On Tuesday, The Gamer published a report that Elder Scrolls Online developer Zenimax allegedly does not take any serious action to stop anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, according to members of the game’s community.
Though Zenimax supported community efforts to host Pride parades in-game at the end of June, even creating an official blog post with information about when the parades were taking place and who was organizing them, community members The Gamer spoke to feel that the company’s moderation efforts when it comes to bigotry against LGBTQ+ folks have otherwise been nonexistent.
“I have found Zenimax to do nothing in regards to protecting streamers,” Locke, the Twitch streamer who organized several of the ESO Pride parades, told The Gamer. “I, as an openly LGBTQIA+ streamer for years have […] been doxxed, swatted, harassed, etc. I’ve tried reporting this, I’ve followed up on if I can do anything… End of the day nothing has ever been done even with overwhelming proof.”
This is disappointing, considering the fact that The Elder Scrolls Online won GLAAD’s first-ever award for ‘Outstanding Video Game’ back in 2019. Locke also alleges that Zenimax added a person to its Elder Scrolls Online stream team “who was connected to the transphobic treatment of trans streamers and supported the person who has been a longtime harasser of our community.”
“The support you get from the community managers is great, but sadly that’s where it ends. I feel very little has been done outside of in-game,” another streamer, who wanted to remain anonymous told The Gamer. “Even in-game I’ve experienced that reporting bigotry has had no repercussions. We’ve had community members harassed for months and months without any action taken by Zenimax […] There’s a lot of frustration going on in the community right now where bigotry and hate seem to go unpunished.”
The feeling that Zenimax does not support the LGBTQ+ community concretely was driven deeper when a transgender former Zenimax employee released a four-hour video just a month after Pride detailing how the company allegedly pushed her out of the company, publicly outed her without her consent, misgendered her, and held her gender affirming surgeries hostage.
This incident, in combination with the way Zenimax handled the recent Pride parades — telling Locke to report bad actors only for the streamer to find those same players were still in the community weeks later — has left a bad taste in the mouths of many LGBTQ+ members of the ESO community.
“Between bringing known people who support harassers on the stream team, not protecting teams creators, not punishing bigots in-game, and the stuff with Leona, Zenimax has a company culture of, at best, not caring about marginalized people being harassed and, at worst, of transphobia,” Locke told The Gamer.