In the summer, scandals related to harassment in the gaming industry broke out with renewed vigor. Against the background of these events, activist and founder of Feminist Frequency Anita Sargsyan launched an emotional support hotline.

The hotline “The Games and Online Harassment Hotline” was launched yesterday – August 3, 2020. This is a free service for people from the gaming industry who want to talk out and solve problems not only with harassment, but also with emotional burden: depression, burnout, anxiety, etc.

VentureBeat asked Anita a few questions about the reasons for creating a hotline, the principles of operation and how the service will affect the situation in the gaming industry. Below is a brief extract from the interview:

  • Anita started working seriously on the project last August during the first wave of #MeToo in the gaming sphere;
  • the idea of the hotline is to take care of those people who make and play games. Anyone can ask for help: a fan, a novice player, a developer or a streamer;
  • the service should “let people tell their stories and feel liberated”;
  • employees of The Games and Online Harassment Hotline are not required to prevent suicides, but they know how to do it. And they can also transfer the call to a more specialized hotline;
  • the hotline will always be free. But it is expensive to maintain it, and therefore fundraising for the work of the service will always be active;
  • so far, the hotline is open for three hours: from 16:00 to 19:00 from Monday to Friday. This reduces costs and makes it possible to analyze people’s problems: what questions are they calling with? How often? What is the best way to support?
  • “The Games and Online Harassment Hotline” is a direct continuation of Anita’s main activity to combat toxicity. The hotline will teach people not to be afraid to ask for help and will be a step for a large-scale cultural shift;
  • Anita herself won’t answer the phone.

Anita Sarkisian is a Canadian-American feminist. She released a series of videos “Trails against women in video games”, where she analyzed the most popular stereotypes of women in games. She has been subjected to Internet harassment more than once, but at the same time in 2015 Time magazine included her in the list of the 100 most influential people of the year.

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