An Update to my Friends About Sea of Thieves
For the better half of a year, I've experienced targeted harassment. It has taken the form of misogyny, and bullying perpetuated by a Sea of Thieves Partner and their respective community. I have collected clear, thorough documentation of numerous instances of this blatant harassment, which I am prepared to present should the need arise.
I have contacted leadership and community managers at Rare on multiple occasions to highlight my experience and relevant evidence. I am wholly dissatisfied with their response, and now feel compelled to share my experience of both my harassers and leadership at Rare for the purposes of transparency.
TwitchCon 2019: I approached Pace22 for a photo. It is important to note that Pace22 only met Rocco and Mom, not Dad. We didn’t have an interest in working with Pace22, but had identified a decent crossover of our communities, despite the vastly different content. We had no other interaction.
Post-Twitchcon 2019 (October Onwards): I started receiving in-game messages, many with sexually violent comments tagged with “Pace22” at the end (ex: get rAAAAAA*ed Pace22). It started to happen so much that I made an alternate account. While Sea of Thieves is a big world, it’s easy to run into the same players, which I always thought made for some fun rivalries. I noticed that the players who specifically said sexually violent things to Rocco, would not say those things to my alternate account. Same amount of harassment, but only Rocco’s account would specifically receive sexually violent comments, tagged with “Pace22” at the end. Weird.
May 7 2020: After a team drops out of Sea of Champions, I volunteered to bring on a team to compete. I promised I would find a creative and entertaining crew able to showcase the new arena, and how ridiculously fun and hilarious Sea of Thieves can be. We delivered. #OneBoat!!
Sea of Champions (May 14/May 21/May 28 2020):
I was disappointed to learn that while we were competing in an official Sea of Thieves event, there were no rules for general conduct. This resulted in Pace22’s crew being allowed to behave in a way that has zero place in our community. I listened to them repeatedly complain about the game bugs, say things like “i just got cu*ked by the game” and call other players “f*cking losers”, “f*cking idiots” and “non-players”. This happened all in front of 10,000 people (according to his chat) watching on his channel alone.
How is that acceptable behavior from anybody in the community let alone a Sea of Thieves Partner? If someone called me a “f*cking idiot” in-game, this results in a punishment to the Sea of Thieves player. Why was this rule not applied in an official Sea of Thieves event?
Throughout the entire event, Pace and his crew use she/her pronouns when referring to Rocco. Let’s make one thing clear: The Rocco character is a little boy. He has little boy mannerisms, a little boy voice, and uses he/him pronouns. Literally everybody else has picked up on this and respected that as a part of the Rocco brand. I don't think it’s a reach to say that Pace22 constantly gendering Rocco as a woman has directly influenced Rocco getting attacked with sexually violent language tagged with Pace22’s name.
I want to be clear that I addressed all these concerns and more with the Sea of Champions team. they agreed that the behavior was toxic, abusive, and in no way represented the type of event they wanted to put on. At the end of the day, they aren’t Rare employees, but I expected a lot more from a group that was trusted to put on official events for Sea of Thieves.
May 19 2020: I wrote Pace22 an email detailing some of my concerns. We were two Sea of Thieves Partners participating in an exhibition match that existed simply to show off the new arena updates. He was one of the biggest Partners representing the game, and his team was being overtly toxic. I was so anxious to be bringing any of this up, but it was my hope that this email would open up a dialogue where I’d finally be able to address the comments I was getting in-game.
I messaged Pace22’s teammate Cobbobles via discord, who immediately agreed my concerns about the team’s toxicity were valid and even offered to follow up with Pace22 on my behalf. Within a week, Cobbobles would completely cease contact after essentially writing me off as making a big deal out of nothing. His last response to me made it seem like I was upset my team didn't win in the tournament. Intentional or not, to flip from validating my concerns to implicating me as a sore loser is gaslighting.
May 29 2020: My partner and myself had a meeting with Jon MacFarlane about various issues, including Pace22 and his Sea of Champions teammates, ChoptheBone and more specifically, Beerslol. We thought it was really inappropriate that Pace22 was allowed to invite him into an official Sea of Thieves event, when Beerslol (FKA DippingSauce) is a known problem in the community. Chances are a lot of you reading this either have your own story involving him, or a friend that does. Beerslol frequents different discords with a lot of the players that have written “get rAAAAAAA*ed Pace22” to Rocco, as well as some of the people who have caused issues in our twitch chat. Weird.
We asked Jon why Pace22 was allowed to bring two toxic players into an official Sea of Thieves event. We are extremely protective of how and what Rocco crosses over with, and expected a certain level of professionalism if Sea of Thieves Partners were participating in a Sea of Thieves event together. We have participated in plenty of competitive events within the community with zero issues. We asked why it was even acceptable for Pace22 to be a Partner while aligning himself so closely with someone known to be so toxic and abusive to players. Jon said if he talked to Pace, he would bring up the issue.
June 26 2020: Rocco was streaming when we learned Dr. Disrespect was banned from Twitch for unknown reasons. After a week of reading stories about sexual/physical/verbal/mental abuse and harassment, I snapped. Here is that moment on stream:
I’d love to say that Pace22’s reaction to this was to finally answer the email from May, or that he reached out via DM to do some sort of damage control. Instead, he decided to confront the situation in the Partner Program discord, where the members are a mix of Sea of Thieves Partners and Rare employees.
June 27 2020- Here’s exactly what he posted at 12pm PST/8pm BST
“@everyone Hey guys, I’m going to link a video here that is timestamped and if you care to watch it to know whats going on, I’m putting it in a public space for a reason. @SayHeyRocco has posted this video and is dragging my community and myself though the mud on her stream
Anyone who knows me or has interacted with my channel knows that negative talk about other streamers is a huge no-no and is strongly enforced. I have done nothing to deserve this treatment from her or her community. I’m a pretty forgiving person and willing to look past this and forgive you if you apologize to my community and myself on your next live stream and that will be the end of it.”
