Chassidy is no filthy casual. She’s been playing Overwatch since it was in beta, peaked at the world’s top 111th player, and she was recruited to be the captain of her university’s Overwatch team.
None of that stops her from being routinely harassed in-game for being a woman.
Chassidy, 19, is better known as Cupcake online, where she streams herself playing Overwatch almost daily on Twitch.
While she’s certainly no stranger to online abuse, she recently managed to record a particularly bad game which she then shared on Twitter.
“I feel like I’m the only person shooting this shield,” she says to the in-game chat. The reaction is immediate.
“Shut your fucking mouth,” one guy replies, as others laugh.
“Just out of curiosity, is this how you treat every girl that comes into your comp games?” she asks.
“Shut the fuck up and make us sandwiches,” one player replies, as another tells her to mop the floor. Someone else then chimes in with the n-word.
“I stream basically everyday and getting flamed or toxicity thrown at me is nothing new,” Chassidy (who didn’t want her last name used) told BuzzFeed News.
“It just happened that in this game it was every person and it was all about gender. Nothing was said about my play, it was because of how I sounded.”
She said it’s happened like that before, where no one’s on her side, at least 5 times before. In other situations, another player will stand up for her but then they get flamed for being a “white knight.”
“People will openly tell the other team like, ‘we have a girl, you guys win,'” she said.
She also gets told not to take it all so seriously, that it’s just a joke, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a joke for her.
“This is the only time I’ve recorded it and posted it somewhere because I was pretty fed up to be honest,” she said.
“I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one single person who said ‘hey, knock it off.’ I just felt like something needed to be done.”
Even her replies on Twitter are full of male players defending the behavior.
But other woman commiserated because they know how bad it can be.
Blizzard, the company behind Overwatch, introduced an endorsement system to reward players for good behavior, but Chassidy said abuse still happens. There are also mute and block buttons, but those only do so much, especially in a game that replies on communication.
“If I mute and block them, next game they get another girl and it happens again,” said Chassidy.
She said Blizzard could be doing more to curb harassment, including monitoring streams for abusive behavior.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Blizzard for comment.
If nothing else, women gamers are fighting back with social media and by recording the abuse. Here’s a video showing 16 full minutes of abuse.
View this video on YouTube
Chassidy said she hopes players get better at calling out bad behavior, even if it’s not directed at them personally, to make the community better for everyone.
“Be nice. Just be nice.”
Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.
Contact Lauren Strapagiel at [email protected].
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