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Why silence can be dangerous to esports' growth

Esports can be a boys' club and it's for that reason that we need to be more vocal about issues we see.

Update: onGamers has received statements from several individuals regarding what was said at HomeStory Cup, including HSC organizer Dennis 'TaKe' Gehlen and Evil Geniuses' Geoff 'iNcontroL' Robinson who was casting the event.

Robinson: eSports suffers from a lot of problems and one of them is how women are treated within our community. That is about as safe of a statement as you can make. But that doesn't mean it's ok. I myself have made comments in the past and it has been part of a journey for me. We are mostly guys.. we make "guy" jokes.. we all get that right? Wrong. Some people are hurt by speaking about women as if they too benefit from the protective coating that is gender dominated community in this case male. I guess I say this because we all are learning. What is ok and what is not. I have a perspective I hope many share and that is that of a guy who started off on one spectrum and through faults and learning experiences is gradually (some might say TOO gradually) is learning to travel to the other side of the spectrum.

There have been several instances recently that were done publicly and are bringing to light one of the areas we as gamers can seek to improve. How we treat women or really minorities. Again, what an incredibly generic bland idea right? Well apparently not so much. I hope through discussing it and being a bit more aware of the harm it causes we can diminish it. People will never stop because, well, we are people. But that doesn't mean we have to ignore the conversation and accept that it will always happen so that is the excuse we pull over every instance. Demand apologies. Expect better. Work for a better place.

---

Gehlen: Well regarding what James said live in the show I'm pretty sure this was below the belt and I know that even Geoff apologized to Scarlett. It s great to have personalities like Scarlett at the HSC cause we should be an openminded community cause we are the future the young people etc. I just want to make sure once again since also alot of people in my community told me they disliked it a lot that this should not happen again.

On the other [hand] I think James was in a good mood cause he had some beers and thats happening at HSC and probably wasnt thinking to much about what he says - Usually it can be very funny sometimes not. I think we should not overreact on that cause all of us already said dumb stuff in their life.

Original Story:

A girl pitches a question at the NYU eSports Summit, a one-night only event pivoting around the discourse of that "vibrant and growing sector of the games industry and culture." Her words are nearly inaudible on the recording, but not to the gathered luminaries. They stare for a moment. Quiescent. A little anxious. Unsure. One, dappled in green and Zelda's iconography, speaks. He addresses the dearth of inclusivism in esports, the need for personal action, for everyone regardless of stature to stand up against poor behavior in the scene.

An uncomfortable silence pools in the crowd. Another murmured question. Another answer, this time from a different speaker. He talks about the roots of the problems, how it isn't as much a question of the game as it is an issue pertinent to the demographic. Boys will be boys, regardless of the setting.

"You're going to have to be the change you want to see. You can go do your event and if someone gets out of line at your event, you can shut them down."

His words are capped by the chair person. Talk to me if you're looking to build space spaces for gaming. We'll help. No applause, only a fumbling detour in a less controversial direction. It takes a moment for the smiles to feel real again.

The message itself is kind. Misbehavior should always be reprimanded. Esports might be a place for boys but better can always be built. But that doesn't stop the implications from being worrying. Better, it seems, means safe spaces outside of the established norm. Better is making something new, not correcting the integral flaws in the core.

Esports is ballooning. Last month, over 32 million fans tuned in to the League of Legends Season 3 World Championships Finals event, making it one of the biggest showings in history. In comparison, Rod Stewart's 1994 Copacabana Beach concert drew only 3.5 million attendants. It can be argued that Stewart's viewership was, in varying degrees, physically present at the event while those attending the World Championships Finals were not but that doesn't change the fact that the tournament had more viewers than some countries have citizens.

Which is why vignettes like this hurt. Less than a fortnight ago, at the recent HomeStory Cup VIII, famed commentator James '2GD' Harding made what many regarded as, at the very least, an off-color remark about Starcraft II powerhouse Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn.

"I'm fine. In all fairness, Scarlett is here. Best of both worlds. She actually bought me a Jack and coke a little bit earlier. Absolutely lovely lady. And, uh, all I'm saying -- get me a couple more." 2GD purred after professional Starcraft 2 player Geoff 'InControl' Robinson remarked that the introduction of more women to the scene may "help people like James to grow up".

Reddit went into a frenzy of polarized opinions over the comment and the subsequent, similarly awkward follow-up. ("Can you say a lot of nice things about Scarlett right now? Seriously." "I mean, I couldn't find her on Pornhub.") Some cried foul, describing the statements as "transphobic" and "misogynistic". Others shrugged. To them, the jokes were harmless, titillating and grossly misconstrued by those lacking a sense of humor.

2GD and Scarlett had little to say about the events themselves. On Twitter, a day after the incident, 2GD flippantly observed:

Scarlett was even more taciturn, offering only muted bewilderment over the possibility that anyone could think the comments sat well with her. And while social media bristled with arguments for the first few days, it soon began tapering off. A week slipped past. No one really said anything at all.

And there lies the problem.

