In recent months, several professional gamers in the esports world have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons: incidents of sexual harassment, abuse of power and horrifyingly explicit racist rants.
It’s easy to read these high-profile stories and think they’re strange, one-time occurrences — but for those who play games online, these displays of toxic masculinity are an everyday reality. And if you don’t fit the stereotype of a gamer — meaning you’re not a straight, white male — these racist, sexist and homophobic online encounters with total strangers are much more likely to occur.
So, what effect do these more high-profile incidents have on the gaming world at large? Do they spark change within communities or simply model bad behavior that normal gamers will be all too eager to emulate? We spoke with Kat Lo — a Ph.D. student and researcher in online communities and harassment at University of California, Irvine — to suss it all out.
Read the full story at Mic.