Keeping quiet. A shameful thing to do.
I wanted to get something off my chest about this awful shit that's been going on, but also maybe to explain why so many rumours about people being 'creepy' persisted without anybody calling those people out publicly. Warning, this is going to be very long because there's a lot to cover.
Firstly, I knew about the Tobi and Botjira stuff about four years ago.
I deleted skype because it sucks, so I don't have the logs of my chat with my source, and I think this conversation was around 2016. I was contacted by this mutual friend who sent me screenshots of logs of chats between Tobi and Botjira and between Botjira and my friend where she explained what happened, and I was disgusted.
Tobi is a guy I worked with often, assaulting someone and seemingly getting away with it. I had always felt Tobi was, as other people have said, an awkward guy. That's not an excuse. People need to stop using it as one. I know lots of socially awkward people who are awesome. It's not a character flaw to be socially awkward. It is a MASSIVE character flaw to see other people as objects that you can abuse at will.
Other than being awkward, Tobi also had a lot of history - that example of him being a racist in all-chat in Dota (the quote is: have you ever heard the expression, as lame as an n-words baby. and no, I hadn't heard that one) was one of the first things I ever saw about him and I was surprised he was still a big deal.
I had heard countless rumours about Tobi and cosplayers and him being a 'creepy womaniser' - I even used that line in that dumb parody I did of the Joindota new year's message which remains one of the most laughable things I've ever seen (another Tobi classic I suspect) but anyway - I thought maybe people grow and all the rest of it. Maybe he did some dumb shit in the past but maybe he's changed. Same shit we all think about people that, at their core, make shitty decisions consistently. It's nice to think the best of people, but come on. I was being too hopeful. People change but people also remain the same.
Back to the allegations of abuse - I went to Tobi's boss at the time, Jacob aka Maelk. Maelk is a long time friend of mine on the scene and I think very highly of him. He spoke to Tobi. That's all I knew and I felt that's all I could do because Botjira at that time didn't want to speak out. She was afraid and just wanted to make sure he was told this was not ok, but she didn't want the public shit show that we've all seen surrounding anyone daring to name names. That's what I was told and she was reluctant to come forward even when other people were speaking out. I don't blame her at all because some of you need to take a good look at what kind of people you are. Some of these comments have been so appalling I can't believe it.
Also this was Tobi, so it's not like she's accusing some nobody. He was the biggest caster in Dota at the time. Whatever she said was going to be buried under a sea of hatred that I have been absolutely disgusted by in the last week, but also totally expected. I understood why she didn't want to face that, and I felt I'd done as much as I could given how she didn't want to name anybody.
I was so proud when she finally named him. She was so brave to do it. I loved Cap instantly getting behind that story, and Meruna speaking out about her abuse, and Synd dropping Tobi like a fucking stone. It was great to see the truth finally coming out. It was a weight off my chest. I felt that finally the secret I'd had to keep was no longer a secret and she had the courage to name him herself. Fucking awesome.
I feel very different about what I also didn't do. I had felt more or less happy that I observed Botjira's wish to keep this out of the public eye. I understood why, and as much as I wished she'd gone public at the time I also felt it wasn't possible for me to come forward against her wishes.
But I didn't make any changes personally. I continued working with Tobi.
Fast forward a year or more, maybe two. I was at a Summit and Tobi was there too. On the cab ride back to the airport Tobi asks me "what was all that stuff you told Maelk about me?" and I told him exactly what I'd been told, and that if I sit on that information without doing anything I'm as culpable as Tobi is. That I had to tell someone or it makes me complicit. He said he had no recollection of his time with Botjira that way at all. He said it felt like it had come out of the blue. He listed all the good work he did trying to help out in schools and in esports in general. I can't remember my reply because in all honesty it was a very awkward situation and I have no idea what the cab driver made of it. I just wanted to stop talking to Tobi and get on with my life.
That's a very selfish thing to think. It makes me ashamed.
Botjira wasn't able to get on with her life without feeling terrible and suicidal. Being attacked by another person is terrifying and leaves a lot of scars, and emotional scars run extremely deep.
I felt bad that Tobi was still working and still a big star on the Dota scene and here was me keeping this secret that was essentially benefiting him. I even helped Tobi with his dumb gameshow in support of that godawful Tobicoin shit which was the sort of dumb crap I came to expect from Tobi. Honestly I just saw the other people going like Slacks who is the love of my life, and thought it was a decent wage, it was at York Uni and I have friends there, and it paid well and didn't really have to think too hard. Blah blah fucking blah. Lots of justification. I still knew it was Tobi's thing and I went anyway.
That's a terrible thing to do. To know that someone is an abuser, to suspect they have done it more than once, and to still enable them. To not only say nothing, but to work for them. To take their money and keep my mouth shut.
My part in this is pretty clear. I remained silent and I'm sure others have too. It's great that people are naming names and shaming people now but it is honestly too little too late. There were suspicions about Tobi from a long time ago. A lot of the women on the scene knew, and they warned each other. Think about that for second - that had to warn each other, because they knew that the men on the scene essentially weren't going to do shit. We were getting paid, we were doing our jobs, and a lot of the time it was alongside people who in any other walk of life we would ostracise. But we were thinking of our own careers. I took the easier road of just carrying on as if nothing was happening.
Why is it so hard to speak out? I regret it more than ever. It's shameful. It's one of the reasons I haven't spoken out much publicly during this whole final reckoning. I have my own shame that I have tried to bury and I would urge anyone out there to please do things differently. If we want our scene to continue in any way we have to be better, braver, and less selfish. Don't keep these people's secrets for them.