The issue here isn't that inappropriate words were spoken. In an industry fueled by personality, it's not unusual to see someone capitalizing on their smarminess, on the expectation that they will indeed ululate something elegantly crass. Edgy invites attention, after all. The dilemma here is that so few influential voices were raised in protest. No media outlet crowded 2GD for apologies. No official statements were made. What little shots were fired took place in the ephemeral confines of Twitter, easily lost amidst the torrent of 140-character messages pouring through the medium each day.

It's a stark contrast to how such cases are taken in adjacent sectors. While video games at large have yet to become universally inclusive, it is better at noticing its own inadequacies. Entire communities will rail openly, loudly against perceived misdeeds. Until something is done. Until the antagonistic party capitulates. Until they're too prominent to ignore. A good example is Rock, Paper Shotgun's recent engagement with Blizzard over the hyper-sexualization of characters in ARTS/MOBA games. Instead of providing a diplomatic account, Rock, Paper Shotgun documented the interview in its entirety -- including the brusque dismissal.

Today, Blizzard apologized.

The esports community can be complacent, but that is dangerous. True, the general public may lack the authority commanded by esports dignitaries but it is still, at least in part, the responsibility of the masses to point attention where it is needed. 2GD's witticisms were frustrating because they are a haunting reminder that sometimes the best someone can say about another human being is how sexually desirable they are. However, what is even more vexing is that, by and large, people allowed them to slide. This is how things are. This is how he is. This, that -- an avalanche of excuses that accomplish little outside of burying esports' attempts at legitimacy.

The scene is growing but it is continually beleaguered by anecdotes about sexism, racism and homophobia. It's beset by silence, restrained by tradition. If esports ever plans to be properly recognized, it needs to stop being a place where the best way to encourage safer spaces is to exit the main event.

P.S: If you'd like to present your thoughts on the matter, Mr. Harding, we'd love to hear from you.

36 Comments
Edited by PHedemark

It's pretty tragicomic that the same people who dismissed Sarkeesian for foul-playing her arguments are now barking at James. Gender-studies in video games have been pointing to the same problem areas over and over again, yet it is only when the female players get to the same level of play as male players, that we take it seriously in eSports. This has been (and continue to be) a problem across all layers of eSports, and while James' comments were both unacceptable and dumb, they are by no means the biggest problem.

We could instead start by challenging teams and players to stop presenting (or misrepresenting) female players as attention-grabbers. Or by forcing companies in our industry to not use booth babes, simply because the space is male dominated. There are so many more places to start than by throwing a punch at James. What about questioning RIOT's use of skimpy oufits for ridiciously designed female models in League of Legends, or telling Blizzard that it isn't okay to have models stroll around half naked at BlizzCon.

If we want to educate people in our community to respect female players, and to respect the likes of Scarlett, then we need to battle these things head on. And you do that by going to the sources; the decision-makers at RIOT, Blizzard, E3, ESL and the teams. They need to be held accountable: before they change the ways they represent women in eSports, the broad community won't change theirs.

Edited by REEP
Posted by hebble

@REEP - That's a fair question and thanks for bringing it up though. I'm all for healthy and reasonable debate about what is or isn't appropriate. On it's face, and even with the "context" that twitter can provide, it doesn't look like a very nice thing to say.

I'm not in a position to act on this one way or the other, and I'm just speaking a person here, but I agree that calling someone a "pussy" is inappropriate.

Staff
Posted by Bulgeman

I think that while it is true that growing up needs to be done as a community I believe that it is also true that there is a difference in how people in the community define a joke, or how people define what is appropriate. This in particular was really bad, and I don't think that he should be broadcasting while drunk. however, in general when you look at the different insults and things that are thrown around it is not meant to offend the majority of the time, and in fact most of the time the language has come to mean something different within the context of the community. So yes this was inappropriate, but is every gamer who describes a bug in the game as "gay" a homophobe, or are the majority of slurs that are tossed around casually in the community meant to be taken in the context that people would find them offensive in. Of course not a lack of maturity is not evidence that these attitudes are the actual feelings of the majority or even anybody (although they certainly are the thoughts of some) in the community

to my point I give you Louis CK's stand up on words he can't say anymore (but wants to) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NAUgCm-3Tc

Posted by discorax

Standing up for what is right takes courage. It's conflict. While we're on the internet and in our games we have lots of conflict that really doesn't mean anything. Standing up against bullying, or injustice, or discrimination is conflict that DOES mean something, and it takes a strong person to do it.

I think the maturing of a community is indicated by the prevalence of these strong people. People that won't sit back and tolerate these types of actions. As the gaming community ages, these strong people will become more and more visible and the community as a whole will be forced to grow with them.

Thanks for being brave and using your voice to stand up against apathy.

Posted by casskhaw

@PHedemark Having never done the former, I wouldn't have an opinion. You wouldn't happen to have a different Cassandra in mind for that front, would you?

That said, and if you'd forgive me late-night lack of articulateness, here are a few thoughts: Yes. God yes. This isn't even a problem exclusive to eSports. Women tend to get sidelined in gaming a lot, and for different reasons. What James said wasn't, in any way, the biggest problem. However, I do see the silence that followed as one of the bigger problems that eSports has.

