Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reality Check: Why Your Argument About Cyber-Bullying is Bullshit.

Back in February 2012, there was a Street Fighter X Tekken tournament called Cross Assault[1].  It was a Capcom sponsored reality show streamed live on IGN.  It started February 22, 2012 and lasted for a week featuring two (2) teams of five (5) players and two (2) coaches for a total of 12 participants.

During the event, the only female participant was continually sexually harassed by her team’s own coach.  The sexual harassment was captured on video and audio and played live on IGN & Twitch.tv.  The sexual harassment of the player was allowed to continue THE ENTIRE WEEK.

This was okay.  No one present tried to make it stop.  The on hand staff, the technical producers, the teams and CAPCOM, Twitch.tv and IGN representatives did NOTHING to intervene on behalf of the harassed player.  In fact, the only people that had the common decency to speak up were callers who had finally got sick of the display.

Are your eyes brows turned up in surprise?  Are you shocked you didn’t hear about this?  There was hardly any media coverage about.  A few podcasts said something about it.  If you google it (and please, I hope that you do) you’ll find that a handful of smaller media outlets covered it.  There’s no Massively article.  There’s no Escapist article, though there is a small 1 page thread on the forum[4].

“The sexual harassment is part of [the] culture. And if you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community." – Aris Bakhatanians, Team Coach on day five. [2]
That statement was in response to Jared Rea, community manager of Twitch.tv, asking Bakhatanians to be civil.  On the fifth day of live on air sexual harassment for all the world to see… there was a single call for civility.  A call that was ignored and sexual harassment was allowed to continue.

The young woman harassed was so distraught, on the verge of tears and had lost all desire to play for the grand prize to the point where she simply forfeit.  She worked hard to get a place in this tournament and her own team coach stripped her of her dignity, will to play and any chance she had of enjoying herself. 

Where was the media out cry for her?  Where were few calls for the team coaches removal?  Where was the intervention from the gaming companies running this event to protect their players?  On a gaming podcast that I used to listen to called Cheap Ass Gamer the lead host CheapyD said, “Well if it [the sexual harassment] was funny, it would have been okay."  [3]

Even after the fact there was nothing.  The only response Capcom gave the press was this:
“The views and opinions expressed by cast members in the live internet program 'Cross Assault' do not reflect those of Capcom. As a company, Capcom believes that everyone should be treated with respect. This particular issue was brought to our attention and has been addressed. We sincerely apologize to anyone that was offended by any comments expressed during the show.”
 And that was end of it. 

Then this business at FANFEST2012 happened.  A less than 2 minute drunken quip was made.  The subject of the quip wasn’t bothered by this at all.  Yet, gaming media everywhere seized like piranhas.  There was rage for speaker's dismissal.  CCP intervened because this must not be allowed to happen!  Then they threw the guy who helped them in their greatest time of need under the bus.

That little quip was the line, but a week of live unabated, unabashed, unapologetic sexual harassment… that’s okay.  Why don’t you let that sink in.


The fact of the matter is, the gaming community doesn’t care about bullying.  This isn’t about some poor victim.  This is about people being mad The Mittani got the chairmanship.  No complaints were logged until AFTER he was announced as Chairman, two days after the incident actually occurred.  Other incidents of bullying, bullying that is more severe and destructive, have been documented and not received the same press.   

Give it a few month.  Hell, give it a few weeks.  I doubt anyone howling, press and players included, will be able to remember the victim's name without Googling it.  Are you even able to remember it right now?

42 comments:

  1. I agree that the Capcom incident was not given the media outraged it deserved, and that the Mittani incident was overblown by the same media.

    That being said, CCP had NO choice but to respond as they did because any other response basically said "encouraging harassment and encouraging suicide (even in jest) is ok".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. They were between a rock and a hard place. The situation was a perfect storm. I sould say I'm not upset with CCP. I understand. The situation is what upsets me. That and I feel like people are peeing on my shoe and telling me it's raining.

      By that same account, CAPCOM, IGN, Twitch.tv and the large portion of the gaming community that blamed the victim say sexual harassment is okay. That's what pisses me off the most. It makes me question if I even want to game any more.

      I'm a black woman. The amount of racism and sexism I encounter in gaming is staggering. However, I'm not allowed to complain by the cultural expectations of the gaming community. I'm expected to harden the fuck up or get the fuck out. When I hear nigger or "stop being a pussy" or make me a sandwich; I'm expected to go with the flow because that's how things are.

      When I see an individual demonized over something like this; I can't help but to think that most involved are hypocrites and don't really care. They don't care about morality. They don't care about kindness to others. If they did, they would be outraged every single day of their lives.

