The Status of Women in Magic: Let’s Talk About “Rape”

Trigger Warning

This article is going to be about the use of “rape” and other references to sexualized violence in our community. In lieu of a formalized all-encompassing trigger warning, I believe it is more productive to be transparent about the direction in which I am leading this discussion. If you feel you would be traumatized or re-victimized by reading details of a sexual assault case or general conversation about rape, I recommend you avoid reading this article. If you decide to march forward any way and end up feeling upset, I am sorry for your pain. Please know you are not alone, and you will endure! May I direct you to these resources.

The Impetus…

Just over ten years ago, Zachary Jesse plead guilty to aggravated sexual battery, a felony, due to charges resulting from non-consensual vaginal and anal contact he forced upon another undergraduate student. Why is this relevant? Because this past Sunday, on May 10, Zach Jesse was a top-eight competitor at Grand Prix Atlantic City.

He was featured on screen without comment. In response, Drew Levin distributed news media links alerting other viewers to Jesse’s history and the coverage team’s oversight in including him. Immediately and unsurprisingly, Twitter erupted in a flurry of conversation. While many professional players and Magic: The Gathering talking heads displayed their disgust at the coverage team’s decision to feature Jesse, much of the playerbase involved in the conversation rejected the notion that Wizards had erred.

…and the Broader Problem

The Zach Jesse debacle is not isolated. Many of you may recall when Lucas Florent threatened to rape Director of Global Organized Play Helene Bergeot in 2011. His “lifetime” ban lasted all of six months. Jackie Lee has also been vocal about the rape threats she has faced for daring to be a woman who plays Magic well and visibly.

Each of these three situations are extreme examples of a problem I believe the MTG community faces regularly: alienating potential participants and active players through threats or relying on outmoded, offensive language that associates being defeated in a card game with a grave crime.

While it may be tempting to cast aside my concerns by attributing this disgraceful behavior to the social distance the internet provides, the players who tweet ferociously in defense of Zach Jesse or sling rape threats online patronize local game shops, too. I routinely hear players in my LGS and at tournaments say things like, “Oh, you just got raped!” usually with a gleeful smile on their faces. I am tying together a common trend and exemplary incidents because I believe the former cultivates an environment in which the latter can occur.

You may inquire: what does this have to do with women playing MTG? Women are disproportionately affected by sexualized violence. If you have more than a few women in a room, statistically, it is likely at least one of them has encountered rape or sexual assault. When you are flippant about your utilization of language or—as I saw repeatedly on Twitter this weekend—you defend a convicted rapist’s “right” to play a game, you signal to those present that you are not a safe person from whom to seek solace. You are not empathetic. You are not deliberate with your actions. You have not achieved a level of emotional maturity where you can be conscientious and distinguish between governmental censorship and a care-centered ethos that builds community. Now, if you would like to continue to reproduce these patterns of behavior and erect strawmen decrying a fabricated vision of institutional enforcement that very few MTG players have ever seriously endorsed…that’s fine. But I don’t want to play with you. I do not trust you. And you shouldn’t be surprised when other women [Editor’s note: or men!] don’t want to, either.

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Fostering a hostile environment toward rape victims can dissuade women from participating, but it also has implications outside of exploring women’s limited role in Magic. Men experience sexualized violence at stunning rates, too.

Imploring fellow players and MTG community members to self-examine their behavior isn’t borne from of a desire to stamp out difference, eradicate fun, or be a wet blanket—it is about compassion and breeding an environment where the highest number of people can maximize their enjoyment. It is a matter of acknowledging that others have experiences that differ from your own and which may have lasting impacts of varying degrees. It is an issue of mutual respect and appreciation.

MTG is necessarily a social game, which means our interactions within the context of playing constitute the gaming environment. If it were not, you would be solely satisfied with emulators that mimic decision trees. Reducing the harm we enact against others is a complex process rife with competing interests. In this instance, however, I think the mental calculus is a simple weighing of costs and benefits. It costs you very little to be purposeful with your language. For someone suffering with PTSD, your failure to exert what will ultimately be a negligible effort for you, this seemingly small mistake can cost a great deal.

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“Free Speech” and “Being Offended” versus Community Cultivation

To those whose fingers itch to unload on me, whose internal cogs whirl like a cartoon character’s feet before they again gain traction and dash forward, as a bastion of “PC culture,” please evaluate what made you so bitter and eager to incite pain.