It ties with what you say, in some part. Teams and players misrepresent women, in part, I think, and I'd hesitate to make a blanket statement here because they're not held accountable.

Booth babes? On the decline in many places. PAX bans them flat-out. It's something that can attributed to the fact people talk about them, that people question their presence, that people are angry at the objectification. Companies responded. Can we get companies in eSports to do the same and drop booth babes? Sure. If they knew it mattered to enough people.

(For the record, I have called Riot Games out on the design a few years back. I never had a chance to cash in on their promise of a proper interview on that. THank you for reminding me.)

As for 'throwing punches' at Mr. Harding? Two things. One: Very often, writers are chained to current events. I could talk about what's happening in terms of decision-maker. In fact, I'm planning to do it. However, we are, as a species, also obligated to articulate our thoughts in regards to what's happening in the 'now'. So, there's that.

Secondly: Decision-makers are one thing. Yes, they need to be held accountable. Yes, they need to be reminded to behave better. But, at the same time, folk like Mr. Harding carry amazing power too. They command an audience, they have people who trust them. In turn, what they say and do often communciate what is okay in the scene. And the decision-makers? They listen to the crowd.

I'm glad you took the time to organize on the matter, incidentally. It's always a pleasure to read logical, constructive arguments. :)

Staff
Posted by PHedemark

@casskhaw - It was just a general note on the Sarkeesian-debate. I saw a few people on Reddit that had their heads pretty stuck up their asses in that debate, suddenly turn around and criticize James.

I respect that you have to quote recent events in order to make your point fresh, and I buy the argument about James - and people in his trade - having a great influence on the audiences they talk to. The problem is that the very reason he has an audience - even after an incident like this - is that we as a community accept what he did. That's the problem. And that won't change until we battle the way women are represented. The problem can be found on all levels in the game industry, but the very thing that makes eSport so potent, is that we have a direct line of contact to the CEOs of some of the biggest drivers. MLG, DreamHack, RIOT and Valve executives and decision makers are responsive and available on Twitter.

We CAN change their minds, we CAN exert out power and we CAN hold them responsible. And we should. We should pressure our favorite teams, events and game designers to uphold the same moral responsibilities as they do with the players and commentators. It's probably a "hen or egg" debate, but I very much believe that the top-down approach is the way we should go. If RIOT changes League of Legends, it directly affects 30M players a month. If James are held accountable for a joke he made on a 30k person stream... well, it matters, but the majority of the community won't ever be influenced by it.

Posted by yoeFWBreAKer

First, I would just like to say that a gamer is a gamer. And Scarlett is one of the strongest North American players.

I think, in some ways, we need to start moderating our offline events more. In North America the only time I've seen anyone casting / hosting under the influence of "water" or alcohol... Well, let's just say they aren't broadcasting anymore. Besides that, if one were to stop and examine how mainstream sports gets on television, the broadcasters themselves don't drink on the air.

I'm all for players popping open a bottle of champagne when they're done with a tournament and the victors have been determined, but ultimately I think keeping alcohol off the air is the best option.

Posted by uishax

Ridiculous, females have been the tiny minority in esports for its entire history, they don't contribute significantly to viewership or player-base. This is a complete non-issue in a male dominant industry. Its like complaining about 'sexualisation of women in Viagra advertisements'.

If women want a change in they way they are represented, THEY should buy more hard-core games and be more important to the game companies. If you look at casual games like mobile games or farmville-esque ones,i ssues like sexism or objectification of women are minimum because companies have to take consideration of the female audience.

Esports hasn't even reached the majority of the 'young male' audience and is still rapidly expanding, Activision and EA recognize its huge potential and are pushing it on their flagship games (male targeted I remind you). Legitimacy and professionalism will naturally grow from a large enough audience that provides the players and casters with enough money to be professional, not from pandering the SJW crowd which barely has any interest in esports anyways.

This issue may be serious 3-5 years in the future as it reaches to expand its audience demographic, today it is a non-issue. The boys are the ones paying for the scene, the boys get a say on what happens in it, the boys determine what is right or wrong, serious or trivial.

Posted by Sunset

@uishax Major studies undertaken in the US and internationally in 2012 all concluded that approximately 47% of gamers are female. To say this is YOUR scene and YOU determine what is right or wrong because you were born with a certain set of chromosomes is not a sound logical argument.

Further, you have zero statistical evidence to back up that females are not a percentage of esports viewers worth worrying about. When I watch competitive gaming on Twitch, you best believe I'm getting mascara advertisements, because someone at Rimmel decided enough women were watching streams that they ought to invest into that. Bloody Google. All those COOKIES.

There are lots of us and we give a shit.

This isn't even a male vs female issue, not really - it's being a wanker vs not-being-a-wanker.

The rest of the stuff you said is so...baseless and strange I feel like I either need to write a thesis to explain it to you or draw you a large diagram.

