Free Harassment Hotline for Video Game Industry Going Live Next Month

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Initiated by Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian, the service goes live for streamers, players and competitors on Aug. 3.

In an effort to provide support to those in the video game industry who have been mistreated, the founder of media non-profit Feminist Frequency, Anita Sarkeesian, is launching a harassment hotline. 

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline, described as an "inclusive resource for anyone, no matter how you identify," is a free and confidential text-message-based hotline intended to offer emotional support, referrals and resources to developers, streamers, players and competitors.

"At any given moment there are millions of people like you and me playing, chatting, adventuring, dueling, side questing, exploring," an introductory video states. "Millions of real people. Most of our gaming experience can be amazing, but let's be honest, there are problems." The problems listed include abuse, harassment, bullying, isolation, depression. "Behind the avatar on your screen, a real person may be suffering alone in silence," the video continues. "It might be your friend, your kid, your co-worker, maybe that person is you."

Messages can be sent from anywhere in the United States on any day of the week at any time, and they will be answered by an agent — trained in crisis response, risk assessment, suicide prevention and sexual assault — from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. PT.

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline website also offers a list of resources for legal support and aid, including the Time's Up Legal Fund, mental health charities that specialize in services for the gaming community, LGBTIA+ resources and a number of others.

The launch of the service, which goes live on Aug. 3, comes in the wake of numerous accusations of emotional and sexual harassment that targeted the game industry in the last month, which has resulted in executives stepping down from their positions and companies such as French-owned Ubisoft to restructure their editorial department to combat toxic behavior.

Sarkeesian founded Feminist Frequency in 2009, a nonprofit educational organization that analyzes the media's relationship to societal issues that particularly affect women, such as sexuality and gender, and serves as executive director of the hotline.

View the introductory video for the hotline below, and find more information on the service here.