Following the alleged sexual harassment cases of director Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, American actress Alyssa Milano initiated the “#MeToo” movement on Twitter last October 2017, inspired by civil rights activist Tarana Burke who first used the phrase in 2006 to campaign for sexually abused women of color.
Through the hashtag, Milano implored women, especially those in workplaces, to speak out against their traumatic experiences, in hopes of “[giving] people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
Unfortunately, the world of eSports is no different from Hollywood in such aspect. FOX Sports Asia has listed some sexual harassment cases in the industry, as already made known to the public:
1. Timo “Taimou” Kettunen
Ketunnen, an Overwatch player of Team EnvyUs in 2016, made indecent comments on Twitch about female interviewers of OGN, a South Korean eSports network.
Ketunnen, in an interview with Thomas “Morte” Kerbusch, said he was “gonna check those pantsus when im getting interviewed LUL,” and “I wanna explore that interviewer girls thighs Keepo,” among others.
Team EnvyUs almost got disqualified at the OGN Overwatch APEX for Ketunnen’s misdemeanor but after a public apology from him and the team, their prize money was cut instead.
Kettunen previously got banned in the 2012 European Team Fortress 2 League, for “insulting nationality, taunting terrorism victims via offensive team names and ignoring admin warnings,” according to the official announcement.
The ban was aggravated as permanent when he attempted to use alternate accounts to join.
2. Lee “LEETAEJUN” Tae-jun & Geum “dean” Dong-geun
Tae-jun and Dong-geun, Overwatch players from team Lunatic-Hai, were found guilty of simultaneously dating many of their fans and asking for sexual favors last January 2017.
It was against their organization’s principles, as is with others, to fraternize with fans, much less be lewd with them, in order to maintain professionalism and integrity.
Tae-jun and Dong-geun initially denied the allegations, until some of the fans they engaged with provided photos and messages as evidence. One of the fans was discovered to be a minor.
They issued a public apology afterward, but were suspended from the team during the OGN Overwatch APEX Season 2. They eventually retired from playing Overwatch.
3. Riot Games
August this year, the developer of the famous League of Legends drew flak for allegedly abetting a toxic and misogynistic work environment, based on multiple accounts.
In Kotaku’s investigative report, some former and current Riot employees shared their experiences.
Male higher-ups would send unsolicited pictures of their private parts toward female subordinates, casually crack rape jokes, talk about female colleagues sexually in emails, grope co-workers, among others.
Female applicants are doubted during job interviews, while the female employees are usually denied of administrative posts and are considered inferior in general.
Riot said the cases shared with Otaku are “explicitly opposite” and they do not condone “discrimination, harassment, retaliation, bullying, and general toxicity.”
4. Chase “Loomdun” Stearns
Last November 5, the coach of Team Vendetta Dota 2 was called out by player Samuel “Sammyboy” Anderson for being “a kind of a creep.”
Anderson, who agreed to have Stearns come over his house to draft for the team, was sexually harassed by the coach in front of his roommates, according to his post.
Stearns kept making sexual advances on Anderson, even during official matches, despite his constant disapproval and discomfort which “made it very difficult to speak up about it,” for him.
Team Vendetta no longer have Stearns as coach.
These are just some of the disturbing incidents that happen in the world of eSports, not yet counting hundreds of undocumented cases and the thousands online, in conjunction with other issues like racism, homophobia, hate speech, and many more.
Hopefully in the near future, although idealistic, such abuses of power shall be lessened already, if not ceased altogether.