Bee tee dubs, for what it's worth, I personally felt attacking Blizzard in particular for their female character design was a bit mean, as I've always felt Blizzard did a great job at creating strong female characters with depth. That's why I fell in love with the original StarCraft in high school, because Kerrigan is a boss. It's actually something I respect about Blizzard greatly, and it's something they've maintained over decades across all their franchises. So Kerrigan has boobs. Big deal. I have boobs.

That said, I didn't think the Browder handled the question from Rock Paper Shotgun well, AT ALL. And I'm glad he apologised.

Anyway. I may have been troll-baited. BUT SCREW IT. HASHTAG YOLO.

Staff
Posted by uishax

’ approximately 47% of gamers are female‘

Why did you think I specifically stated hardcore games? I hope you realise the fastest growing gaming sector are facebook-tier and angry-birds esque ultra-casual games. These games are where females are concentrated at. What about esport genres? If you think female contribute to even 10% of FPS, RTS, ARTS genres you are extremely deluded. The esport caters for customers of these genres.

'Further, you have zero statistical evidence'

Hahahahaha, says the person who immediately supports her miserable argument with the personal anecdote 'but I saw a female targeted ad on twitch.'. Do you even understand how internet advertising works? Watched too much TV I suppose? Rimmel doesn't need much of female audience to put up an ad there, since through cookies, the ads only show when they know the audience is a female, the demographic composition doesn't matter at all. This is simple logic that anyone can understand, and your anecdote doesn't prove anything that there is a total of 1000+ female regular viewers on twitch (minimum for companies to bother to contact twitch).

What's actually compelling evidence of the demographic composition of esport games? Well, for starters, this

http://au.ign.com/articles/2012/10/15/riot-games-releases-awesome-league-of-legends-infographic

Even LoL, with a casual targeted demographic, has less than 10% female players. (Even less proportion of females interested in esports, I hope you can at least understand that)For Dota 2, just look at TI 2 and 3's crowd, tell me how many females you can spot in the ocean of males.CoD, CS, SC2, and other less prominent esport games, you can look at their lan crowd photos, and the situation is same. I guess reality is too 'baseless and strange' for you.

Main points aside, I feel I am just wasting time with an unintelligent attention seeker, who's arguments contain

'there are lots of us and we give a shit' (So compelling!)

'I may have been troll-baited' (I can't think of an intelligent argument, better resort to name calling)

' BUT SCREW IT. HASHTAG YOLO' (better use all caps combined with ancient unfunny memes to make myself more convincing)

As for

' I feel like I either need to write a thesis to explain it to you or draw you a large diagram.'

What's the problem? Not good enough with words to formulate a concise argument? Writing a 'thesis' to in an argument of demographics, trying too hard to sound intelligent? Go on, post one, see how well it can distort the cold hard truth that females don't matter in esports (But of course, you will give the convenient excuse that you don't have enough time for an internet troll etc etc).

I've provided my share of statistics, evidence that males are the vast vast majority of the esport audience, where is your evidence besides the incredibly idiotic '47% of gamers are female'? The author was at least presenting his points in an intelligent and logical manner, yours is nonsensical babble. I don't expect a reply better than 'but you hurt my feelings you misogynist.' to be honest.

Edited by zvardin

While that may be true that females are a smaller part of the demographic for now, why does it matter? If you want that part of the fan base to grow it also needs to be a welcoming environment. It's also arguably an easier issue to tackle the earlier you take it on than if you wait. This article is spot on for me. The reaction to the comment that was made disturbs me more than the comment itself. There seems to be some sort of odd backlash from people for there even being a discussion on the matter.

Edited by fams

My issue with this entire thing is that people do not understand the impact of their actions. Although comments are made in jest, and many times are taken as such by the people those comments are directed towards, others are offended. It is these other people that I am concerned about.

Take for example the 2GD Vs. Scarlett example being used recently. 2GD made a suggestive comment that played on the fact that Scarlett is transgendered. Whether she takes the comments as a joke is irrelevant in my opinion. The jokes should never have been made in the first place, least of all by a well-respected public figure with a zealous bunch of followers/fans.

My reasoning is this..

There are many people on this planet who are gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual and any number of other orientations and gender identifications. Many of these people have to deal with harassment from their peers, colleagues, and even their families and friends. All just for being who they are as an individual. People deal with this on a daily basis. As a result, gaming is a refuge for a lot of people - especially for people who are persecuted for who they are.

You take away that safety - that refuge - from a person and what are they left with? Not a whole lot. Opinion leaders have a profound effect on people, and this situation is no different. By making suggestive comments in public, you end up perpetuating a culture of intolerance and ignorance. Whether the comments were made of hate or not, they still affect many people in a very negative way. Especially people who see/saw eSports as a welcoming place where they can be themselves with like-minded people. Then suddenly one day they turn around, and someone with an influential voice begins making comments in jest about a sensitive area for them. Suddenly that safe haven has now been torn out from under them, and they are left just as hurt and alone as when they arrived in the community.

Everyone deserves a place where they can be safe and feel as though they belong (because they do belong).

Just a note to the players and personalities within eSports - you have far more influence and power in these kid's lives than you think you do. You are role models, whether you like it or not, so start acting like it.

