of silence, it should also be noted that there have already been a number of cases where the allegations were proven to be false, unfounded, and/or malicious in nature. And in this current era of cancel culture, careers are being thrown in the dumpster at the slightest smell of perceived controversy.

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Sorenthaz

Was there like a MeToo Day or something? Just seems strange that so many allegations are suddenly coming out all at the same time, though I guess now’s the time to go ahead and get everything out there. Glad DMBrandon is finally kicked out of the Smite community though – that was over 5 years too late IMO.

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Schmidt.Capela

It’s a reflection of all the BLM/anti-prejudice action. Seeing something on that scale happen emboldens victims to bring to light other kinds of discrimination and harassment that they would otherwise not have the courage to talk about.

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Bruno Brito

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

I’m actively happy that people are finally feeling empowered enough to fight the untold powers of the status quo. They all deserved better.

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Sorenthaz

At the same time let’s not jump to the “guilty until proven innocent” mentality that cancel culture loves to employ and make use of. There can be allegations that are proven to be false or distorted since they’re only one side of the story – obviously some folks have come out and admitted that allegations were true, in which case they do deserve to be punished. Then there’s folks like DM who’ve had stacked histories to where yeah, they’ve had this coming. And I imagine many/most of these are legitimate and do deserve further investigations.

But ProJared was a good example of where we only really heard one side of the story and yet he was ripped a new one until he finally was able to tell his own side a monthish later and then folks realized they jumped to judgement too quickly.

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Bruno Brito

Oh, i completely agree. I’m talking about Grant, dm and such. There will be dubious allegations, but i’m not jumping the gun for all of them, for sure.

That being said, let’s put one thing out there: Several women are not interested in pressing charges because there’s a huge chance nothing will happen and they’ll be ashamed in court. This is the world we live. So, there’s a line of thought in me that says this is their only defense.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I agree, the problem is no one remembers the allegations that were false because everyone just narrows their focus on the bigger names once it all consolidates like Me Too did with Harvey.

When I was 18 in college 23 years ago I was falsely accused of sleeping with a woman I’d never even met prior when she was blitz krieged drunk (basically Date Rape), I had alibis and witnesses placing me some where else, it never went any where legally but my reputation on campus took a hit and I was left with a blemish to my character because of it.

It’s been 23 years and I’m still pissed at this person and I hope nothing but bad things have been part of her life since, f%$k people like that.

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Bruno Brito

Considering i have only your side on the matter, i won’t say anything.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

That’s reasonable, but you could see why some one would feel that way though.

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Bruno Brito

I can. At the same time, if there was a lesson i learned in my life, is that bad behavior can be perpetuated even thought the perpetrator isn’t aware.

Power structures exist. That can’t be denied. I can’t speak for your case, but i’m sure as hell that there are women who felt molested by my father advances, that felt that his psychological approach was abusive. Yet, if you go talk to him, you’ll see it’s how he’s wired. He’s incapable of seeing the bad in it. He’s a by-product of a old era, and one i’m happy to see, is going away.

I feel it’s my duty to say that all the psychological abuse he inflicted upon everyone he ever met ends with me. But i understand why he’s like that.

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Bruno Brito

Eight. But yeah, i agree.

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Sorenthaz

Well, over 5 years ago was when shit really hit the fan with him over serious drama/allegations that then were retracted by NShadow. That was also around the time he had flaunted that he could get people banned for stream sniping him. IIRC it was the first time HiRez came out and had to make a public statement about DM’s behavior and basically said “don’t worry guys we’re working with him to make sure he improves”.

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Bruno Brito

He was banned from Smash, prior to Smite. I’m of the firm belief he shouldn’t ever be hired.

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losludvig

We all knew this would happen sooner or later.
I’m split between being most sad at the volume of reports feeling overwhelming and the thought of how much more is left unsaid.
Lets hope this maelström of misery and sub-human trash will end up creating permanent positive change

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

The MethodJosh shit is especially bad because the guy was VERY obvious about his inclinations, on top of prior accusations, but all the incels bought into his “it’s just a bit!” bullshit.

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silverlock

We’re lucky that the libel laws in the US allow people to come forward with these stories. In some EU countries the people coming forward would almost certainly be considered guilty of slander, fined and possibly even jailed.

Read about the metoo movement in Austria for example.

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Rndomuser

Also, there are more accusations involving Twitch staff itself. Here is a story which explains this by a certain streamer:

This is kind of more important than other stories (not saying that other stories were not important, just that this stands out more than others), the person being accused is a member of Twitch staff and he is kind of a “meme” in Twitch community. For people who do not know about him – for many years people were making fun of the fact that he used to have too many female streamers in his “Following” list on Twitch and he used to get very friendly with female streamers when contacting them regarding partnership since he was the person who was handling the partnership agreements with all new streamers. So I guess now it’s pretty clear why he was behaving this way.

Hopefully Twitch will not try to ignore this and he will get what he deserves.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

Having spent 10 years at Amazon, I can confidently say Hassan is super fucked.

The one thing Amazon holds sacred above any other is customer/client data – they’ll inconvenience employees as much as needed to protect customer data. Someone talking about it with outsiders is an instant firing offense, but actually going as far as screen sharing it? That’s when Legal makes you a target.

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Rndomuser

it remains to be seen whether it will follow through or vet its platform’s top earners

You may not be aware of it but there is a Twitter account called “StreamerBans”, it tracks the Twitch users which Twitch bans and unbans. There are already people there who were accused of harassment so Twitch does ban them already.