WoW Twitch Streamers Speak Out On Activision Blizzard Sexual Harassment Suit

WoW Twitch Streamers Speak Out On Activision Blizzard Sexual Harassment Suit
Screenshot: Blizzard

Late Wednesday it emerged that Activision Blizzard is being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing over a toxic workplace culture that’s allegedly led to years of harassment and abuse targeting women. Later in the week, a number of popular World of Warcraft streamers have publicly commented on the emerging lawsuit. Many others remain silent.

Content warning: Sexual harassment

The initial Bloomberg story showed that on July 20, after a two-year investigation by the CDFEH, the department filed a lawsuit against the Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Diablo publisher to force it to comply with California workplace laws and regulations. The suit contains allegations of some truly awful offences committed by men at the company, including “constant” sexual harassment, frequent groping, and other examples of truly horrible behaviour. In addition, it describes an institutional lack of help or support for the victims from management or higher-ups.

Since the story broke, fallout has been widespread, with developers and creators across Twitter and other social media sharing their disappointment, shock, and in some cases personal stories about harassment and toxic behaviour they experienced while working in the game industry.

Read More: Blizzard Boss Accused Of Failing To Address Sexual Harassment Calls New Allegations ‘Troubling’

Some of the most popular World of Warcraft streamers explained how disappointed and sad they were to hear the news. Top WoW Twitch streamer Asmongold, in a public statement shared on Twitter, said he was “hurt” by the news as a longtime fan of the publisher.

“Shameful to hear about what’s been reportedly going on at Blizzard,” Asmongold wrote. “As a 20+ year fan it really hurts to see how things have devolved in such an awful way. Just makes me sad.”

He followed this statement up with a video on July 23. In the Twitter video, he explained that devs at Blizzard shouldn’t be harassed by players online over the details of the lawsuit. He also said it wasn’t fair for people to ask streamers who only played World of Warcraft to stop playing the game.

“If they go to another game, their stream is going to be fucking dead. You know it, I know, everybody fucking knows it.” Asmongold said. “I don’t think it’s fair to ask or expect someone to throw away their career because of something they had nothing to fucking do with.”

Naguura, a Twitch streamer who frequently plays World of Warcraft and has over 260k followers on the platform, said she was saddened by the “disgusting behaviour” in a Tweet sharing an article covering the lawsuit. She also criticised the publisher’s statement.

“It’s so sad to read through all of this and knowing that it has been going on for years and years probably,” Naguura wrote, “Just absolutely disgusting behaviour and seemingly so many higher-ups just ‘let it happen’. And this statement just isn’t it either.”

She followed up with an additional comment pointing out that this type of toxic behaviour against women happens all the time, and asked for folks to “speak up” for women and not look the other way if they witness such “absolutely disgusting behaviour.”

A popular World of Warcraft streamer, Towelliee, has even said they will no longer stream the MMORPG until they see a plan from Activision Blizzard to combat the accusations found in the lawsuit.

“I wasn’t planning on playing WoW on stream for the next week,” said Towelliee, “And now I won’t stream it afterward until there is some sort of statement with a plan of action and explanation. I don’t know how deep this rabbit hole goes and I am scared at the end result.”

Read More: The Activision Blizzard Lawsuit Fallout Is What Women Have Been Saying All Along

Other popular World of Warcraft streamers have come out to publicly acknowledge and in some cases condemn the behaviour cited in the suit, including Slootbag, TipsOut and Maximum. Fence Macabre, a WoW role-play guild, is leading a protest against Activision Blizzard inside the game itself. Polygon reports that hundreds of players are raising funds for charitable group Black Girls Code while participating in a sit-in protest in one of WoW’s large social hubs.

However, many other popular World of Warcraft clans and streamers have yet to say anything about the situation. As of this writing, only one of the top 10 WoW streamers (as per TwitchMetrics.net), Maximum, has released a statement or tweet about the lawsuit. Many others remain silent, tweeting about other topics.

Kotaku has reached out to all the streamers mentioned in this article for comment.

It’s surprising to see so many popular World of Warcraft streamers staying quiet, though I also understand that this is not a subject that everyone wants to read about or deal with. The suit contains descriptions of some truly horrific, sad events, and I respect if people don’t wish to read or engage with content they might find triggering.