Staff
Edited by uishax

Reply to zvardin

Females are not the smaller part, they are close to a nonexistant part of the esport demographic. Many of the adjustments required to cater to the 'wider audience' will alienate the young male audience. Which is unacceptable, since they are the audience the scene lives on. Esport hasn't even reached the majority of core gamers (ie young males) yet, it is ridiculous to be concerned about an elusive 'female audience' when there is still a huge young male audience market not yet cultivated. Everything should be done to pander to this audience, anything that alienates them is unacceptable. While there are definitely benefits to making the esport scene less discriminating towards females, the female audience is so small that the cost will decisively outweigh them. Why is it so angering to see this article? Because ongamers should be writing about more important issues such as the twitch monopoly or the reliance on first party funding, issues that are far far far far far more important than trivial issues like drunken comments from 2GD.

Posted by uishax

Reply to fams

Your argument is very polite and emotive, but I must point out fundamental flaws in your thinking.

The issue here is not one of right or wrong, it is a cost-benefit discussion. Obviously, a progressive and professional attitude from the community will be beneficial for everyone, so its no use arguing how morally correct it would be.

However, a transition to this attitude is costly. For starters, you demand people like 2GD to be role models, I really hope you understand the vast majority of esport 'role models' are payed little, they do it out of enthusiasm and and love for the game and the community atmosphere. It is completely unreasonable to ask them to put up the professional facade when they aren't payed nearly enough for that. To enforce these restraints also discourages potential new recruits (casters, players etc) to the scene. When esports grows large enough for their pay to be lucaritive, you can demand these things from the participants of the esport community, however, it is not sensible to potentially alienate the vast majority of the community to suit a tiny minority of LBGT/female audience. There is an alternative of course, is for the tiny minority to prove they are valuble by contributing large revenues to the scene, unless that happens, this is just entitlement mentality.

Posted by keekerdc

I see, you have to buy protection from discrimination and harassment. That makes complete sense, particularly in America, where we've decided corporations are people and money is equivalent to speech.

This is not a cost-benefit discussion. The cost of not being actively or passively aggressive towards an 'other' group is zero. I hardly think that asking these folks, who are ostensibly the faces of the community, to leave discriminatory remarks off the mic is so arduous of a request that it would actively stifle scene growth. It is not costly to not be a prick.

But if cost-benefit is the only dimension that this issue is comprehensible, consider the cost of setting an exclusionary precedent in the culture of the scene. Why would you intentionally exclude these people from ongoing participation in the scene simply because of some half-baked notion that these ugly parts of existing esports culture are somehow worth preserving?

Staff
Posted by zvardin

I'm sorry, but you think not making those sort of comments will alienate the male fan base? If you want to make the argument that females are near non existent in the scene, I can't really argue against that although I disagree to trivialize a member of the community no matter how small of a representation they may be. I could understand if changing or being aware of some of these things would actually alienate the current audience, but I have to disagree with you here. While many found the comment amusing, the cast would not have been less enjoyable without it. As keekerdc said above...the cost is zero.

Some of the issues may be a case of that like how female champions are designed. Although in those cases I think most people just want a variety so not every champion is a cliche. However, a random joke about a prominent member of the community that is related to their gender is not required for the audience to be satisfied. You are trivializing the discussion with the same blanket statement each comment which I think is more of an issue than any comment that was made. That sort of attitude makes it near impossible to actually have a discussion. The same can be said for some people on the other side of things who go for blood when there is a misstep.

Posted by fams

@uishax

This is not, nor should it ever be, a debate regarding money. These are human beings, not bots in a pub in CS.

Also, your point about "they are not paid enough to be role models" is wrong. They are role models, regardless of how much money they make. It isn't something they can choose to be or not to be, it's just the way it is. When you have a public voice and you influence people, you are a role model, end of story. You might not have asked for it, you might not want it, but you are stuck with being one. Whether you choose to augment your behaviour to reflect your new-found status is up to you, but personally I feel it is the responsible thing to do.

Staff
Edited by hydro033

Can we stop with the fucking social justice warrior shit?

Edited by AdmiralChris

@uishax

You don't have to care about other people if you don't want to! But at least don't try to justify it.

Posted by Noobity

There are a lot of problems with the lines of thought in these comments. Primarily though, I feel they stem from an attempt to force this into a "black and white" issue, when it is far from it.

Uishax, while being obnoxious in making his points from the first, has valid points to an extent. If you look at things like women's sports for example, these weren't even really introduced until the sports themselves had a set fan base. The women playing those sports were absolutely ridiculed, and were eventually able to get to the point where while they aren't exactly watched by the same number of individuals, they've grown into their own functional entity. I'm sure there were those among the organizers that wanted to do something to help women's sports grow, and to create a level of respect for those athletes from the first, but the drive didn't truly start for decades in some cases.

Contrastingly, there are the more idealist points brought up by those arguing with him that are no less valid. There's absolutely no reason to be a dick to anyone, to say or do things that alienate a player or fan for any reason. Should we talk about having sexual relations with someone who probably doesn't want us to talk about having sexual relations with them? No not at all.