If your only line of logic is, “They’re denying my freedom of speech,” you are willfully misunderstanding the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. To those detractors who would reply with a slippery slope argument of, “If I can’t say ‘rape,’ what next?” I ask that you appraise why you are so analytically lazy. If you would like to relish and praise your inability to identify gradation between institutionally imposed bans and self-inspection, you have only fulfilled the claims of those who accuse trading card players of being stunted.

“Oh, does this mean next we can’t say ‘kill’?”

Typically, murder victims are unable to hear jokes surrounding their abuse, because they are, well, dead. Unfortunately, they are not able to participate in the massive multiplayer game we call life or the MTG community any longer. Furthermore, rates of murder are notably lower than sexualized violence:

National or state crime in 2012
State Population Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate Forcible rape rate
United States-Total 313914040 4.7 26.9

Source

It is rather unlikely you would encounter an attempted murder victim in your LGS, while the same cannot be said of victims of sexualized violence. Lastly, people do not generally attribute murder to the behavior or past actions of murder victims, while rape survivors are routinely blamed for their victimization. There is no cultural ambiguity about the nature of murder, but confusion over the “boundaries” of consent is still regularly levied as a legal defense.

Rape victims are not figments of “misandrists’” imaginations. We exist. You play with us at LGSs, online, and around your kitchen tables. You trade with, buy from, and sell to us. We are members of the MTG community and we deserve to reap the rewards that a solidified subcultural environment can provide—camaraderie, fun, support, and growth—just the same as those who have not had to endure sexualized violence.

Drew Levin posed some questions on Twitter on which I would like all naysayers and doubters to reflect:

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Possible Solutions

Of course, it is misguided to identify a problem without proposing a solution.

longtermplans

What language should replace the offending language people are currently employing?

Some replacements I have heard recommended are “owned” and “rekt.” I would encourage you to be even more creative! May I point you toward a Shakespearean insult generator?

Now, I have heard claims that “rekt” or other variations are at risk of becoming substitutes that maintain the original meaning of the offensive language in question. You know your own intentions. If your trash talk is a loosely-veiled allegory for sexualized violence consider revising your statement before you speak. If your trash talk relies upon cultural scripts surrounding gendered patterns of dominance, reevaluate! Ask yourself why you would wish to inflict that sort of trauma on someone with whom you are playing a game. Hell, remove the final qualifier of that sentence. Why would you wish to inflict pain on anyone?

What should you do when you hear someone else use this language?

Speak up! Be polite but firm. In most instances I have personally experienced it suffices to say something along the lines of, “Hey, could you please not use that word?” Rarely have I encountered negative responses to that request, at least in person.

As for online play, I have no suggestions that have proven efficacious. Once in an online MTG interface, I asked nicely and at least four of the draft members proceeded to independently message me grotesque and detailed rape threats. Social desirability bias of in-person interactions obviously renders some techniques less effective online. As to what will rectify this beyond programmer-inserted chat filters, your guess is as good as mine. We have to be accountable to each other. The buck needs to stop somewhere.

I look forward to reading your responses to my thoughts, to the Zach Jesse scandal, and to the issue of the use of “rape” in our community.

About the Author
Haley Gentile is a fast-talking dame who enjoys gardening, painting, participating in legislative advocacy, and reading the news when she isn't playing Magic. She is a sociologist who studies social movements, media, and inequality, particularly as it pertains to sexualities and race.

91 comments on The Status of Women in Magic: Let’s Talk About “Rape”

  1. banana-man says:

    Once upon a time, there was this guy who tried to start up a new CCG of his own (which was professionally designed if I might add) and was quite successful in growing his own brand. However, he had this problem with his speech patterns and innuendos. He had this bad habit of using “rape” and other sexual derogatory terms during his demos.

    His CCG died eventually about a year or so later. Although I felt that there were other things that contributed to his CCG’s demise, I think his behavior pissed off many gaming shop crowds and owners (many who are parents). It didn’t help that many of his actual customers are kids.

    1. Haley says:

      I appreciate both you and another commenter who brought up the issue of children. That was an oversight on my behalf. I am childfree so I didn’t consider that perspective.

