What to Do When No One’s Doing Anything

I am exhausted by all these secrets.

They wriggle around in the dark, hunting and seeking, but not finding an opening. Who does the darkness benefit? It’s hardly the disaffected, the people who have been targeted by bad actors. It’s the companies that allowed these people to act, unresisted, who did not step out into the light and who hope that by ignoring the problem it will go away.

Maybe I’m sensitive to this silence on sexual harassers because I know that it’s bullshit.

I am a victim of sexual harassment. As a femme-presenting person, the odds are terribly high for me to experience sexual harassment and assault. They tell you, in brightly lit college halls as you enter campus for the first time, that one in three of the people around you will at some point become a victim. Look to your left. Look to your right. Look at yourself.

Maybe I’m sensitive to this silence on sexual harassers because I know that it’s bullshit.

I don’t need receipts; what I need is some accountability. For some, this may be different, but I don’t need to know the name and personal information of every person who’s called your abuser to task. What I do need to know is how you’re changing things. Because I don’t believe in rotten apples that lay on their own in isolation – there’s a culture at play there. A culture that permitted assholes to fester in its presence for fucking years unattended. What are you doing to fix this? What are you doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again? This silence means that these people can keep doing their shit at other outlets. It means that we have to talk around this bullshit, which only serves the silence, not the disaffected or the abused.

Do we know what happened with the people who were let go? I do. The stories were told to me in the whisper networks that seem to operate as the only safe place in games journalism.

There’s a myth about ostriches, that they hide their heads in the sand to avoid predators. But they’re not hiding in the sand, they’re digging out holes for nests to protect their young. Even a notably bird-brained animal doesn’t suffocate itself under the sand to hide from the truth – and yet you wait in silence. I don’t see the work that you’re doing. I see you hiding and hoping that we forget, that we stop yelling about it on Twitter instead of just fucking doing your job.

Do we know what happened with the people who were let go? I do. The stories were told to me in the whisper networks that seem to operate as the only safe place in games journalism. Do we know what happened to those people after they were let go? They wait in the wings and reappear at GDC six months later; they continue to have their presence seen and heard online because we communally don’t scare them away.

If you are fired for sexual misconduct you should be terrified to show your face in the industry again. We should be doing something about it, but instead, it’s as if it never happened. A tweet thread from an editor’s personal account gets lost in days, is forgotten in weeks and becomes the distant past in mere months. What recourse does someone have who was affected by this? What do we even know beyond what was whispered in back rooms, DM’ed on late nights when you and everyone around you knows that nothing is going to change?

Power is the opportunity to do the right thing. Instead you’ll just watch as it happens again, as serial abusers continue to abuse. Tell us how you’re changing your culture. Prove that you’re making sure this shit doesn’t happen again.

Do you need an excuse to come clean? I’m happy to be that excuse. Let me hold your feet to the fire. Let me be the witch at your door. I’m tired of these secrets, and I’m coming for yours.

Subscribe
Categories
Ad Free, Commentary, Games, Life
Social