There are black and white theories, but it's all a matter of greys. Should 2gd have said anything about Scarlett? Maybe not, but it could also be accepted that this is how the guys in the scene react to each other in the first place. You can find incontrol making a sex based comment to another dude in many of his shows. The act itself does not necessarily mean anything malicious and could be misconstrued (though I'd agree that his lack of any sort of formal apology kind of leans me in the direction that it was malicious with the camouflage of alcohol). Additionally, should the male gaming population have to censor themselves over what they feel are harmless comments that they would make to their male counterparts because there may be a lady, or homosexual, or transexual, or religious, or non-religious, or black, or white (you get the idea) person might be there to take offense? Maybe a little, but to expect them (to be fair, I guess I should be saying us) to completely cut this aspect of our lives out is equally insulting. Understand that to an extent, games had been a guy's world for so long sometimes players used that as an outlet to say or do the things that they couldn't or even really wouldn't want to do in the outside world. There should be some concessions made.

Realistically it boils down to just being a little nicer to everyone. 2gd making his comments should have had the opportunity to reflect and offer an apology, and he should absolutely do that. I don't think he should be punished as long as he does what he can to make sure it doesn't happen again. Similarly, by this point his lack of apology should be punished, and I personally hope he loses fans because of his lack of action.

When you take an issue like this and boil it down to black and white everyone loses. We don't live in a black and white world and we can't afford to start pissing off huge groups of people if it isn't going to lead to something positive. I'm all for losing some of my rights as a male gamer if it means we're going to have a bigger scene. Most of us are willing to trade some of that stuff off. But I wont be part of a group that requires me to stop making dick jokes because it might piss someone off. Obviously those are generalizations, but I hope I've gotten my point across.

Posted by casskhaw

@noobity That was easily the best comment I've seen to any article or comment thread in a long, long time. <3

Staff
Edited by ravenplayslol

One of the most egregious problems in video games is the community's comfort with rape jokes. Professional League of Legends players regularly make them on their personal streams and in interviews. I am heartened by the reactions from prominent community members, however. Travis Gafford successfully changed the subject after Pr0lly made a rape joke in an interview, signifying the off-limits nature of such a comment.

It is important not only to recognize the harmful nature of rape jokes, but to speak up when they are made. Riot has made progress in this area with the Tribunal system and their Player Behavior division, but the change must also come from us, the players. After all, the Tribunal system cannot effectively police the community if no one reports the behavior.

Unfortunately, Riot's pledge to improve player behavior looks a might empty when their own professional players are constantly seen exhibiting the behaviors that Riot wishes to eradicate. As living symbols of Riot, professional players should be educated about the slurs that they use, and encouraged not to use them. Ultimately, if professional players are allowed to model offensive behavior for the community, the entire community suffers.

Posted by uishax

It is obvious that the main audience of this article are SJWs engaging in a circlejerk. All but a few articles present arguments in a realist and logical fashion.

Unlike the article, whose fundamental concern is ' If esports ever plans to be properly recognized, it needs to stop being a place where the best way to encourage safer spaces is to exit the main event.'

The majority of the commentators' primary concern is not the growth and stability of the fragile esport scene, but to satisfy their own sense of moral superiority. They fail to cite statistics, present objective evidence, instead resort to idealism spewing 'feelings are hurt'. My entire reply post was written to enrage and see if anyone could come up with a factual refutation, but none emerged. The audience of these topics are clearly not the ones capable of engaging in proper debate, and clearly a waste of time for anyone wanting to have a little intellectual exercise. This concentration of SJWs here is unbelievable and never seen on any other esport website in my many years of following the scene. OGN stil has high quality articles, but I will sure take note to avoid looking at the comment section of SJW baiting articles in the future. I anticipated a demographic of esport enthusiasts and contributors, I got a tumblr/facebook incarnation, how disappointing.

Posted by Noobity

@casskhaw That means a lot to me. :)

Another thing that is really difficult to see is around something you're passionate about. For example, I'm going to use Ravenplayslol's post. Now I like the idea behind it, but something that bugs me about the post is that you're using a very specific thing that you feel needs to be addressed in full. I personally disagree that rape comments need to be attacked, and that in general we just need to be nicer.

A couple personal examples I'm going to use to explain my point of view. My girlfriend and I have been together for a while. About a year ago there was a pretty significant event that happened in the area where a school was attacked and teachers and students were killed. This was Sandy Hook. My girlfriend's good friend, Lauren Rousseau (I'm bad at spelling names), and a girl I graduated high school with (Vicki Soto) were killed. My girlfriend likes to play games, she's now pretty traumatized regarding a lot of FPS type games. By the rape comment argument, I would assume that it should be my responsibility to never play FPS games or have them in my home because she has an extremely hard time watching that stuff at the moment. This puts me in a bad spot, I like to play my COD sometimes. We've come to the conclusion that the compromise of me playing my games in an area she doesn't go all the time with my headphones on keeps her from being upset, and keeps me allowed to play my games.

