G4 Host Slams Xplay Audience’s Sexist Expectations

G4 Host Slams Xplay Audience’s Sexist Expectations
Screenshot: G4 / Kotaku

Cult-hit gaming channel G4 has only been back for a few months after its nearly decade-long hiatus, and already the hosts are fed up with some of the arseholes in the audience. Former esports commentator and new Xplay co-host, Indiana “Froskurinn” Black, specifically called out the crude sexism of viewers, online commentators, and other randos that she still faces in gaming in the year 2021.

“In joining G4 I was ecstatic to be part of something I grew up watching as a child, but every time G4 is brought up in various channels, even in this YouTube channel — we have the chat in front of us I can see you — without a doubt there will be backlash because I’m not as ‘bangable’ as previous hosts,” Black said during a “Gaming Grievances” segment that aired yesterday.

Black was referencing Morgan Webb and Olivia Munn, among others, who during their time as G4 hosts were sometimes treated by both the show and its audience as sexual objects who were then also harassed for being “fake gamer girls.”

“It has somehow been expected that you can talk about how much you jerked off to women as a compliment,” Black said. “It’s not a compliment. It’s dehumanising and it’s weird. Women do not exist to be nice on the eyes for you. Morgan Webb, Olivia Munn, did not exist to be nice on the eyes for you.”

Her remarks were shared by G4’s official account on Twitter where they blew up with others, including many of the gaming industry’s most prominent women, backing Black’s message.

One of the more infamous moments in G4’s original run came when Munn suggestively licked a PS3 during a “Megathon” coverage event for the console’s 2006 launch (a lot of things were licked on G4). In 2009, children’s song writer Parry Gripp wrote “The Girl At The Video Game Store” to celebrate Attack of the Show’s 1,000th episode. A music video for it starred Munn being lusted after by a young fictional customer at the store, and in many ways a stand-in for the median G4 viewer. Whether it was a role Munn crafted for herself or was forced into in order to succeed in a male-dominated field, it wasn’t a licence for fans to be demeaning, nor to project those expectations onto others.

Munn, who went on to star in 2012’s Magic Mike and HBO’s The Newsroom, wrote in her book, Suck it, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, about a 2004 incident where a Hollywood director, later revealed to be Brett Ratner, masturbated in front of her in his trailer. Prior to other allegations coming out against Ratner, the X-Men director went on G4’s Attack of the Show in 2011 (after Munn had left) to promote an upcoming movie and used the interview to make sexually demeaning and racist remarks about the former host to her former co-host, Kevin Pereira.

Read More: The Cost Of Being A Woman Who Covers Video Games

While G4 relaunched last November with a much more diverse staff this time around, it’s clearly been hard to exorcise all of its past demons, including the misogyny of some of its early fans. Pereira is back headlining the new incarnation of Attack of the Show, while Adam Sessler co-hosts the new version of Xplay.

“We’re Xplay, not Adamplay,” Black said yesterday on the show. “Adam will read a script written by the same writer that I will read the other half of the script for but I’ll be the one flamed. Both things can be true: that there is a general hatred of any change that isn’t Adam and that I’ll receive special flame just for being a woman.”

She went on:

When you’re in our DMs or in those YouTube comments or in Twitch chat right now, those reactionary threads thinking I’m somehow ruining your current Xplay experience because you can’t objectify me how you previously did to Morgan, or that I’m somehow less qualified to speak on something but you can’t quite put your finger on why even though I’m reading the exact same script as Adam, but you have no problem when he’s part of it, you’re letting your unconscious biases ruin my day and you’re gatekeeping the gaming space.

“Holy Shit i just bore witness to one of the most amazing things i’ve ever been part of on live TV,” Sessler, who applauded loudly through a TV screen while broadcasting remotely, wrote on Twitter yesterday. “I love Froskurinn even more if that was possible.”

While Black was specifically drawing on her own experience at G4, that experience is far from unique. As the gaming space has proven time and again, no channel, company, or community has a monopoly on sexism, racism, or other forms of hate and ridicule. But it’s also true that some of the biggest names in gaming — from Xbox to Activision Blizzard — played a part in cultivating a hostile atmosphere for marginalised people for decades, whether by letting it run amok or actively trying to profit from it. Understandably, those left to pick up the pieces are fed up.

Comments

  • Turns out gaming has deep seated problems with sexism, racism and homophobia that have gone almost completely unchecked for decades.

    Who knew?

  • G4 Is back?
    Oh. The hosts are shit and the only ones championing it are the ones who drink from the same rhetoric pie on twitter…
    Interest dead.

  • Speaking of Adam sessler, did you know he once wished death upon his family members that were Republican?

    How very progressive.

    • Is there a shit list somewhere on the web where I can dig up trivial dirt on vaguely left leaning internet and gaming personalities, so that I too can drop critical references into random Kotaku articles about personalities that most of us have never heard of?

      Or is this something that you compiled yourself saving choice 4chan threads into a spreadsheet on Google drive?

      • – Wants his republican family members to die
        “Oh thats only trivial, dont worry about it” – Angorafish

        The author decided to use him in the article, Not me. You lot set the standard when you decided it was okay to attempt to destroy the life of a Harry Potter dev because he had a youtube channel you didn’t like politically.

        You set the standard when you thought it was okay to force a game creator off his own creation because they dared to donate money to a political party you don’t like.

        You made the bed, You have to sleep in it.

      • Oh and we can’t forget Ethan Gach is rampantly xenophobic towards Muslims on his Twitter. But apparently, that’s perfectly okay because he works for kotaku and conforms to the groupthink now.

        If a Blizzard higher up for example had written the same stuff Ethan Gach wrote on his Twitter about muslims they would have been dragged by the gaming press.

  • It must suck to be one of her male co-hosts who enncouraged and profited from years of misoginy promoted on previous iterations of these shows…and having to sit there whooping and clapping, shouting “go grrrrl!” all the while knowing the sword of damacles is hanging over your head.

    Enjoy it while it lasts.

  • What a massive cringefest rant, yeah i’m sure that will go real well.
    I’m sure the new G4 will have an amazing lifespan with this sort of “quality” content.

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