ADL Survey Uncovers Widespread Racism and Harassment in Online Gaming World
Two-thirds of gamers have experienced stalking and other forms of serious harassment while playing online, much of it involving racist or homophobic threats, according to a new report issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) this week.
Published on the Thursday, the report — the first systematic investigation of harassment in the vast online gaming community — found that 65 percent of players have experienced severe harassment while playing games online. This has included “physical threats, stalking and sustained harassment,” while 74 percent of online multiplayer gamers “have experienced some form of harassment,” an ADL statement said.
“Among online game players who experienced harassment, 53 percent reported being targeted based on their race, religion, ability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnicity,” the ADL observed. “An alarming 29 percent of online game players have been doxed in an online game, meaning that their personal or private information was publicly exposed against their wishes.”
The survey also found that online game players had been exposed to extremist ideologies and hateful propaganda. Twenty-three percent of respondents reported being exposed to discussions about white supremacy through online games and eight percent reported being exposed to statements sympathetic toward ISIS/Islamic State. Nine percent of players also reported being exposed to discussions about Holocaust denial, and 13 percent of players were exposed to disinformation about the September 11 terror attacks, among other topics.
“Online hate causes real harm,” commented ADL National Director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “Every time someone in an online multiplayer game physically threatens or harasses another player repeatedly because of who they are or what they believe, that experience doesn’t just end for that individual when the game is over.”
ADL surveyed 1,045 respondents, which included adults ages 18-45 years old who identified as LGBTQ+, Jewish, Muslim, African American and Hispanic/Latinx, and who played games across PC, console and mobile platforms.