      1. banana-man says:

        No worries.

        I do not have a kid either but having worked retail in various gaming related shops in the past and having help run gaming related events I get to experience common issues that various gaming groups linked to specific archetypes have the same recurring issues.

        It is important that gaming communities have positive role models that are able to maintain some element of non-partisan-ship. I think that is one of the hardest things to do as all of us are burdened with various elements of bias.

      2. frank says:

        So I suppose neither you nor anyone you have ever known or been related to has ever done anything they regret. Must be nice to be in such exalted company of sanctimonious, self righteous hypocrites.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Congrats, you have said the things.

        2. Anonymous says:

          Because everyone has that rape they regret . . . wait a minute . . .

  2. JJ says:

    Hey. I fully and wholeheartedly support your article and point of view. My local FNM does not see me that often because for some reason the word “rape” “raped” is about the ONLY terms they use to describe anything. Some close to me have been through that and having MTG spoiled for me by people who say “rape” 20 times over in 10 minutes has kind of fucked it up for me and my friend (who is a great girl)

    Thanks for your article.

    1. Haley says:

      I am sorry you feel boxed out from your LGS due to others’ behavior and words. Hopefully my articles, interpersonal interactions in which those of us who are upset share our feelings, and the contributions of many others who are initiating and sustaining this dialogue can change the current culture.

      1. the truth says:

        This should not be a controversial topic. Allow me to be more clear: The world does not cater to you, nor do the people in it. You are not entitled to feel comfortable. You must take risks as you see fit. This is not an opinion or an idea, this is a fact. I’m genuinely sorry some of you are uncomfortable with this fact, but that does not make it any less of a fact. It is what it is. So, please, deal with it and stop wallowing in your own drama about the topic.

        1. Wiibiiz says:

          I think this is the most unintelligent and uninspired argument I’ve ever read in my life. Let me be even more clear than you: “the world” that you speak of is a lazy intellectual construct you have created to distract from or avoid the fact that the actions we object to are chosen by other people. When I go outside, the rocks and trees are not yelling the word “rape” at me. Since social actions such as these are chosen by other people, those actions are made in the context of the implications their actions will have in the community in which they are made, and it is by discussions of their actions’ consequences (like this one) that we arrive at what exactly those implications can or should be. The very principle that leads us to the conclusion that survivors of rape should have to choose between being reminded of their rape and not attending a local magic tournament also defends an arrangement in which would-be attendees should have to choose between liberal use of the word “rape” while attending an event or expulsion from the event equally well. Certainly most shops have made this jump in regards to racial slurs: try entering a local and calling your opponent a “n*gger” and see what happens. You’ve unwittingly made the best argument against your own position: “the world” (by which I mean “the sub-culture of magic: the gathering”) does not inherently have to cater to your comfort any more than it has to cater to the comfort of sexual assault and rape survivors; rather, the community and all the vested interests in it will evaluate the consequences of each policy, and choose based on which outcome they would rather have: a less traumatic and more welcoming environment for sexual assault survivors, or an environment where the neckbeards don’t have the sadz because they can continue to use their favorite word.

        2. Wiibiiz says:

          I think this is the most unintelligent and uninspired argument I’ve ever read in my life. Let me be even more clear than you: “the world” that you speak of is a lazy intellectual construct you have created to distract from or avoid the fact that the actions we object to are chosen by other people. When I go outside, the rocks and trees are not yelling the word “rape” at me. Since social actions such as these are chosen by other people, those actions are made in the context of the implications their actions will have in the community in which they are made, and it is by discussions of their actions’ consequences (like this one) that we arrive at what exactly those implications can or even should be. The very principle that leads us to the conclusion that survivors of rape should have to choose between being reminded of their rape and not attending a local magic tournament also defends an arrangement in which would-be attendees should have to choose between liberal use of the word “rape” while attending an event or expulsion from the event equally well. Certainly most shops have made this jump in regards to racial slurs: try entering a local and calling your opponent a “n*gger” and see what happens. You’ve unwittingly made the best argument against your own position: “the world” (by which I mean “the sub-culture of magic: the gathering”) does not inherently have to cater to your comfort any more than it has to cater to the comfort of sexual assault and rape survivors; rather, the community and all the vested interests in it will evaluate the consequences of each policy, and choose based on which outcome they would rather have: a less traumatic and more welcoming environment for sexual assault survivors, or an environment where the neckbeards don’t have the sadz because they can continue to use their favorite word.

