Transcript for Video
Hello, everyone! I’m DragonsAfterDark, and today we’re going to take a step outside of World of Warcraft and pet battles to go over my thoughts on the recent lawsuit leveled against Activision-Blizzard.
Unfortunately, it can be rare to come across women in the sphere of gaming who don’t have a story of harassment of one sort, or another. This can range from verbal and/or written harassment, to stalking, abuse, rape, and as we’ve seen in the lawsuit: death. What the women in said lawsuit have endured, and likely many women not mentioned, is terrible and utterly reprehensible. There is no excuse for this. Bottom line. Full stop.
When you create an environment of fear that punishes those who speak up and shields the abusers, all the ‘measures’ you say you’ve put in place in the past and until now mean nothing. On a similar note, the only reason we aren’t seeing as much pushback from the general public for these allegations is simply because this wasn’t a group of women bringing the suit forth, but the State. All the platitudes and claims of misrepresentation of facts pale in the harsh light of a government entity finding your environment so toxic they felt the need to step in.
As for the women—all of you—I hope those responsible are punished to the full extent of the law, and you see real, sweeping changes in an industry I’m sure it was your dream to work in. It is beyond unfortunate that your journey in creating and doing something you love has been so marred by the behavior of those you should have been able to have a healthy work relationship with. There are going to be people who don’t understand, and ask why nothing was said sooner, but I get it. It took me years to even verbalize what had happed to me, and more beyond that to report it. And for those who still aren’t able to speak up like this, it’s okay. You aren’t failing anyone by not speaking up. I know it doesn’t feel that way, and you might not believe me, but the only people to blame for hurting those women are the ones who couldn’t behave like baseline decent human beings, from the perpetrators to those who protected them. You may never be able to talk about what happened, and that’s okay, too. You do what you need to, and not what others expect you to.
What does this mean for Activision Blizzard content creators and fans moving forward? There’s no right or wrong answer. Each of us needs to decide what we’ll do, and no one should be shamed or harassed for whatever decision they make. Leaving and staying both have their positives and negatives, and whatever you’re feeling and whatever you decide: it’s valid. Instead of turning on those who decide differently, focus that energy toward the company, and demand they do better. Put as many eyes on this as possible, for as long as possible, and don’t let it get swept under the rug.
As for me, it’s my belief that by remaining in these communities and refusing to tolerate this behavior, from players in LFG all the way to the CEO, is how I can best support those who want to stay and want better for and from this company.
All I have left to say is this to Activision-Blizzard, and other gaming companies in the same boat: your words are no longer enough. Close your mouths, stop your PR statements, then LISTEN. Listen to the women and all the people this has impacted. Sit there, and really hear them. Don’t make excuses. Don’t make more promises and policies that do NOTHING. Listen. I don’t care if it makes you uncomfortable and you don’t want to hear it. This isn’t about YOU. Sit there and listen to what they’ve been through, then CHANGE. Real, actual, change.
If that means you take a look at your role in this and realize you played a part in the pain of these HUMAN BEINGS, either through willful ignorance or complicity, you need to accept the repercussions of your actions, no matter what they may be. Don’t try to avoid them or downplay your role. Be a decent human being starting NOW, accept what comes your way, and rather than giving another hollow apology do the difficult thing and admit you were wrong. So very wrong. For at least one woman we know of that acknowledgement would come too late. Stop letting history repeat itself. Stop letting this happen. Because at the end of the day that’s what you’re doing: you’re letting this happen. This isn’t about paying lip service to customers, this is about the lives of those you were responsible for, and the trust you’ve betrayed. So change. Really change.
To everyone else, I know this isn’t an easy thing to read or listen to, but we have to. We have to read and we have to listen, because it’s the absolute very least we can do for them. To those who can’t listen for mental health reasons, I get that, too. It’s why it’s taken me so long to address this. Do what you can, where you can—we understand if that limits what ways you can interact with this. The next best thing we can do is keep this alive, and hold the company and the people accountable.
Until next time, everyone—game on.