Do we really need to be told that harassment is wrong?

Today I had planned to bring you a super sweet Standard deck tech that I have been working on for a while now. I wanted to do that, but due to what has happened over the weekend on social media I feel we have more important things to discuss. For all of you who were looking forward to some of our usual content I apologise, but the issues raised over the last few days need to be addressed. If you are unaware of what has happened I will give you a brief recap of the weekend’s events but feel free to look at the facts for yourself. Be warned, it might make you feel uneasy.

Well known cosplayer Christine Sprankle announced she is leaving the Magic community due to the level of harassment she has received online. Christine leaving Magic came as a huge shock to most people, but sadly the reason for her departure is not so surprising. Harassment of various content creators and other notable figures has been one of the black spots on an otherwise very supportive community for a while now, with people like Wedge from The Mana Source and the Professor from Tolarian Community College being amongst the individuals coming under attack. Now it would be easy to get sucked up into to internet meme machine and start going on a tirade of accusations and aggressive behaviour of my own, so I decided to do my own research and watched the YouTube video in which Jeremy from Unsleeved Media allegedly began his harassment of Christine. Unfortunately, the video in question was easy enough to find as Jeremy himself had added a link in his latest video defending his position. I sat down to the twenty plus minute video with an open mind.

By the end of it, I was sick to my stomach with what I had witnessed in the video that apparently showed that he wasn’t harassing anyone. The video starts with Jeremy defending a tweet by an individual that commented about Christine saying, and I quote “came for the cosplay inspiration and left with only an erection. In all seriousness though I love your work.” He then proceeded to mock anyone that came to Christine’s defence stating that they were single virgins that only wanted to sleep with her, before mocking Magic content creator Erin Campbell as being “a guy with a dick”. This was all in the first half of the video and it doesn’t get much better after that. Many Twitter handles show more of the same behaviour, with others following him in his abusive tirades and even defending him despite his views. I even saw people commenting on the current situation with statements such as “Wizards needs to concentrate on card quality more than this BS”.

Sadly, it seemed that this kind of behaviour has been tolerated as just one of those things by some, and it seemed nothing would ever change. Well, Christine’s departure seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, as community members took to Twitter and Reddit saying enough was enough. This has been a long time coming, and although it is sad it took a well know personality leaving the hobby for it to finally be taken seriously, I’m glad this subject has been brought into the cold light of day. At the time of writing this, we are still waiting for a full statement from Wizards of the Coast.

Do we really need to wait for WoTC to act, or should we as a community be doing more to stop this kind of behaviour? The answer is simple. No, we don’t need to wait for WoTC to act to make changes in our community. While we could play their game and harass them online, we must not become what we despise. Instead, we need to challenge this kind of behaviour when we see it. Whether it is online or at your local Game Store, stand up and say this isn’t accepted in our community. If they continue to behave in the same manner, then report them. It’s also worth noting that online harassment is illegal in many states across the USA and in other countries, including Jeremy’s home state of Wisconsin. Demand change and don’t accept anything less. As I stated above this is our community, and we welcome anyone who wants to join us. Don’t let these horrible individuals speak for us, we have our own voice and we must use it.

Now I know that some of you out there will take no heed to my words, or anyone else’s. If you are one of those individuals that believe that you can say what you want and abuse anyone you like, then I have one thing I want you to think about. You are outnumbered. We will not put up with this anymore, so if you want to remain part of this community you need to change your ways. If not then leave, you will not be missed.

Christine Sprankle quitting Magic cosplay due to a barrage of toxic harassment from magicTCG

Finally, we at Master of Magics want to extend our heartfelt support to all of those who have had to put up with this for far too long. We stand with you all and if you have had to leave the hobby because of this, then we hope you will come back to us someday. We will be here to welcome you back when you wish to return. Be good to each other, and let’s make a lasting change.

2 thoughts on “Do we really need to be told that harassment is wrong?

  1. Fair warning, hq is saying whenever anyone reports on him that they are harassing him, and then his team attack that writer.

    Stay strong, stay vigilant. They are gonna bully you for standing up against the bully.

    Props.

  2. The nature of online swarm bullying is fundamentally different than schoolyard bullying. If you put Spranks and Jeremy on a stage and let them rap battle it out my money is on Spranks. Jeremy is simplistic, predictable, and derivative. She would easily school him in a face to face, 1 v 1, confrontation. But that isn’t what happened. Instead of facing her head on in a fair fight he slunk around in the shadows inciting others to spew abuse at her while posting nasty content in venues where she had no equal voice. He had to get 1000 minions to help him backstab her. He’s that pathetic and cowardly. A small man who can think of no other way to elevate himself than to tear others down. The complete antithesis of someone like Spranks who is a creative force. A person who improves the world through her talent and her craft. Spranks doesn’t have to cast shade on others to get attention. *She makes things that are awesome*. She is a singer, shaper, dreamer, and maker.

    No one person can stand up to an online bully swarm. It isn’t even remotely a fair fight. All you can do is seek to disrupt communication between the swarm coordinator and the individual bees. And yes, that means taking away the microphone from hatemongers and breaking up forums and channels that have become cesspits. Swatting individual bees is a nice gesture that may make you personally feel good for doing it – but it is largely ineffectual. Reporting content producers that are consistently abusive and hateful, getting them banned, contacting advertisers and letting them know that they don’t want their product associated with that kind of thing … these are useful actions that will actually break up and stop targeted harassment swarms.

In response...