Various gamers interviewed for the BBC Three’s short documentary about gaming are speaking up after an 11 minute piece was published featuring various journalists, live-streamers and YouTube personalities speaking out about the horrors of sexism in gaming. So why are they speaking up and speaking out after being featured in the mini-documentary? Well, it’s because some of them didn’t think that their interviews would be hacked up and cut down to push out a flamebait piece centered around gender politics.
Part of the big wave of media focus in the past couple of years has been that women are damsels in distress; that women are perpetually harassed and are oppressed by verbal, textual and implied threats by a global cabal of misogynists. BBC Three has continued this trend with a piece called “The Dark Side of Gaming – The Females Fighting Back”, which portrays women as victims in the gaming scene, unable to interact or socialize without being sexually harassed on a constant basis.
You can view the video below, as spotted by Kotaku in Action.
The BBC Three published the video above shortly after doing an interview with John Bain, also known as TotalBiscuit, where Bain explains that harassment is something that happens to everyone and how he was harassed a great deal by those considered anti-#GamerGate, as they wished death upon him while he was undergoing chemo therapy for a serious spread of cancer.
Unfortunately Bain’s comments about the general nature of the internet and the presence of trolls was left on the cutting room floor, as was much of the commentary by the individuals interviewed in the piece above. In fact, Ms 5ooo Watts, one of the gamers featured in the video above, noted in the comment section of the video about “The Dark Side of Gaming” that none of her positive comments were featured in the video and that she didn’t sign up to be a gender politics warrior…
“I’m honestly disappointed with how this turned out. I was approached to speak about women in gaming as a whole not to only talk about the negative side. Even during the interview I was asked to give my positive experiences with being a gamer as they didn’t want this to be a one sided thing. None of my positive comments about my community and the gaming community as a whole were included at all. […]
“No where in there does it say that the program will be about “the dark side of gaming” I never signed up to be some kind of warrior against sexism online, I was asked to talk about the experiences of women in gaming, how things are changing and how games themselves are changing to reflect women in gaming now being more represented.”
A lot of the comments from those who watched the video took away from it that the BBC portrays women in gaming as damsels who are always faced with sexual threats and attacks just for being a woman and that it’s not possible to go online and play games without receiving rape or death threats.
Commenter Azure also shared thoughts about the issue not being just about women and that it’s something everyone online faces, writing…
“Just want to point out this issue is not just women exclusive, when it comes to this stuff this is not a sexist issue (your sex will be used as ammo against you because you let the trolls use it, react to it and they will just eat you alive). Also as many will state Wu is well known for inciting her own harassment even forgetting to switch out her main account for a dummy account when posting a bait post to start a harassment topic towards her which in one case was on her own forums on steam.”
Azure is referring to a case where Brianna Wu posted a Steam thread where many thought that Wu had forgotten to log out of the main account and ended up making the following thread to create a thread to use as an example of harassment, as reported by The Ralph Retort. A user on Storify claimed that Wu used the thread as a joke.
Hannah from the Yogscast also dropped in to comment about how she felt her comments were misconstrued based on the wider point she wanted to get across, writing…
“I pointed this out during my interview, and said online gaming companies need to step up and help support reporting and banning like DOTA 2/Valve did – looks like that didn’t get through, they just kept the bit where I said abuse happens to everyone”
0Apes0, the manager of the Heart of Gaming that was featured in the BBC piece above — which is an arcade and console gaming hangout in London, in the U.K. — also expressed displeasure at the turnout of the piece, writing…
“It’s only purpose is to make women feel like victims when we’re not. MEN and women experience a use everyday online, the bet thing to do is to ignore it and ban the stupid people on Twitter, live, psn and twitch. Not worth the worry.
“I said this but clearly this was deemed too logical to show and we must all remain victims. Not happy with the finish product only that it’s appeared on YouTube and not real TV.”
Flybydeath also had similar things to say, noting that online abuse isn’t just limited to one gender and painting women as mostly helpless victims doesn’t really help…
“People are assholes to EVERYONE online and in gaming. This isn’t a gendered issue and certainly isn’t a problem unique to gaming. Making it about gender assumes women are inferior and needing some sort of special protection because they aren’t mentally competent to handle mean jerks.”
It’s not just a few minority or the individuals interviewed in the piece that are speaking out. A large portion of the public have sided against the BBC Three’s piece, with an ample of amount of downvotes expressing displeasure at the click-rage piece.
Commenter Lord Belmont felt as if the BBC was butchering the facts to push an agenda, writing…
“I’ve been a gamer all my life, so I can easily spot bullshit when it comes to the media and gaming. When the media does this, it really destroys their credibility. I think that if they butcher the facts in this particular area that I know about, how horribly are they hacking up other subjects?”
It’s true. If the BBC has lied about this issue, what else have they been abrasively covering up in favor of pushing agenda-driven politics?
Gee Dubya also felt as if the BBC was pushing corrupt agendas, writing…
“BBC = corrupt, lying and unethical. As per usual they push their own political narrative and screw the truth. Cherry pick a few minor examples to suit the narrative they wish to push and ignore everything else.”
For context, it is true that women receive more sexually-themed harassment, but according to a Pew Research report from October, 2014 men receive slightly more general harassment than women in the online space. The BBC conveniently leaves this fact out.
Nevertheless, a few of those who were interviewed feel as if they weren’t properly represented and that what they actually said and intended to get across was completely left out in order to push a specific narrative.
The worst part about this is that all this piece is going to do is continue to create a gender divide and tension in the gaming space, especially given that potential female gamers are going to see the fear mongering pushed in the above video and feel as if risking rape and death threats aren’t worth it just to game online. The only thing the video does is exacerbate fear culture and push a further wedge between both genders.
Given that the BBC purposefully misconstrued some of the interviews for a piece that did not wholly represent the views of those they interviewed, many are writing in to the to have them either correct or pull the piece using the Ofcom consumer complaint form, which is used for holding the BBC accountable for accuracy in reporting.