Another issue I have personally is the fear of Death. I'm terrified to the point of panic attacks at times thinking about something that could possibly be 80 years away. For anyone who also goes through this, hearing certain types of comments or seeing certain things can really set that off. That does not mean that because I (and because it's not as uncommon as you think) and others should be able to attack those who make these types of comments that leave me screaming, or panicking?

These are 2 things that I'm passionate about, because they effect me specifically. Are they any less an issue than rape jokes? I certainly don't think so. But I don't think they warrant the kinds of attacks that the vocal opponents of those that make rape jokes give out either. There are other responsible people here. There's the responsibility of those offended to make their issues known in a responsible and respectful manner. The responsibility of those who are being told about those issues to weigh their options. There's the responsibility of the bystanders to accept or address the result in a respectful and responsible way. I feel like too often those with the hurt feelings are accepted as completely in the right, when there is a time and a place for their grievances to be aired that will be responsible and will grow all involved, or provide an actual issue to address.

We do not grow by censoring everything, we do not grow by not censoring anything. We do not grow by allowing those who spray hurtful words around do so without bringing grievances to their attention, and we do not grow by instantly grabbing our pitchforks and lynching for every outburst (unless it's Koibu, who is always mafia). There are so many things in this world that you can be offended by and our generation (I'm assuming everyone's in their late teens to early 30's) loves to use the soapbox of the internet to be as vocal as they can. It is considerably more important for the little guys to handle these issues appropriately than anything else.

Anyway, my last post was better. Oh well. I feel strongly that we're expecting our personalities to change dramatically and when they don't we attack. I don't think there has ever been an appropriate response to these kinds of issues, always blown out of proportion in one direction or another. We're trying to do so much but have lost all that basic golden rule kind of bullshit. Just don't be a prick, and if you're called out for being a prick, analyze why, and either fix it or don't and expect that shit might go down in the future I guess.

Posted by aero

The amount of pseudo intellectualism in this article is sickening. Additionally who really expects 2GD to not say something like that? Trying to reprimand him for it or get him to apologize for being mildly controversial is like trying to get a Neo-Nazi to apologize for using a derogatory term to reference a Jew. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" does not mean to call for a witch hunt. It was not something that was said to incite some antagonistic behavior. It means if you want to see greater acceptance of females in some community than show that yourself. I respect this opinion, but it is entirely counter productive, extreme, and out-dated.

Let's just get the Blizzard thing out of the way. Women have been portrayed as powerful, cunning, and, in the case of Kerrigan, stronger than any man in Starcraft. In fact there are also a bevy of strong female characters in Warcraft as well. Are we really offended by the animation of female characters in Starcraft being busty and beautiful? Maybe I should be offended by the obvious misrepresentation of men by Blizzard. After all, every significant male character is the pinnacle of the concept of masculinity. As a man in my late 20's who is incapable of growing significant amounts of facial hair and cannot get ripped like every other strong male character in Blizzard games I am thinking maybe Blizzard has something against men too. They so unfairly present every man as something most men could never be that I think it is time for a witch hunt. Grab your pitchforks my brethren and let us flame Blizzard with demands for apologies. This is why I can't stand the misogyny argument because it is balanced with an equal level of misandry that goes unnoticed. In fact the word "misandry" is used so little in discussion that my spell check is underlining it and trying to get me to correct it to "misaddress." Get over it. Women have boobs and sometimes they are large. Most people, men and women alike and regardless of sexuality, enjoy boobs. Big boobs are fun to look at, just like big burly men are cool to look at even though the average male comes nowhere near that image. Moving on...

If you really wish to make a change in the community then you remove the power of those who you feel might impede that change. In the case of some idea that women are not welcome in esports (which I will tell you right now is one of the most ignorant statements about esports from a nearly extinct breed of feminist) then a call to arms on the internet will do nothing more than add fuel to the fire. This is the internet where people love to say things just to be offensive. Most of the time the things people say to troll others aren't even close to true or anywhere near what the "troller" is thinking. The sole purpose is the reaction. If you haven't figured this out by now then maybe the internet is not the best place for you to hang out. I can understand if someone is being cyberbullied and people are dishing out death threats, but in this case he made a comment that was mildly in bad taste. This really seems like a case of hypersensitivity, and that is coming from a guy who is made fun of by his friends and his girlfriend for being more sensitive than most menstruating females. Is this the worst thing we have seen someone do in esports? Is this even close to the worst things we see on the internet? Has Scarlett come out and stated that she is offended by what 2GD said? Reddit didn't even think it was worth much time. Reddit is full of trolls and people who love drama, and somehow the post about what he said only got 46 total comments. A video of Avilo smashing his keyboard got more comments on Reddit. This is silly. Scarlett is no more antagonized than any other player. That's the internet. I highly doubt she is affected by it. She is one of the top Starcraft players in the entire world. A "best of both worlds" joke and a few more trolling comments on Reddit is hardly going to drown out the cheering from her countless fans who like her because she is an awesome Starcraft player and don't care what gender she is. Moving on...

