An online petition calling for an end to "hateful speech" in the gaming community is receiving support after the alleged harassment of game developer Zoe Quinn, who received rape threats and death threats following the leak of personal photos and allegations of sexual infidelity by an ex-boyfriend. The past few weeks have been difficult for the gaming industry as a number of video game journalists, developers, designers and industry workers have searched for a resolution over the ugly incident.
Quinn, who created “Depression Quest,” a game that addresses the daily struggles a depressed individual faces, allegedly received death threats and was subjected to online harassment after an ex-boyfriend leaked personal information and photos of Quinn online, claiming she slept with a number of industry journalists. Quinn reportedly was targeted by a number of angry male gamers after the incident, and her fear for her safety forced her out of her home.
This led to an ongoing battle between video game journalists and gamers when a number of more prominent gaming news outlets remained silent on what was largely a personal matter, especially since the claims could not be proved. Gamers begged the gaming press to comment or cover the story, to make libelous claims regarding Quinn’s reputation, and when no major sites did, the gamers grew extremely angry. “Video game journalism sucks,” many players declared, accusing prominent female gaming figures of exchanging sex for press coverage.
The ugly battle inspired Andreas Zecher, who works in business and development at Berlin-based Spaces of Play, to launch a petition that called for peace in the gaming community. The petition currently has more than 1,200 signatures, with new supports cropping up so quickly that Zecher says he's unable to post them all in a timely manner.
I’m having trouble keeping up with the amount signatures. (If you’re wondering why your name is not on the list yet.)
— Andreas Zecher (@andreaszecher) September 2, 2014
Good morning! We’re at 1200 signatures now. https://t.co/xJmiRYBhGV
â€” Andreas Zecher (@andreaszecher) September 2, 2014
We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish.
If you see threats of violence or harm in comments on Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or reddit, please take a minute to report them on the respective sites.
If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in.
Petition supporters currently include employees from companies like BioWare, Ubisoft, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony, Samsung, King, Rovio, DICE and Telltale Games. You can view the petition here.