Here we are in 2019 and the Fighting Game Community is finally, finally, having what is a promising start to a mini #metoo movement. It started in late July with a community twitter campaign to “#CleanTheFGC” of racists and, eventually, other forms of hate and harassment and, since EVO two weeks ago, we have had several cases of physical and/or sexual assault put in the spotlight. Some recent, some old, all serious.
Do you know who they are? Do you know the people who came forward with their stories? Do you know what each of their cases are? What about the incidents happening 3 months ago? 3 years? Like, who is Noel Brown and what did he do?
Okay, maybe you don’t care about the FGC. Maybe Overwatch League? Magic the Gathering? League of Legends players? Or how about Twitch streamers in general? Or Youtubers?
I’m not talking about Pewdiepie or Jontron here. If you’re that big, you 're big enough to have your own Wikipedia pages like actors/comedians/athletes/singers/et cetera that chronicle at least the basics of what racist outbursts you’ve had. Sure, you’re not actually going to be accountable for your actions because our global society fucking sucks (look at all those actors getting work again after they took “time away” from the spotlight!!), but at least I can go there and be like “well, they’re a shit, guess it’s time to not consume anything they’re in.”
I’m talking about everything outside of that. The medium to even “big” people in the smaller corner of “media” you care about, whether it be eSports or streaming or youtube or whatever. Because currently, when you go to cheer on your favourite player or stumble upon a cool history series randomly, it’s not an easy process to find out if that player had been convicted of assault against his wife or the writer of that history series is a sexual harasser.
And currently, if you aren’t wanting that shit to sneak up on you, you have to do that homework. Search their twitter for any slurs or even just hints that they’re a piece of shit. Search their fanbase and see what is tolerated and who is not. Because we’ve all seen our youtube recommendations and that committing actual crimes won’t prevent you from getting your twitch account back, so it’s up to the individual to put in the work.
And its got me fucking tired.
And, no, don’t misunderstand me that I want the outing of the pieces of shit to stop. Far from it. If I had my way, the companies and communities around those people would kick them out for good long ago.
But I’m not, at the same time, someone who believes that people should be cancelled completely and beyond redemption. If strides are made by the harasser to change their ways and both the victims and the greater community feel it is appropriate to have them back, then that’s fair. I’ve never been a fan of Aris Bakhtanians and I still believe he should have been kicked out of the FGC back in 2012, but given that in 2019 he has changed as a person, taken responsibility for what he did, and his victims (in this incident at least) are the people who will defend and vouch for him the most, I’m fine with him being in it in 2019 (even if I think he’s a terrible commentator).
I just want to figure out if there is a better way for people to protect themselves and others from falling into the trap of finding out, after watching 20 hours into a let’s play, that the person you’ve been watching is a massive transphobe.
Do we, as people, need some sort of well regulated wiki or database keeping track of all this stuff, even if it just is bullet points and links to the story themselves? Or is that too Orwellian? Is it just an inherent risk of investing ourselves in smaller streams and communities that don’t have the backbone to moderate their own?
Or is there another solution out there that I can’t see?
When I first started going to FGC events in other cities and started running tournaments, I got warned about one player in particular, both by local and regional players. I banned him right away (explicitly in the rules of my tournaments was that he was banned), but without that knowledge, who knows how long it would have taken me to know how poisonous he was? And who would have been hurt along the way?