On June 29, American video game company Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) released a statement addressing abuse and harassment within the gaming industry. Due to recent events involving sexual misconduct and in-game harassment, EA has stepped in to make its company values clear. Additionally, other gaming companies shared thoughts on what has transpired in the past few weeks, prompting internal investigations and more.
“In recent days we’ve seen and heard a number of disturbing stories around sexual harassment,” begins the statement. “…these behaviors are never ok — not in our communities or any others.” Indeed, within the past few weeks, a wave of sexual harassment allegations had surfaced the internet. As stories quickly went viral, many popular streamers and industry employees felt inspired to share their experiences within the community.
— Electronic Arts (@EA) June 29, 2020
Recently, previous EA video game writer Chris Avellone was accused of sexual assault by a number of women. One woman shared her experience with the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order writer, stating that he had attempted to take advantage of her while drunk. “His behavior didn’t stop, though. If anything, it got worse. It took years for his employer to finally fire him.” In a statement sent to Business Insider, EA revealed they had cut ties with their former employee. “EA has no plans to work with Chris Avellone moving forward.”
Creating a safe space for employees
Additionally, EA stated, “We take every allegation seriously and we investigate it. The stories we’ve heard recently make it clear there is still a lot of work to be done in our industry.” Following the statement, the company urged its employees to report any instance of sexual misconduct, violence, or inappropriate behavior to their manager.
Fortunately, employees can submit a concern anonymously through EA’s Raise a Concern program. For non-employees, players can report harassment through multiple resources listed on their site. “Being part of a gaming community…should be a positive, fun, fair, inclusive, and most importantly safe experience. This is a part of our commitment to Positive Play and we intend to continue to act on it.”
A long-standing community issue
In the past few weeks, several well-known streamers have also been accused of sexual misconduct and bad behavior. One of the ongoing situations includes OfflineTV’s Yvonne “Yvonne” Ng stating her colleague Federico “Fedmyster” Michael Gaytan had touched her inappropriately while intoxicated. Additionally, her teammates also revealed they had also been victims of harassment through their respective media channels.
Although survivors are sharing their stories, the gaming industry needs to re-examine how it handles reports of harassment and abuse. EA’s efforts to create a safe community will hopefully inspire other companies to take action against misconduct.