  3. Wilfy says:

    Hey, great article! My friend Nick Watson wrote an article on great website gasmtg.com on a similar theme which might be interesting to those who liked this article.

    http://gasmtg.com/the-5-words-magic-players-need-to-stop-using/

    1. JJ says:

      Thanks, another great read.
      In addition… MTG is not solely limited to Adults. Having 14 – 17 year old kids around also adds some depth to the situation. Where a community (Which does not solely rely on “You and Your Buddies” actually wants to get more kids into playing one has to ensure that the principles are in check. Otherwise, the kids simply stop showing up and it dies out. I’ve seen this happen in phases over here and judging from the current stand point it’s about to die out again. All because simple respect cannot be given to others whom enjoy the game. Ill fight along side you guys for sure.

    2. Haley says:

      Thanks for sharing! I agree wholeheartedly on all accounts.

  4. Geoff Gentile says:

    Well said and well done.

  5. ManaLeaked says:

    “When you are flippant about your utilization of language or—as I saw repeatedly on Twitter this weekend—you defend a convicted rapist’s “right” to play a game, you signal to those present that you are not a safe person from whom to seek solace. You are not empathetic. You are not deliberate with your actions. You have not achieved a level of emotional maturity where you can be conscientious and distinguish between governmental censorship and a care-centered ethos that builds community.”

    Wow. Simply. Wow. So… first question. Telling a rapist they should be allowed to play monopoly in their free time means I’m “not a safe person from whom to seek solace”? That I’m “not deliberate with my actions”? That “I have not achieved a level of emotional maturity…”? Two words. The. Fuck? No, seriously. Who the fuck are you to make such blatant lies public? Please tell me this egotistical dribble is all one big joke. Are you actually being serious or simply trying to stir the pot with this insane presentation of hate-speech and hyperbole? Do you actually talk to people in the real world or just blame them because they also have opinions?

    Im just… baffled by this. Just… amazed really. Your statements go so far beyond what the original subject matter was and the point you were trying to make that I really cant comprehend the ego or piety needed to shove such needless and nonsensical dribble onto others. Gooooood luck in life. Get some help. You need it.

    1. Mike says:

      ^^^^^speaking of emotional maturity…

    2. Haley says:

      I didn’t say Zach Jesse couldn’t play MtG in his free time. The Monopoly comparison is moot because it does not have a well-established professional circuit that is growing in popularity.

      Do I talk to people in the real world? Yes. I am a sister, a roommate, an activist, an instructor, a social scientific researcher, a friend..these articles are not the first time I

      1. Haley says:

        Ehh…pressed enter accidentally…

        These articles are not the first time I have ruminated on these issues or discussed them with fellow MtG players. And yes I stand by my belief that if Jesse’s “right” (which I will continue to place in quotation marks because it is not an unalienable right secured by any legal force) to play MtG is more important than the safety of other MtG players I question your judgment and capacity for empathy and compassion.

        Thank you for your kind wishes about my life heading forward. I am doing quite well. I hope you are too.

        1. Dustin says:

          Dear Haley,

          I generally agree with your view that Magic has a culture that is insensitive to women, particularly in the way magic players use rape language. I agree that people should refrain from using that language. This isn’t a matter of free speech, it is a matter of decency, etiquette, and maturity. (Technically, free speech protections only apply to the government, not to private organizations. If Wizards wanted to ban people for using the word Marshmallow, it could do so without violating the 1st Amendment).