      Delete
  2. I completely agree with this post. Certainly a lot of the "media" anger about this whole this is because of past grudges in game and a complete unwillingness to do any real work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. The vast majority of the "different stories" were copy and paste of the original. The Massively article straight up lied. I hadn't realized they were the FOX of gaming news until that point.

      Delete
  3. Dani, you know i ♥ ya just the way you are! Don't change and don't put up with the shit! I have your back

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ♥ Thank you ChY. I know you'll always be my homie.

      Delete
  4. I find sexual harassment of any kind 100% unacceptable, and in our circle there is zero tolerance. At one point a drunken pilot in our group was making really inappropriate comments to another player we all knew to be a RL woman. Not only was he severely chastised but the CEO of his corp got on Eve chat with the target, apologized, gifted them, and asked what other restitution/action she wanted. I think that so many people (myself among them, who she personally reached out to) immediately rallied around her was enough.

    A new policy was instituted that any act of harassment would result in immediate corp expulsion and a filing of a petition to CCP.

    That is how it should be handled.

    I also seem to spend an inordinate amount of time filing petitions on racist and sexist player/ship names. Does anyone else do this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad all of your corp mates are supportive of each other. That's pretty awesome.

      Delete
  5. The Mittani screwed up and admitted it.

    He single handedly managed to make a joke of the CSM, a joke of Fanfest, a joke of his constituency, use up every drop of goodwill CCP had, and facilitate an unprecedented amount of negative press just as CCP was rounding the bend.

    He did this by specifically calling out for the harassment of another player (one who happend to have personal information in his bio - such as a link to his blog, life story, etc).

    He got off easy - he should have received a permanent ban. and been done with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be more inclined to pay a spec of attention to your post; if you didn't hide behind the Anon option. The fact that you completely missed the point of the blog post reinforces that the individuals still shoe beating are not worth the time or effort of my attention

      Delete
    2. Look at that anonymous tard.

      The Mittani acted like an complete idiot. He then turned around and did the adult thing. He admitted his idiocy, apologized both publicly and privately. He made restitution, and he resigned from his position as chairman.

      Now compare it to the event described in the OP. Was there anything even remotely close? No, a bunch of bullshit rationalizing.

      In fact, I suspect you are working a personal grudge here and the facts be damned. In fact, I bet you don't even give a crap about the person The Wis either.

      You are disgusting.

      Delete
  6. This was a good read and that's coming from a "goon".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amokdotte best dotte. And come on, a goon using Anon?

      Delete
  7. The media did as it did because there was a lot of clicks in it. An easy way to make a quick buck is spinning a fox news style story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. … to a predominantly male audience, who don't want to be called out for sexual harassment (because they all do it), but are happy to jump on the "Cyber Bullying" bandwagon because they all feel like they alone in all the world are the victims of bullying.

      On the other hand, CCP does need to police these things. Suicide threats are taken seriously - there are stories out there about people who've had police arrive at their property to intervene, after having complained to the GMs that they're considering suicide after losing Internet spaceships.

      On the gripping hand, I'm pretty sure the only reason The Mittani got temp-banned is because this issue made the media. I wonder how much of the media attention is due to the subject being The Mittani, who famously got CCP in the news for all the wrong reasons last year? Live by the sword, die by the sword?

      Delete
    2. … to a predominantly male audience, who don't want to be called out for sexual harassment (because they all do it),

      Gee thanks Mara. Moron.

      Delete
  8. The Mittani screwed up, he apologised, and is suffering the consequences of his actions. I'm ok with that, and I'm glad that there was a consequence. (We can debate the rights or wrongs of the type and severity of consequence till the cows come home but that's neither here nor there)

    You are right about the endemic sexism and racism in the gaming community, and how in so many places the expectation is that it is to be expected and acceptable.

    It is not acceptable. Personally, as a female gamer, I've not given up and it does not usually affect my enjoyment of the game itself, but I can certainly empathise with it. I hope you'll forgive me for posting anonymous here because there are many people I fly against and some I fly with who don't know that I'm female and while in game I don't hide it, as such, I also try not to draw more attention to it than necessary. (ie, you hear me on voice, it's gonna be obvious. Other than that, you won't know)

    I move to some extent in the same circles as Kuan and I've found that it is possible to change attitudes, a little, by calling people out on it. You won't get through to the mouthbreathing types who tell you to go make you a sandwich and mean it, but the 'casual' sexists can usually be shamed into either behaving themselves or, even better, thinking about what they're saying and not doing it again. As a result my personal playing environment is quite pleasant these days; enough people have made it known that it's unacceptable that it doesn't happen any more. These attitudes can be changed, but it'll be a long hard slog, and a media frenzy such as the one over the Mittani will not actually help one bit.


