It has been an eventful, horrifying couple of days as dozens of women, along with some men and non-binary individuals, have come forward to share dozens of stories about sexual harassment and abuse by dozens of notable men in the video game community, most of them streamers and content creators.
There has been a clear pattern, a survivor posts a courageous revelation about past trauma, and the accused posts some sort of apology or denial, and in between is a very shocked and confused community.
Some of these are brand new stories, some have been secrets that were only shared with small groups due to those involved not feeling comfortable coming forward. This is not the first time men in the video game industry have faced this sort of mass reckoning, but it’s important to recognize it every time this happens, and the stories here need to be heard.
The spark that lit the fire this time were allegations made against popular Destiny streamer, SayNoToRage. A number of women came forward to say they were uncomfortable with their interactions with him in the past, which ranged from unwanted touching to overly sexual DMs. SayNoToRage posted and deleted a short apology video on Twitter, then a longer one on his YouTube channel. He was publicly chastised by Bungie BG and its community team, and it was revealed he had long been not welcome at events due to inside knowledge of some of these past occurrences.
It is impossible to talk about this without noting that for the past year I have been a part of the “Rageless Roundtable,” a weekly Destiny podcast hosted by SayNoToRage. I met him once in person at GuardianCon last year, and we spoke about doing the show. Since then, we’ve talked about Destiny every Monday, and I had not heard any of these awful stories until this past weekend. I find them utterly indefensible. When this story was initially one tweet on Friday night I didn’t know if it would be proper to cover here, but I quickly learned more information and this spread past this one instance, and then it turned into a much larger movement past one specific streamer.
Within an hour of SayNoToRage being named on Friday I announced I would not be returning to the podcast, as did the other co-hosts. Needless to say this has all been deeply, personally troubling, and the more I’ve learned the angrier I’ve become.
This is only a small piece of the story that followed, however. In the wake of Destiny 2 community women speaking out about, others began to come forward with other allegations against other streamers. A frequently cited group of harassers and potential abusers are members of the “BSK” clan, which includes the likes of high-profile Destiny PvP streamers like Luminosity and Typhoontrav. Among other things, BSK has been accused of running a Discord server where they swapped nudes of women they had pressured into giving up. Apologies were issued.
Further revelations seem to indicate that BSK may be connected to Orange Justice, a group that has notoriously gone after other Destiny streamers with various kinds of cyber attacks during key moments like World’s First raid runs. Orange Justice also targeted black streamers with attacks and racial slurs in their chat, in addition to using slurs non-stop in their Discord, the logs of which have just been leaked. BSK has now also been publicly called out by Bungie’s community team.
But the list is long, and seemingly endless. Omeed Dariani stepped down as the CEO of the Online Performers Group, a top industry talent agency, after allegations were made against him regarding improperly pursuing women and implying sleeping around was the way to get ahead.
Creator Bunni was accused of sexual assault by a woman and his apology included him saying it was a “colossal error in judgement.” LovinDaTacos was accused of not letting a girl out of his hotel room at PAX until she agreed to kiss him. He hasn’t been active on Twitter since March. Former IGN staffer Sean Pitts was accused of abusive behavior and appears to have deleted his Twitter. Gaming freelancer Ginny Woo was accused of abusive behavior and grooming and she apologized on Twitter. Swifty, a YouTuber with over 700,000 subscribers, was accused of harassment and abuse, and has yet to respond. Streamer Witwix was accused of abuse and manipulation by former partners and livestreamed a response disputing the tweets. YouTuber Cryaotic, with 2.68 million subscribers, was accused of grooming minors and made a response video that is more explanation than apology, which includes the line in the description: “You can’t really live life when you’re repressing yourself.”
This has expanded well beyond a single community and game and the accusations escalate from online harassment to some truly graphic assaults. There have been a few different lists compiled of all the people cited in these revelations, though many have now been deleted. All of this is quickly getting into complicated legal territory, and not to minimize the stories I haven’t mentioned here, but there are quite literally dozens, each with their own accounts, each with their own reactions from the acused, either admission, denial or forceful pushback, though believing the survivors is obviously the correct move in this situation. Some of those speaking out did not name their accusers, some say they have stories they are not comfortable sharing yet. Some women in the community have told truly heartbreaking stories that have nothing to do with any men in the industry, but are just their own personal histories of sexual assault they now feel the need to share.
In addition to game companies like Bungie speaking out directly against a few specific creators, some companies have cut ties with many of the men questioned (G1esports severing ties with BSK), while Twitch itself has chimed in to say that they are taking all of these allegations seriously and are looking into them. But that was met from skepticism by some who claim that Twitch has known about these problems for a long time and has failed to act thus far, so why should they believe they will move to de-platform abusers now?
The common thread here in the vast majority of these situations is a power dynamic. Men in a position of influence in the industry use their “clout” to seem like they might be mentoring a female content creator, only to aggressively pursue them in a way that can range from inappropriate messages, to touching, to actual assault. Or some of these stories took place in “normal” relationships, but the men acted horribly in similar ways. All of this also speaks to the culture of streaming in general, where sexual harassment of female streamers not just by creators, but viewers, is not rare, and usually the norm:
All of this is deeply tragic, and while shocking to many men in the industry, it is not shocking for most of the women, who understand that this pervades every inch of society and things like this are happening all the time, not just in the Destiny 2 community, not just in the gaming community, but everywhere, as the past few years have clearly demonstrated. These coming forward moments tend to happen in waves, one person’s courage inspires others, and so on. This one hit very close to home, but the anger and sadness I am feeling is nothing compared to what the survivors themselves have had to endure.
This story is still unfolding and so large in scope it is impossible to catalog every single allegation and response, but I felt the need to cover this important moment as best I could. I will update this article if and when further stories break, as they are likely to. I have reached out to all parties mentioned in this article for comment (those who have not entirely deleted their social media presence) and will update if I hear back.
Update : From SayNoToRage:
“At this time I do not think it’s appropriate to say anymore than I already have. I am focused on continuing the therapy that I began 2 years ago when I was first made aware of this. Time with my family, friends, and therapist are my main goals. If you’d like to interview me in a few weeks about my side of things I’d be open to that.”
Update : From Ginny Woo, first given to GamesIndustry.biz:
“"I accept that I’ve intentionally harmed people while I navigated my career and being online. I have seen talk about friends who perpetuated my behaviour knowingly but I take full responsibility for what I’ve done, and that it has harmed those closest to me as well.
“I stand by what I’ve said about accountability and working on myself. I don’t expect to be given the chance to show the results of this in spaces where I have caused harm. I hope that my future actions show that I’m serious about changing and harm reduction.”