Lots of words.

The following is a guest post by Jenny Haniver, originally published at Not in the Kitchen Anymore:

Jenny Haniver is a stone-cold badass, and the founder of the website Not in the Kitchen Anymore. She hails from Wisconsin, and when she’s not gaming she can usually be found hunting or fishing with her husband, working in a glass studio, or drinking way too many IPAs in front of a bonfire with her friends.

Trigger warning for misogyny and threats of violence.

On July 26th, I was playing Black Ops 2 on my Xbox 360. Another player in the lobby took issue with me being there, and basically started attacking me over my gender. He kept asking if I was on my period, implying that I was fat or a lesbian, and making jokes like “Hey, ya’ll know why uh, women shouldn’t have drivers licenses? Cuz there’s no highway between the bedroom and the kitchen.” It’s all documented in this entry.

After the match concluded, he sent me a text message that said “slizzy” (which is, apparently, slang for “slut”). I replied, “Keep digging yourself into a hole dude.” He then proceeded to send me a voice message that said, “I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion. Strict mental abuse. Hahaha.”

You can find a recording of the voice message here.

I filed a complaint against the player using Xbox LIVE’s in-system setup. I believe I also reported him through Treyarch’s report system as well.

I let it go, because I thought they had to act on something this gross and creepy. I check Call of Duty’s ELITE website about a week later, and saw that the player in question was still active on the game. I tweeted at Xbox and Xbox Support, sending them the link to the video and saying again that I was upset about it. They just restated that I should file a complaint.

Fast forward to today, I check ELITE again and see that the offending player was still active in game as of Saturday, August 10th. I tweeted at Xbox again, because I was shocked that seemingly nothing had happened two weeks after I received the message. They essentially replied that they couldn’t give specific details on any case, and that was that.

I tried contact Activision (parent company of Treyarch, the makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2) to see if there was anything they could do on their end. One of their agents I contacted through text chat support seemed honestly appalled, and even went so far as to recommend that I contact the police.

I called Activision customer support as well, and they said that they can only handle in-game harassment (which there was), but it can sometimes take them a few weeks because of the volume of reports they field.

I guess I am just super frustrated by Xbox LIVE’s seeming lack of attention to this. For all I know, the guy is being banned this very instant, but from everything I’ve seen, action hasn’t been taken yet. All I want to know is that this kind of thing is taken seriously. I love gaming, but this sort of incident and seeming lack of response or concern about issues like this is really starting to wear on me. I do understand that they’re fielding a large amount of reports and complaints, but I wish serious issues like this were addressed in a much more timely fashion. At this point, the best I can hope for is maybe getting a notification that action has been taken on a complaint I filed.

Ideally, Xbox will work even harder at moderating their player base and insure that gaming is a safe and fun experience for everyone involved. I know things will never be perfect, but they can certainly be better.

Edit: This is starting to get some attention, which is great. You can follow me on Twitter- @Nitka_Official and Facebook to keep updated on this situation as it unfolds. Thank you all for the support.


UPDATE 5pm CST:

This kind of blew up today. Through the actions of a lot of really awesome people on Twitter, noise was made, and people started paying attention. There was a story done on The Mary Sue, and the Xbox twitter people were likely made very miserable. #MicrosoftUnsupport was officially a thing.

Some of the notable things that happened along the way: Xbox Support said I should contact law enforcement “if necessary”, and after that point couldn’t really tell me where else I could go for information from Xbox LIVE. It turns out that the Xbox Support on Twitter is only able to give tech help… But if the only option you have for reporting users is to press buttons on the console, isn’t that a tech issue?

HOWEVER… There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Looking at the offending user’s profile now, everything has now been marked CODE OF CONDUCT. I unfortunately don’t have a screenshot of his profile beforehand, but I remember that there was nothing offensive about the content, which leads me to believe that he has either been suspended or banned.

And all it took was 24 hours of shouting so loudly no one could ignore me.

Thanks for the support throughout this ordeal, everyone–it’s been real.

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3 Responses to Lots of words.

  1. Ozy says:

    This is one of the major problems with publisher-hosted servers and matchmaking. When servers are operated by players, this sort of thing would easily be handled at the server level by a local mod, assuming that you played on servers that banned this sort of thing.

    Further, players like this would not have to get banned from the game completely, but like you, could go to servers that accommodate them. Everybody wins.

    • A says:

      I don’t think it’s a win to send the message that violent misogyny is just a social quirk to accommodate.

      Furthermore, as someone who’s been searching for a server that 1) actually enforces rules against hate speech and bigotry, 2) runs and 3) has other players online during the same times I’m able to play, AND 4) has tolerable ping…. it doesn’t exist. I think the best I found had 2/4. OTOH there are thousands-strong groups/clans that each run dozens of 24/7 servers all over the world… with custom, server-generated kill messages like “$PLAYER is fucking your mom” and “$PLAYER is getting some great head right now”.

      Needless to say, the 3rdSG pronouns — which appear in a few messages — are static “his” and “himself”.

      • Korva says:

        I don’t think it’s a win to send the message that violent misogyny is just a social quirk to accommodate.

        It sure as bleedin’ hell isn’t! That sort of abhorrent behavior needs to be curbed, and curbed HARD.

        … unfortunately, going by all I have seen and heard, it (almost) never is. Not even by gaming companies who put up a figleaf of a code of conduct.

        Jenny, it’s a disgrace what that scum did, and the non-responses you got. I’m glad you had backup, and really hope that this one abusive POS, at least, is going to face some consequences after all. Kudos for speaking up!

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