Sorry this took long. I've just been socially frozen and needed some time.
It’s been a crazy couple of days, and in the midst of casting and taking care of my family I’ve been trying to find the right words to say. My heart breaks for everyone who’s been a victim of assault, both in and out of the Dota scene, and reading and learning about what goes on behind the scenes has been quite the roller coaster of emotions.
I recognize that as a white man I’ve been afforded opportunities that others haven’t. Women have had to work harder and face more obstacles than I was even aware of. But now that I’m here and have this platform, I realize that I should be better about using it to help those not as fortunate.
For those saying I should have known what was going on behind the scenes at events and not hired people who are “known to be avoided” at parties for various reasons, perhaps you’re right and I’ve been naive.
For what it’s worth, I grew up as the only boy at the dance studio and learned to be respectful to women. I forget that sadly, not everyone has learned that. Coming from the world of theatre, gigs end quickly and I know how it feels to constantly be proving yourself and looking for new work (not comparing this to women’s struggles AT ALL, just giving perspective about where I’m coming from). Because of this, I have always prided myself in my professionalism at work. I show up, I do my job, and I don’t stay long at after parties because I don’t want to get caught up in anything that would interfere with my work.
As far as the talent I’ve hired in the few years I’ve been producing Dota Summits, I have invited people based on their knowledge of the game and their connection to players and the community. I never saw anything happen at our events that set off any alarms, and again, I just assumed that others were holding themselves to the same level of professionalism that I do. I see now that I’ve been wrong, and now I’m questioning my own judgement of character. Even before becoming a dad I’ve always been a bit of an old man in the scene and I have always made it a point to not get involved in drama. My goal has always been to focus on the work, and now I’m questioning whether or not that’s right to do and if I’ve been blind to things I should have made myself aware of. I’ve been too entrusting of others to know what’s right and what’s wrong for themselves.
At the end of the day, the way women in this industry are treated needs to change.
I will make it a point to actively look and make sure that those around me are conducting themselves in the way I expect them to. I want to set a good example for my son as he grows up (hopefully) in the gaming world. I would never want him to treat women the way I’m learning women have been treated in Dota. I realize now I need to be more proactive in that.
If anyone ever feels threatened in any way, whether it’s by someone hired by me or not, I want them to feel comfortable coming to me. I want to use my platform to help elevate those who are working to educate the community not only about things that have happened in the past, but about how to be better in the future. As much as I’ve always wanted to focus solely on my work, I understand now that a huge part of that is helping to create a safe environment, and that’s what I hope to do from here on out.