[BLOG] About those sexual harassment and sexism posts…

Some of you out there may know me as a person who says first and thinks later. And yes indeed, I can be quite the blabbermouth. Frankly, it was the entire reason for starting this website in the first place. I’ve caught a fair amount of heat on other (Dutch) websites for speaking my mind a little too openly, so here I am now. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be held accountable for stupid remarks. Given the fact that this week’s news got dominated by sexual harassment claims and sexist jokes, I feel like putting things into context. So if you’ll let me, I’ll try to explain why I’m not the sexism-encouraging dickweed that some might think me to be.

I’d like to start by stating that sexual harassment is inexcusable, no matter how “innocent” it might be. It doesn’t matter where it occurs or in what form. One person should never have to fear another. I personally know what it feels like to be belittled and humiliated systematically. The constant dread of walking into a certain person, wishing you could just disappear from the face of the earth… believe me, I’ve experienced it for several years.

So, as you might expect, I have no regard for anyone who asserts dominance over one another by pressuring them into sexual acts. The devastating news regarding Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard might have been written with a cynical undertone, but in no way is this meant to condone unacceptable behavior. If any of you got the idea that I’m laughing in the face of the victims, I sincerely apologize. I’ve been brought to the attention that the Activision Blizzard item has started quite a thread on Twitter by a former colleague at Gamersnet. Therefore, I’d like to express my side of the story here and I hope it’ll help you deal with it.

This ongoing feud was sparked by an entirely different post though. As you might have read, Vertagear’s socials manager lost his job over a tweet. A very inappropriate tweet to some. What started as a tongue-in-cheek joke regarding a certain kind of female streamers, blew up the internet. I am – of course – talking about the following tweet.

To be fair, I see what MissHenley is trying to make clear here. Generalizing female streamers by making them look like attention-seeking gamer girls is pretty short-sighted. Not every girl streamer out there is in it for the fame and the attention of male viewers. But you can’t deny that a substantial amount of them do. So yeah, Vertagear is not pulling this out of its ass, but I can see how this can offend hard-working and seriously talented female streamers.

The reason why I’m making light of it is not because of its sexist undertone, but because of the aftermath. The current generation doesn’t seem to be a forgiving or tolerant one. Ironic – really – since we are the generation that grew up with shows like South Park and Family Guy. This generation feels like a torch-and-pitchfork one, given the fact that ‘mistakes’ need to be dealt with in the most rigorous of ways. In the case of Vertagear’s socials manager, a lengthy apology wasn’t enough. People on Twitter demanded his resignation for posting a tweet. Yes, the tweet isn’t exactly showing any grace or composure. But does that mean that a person needs to lose his job over it?

Did the guy need a good talking to? Yes. Was a personally written apology in order, instead of this automatically generated one? Absolutely. But firing someone over one bad Tweet, that’s just downright absurd. If you’d ask me if those handsy, pervy people at Ubi and Acti need to be laid off, I’d totally agree with you. They went after people with obvious malintent, literally ruining their job and personal life. But taking away somebody’s income because he tweeted something that has a sense of truth in it… c’mon people!

So, once again, I want to make myself absolutely clear. In no way or form do I condone inappropriate behavior or do I support people who feel like instigating it. We all need to respect people’s boundaries. Period. But please, for the love of whatever you believe in, react sensibly when you feel like reprimanding. You are always entitled to, but please, think about the consequences of your remarks and demands before making them. I just learned that lesson the painful way…