Did you see JaeDong's quote on the Razer Goliathus page? Clearly he is being a chauvinist! Get out your pitchforks and torches! It is time to demand an apology over his extremely degrading view on women! These men need to understand that they cannot just talk about women in such heinous ways. "The skin of ten thousand fangirls?!" Time to skin JaeDong lest he apologize for being a terrible human being who clearly has no respect for women because of something he said on the internet!

Posted by 92_slayer

I love 2gd and anyone who wants too take away the best guy in e-sports will have too dela with ME!!!

Edited by tatatita

Pretty sure CassandraisAMan? Wc3 best!

PHedemark in what game is a female (XX) at same level as men? (besides some females in chess).

Posted by bneutrn

Hey, this clickbait article worked, because now I signed up just to write this and how ridiculous this whole argument is.

First off, we're talking about HSC here. We're talking about an environment where everyone is drinking, gambling, and just plain fucking around.

Now, in this setting, there were tons of jokes made, but why do we put emphasis on a joke made by 2GD of all people, where he says, "best of both worlds"? It's because these people that are uncomfortable with it are foreign to the concept of transgendered. It's why when fat jokes and jokes about Koreans were made, no one gave a shit and just laughed. But a very mild joke about transgendered? OHHHH we better tip toe around the subject! It's like everyone's trying to forget that Scarlett is indeed a male-turned-female and just plugging their ears being ignorant. She's a tranny. Deal with it. It was a lighthearted joke on the subject. Grow up.

Let me remind people we're talking about HSC. And 2GD. Fucking 2GD of all people. If you honestly get offended by what he says, especially something as mild as this (i still dont see how offensive it can be), then you need to grow the fuck up. I also really wish this article gets deleted because it's just trying to fan the flames on a non-issue and making it into a huge deal.

Posted by Davideogame

Shame people are missing the real issue: 2GD made a comment that made one of the players feel uncomfortable and instead of apologizing, he doubled down on it.

No one's expecting him to be a ideal role model, but as a caster you're the face of the tournament. If you make a sexist/racist/transphobic/etc. remark, you alienate your (current and potential) audience and players, which hurts growth. No one's expecting him to be fired or crucified either, a public apology would be sufficient for most people. The fact that he hasn't even apologized yet and there was no real outcry about it is a fucking embarrassment to the scene.

It's nice to see that TaKe and iNcontroL are aware of the issue at least.

Well written article casskhaw, thanks for writing it.

Posted by Mercury

@aero: My thoughts exactly. Wonderful reply. Copy-pasted this into a .txt just to smash it into someones face the next time this stupid topic comes up.

Edited by jay

2GD has always been an asshole, its part of his 'personality'. Not surprising he stepped into this and eventually he will when there is a big company or sponsor behind him and get fired for it.

Posted by thestage

I like how the two primary arguments against not being assholes in esports are:

1. Esports is a male majority industry, and because it is male majority males should be allowed to act like bigots because males are bigots.

Sorry, assholes. I'm a guy and I don't like 2GD acting like an asshole. I'm a guy and I don't like rape jokes. I'm a guy and I don't cry when people ask me to act like a responsible adult. I don't think my "freedoms" are being trampled when I am told I can't make public sexual advancements on community members while boiling their gender identity down to a fetish for my amusement.

2. 2GD is an asshole and because we know he is an asshole he should be allowed to act like an asshole without repercussion because wait this doesn't make any sense in any context to anyone over the age of four.

People absolutely flip out when their personal inclinations are curbed in any way. Because they are children. it will never matter to these people what their behavior represents, the affect it has on individuals or communities, or the way it makes them look, because children put even the slightest, tiniest aspect of their desires ahead of everything else, in every situation, regardless of any cost. Your identity as an asshole is less important than the right of another to not feel like an excluded object. And if rape jokes and homphobia are a part of your identity to begin with, then you might want to look at yourself in the mirror and ask what it will take for you to grow up.

Edited by davip

It's great to see people writing about this topic and taking it seriously. Unfortunately, creating safe spaces in online communities is still one of those challenges that won't be resolved anytime soon. Not without people feeling comfortable to come together to talk about it and figuring out solutions to make gaming communities welcome for everyone. And it's even worst when these conversations get automatically shut down with "it's just a game, bro" or "boys will be boys" rethorics from the industry.

Nathan Grayson from RPS recently addressed some of these issues in his follow up to the Blizzard interview in an awesome way.

"To claim otherwise is to essentially strip gaming of its supposed cultural legitimacy – to go from “We are important; treat us that way, damn it” to “Haha, nope, never mind. Just a game. No biggie. Can’t be influential or thought-provoking after all. Ebert was right, hurrah! (...)

So no, this stuff isn’t purely “political” – nor in many cases is it political at all, in the literal or derogatory sense of the word. To insist otherwise is to vastly undermine both gaming as a medium and, you know, your own species. This should probably go without saying, but stop that. Stop that right now. You’re not helping anyone, least of all yourself.”

We at gameoverhate.org are always on the lookout for articles like these and for people who willing to take this debate forward.