That said, clans and larger streamers could have other reasons to avoid the topic. Some will have legal obligations or financial arrangements with sponsors and other companies that could make calling out Activision Blizzard feel difficult. Others might fear punching up at such a powerful target. There’s also the sad reality that, based on the comments and tweets replying to the streamers who have spoken out, some may be worried about alienating their fans.

However, the fact that some well-known WoW streamers have already commented shows that there is in fact a path to speaking up against the awful allegations revealed by the lawsuit. And as more stories about women being sexually harassed and discriminated against continue to be reported across more and more studios and publishers, women will need more support from bigger, more widely heard voices if there’s to be any hope to improve this industry and reform its oft-toxic culture.

 

Comments

  • // However, many other popular World of Warcraft clans and streamers have yet to say anything about the situation. As of this writing, only one of the top 10 WoW streamers (as per TwitchMetrics.net), Maximum, has released a statement or tweet about the lawsuit. Many others remain silent, tweeting about other topics. //
    And there it is… The implied, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!” BULLSHIT.

    Just fucking stop.

  • Of course they remained silent. The average person isn’t mentally prepared or professionally qualified to comment on events that included a suicide. A woman killed herself over what happened and to suggest that everyone should dive on the bandwagon with an opinion is extremely irresponsible with the severity of what happened. Let the actual experts deal with the issue, unless you want more people committing suicide because the unqualified don’t discuss it in a responsible manner.

    • Nah. See you’re completely making shit up now.

      It’s actually really easy to make a comment on the matter. You do exactly what Asmongold did.
      You say “that’s fucked up.and not cool”. Done. Easy. No need to be a psychologist.

      9f course the neckband rage would be off the charts for some reason.

      The backlash for speaking against sexual assault is Vicious, and it’s crazy.

      Imagine thinking neutrality was acceptable around sexual assault. It’s one of the easiest things in the world to oppose. There is literally only one acceptable stance by any healthy.metric.

      • I agree there’s only one proper stance on this particular topic… “Fucked up, and not cool.” has the right of it.

        Problem is you’re quite clearly one of these people who goes around harassing and abusing people to make them do and think precisely what YOU want them to. And the moment they don’t fall in line you start frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog with zero self control, making shit up and implying they must be okay with sexual assault, etc.

        You are one of the key reasons people don’t speak up more, because if they don’t do it ‘correctly’ they’ve got you barking and drooling at their fucking front door.

        • People like @idonegaminggood are the sort of person I’d expect to sexually harass women in the workplace from the vitriol in their response. We have a perfect example of someone pretending to be a champion of women while actively disregarding the opinions of women who have been sexually harassed, because my opinion goes against their pathetic narrative (godforbid streamers follow media guidelines for mental health discussion, right?).

          Yes, people can express their anger at what happened, but there is no requirement for any non-involved person to make a public statement or have a public opinion simply because they play a game made by Blizzard. There is nothing wrong with that and no shame leaving it to the experts.

  • Streamers are obviously trained mental professionals with certificates in both Psychology and HR and should definitely be fixing this situation.

  • Lay off this shit. Streamers are under no obligation whatsoever to make a statement. Attempting to force them to do so by attempting to guilt-trip them into doing it will mean the statements won’t be genuine.

    Allow them to choose if they want to say something and what. Plastering a woke crusade on them is disgusting.

    • No using the word ‘woke’ while trying to sound enlightened is disgusting. At no point in the article is the author saying that HAVE TO say something, merely musing on the fact they arent. Like always you are too busy trying to force your own views on something, while ignoring what was actually said.

      • They aren’t explicitly saying it, They are implying it.

        You know exactly what they are implying, But you are willingly being ignorant to ignore the obvious point.

        go back to sniffing glue.

      • This is literally in the article:

        ” women will need more support from bigger, more widely heard voices if there’s to be any hope to improve this industry and reform its oft-toxic culture. “

        • And?
          You’re the one who thinks opposing sexual assault is the issue here mate.

          Imagine thinking it’s too hard to say ,”sexual assault is bad”.

          • With how rabid you are to actual women like me posting comments, I would be surprised if you’re one of the people sexually harassing others with how hard you’re virtue signalling.

          • hi idone

            Please provide the screenshots where I SPECIFICALLY say that opposing sexual assault is bad.

            I eagerly await your reply.

            Much love, djbear.

  • Is idonegaminggood one of the regular trolls using a new account? Has popped up with some pretty aggressive comments recently.

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