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Anita Sarkeesian launches harassment hotline for the gaming community

Gaming industry veteran Anita Sarkeesian launched a harassment hotline for the entire gaming industry amid a turning point in the industry.

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline is available to gamers, streamers, developers, competitors, and others in the gaming community to report harassment and toxic behavior.

Sarkeesian, an outspoken advocate against online harassment, announced the hotline after new allegations against leaders in the industry, from e-sports competitors and gatekeepers of the scene to career titans at top companies. Some companies and organizations have responded with new resources, including hotlines, but many are company or developer-specific.

Gaming’s toxicity and harassment issues stretch far past the most recent allegations, however.

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline specifically references 2019’s #MeToo wave, during which numerous women in the industry came out with stories of sexual harassment and assault within the gaming world.

Sarkeesian likened the problem to a workplace issue in a Marketplace Tech interview.

“How do we hold people accountable in a space that doesn’t really have mechanisms for it? I think those are some of the questions that we’re starting to ask and understand,” Sarkeesian explained.

For streamers and e-sports competitors, there typically isn’t an HR department or similar structure. The formal publisher-backed e-sports leagues are the rare exceptions to the rule.

Sarkeesian also noted that many people don’t necessarily trust their HR departments, which can present an issue even for those working at established gaming companies. After all, it was just weeks ago that Ubisoft Global Head of HR Cécile Cornet stepped down from her role.

When people use the Games and Online Harassment Hotline, they will answer several questions to direct them to the best resources and information. A trained agent will speak with the person reaching out, offering support, according to the organization’s website. The resources and information given will also vary depending on the situation, making it applicable to those throughout the industry.

The website lists numerous resources, including websites and contact information regarding legal aid, harassment, and mental health. Each organization is listed with a description, and there are several pertaining to specific identities for the POC, Latinx, and LGBTQ communities, among others.

The hotline is available in the United States Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT. The hotline is live as of today, Monday, August 3.

Sarkeesian serves as the executive director for the new hotline, and the advisory board is made up of experts, including a hotline technical specialist, trauma therapist, and security experts.

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