A delayed update on that #PAXEast Sexism in Gaming panel

So, this post came to my attention after I was already away from my computer for the last day of PAX. I (nor I’m guessing many who attended this panel) were aware the young lady on the panel is so young. She is all of 15 or 16, and as I said in many tweets this morning, that panel should NOT have run. Or if it did, then a responsible adult should have moderated.

Andrearitsu apparently spoke with the girl on the panel and posted the following to tumblr:

I spoke directly to the girl in charge of Nerds Want Equality:
I spoke to the girl in charge of the now defunct Nerds Want Equality to get clarification on just what was said and what happened at PAX.

First of all, the girl in question is 16 years old and had not held a panel prior, so she was nervous. She was also unprepared for questions pertaining to LGBTQIA+ issues since her panel was intended to focus on cis sexism since that’s what she knew about from experience.

She was asked about a trans character from a game that she hadn’t heard about and when the question “should we see more trans representation i games?” arrived, so did her mistake.

She meant to say that it’s not something that she think is going to happen any time soon since we’re still dealing with basic sexism in video games, but in her nervous state she messed up and said that we shouldn’t see it at all because of the basic sexism, rather than just talking about what to expect in our current gaming community.

I then asked her about the comment that was made by her group later in the day, which she admitted to having written. I explained what was transphobic about it and why the harassment she have been receiving, as wrong as it was, likely originated from it.

She told me that she felt bad about that statement, as it was something she had written when she was angry and upset over the hateful comments she was getting over a misunderstood statement. She apologized over it, stating that she felt like an asshole having written what she did.

She’s not well educated on trans issues, she thought she was but admits that she was wrong in thinking so. She started her group in order to help people who had suffered the shit she had in games and realizes now she went in over her head.

She has deleted the Nerds Wants Equality Facebook page, she’s not going to go back into activism for a while, as she feels she wasn’t ready for it after what went down in the last 24 hours.

I don’t think she’s a bad person, she’s just a nervous teenager who happened to misspeak and then had the world fall down on her. She said things that were wrong, but she owned up to them and she was eager to listen when I explained what she had said that was wrong.

For the sake of her privacy I’m not going to post the actual conversation we had, but rather I’ll stick to this summary as well as my original write-up on Twitter.

Which was lovely of her to do, however andrearitsu was not at the panel, at PAX at all.  Nor is she in the US, she’s in the UK. In her tweets to me, she insisted that teens running such panels was commonplace at cons she attends. Not in the US it’s not, unless it’s a youth track at a convention and an adult usually moderates. Here’s my reply.

This is all well and good, however she and her co-panelists still applied to speak, were not prepared and there was a gender imbalance on a panel about sexism in gaming, with all white panelists from a group that only existed on facebook. Rather than stepping back and learning from it, she deleted the FB group, after going so far as claiming all the posts were photoshopped from the now deleted FB group in a blind panic.

There should have been better review of panel submission and planned content (not just for them, I mean there was a panel called The Real Waifu’s of Twitch running as well) so this could have been avoided. If the panel was allowed to run, there should have been a moderator, assigned by PAX or someone to move the discussion along.

All that said, she and her co-panelists hopefully will grow from this rather than omg the Internet is meen knee-jerk response seen in the deleted posts.

So that’s the update and many others have had opinions on this whole thing. People are also ignoring the two male co-panelists in their responses to this wreck of a panel.

TL;DR the panel needed adult supervision, PAX clearly doesn’t carefully vet the panel submissions, this girl got backhanded by the internet, reacted as a 16 year old would and now is probably going to hide from the world for a bit.