Game industry veteran Anita Sarkeesian has set up a harassment hotline for the entire game industry, which is at a turning point in the industry.
The game and online harassment hotline is available to players, streamers, developers, competitors, and other members of the gaming community to report harassment and toxic behavior.
Sarkeesian, an outspoken advocate of online harassment, announced the hotline after new allegations against industry leaders, from e-sports competitors and scene gatekeepers to career titans at top companies. Some companies and organizations have responded with new resources, including hotlines, but many are company or developer specific.
However, gaming's toxicity and nuisance problems go far beyond recent accusations.
The hotline for games and online harassment specifically refers to the # MeToo wave of 2019, in which numerous women in the industry brought out stories about sexual harassment and assaults in the gaming world.
Sarkeesian compared the problem in a marketplace tech interview to a workplace problem.
"How can we hold people accountable in a room that doesn't really have mechanisms? I think those are some of the questions we ask and understand," said Sarkeesian.
There is usually no human resources or similar structure for streamers and esports competitors. The formal esports leagues supported by the publisher are the rare exceptions to this rule.
Sarkeesian also noted that many people do not necessarily trust their HR departments, which can be a problem even for those who work at established gaming companies. After all, Ubisoft Global Head of HR Cécile Cornet only resigned her position a few weeks ago.
When users use the game and online harassment hotline, they answer various questions to guide them to the best resources and information. A trained agent will speak to the person who is seeking assistance according to the organization's website. The resources and information provided also vary depending on the situation, so they apply to the entire industry.
The website lists numerous resources, including websites and contact information on legal aid, harassment and mental health. Each organization is listed with a description, and there are several that relate to specific identities for the POC, Latinx, and LGBTQ communities, among others.
The hotline is available in the U.S. from 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. until 7 p.m. PT. The hotline is live from today, Monday, August 3.
Sarkeesian will act as the Executive Director for the new hotline, and the advisory board will consist of experts, including a technical hotline specialist, a trauma therapist and security experts.