For weeks, women have reported sexist experiences with e-sports personalities. The allegations caused a stir in the scene. Many suspected events occurred years ago – because the problems in e-sports have not only existed since yesterday.
The gaming industry is sizzling. Hundreds of people report their experiences after being accused of sexual harassment against a protagonist of the scene. It’s about sexism, abuse of power, sexual harassment and coercion. #MeToo has also arrived in gaming.
The community collects the allegations in a document, the number of which is now over 180. As a result, several great personalities have withdrawn from the scene. Various companies announced investigations and consequences.
The allegations come as no surprise to Kristin Banse, who has been a member of the Presidium for Diversity at eSport-Bund Deutschland (ESBD) for diversity since June. “Unfortunately, sexism and assault are sad everyday life for many women in e-sports,” says Banse in an interview with the German Press Agency. The fact that so many cases now come to the public is due to the fact that some of them have looked long away from the scene and ignored problems: “Many actors have been talking about this for years and draw attention to the topic.”
Personalities from e-sports are also among the accused. For example, Dota-2 commentator Grant “GranDGranT” Harris accused several women of sexual assault. He apologized via Twitter and announced his withdrawal from the scene.
But the problem is not limited to the professional scene. Women who play games in their free time are also affected by sexism. In many multiplayer games, teams are formed randomly, there are integrated voice chats for communication. Again and again women report that annoyances and insults are commonplace here. But game developers are making progress here, says Banse: “Smart measures are, for example, non-verbal communication options that make the game more accessible to women.” Training and workshops for developers are also intended to help tackle the problem.
Twitch, by far the largest streaming platform in the video game market, has also come under increasing criticism in recent weeks. Twitch announced on Twitter that it was launching an internal investigation into various cases. However, the Amazon subsidiary does not reveal how exactly these look and against whom. CEO Emmett Shear wrote in a public statement that the company must improve. “Although the problem affects the whole scene, we recognize that the experience of many people on our platform was not what we were aiming for.” Twitch needed to be more serious about this. However, he did not go into concrete allegations.
Banse is also of the opinion that something has to be done in the e-sports scene: “Basically everyone in e-sports has the same opportunities regardless of gender, origin or physical circumstances. But we have to work harder for it and face discrimination – in text and voice chat as well as in analogue life. ”
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