The esports world has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct against several prominent players and executives, including Evo’s co-founder.
One local group, 8-Bit Esports, is looking to provide an outlet for victims of harassment and abuse to speak out.
“With the allegations coming out and hearing some of my members tell their own stories and hearing some of the people I looked up to just get torn apart is incredibly sad,” 8-bit Esports co-founder Milo Ocampo said. “I’m in a position with 8-bit to actually instill and influence change and unless we change, this is all going to happen again and again. I started thinking of what I could do to make the entire place safer.”
The approach is two-fold. The first is the launch of a special section on their website where people can share their experiences, anonymously or otherwise. The section will launch on Friday, Ocampo said.
“It’s an opportunity for people to have their experiences shared so we can create a better world,” Ocampo said.
The second part of Ocampo’s plan involves reaching out to other gaming communities within Las Vegas to create actionable steps once a report is received.
“The recurring messages we are hearing is that the reason no one wants to step up, and the reason it’s taken this long for people to come forward, is because they feel like nothing is going to happen,” Ocampo said. “You can take away people’s fans and sponsors, but what if it’s someone in your community that is just a regular person and is making everyone feel uncomfortable? What is canceling him or her going to do?”
Ocampo says he plans to host town halls and reach out directly to gamers to get unfiltered feedback about the gaming community in Las Vegas.
“We’re at the stage where the people with the power and influence need to start listening to the people with experiences,” Ocampo said. “I can’t speak for women in esports. I can’t speak for Black lives in America. I don’t have that perspective. I’m Asian-American. We need to hear those experiences to be able to come up with a fair and just system and to truly provide value for the community.”
What will be key going forward is acting instead of simply talking.
“Anyone can set up a new system,” Ocampo said. “It’s the actions that you take that define the change.”
It’s been a rough few weeks emotionally, Ocampo said. But he is hopeful this is the start of significant change in the gaming industry.
“I think we can all agree we all want the same thing,” Ocampo said. “We just have to listen as much as we can, put in as many resources as we see fit and, if something is not working, be quick to change and be open to that change.”