Magic: The Gathering Cosplayer Quits Following Months Of Harassment, Company Issues Response
Harassment in the gaming community, both digital and tabletop, is nothing new but it is a problem [...]
Harassment in the gaming community, both digital and tabletop, is nothing new but it is a problem that is garnering more attention than it has in the past. When one Magic: The Gathering cosplayer quit following harassment, the company behind the game, Wizards of the Coast, have stepped forward to speak up about this issue.
November 24th, esteemed cosplayer Christine Sprankle made a very public split from the franchise. Sprankle said, in a now locked Tweet, that the year has been incredibly rough on her due to one person that would not cease his harassment of her. According to the cosplayer, this behaviour has been going on for months specifically targeting her as well as other members of the Magic community:
The person accused of the harassment is named Jeremy Hambly, and this is far from the first time he has been seen as a toxic member in the gaming world. His YouTube videos are often controversial, with many bordering on pointlessly mean. He even went under fire after making a particularly degrading video of the Magic cosplayer, dividing the community into an incredibly unfortunate affair.
Several of his videos portraying this sort of content have since been taken down for violating the YouTube standards of content. Hambly immediately attacked YouTube's decision to flag his content as bulling by calling it a "Playset of Beta White Knights Protecting Sprankle From Literal Email Assault" and "PlaySet of Beta White Knights Prevent Rape of MTG Cosplayer Sprankle." Since then, Hambly has started the process of appeal against the YouTube strike and he told Polygon he "expects to win."
As the fiasco continued to escalate, Wizards of the Coast themselves put in their own two cents supporting the members of the community like Sparkle:
We're saddened by what happened in the Magic community this weekend. Cyber bullying and harassment are unacceptable, and we support those who come forward with their experiences. No one should be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome. We're working to be a part of the solution.— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) November 26, 2017
Immediately following the statement made by Wizards, Hambly took to YouTube to make another video called "This is What Real 'Harassment' Looks Like." In an ironic twist, he calls the Twitter drama petty and he says he is merely a scapegoat for people that just want to silence YouTubers and get rid of him specifically. If you're interested in the video in question to hear his side, you can find it here.
He has since come forward saying he's receiving now the same treatment he has given others. He's receiving the negative commentary, the video posts, etc. He even mentioned that because of her "false narrative," that he's being review bombed on social media and calls it slander against his name. This was the full statement given to Polygon earlier today:
"Ms. Sprankle decided to leave the MTG cosplay community last week. She falsely equated it to unproven claims of "harassment" by me because of a salty video I did over 6 months ago. Since then I have been doxxed, received countless threats of violence, hundreds of hateful messages, I've been review bombed, called sexist, and much worse. This was made worse by prominent members of the community further perpetuating this irresponsible at best and possibly slanderous tweet by Ms. Sprankle.
She also said she recently went through a break up and it looks like I am the recipient of misplaced anger here. I feel bad for what she's going through but he comment has caused significant targeted harassment, campaigns to ban me from the game, and direct financial impact to my business. Prominent content creators like The Mana Source and Tolarian Community College have helped signal boost this lie and many of their followers have been caught organizing false flagging campaigns of my patreon and my youtube channels. I am now considering my options of how to handle this damage.
Unlike those who are harassing me I have documented the harassment in several videos I suggest you watch if you are actually looking to report on this fairly and I feel bad for actual victims of targeted harassment as these false claims are damaging to real victims. (like myself)
Being told to die in an oil fire along with having pictures of your home sent to you is what real harassment looks like and this hate mob is directly responsible, Christine is directly responsible for her slanderous tweet. I am curious if you will report this fairly but if you look at the actual evidence it's clear who the victim is here."
Social media immediately called Hambly out staing that there are many community members citing this same behavior and that they can't all be lying. He's been accused of using people's full names when making attack videos, transphobic commentary in his videos, and more.
The situation, to put it bluntly, is a mess. Many more members of the community have since come forward to tell their side, including many speaking against harmful actions by Jeremy Hambly to them in the past. You can read all of the different testimonies and statements prepared by Mr. Hambly himself right here. As a final note, Wizards had one last statement to make on the issue. Hopefully this becomes resolved soon and the community can return to being what it should be about - the games.
Final Wizards statement:
We are incredibly proud of the Magic community and the tremendous good it does in people's lives. Magic is a game meant to bring people together—it's right there in the name "The Gathering." Our community is filled with stories of lifelong friendships and bonds forged through tapping lands, casting spells, and swinging in with everything for the win.
Sadly, that sense of community can be spoiled by the behavior of a few individuals. We at Wizards of the Coast are disheartened about bullying and harassment in the gaming community; unfortunately, the Magiccommunity is not immune. No one should be subjected to threats and intimidation. No one should be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome while enjoying something they love. All people should be able to express their joy for the game without being attacked, whether that's in a local game store, online, or somewhere in between.0comments