    (and Kuan - yes, I also seem to spend an inordinate amount of time petitioning. Not so much names, but local smack that crosses a line)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It saddens me you feel you need to hide your identity in order to speak you mind. It speaks volumes of the true sense of mortality, kindness and respect the gaming community holds.

      Delete
    2. I debated for a good while whether to post anon or under my in game name, and I feel like a coward, but I just haven't the energy to deal with it non-anon right now. I call people on this stuff in-game and always, always speak my mind there when it happens, but that's with my friends and corpies around me who I know 100% feel the same way I do. (That is the flip side of the gaming community - my corp, alliance and general friends and allies are pretty awesome and would walk through fire to back me up)
      I'm pretty new to the blog/twitter side of Eve and I'm not sure yet how public a presence I want to be. Perhaps if I figure it out we'll be having this discussion non-anon at some point :)

      Delete
    3. Thank you for being determined enough to call people out on their sexism!

      Delete
  9. Wait... So your argument is that since no one paid attention to one instance of assault, we should ignore all misbehavior, bullying and other problems?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If that's what you took out of this blog post, I suggest you go down to the local community college and invest in reading comprehension classes. I can't offer you any other assistance

      Delete
  10. Competitive victimage is the worst kind of rhetoric to take up.

    It remedies nothing and only loses you allies.

    Most those who come to applaud your argument do so not on the merits of your complaint but only because, in advancing your cause, you minimize the wrong done elsewhere by those they wish to excuse.

    Just because worse has been done to some, even that worse has been done to you, does not lessen one bit wrongs done to others.

    In this case, it does not lessen what The Mittani did at Fanfest, which was not limited to inviting a mob to grief a single depressed player.

    His entire presentation, from start to finish, consisted of holding up to public ridicule fellow players who had already been victimized and humiliated in-game, and this as the then current Chair of CSM6, whom already everyone knew would have the votes for Chair of CSM7.

    It was the most shameful kind of really adolescent behavior, inviting the "in" "cool" group to laugh at the "uncool" flaws, weakness and debilities of the "out." And devastatingly bad PR for CCP and EVE anyway you look at it, so of course they acted.

    You are right that there is a great deal of injustice in gaming media and in gaming community response, but it was in failure to respond to the CAPCOM harassment incident NOT in responding to what happened at EVE Fanfest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This article is about the hypocritical behavior of gaming media and individuals such as yourself, not "competitive victimage." I guess suggest reading comprehension classes to you as well.

      Also your attitude of "If you don't agree with me I won't be your friend any more and your a bad person" is utterly disgusting. If that your true attitude and stance, I don't want you as an ally and I'll consider myself better off until the end of my days.

      You're choosing to focus on the Mittani and how much of a bad man he is. Less than 1/3 of this article is about that and all you can do is shoe beat about FANFEST.

      Please, get your head of from between your buns, get some fresh air and take a look at the larger picture. Look at the LARGER PROBLEM I'm trying to drawn attention to.

      If you're unable to, I feel sorry for you. I hope one day you'll be able to take a step back, put your personal grievances with The Mittani aside and come at this from a global perspective.

      Delete
  11. Penny Arcade has started "The PA Report" which is attempting to be more of a journalism based game news site, and less just propaganda.

    They covered the sexual harrassment of the capcom event here: http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/sexual-harassment-as-ethical-imperative-the-ugly-side-of-fighting-games

    Just thought I'd point that out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct and while I did not mention them by name, I mentally included them in the "handful" I mentioned in the post.

      By the way; love Penny Arcade.

      Delete
  12. Now, to be fair, Massively only covers MMOs, not fighting games like the ones at CAPCOM's Cross-Assault event. So of course there was no article up on Massively about it.

    No that should have been covered by AOL's main gaming site Joystiq, which covers the video game industry. Now, looking at the Joystiq archives... um... well, they didn't cover it either!

    Never mind then. Carry on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is an error on my part. I guess Massively wouldn't necessarily cover Street Fighter, but as your pointed out neither did their counter part. I did get a response from Brendan Drain of Massively

      Brendan Drain @nyphur
      @MarcScaurus @Arydanika @mandrill ... isn't covered it's because the sites aren't aware of it. The best way to get it covered is send it in.

      Brendan Drain @nyphur
      @keddren @mandrill @Arydanika That's how ALL of the gaming media works. 90% of stories are sent in by someone or found by an editor.

      I run a weekly news & interest podcast for Eve Online as well as a blog. His statements floored me. I actively search various sites, talk to members of the community from all aspects and actively participate the game in order to collect news articles.

      Delete
    2. Most 'gaming journalists' are hacks of the highest degree. This is just another example that most of these sites are just amateur-run e-fanzines, and not actual news sites with journalistic standards, no matter how much they like to pretend they are.

