Over the past week, a large number of women have publicly shared their stories alleging sexual harassment and assault from other members of the game industry. Among the first to come forward was JewelsVerne and SheSnaps, who discussed the sexual harassment they experienced from Destiny 2 streamer SayNoToRage, commonly known as Lono.
What followed was an outpour of support from other women in the gaming industry, accompanied by many stories of similar experiences. Others have also come out about SayNoToRage’s sexual advances, and a number of other names have been brought forward in connection to allegations of sexual assault, including Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order writer Chris Avellone.
Online Performers Group sexual harassment claims
The CEO of Online Performers Group, Omeed Dariani, was accused of sexual misconduct by Molly Fender Ayala on June 21. Her TwitLonger describes how he used stories of blacklisting females who “didn’t do the right thing” to try and get his way with young female professionals.
My experience with Omeed Dariani.
— Molly Fender Ayala (@ItsMeMollyO) June 21, 2020
The support for her courage has come in droves, with streamers Amanda “AvaGG” Myddleton and Ben “CohhCarnage” Cassell among many to leave OP Group. Omeed Dariani has since stepped down from his CEO position. Twitch released a statement regarding the allegations, but no real plan of action has been announced. Some are critical of the notion that Twitch will make a significant change, especially given the allegations of Twitch CEO Emmet Shear shrugging off abuse on his platform.
A look back at ourselves
As organizations issue messages of support, it’s important to note that the torrent of allegations and personal stories shows this issue is not limited to high profile cases. Streamer RionQT’s account is just one example of many showing that sexual misconduct and harassment are endemic in many gaming organizations, often enabled rather than dealt with.
Therefore, standing by victims and believing them is only half of the battle. Sexual harassment is no isolated incident and happens to women at all levels of the industry every day, and holding abusers accountable is the responsibility of the entire community. As more stories are shared, it’s important not to look away.
SQUAD has reached out to a number of individuals for comment and will continue to cover this matter as it develops.