There was a lot of back and forth between Pace22 and us. We were furious this was the route he chose after I’d tried to get through to him in so many ways. He refused to claim any responsibility or even acknowledge that the treatment I’d been receiving was inappropriate. He considered this nothing but “troll bait.” At the bare minimum all he had to say was “I am disgusted you would think I’d associate with people like that. That is horrible.” Apparently it’s on me that I reacted at all. “Troll bait” is “locker room talk” is all a big fat cop out.
While all of this is unraveling, community manager Chayification interrupted the argument to say something to the effect of “Hey guys, take it to the DMs”. No offer of mediation, no attempts to discourage any fighting in the discord, no empathy towards the situation as a whole. I was livid.
Pace22 abruptly stopped responding to any messages in the discord. We were already late to a charity stream, so I collected myself, and went live over an hour late. During the stream, Pace22 showed up in the discord again with another message similar to the one above. When another Partner asked why he couldn’t just message us directly, Pace22 responded that he wanted everybody to see it and shame us. I was mid-stream, mid-puppeteering, furiously typing with one hand into discord demanding he wait until I finished the stream to discuss further.
All in all there ended up being ~100 messages in the argument that took place in the General chat of the Partner Discord. Many of these messages I have screenshots of, however the exchange as a whole was deleted by Rare employees---hence why I only have the exact wording of Pace’s first post and not his second one. We have requested those transcripts three times. “Out of sight, out of mind” does not work when a discord full of people get a front row seat to a fight between Pace22 and a cat puppet at 12pm PST/8pm BST. When all the messages were deleted, someone made a joke that they didnt even “get to the good part”. Humiliating, yes, but I don't blame them one bit. It was messy as hell. The whole thing. I guess that’s why it’s so troubling that nothing was said about it after the fact.
That evening, we forwarded Pace22 the email from 5-19-20. No response.
June 29 2020- We had a meeting with Jon McFarlane and Joe Neate. We were under the impression we would be discussing the incident of the past weekend, and thought it was a discussion to help them figure out a solution. We were almost immediately told that they were “not interested in talking badly about Pace22”. We still tried to express a lot of what you’ve read above. I expressed how upset I was that nobody from Rare reached out to see if I was even okay after everything that went down. I keep thinking I’m letting that bother me too much, but at the end of the day I gotta say it’s really disheartening nobody even said, even off record in a discord call “hey, its really messed up someone is writing sick things and tagging another streamer. That’s weird.” Cause. It's. WEIRD. Can we all just agree that it’s weird? IT’S WEIRD!!! There’s no need for weird toxic misogyny in gaming. Or anywhere. It’s WEIRD.
Ultimately we were told that Beerslol was not to be allowed into any more official Sea of Thieves events, and to continue to use the reporting feature for in-game harassment. At the end of our meeting, Joe and Jon encouraged us to send messages if any new information arises. After sending some additional information, we got this message:
“As we discussed last night Beerslol will no longer be invited to any official Sea of Thieves events and we feel satisfied with the action taken there. If you do find any evidence of Beers in correlation to Sea of Thieves acting against the code in relation to Sea of Thieves please do continue to report it to Rob”
This message felt really cold and weird. The behavior exhibited by Pace22 and his team in the official Sea of Thieves event, on the official Sea of Thieves Twitch Channel, was exactly against The Code. The first thing you see when you exit the tavern in-game is The Pirate Code: a simple set of rules that aim to make this a fair and accessible game for everybody.
(The Pirate Code: https://www.seaofthieves.com/pirate-code)
July 3 2020- General rules are added into the Partner Program discord that say any messages not adding to the specific topic/conversation of the game and program will be removed.
Submitted to Rob CSM: 7pg complaint with timeline of harassment, a bulleted summary, and 97 screenshots. It was made clear that additional information could be supplied upon request.
July 9 2020- RobCSM confirmed that upon review of the complaint, the team found a number of breaches of the Code of Conduct. Due to Data Protection and Privacy Laws, we are not aware of how many accounts were punished, or in what capacity.
We asked if this was really where it all ended, and if there would be any addressing of the situation that happened with Pace22 nearly two weeks prior. The situation seemed to warrant something more from Rare, especially since Pace22 and Rocco are in the Partner Program together.
July 10 2020- I received this message from RobCSM:
“Hello Rocco, thank you again for your reports, however after our review of the information supplied, and our follow-up actions, we consider the matter closed.”
We asked what the repercussions would be if this complaint was made public. We did not get a response.
Sea of Thieves is an incredible community that brings people of all kinds together. We are continually humbled by the love and personal connections that have come out of this community. The opportunities that we have enjoyed to create amazing content are beyond count. We have been extremely loud about how much we love this game, and constantly marvel at how hard the dev team works over two years after launch. Our sincere love for Sea of Thieves, the developers, and it’s community is exactly why we are so thoroughly troubled and hurt by these experiences.
Harassment, abuse, and intimidation of all forms need to be rooted out as quickly and efficiently as possible whenever and wherever it’s found. We all deserve a space that is free of needless toxic behavior and words that can adversely affect anyone that comes to this amazing world of adventure. We should be able to enjoy a safe, positive gaming world. These experiences are being shared in detail because we believe everybody deserves transparency on what has transpired.
We hope that this story emboldens others to stand up and demand the change that we all deserve. No one should ever feel bullied or harassed, and we will continue speaking out on this issue until we see real, actionable change that inspires quantifiable results.