Since the end of July, the esports world has been upturned by a group of women coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse and harrassment within the industry. Esports is meant to be a safe space for its community, but its solid reputation has been shaken by this new information coming to light. The #MeToo movement has hit esports, and it’s time for the men in the community to take accountability for their actions.
The Incident That Sparked the #MeToo Reckoning
For those who don’t know, the #MeToo movement was started by Tarana Burke in 2006, as a response to the insidiousness of sexual assault in society. “Me Too” then grew into a wider movement, as a result of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse cases that came out in 2017.
The incident that sparked the #MeToo reckoning in esports, came when @cofactorstrudel revealed that she had been sexually harassed by Grant “GranDGranT” Harris on 21 June. Grant Harris is an incredibly well-known caster, who works within the world of Dota 2 esports.
Then, half a dozen women came forward to accuse SayNoToRage, or Lono – a member of the Destiny 2 streaming world, of sexual harassment. More stories quickly emerged as the movement picked up pace.
Chris Avellone, who worked on Fallout and Dying Light 2, has also been accused of sexual misconduct. As has Bill “Jump” Carter, when one woman revealed that she filed a rape report against him in 2019.
Unfortunately, this is only a handful of the over 400 reports and first-hand accounts of sexual abuse within the esports community. Since the allegations first began surfacing, Jessica Richey, a well-known streamer in the space, has been working to put together a Google Sheet of as many of the incidents as she can find. At the time of writing, the list has more than 420 separate accounts.
#MeToo Has Hit eSports, But It’s Only a Symptom of a Much Wider Problem
The #MeToo movement has hit esports, and the number of alleged incidents is shocking. However, this really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Not only is sexual abuse rife within our broader society, it is particularly pervasive in the online gaming community.
For years, women gamers have documented the sexual harassment and gender-based assualt they’ve received at the hands of their male counterparts.
Sexism in the online gaming community is rife. Women are constantly harassed, belittled, and threatened by men who hide behind the level of anonymity that the platform provides them. Until the community addresses the misogyny and rape culture inherent in its stucture, there will be no real accountability.
Misogyny is Inherent to the Online Gaming World – Esports is No Exception
The allegations of sexual harassment and abuse that have been exposed over the last few weeks are horrifying – but they won’t come as a surprise to any woman who has ever gamed online. Misogyny is absolutely inherent to the online gaming world, and it’s hardly shocking that the #MeToo movement has hit esports – in fact, it’s about time. Now, it’s up for the men in the space to listen to the survivors, and hold their counterparts accountable. There will be no reckoning without accountability, and now change.