“We Need to Talk.” Moxxi’s Open Letter on Treatment of Women Talent in Dota 2
Caster Moxxi published an open letter to the Dota 2 community about the treatment of new female talent to the scene. The letter comes after a video by Richard Lewis highlighted to extreme abuse Frankie Ward received as host of TI10.
Dota 2 caster, content creator, and on-screen talent Michelle "Moxxi" Song has addressed the Dota community's reception of women as event talent. The TwitLonger from October 21st highlights some of the issues faced by women in Dota 2 (and possibly esports more broadly) and explains their significant impact throughout The International 10.
In the post, Moxxi outlines the "negativity and shit stirring" that female talent has faced recently. In the wake of the AniMajor and TI10, several new faces have joined the frontlines of Dota casting. These include Mira "Ephey" Riad and Frankie Ward. Moxxi's post acts as a call-to-arm for the Dota 2 community to be better when faced with new women talent entering Dota 2.
Ultimately, Moxxi summarized in a later Twitter post, saying, "I'm just asking you respect people who work hard. These people also happen to be women. That's it."
"The gatekeeping coming out of the community was beyond insane"
Moxxi references rumours and slander spread about on screen talent Jess Brohard and Jorien "Sheever" van der Heijden. The caster then goes on to describe her outrage at the pushback and criticism Frankie faced when becoming a Host for TI10. Frankie has faced constant criticism from fans, at least on Reddit on some social media platforms, after being announced as a talent for TI10.
This culminated in a video by journalist and caster Richard Lewis titled "Dota, Reddit And Frankie Derangement Syndrome."
In the video, Richard Lewis claims Dota 2 fans showcase a general train of excessive entitlement with everything from the skins provided at The International to the way talent discuss teams, and even which new talent are given opportunities, especially women and specifically Frankie Ward.
Richard Lewis compares their treatment of Frankie, to that in CS:GO, where Frankie is a respected on-air talent. This video led to yet another Reddit thread filled with criticism of women as talent.
Moxxi's post also addresses individual examples such as Ephey. Moxxi admitted an initial feeling of jealousy when finding out that the relative newcomer was chosen as an on-air talent for the AniMajor. However, she went on to say she'd spoken with Ephey since and is incredibly proud of what her fellow caster has achieved.
The post also highlights Kasumi "sumichu" Yogi, Alex "Sheepsticked" Roberts, and Sheever. Moxxi extols the virtues of these talents and again talks about about the issues they faced.
Overall, TI10 featured dozens of female talents across almost every language broadcast. The addition of many new talents created a stir, mixing up the standard staples of Kaci "Kaci" Aitchison and Sheever.
This comes fewer than two years after revelations about abuse of women in the upper echelons of Dota 2, including accused sexual misconduct by former notable talents Toby "Tobiwan" Dawson, Grant "GrandGrant" Harris, and former competitive player Jimmy "Demon" Ho, demonstrating a long a complicated history for women who want to share in a love of the game.