      Delete
  13. Funny thing is, if "the goons" hadn't spent so much time cultivating their reputation as "griefers" - this wouldn't have gotten so much traction. I don't agree with many of the things "Goons" do in games/online - but within the context of Eve, most of their behavior is "within normal limits". We don't know if the guy is *really* depressed or not - so I understand where they're coming from.


    However (for me personally) I've worked the last 19 years at a hospital with a 26 bed mental health unit. In that 19 years I've probably transported 15 patients to the morgue who actually did commit suicide. I guess I just have less patience with that type of "griefing" than most people - so the punishment and outrage don't bother me.


    As to the situation you allude to in your article; my Eve Corp doesn't abide by that kind of harassment and before you ask, yes, we have women in our corp. Girlfriends, wives and sisters of members. When one of us guys steps over the line, everyone lets them know.


    As to the Fighting Games sub-genre, I have no clue, never paid attention to them and don't follow their media at all. But the behavior you describe (and described in the article) is unacceptable to me and many others.


    Sorry your experience has been different.


    Asuri Kinnes
    Adhocracy Incorporated, Eve-Online

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can absolutely understand where you're coming from. The point of the article was not to diminish from what happen, but to shed light on the obvious hypocrisy of the gaming community. I've had two friends commit suicide in the past two months. It's not a laughing matter, but again, it's the point of this article.

      I'm not sure what you mean by my experience being different. Yes, I encounter assholes and people that say ignorant things, but that does not diminish my experience. I won't allow it to and it's well within my power to do ensure that it doesn't. I am a strong woman as the women of my family have raised me to be. I do not consider myself a victim of anything nor do I ever see myself taking on that title.

      Delete
  14. Great post dani. I agree completely. I'm with Chy on this. I got your back. I'd rat up from minus 9.8, whatever I am if needed to cover you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Harri. I appreciate that.

      Delete
  15. Well said, Dani! Couldn't agree more.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it. It was needed to be said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jade. It's great to have pillars of the community supporting me on this.

      Delete
  16. Actually, there was quite a bit of coverage of the sexist behavior during that tournament in the gaming press:

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2012/02/is-pervasive-sexism-holding-the-professional-fighting-game-community-back.ars
    http://kotaku.com/5889415/this-is-what-a-gamers-sexual-harassment-looks-like
    http://www.giantbomb.com/news/aris-aris-bakhtanians-releases-statement-on-recent-comments/4007/
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/sexual-harassment-as-ethical-imperative-the-ugly-side-of-fighting-games
    http://uk.gamespot.com/features/fighting-girls-strike-back-6367518/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's 5 Gaming Media Outlets. A handful considering amount of gaming media outlets that are actually out there. That's no where near the amount of coverage the situation from FANFEST received.

      But thank you for the links. That saved me from the extra copy and pasting for when I got home.

      Delete
  17. Great post Arydanika. It shows the amount of hypocrisy that pervades the gaming media. It should also demonstrate that the bloggers of this community are the best sources of news and information in the game, and we're not even getting paid!

    PS. 1 month and Jita Burns! I'm going -10 on Uziel99. Who's with me?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I believe that a lot of the major gaming media outlets have a predetermined negative mindset about EVE Online and its player base. This alone causes a large portion of the negative stories that you see. If something bad happens in wow, it must be a bad player...something bad happens in EVE, it just how all the players are. That is what the gaming media think of our community, it's not true...at least not always. It seems that they are only looking for negative news coming out of EVE and skip over the positive things that happen.

    I did not vote for the Mittani, but it is unfortunate that 1/6th of the voters have wasted their vote over a stupid mistake, the media outlets apparent vendetta against EVE and its players and Mittins failure to realize both of these things before the Alliance panel. I think CSM members have a responsibility, while making public appearances, to represent EVE Online and the Community. We really need this representation to be positive if we have any chance of combating the media bias that exists. In game play as you please

    ReplyDelete
  19. I tweeted a link to this because I completely fucking agree. If I had said what Mittens said, no one would give a shit. I might be quietly banned, but that's about it. Double fucking standards and shit like this are why i don't talk about gaming with my non gaming friends all that much. I'd much rather they think I sat on my ass doing nothing all week than spend it being a part of online gaming communities.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Well said. Whilst I personally have not seen any (sexual) harassment in Eve first hand, I've heard of instances of it enough from several friends of mine to know that it exists.

    On this topic, I seem to recall an article (or blogpost) where the author is discussing recruitment and mentions that you shouldn't recruit females because they'll cause "e-drama" and cause your corp to failscade. Serious WTF moment there from me when I read it.

    ReplyDelete