Several prominent members of the gaming community have come together to organise a new text-based hotline aimed at providing emotional support to the industry, especially those that feel isolated by abuse and harassment.
The Games and Online Harassment Hotline, which was announced earlier today during a Games for Change panel and launches on August 3, traces its roots back to 2019 and the spread of the #MeToo movement to gaming. As with most industries, sexism has long permeated through the halls of gaming conventions and development studios, leaving many victims afraid to speak out against their more powerful abusers. The explosion of credible accusations proves that something substantial needs to be done to correct these issues and make the industry more hospitable for folks who aren’t straight white cis dudes.
“One factor that has enabled abusers to get away with such behaviour is that for far too long, the targets of their abuse have often felt isolated, as if they had nowhere to turn,” the hotline’s website reads. “We started the Games and Online Harassment Hotline to ensure that anyone who experiences such abuse can reach out to us to get whatever support they might need, whether it’s just someone to talk to about what they’re going through or referrals to other resources to help them protect themselves or take legal action.”
Executive director Anita Sarkeesian, the founder and face of pop-culture criticism outfit Feminist Frequency, is perhaps the most recognisable person behind the Games and Online Harassment Hotline, but the organisation is also supported by Emotion Technology CEO Christopher Vu Gandin Le, Take This executive director Eve Crevoshay, and University of Illinois at Chicago assistant professor Kishonna Grey. The hotline is prepared to help everyone in the game industry, from the developers working hard to make the games we love to the streamers and competitors that entertain us, not to mention players in general.
“The Games and Online Harassment Hotline is a resource that’s here to provide support to anyone who might need it,” the website continues. “Most importantly, it’s here for you. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us.”
Despite all the excitement of the coming new console generation, it feels like the game industry’s a pretty fraught place these days. Abuse, crunch conditions, and a general malaise due to the state of the world can be overwhelming. The Games and Online Harassment Hotline might not fix every problem overnight, but it’s always amazing to see people come together to help those in need.