My experience with Omeed Dariani.
With all the stories being shared about sexual misconduct in the gaming industry and streaming space today, I felt like I needed to share my experience with Omeed Dariani.
Back at Pax Prime 2014, I met you in person for the first time. I was still in college and it was my second convention ever… I was trying to meet people to learn how to break into the gaming industry. When we were introduced, I was really in awe of you. You had been in the industry for many years, multiple companies, and it seemed like you knew everyone. At the time, you were in a senior position at Sony Online Entertainment. I looked up to you and wanted to learn from you anything that I could because I wanted to be like you.
While hanging out with a bunch of other streamers and industry folk, we had some great conversations about the industry and your experiences. As typical for conventions, these conversations went late into the night/morning. When it was time to head back to the hotels, we walked back together – still talking about life, games, and industry things. As we were about to go our separate ways, I wanted to make sure I had learned as much as possible… I asked if you had any final advice for someone like me trying to make it and succeed in the gaming industry. Your response was a story about a girl who had quickly gotten ahead by sleeping with some of the men at her company – you remarked that in a male dominated industry, it was really the best way to get ahead. That’s just how the industry is. You told me that it was a small industry – very relationship based. You told me that you could help me. You also told me about how people could also be your downfall and that you had personally blacklisted others before… and about women who had been blacklisted in the industry for not “doing the right thing.”
Shortly after these stories, you propositioned me to come back to your room for a threesome with you and your wife. I was shocked and confused. I playfully brushed off the suggestion – thinking there’s no way that could actually be what you meant. (Especially after the stories you had just told me.) But, you asked a second time – this time more bluntly. I declined a second time. At this point, I had some pretty strong red flags, but not wanting to be “blacklisted” I politely made excuses for needing to leave. We went our separate ways and I avoided you for the rest of the convention.
After coming home, I took several months away from streaming and questioned if I wanted to pursue my dreams in the gaming industry at all. If that’s what it takes to succeed, then I wanted nothing to do with it. For years now, I’ve gone back and forth… I’ve made excuses for you because everyone was drinking… maybe I was sending the wrong signals… maybe I misunderstood you. I was 24 when this happened, but its been 6 years since then and I’ve learned a lot along the way. You were being manipulative to a young woman who looked up to you. You used your position of power and stories about “blacklists” to pressure me into having sex with you.
I didn’t say anything then because in some ways, you succeeded. I was scared of your power in the industry. I didn’t want to be blacklisted from reaching my dreams. While I don’t feel scared for my career anymore… I do worry about the many young women that you’ve come into contact with over the past six years. I worry about the many young women’s careers that you now manage as part of OPG (Online Performers Group). Young women who, like me, are just trying to work towards their dreams. I feel that it’s my responsibility to speak up so they know that this isn’t “just how the industry is.” (I wish someone had told 24yr old Molly.)
If I truly believed that this was just a one-time mistake, I wouldn’t post this. However, I believe that this is just my personal experience within a larger pattern of predatory behavior and you manipulating young women. And, I know of at least one other woman who had a nearly identical experience with you in 2015.
I don’t know who else you’ve tried this with or how many times it’s worked, but this industry is scary enough without people who gatekeep, manipulate, and who insinuate the way to the top is through your bed.