          But where I really disagree with you is on the Zach Jesse issue. For what it’s worth, my wife, who is a sociology professor at Vanderbilt who teaches classes on gender and sexuality, also disagrees with you. My reasons are as follows:

          1) Zach’s conviction occurred more than a decade ago. He has not reoffended.
          2) Zach’s conviction occurred during his formative years, in early college, when he was intoxicated, and when we know the brain’s decision-making power isn’t yet fully formed.
          3) Zach isn’t just some rando who luckily topped a GP. He has several high finishes under his belt over the past couple years, including multiple T25 PT finishes (and, I believe, a T16). He has obviously dedicated a lot of time to Magic. And in all that time, nobody has complained to Wizards about his behavior, sexual or otherwise.
          4) Speaking as a criminal defense attorney, I can assure you that there are many worse crimes than rape. I have personally been a victim of a crime worse than rape. Is your position that anyone playing magic who has been convicted of any “serious” crime should be disallowed from playing competitive Magic? Do we draw the line at rape and all crimes as serious as or more serious than rape? Or do we draw the line somewhere below that threshold? And how should wizards figure this out? Should they run background checks on every person who walks into a store wanting to play? Not only is it hard to draw a line, it is hard to enforce that line.
          5) As someone who knows Zach personally, I can assure you that his presence does not endanger you. Rather, he is a man of such good-hearted integrity that you are safer because of his presence. One stupid, drunken act from childhood doesn’t define a person and doesn’t justify forever banishing them from a community. You seem to honestly believe that it shows a lack of empathy to support Zach’s right to play competitive Magic. As a practicing attorney who has cashed several pro tours and was a philosophy professor at age 24 (with a specialty in metaethics), I honestly believe that it shows a lack of empathy to vilify him under these circumstances.

          1. J says:

            1) Zach’s conviction occurred more than a decade ago. He has not reoffended.

            Has his victim become unraped in the process? No. Okay, irrelevant
            .
            2) Zach’s conviction occurred during his formative years, in early college, when he was intoxicated, and when we know the brain’s decision-making power isn’t yet fully formed.

            At 19 years old you know not to rape people. Being drunk is not an excuse to forget that. And if being drunk is ALL it took to turn him into a rapist, what if he shows up at a tourney when he’s lit up? Does he just rape whoever he can get to?

            3)3) Zach isn’t just some rando who luckily topped a GP. He has several high finishes under his belt over the past couple years, including multiple T25 PT finishes (and, I believe, a T16). He has obviously dedicated a lot of time to Magic. And in all that time, nobody has complained to Wizards about his behavior, sexual or otherwise.

            So?

            4) As someone who knows Zach personally, I can assure you that his presence does not endanger you.

            What do you mean? He’s a convicted rapist. He’s shown the proclivity to take advantage and physically, violently, violate the sexual safety of an innocent woman. Of course he’s a danger. He also has not once explicitly apologized for what he did. He refers to the act as “an incident” and “a mistake”. No, you idiot, you anally and vaginally raped a drunk girl while she was passed out over a toilet. WIthout consent. He didn’t even fucking know here.

            Get this apologist crap out of here and rethink your damn life.

            1. Anonymous says:

              If you knew anything about the case you’d see that he had the option of taking the deal and getting a slap on the wrist or going to trial and facing the chance of hard jail time. It would be a scary thing to risk going to trial.

              He also was unable to apologize due to the stipulations of the deal where he can never have contact with her.

              She didn’t want anything to happen to him, didn’t want to ruin his life or anything, she just wanted no contact whatsoever.

              To me it sounds like they were both drunk and neither of them clear on what was happening. I k ow if it were me who was raped I’d want them to be punished to the fullest extent and a mere restraining order would be nowhere close to enough, but she’s the victim here so her leniency is up to her.

              1. JJ says:

                No. It wasn’t a drunk situation where they were both unclear what was happening. Have you ever been so drunk you didn’t know what was happening? You aren’t going to be able to perform in the way that he was able to do at the time. By simple anatomy, women can more easily be raped when they don’t know what’s going on, but in order to maintain arousal, and penetrate an anus, men have to be coherent. They just do. There is no discussion about it.

                He can definitely apologize. He can offer a public and apology mentioning the victim, but never talking to her directly. This is 100% acceptable.

                Also, his deal was an admission to a felony and he did months. It’s not a slap on the wrist.

                Rape is almost impossible to prove. But in order to take a plea deal, you have to be up against some pretty strong evidence.

                Also keep in mind that not all details are required to be released to the public in a plea deal. This is one of the main reasons the victim sometimes would rather have a plea than go to trial and have all of her personal details exposed in a more public manner.

                Lastly, your implication that anyone who doesn’t push for a harsh sentence must be lying is just crazy. Most of the time in cases where the woman was making false claims, she was on a head-hunt and pushing for a maximum punishment. The fact that this girl was reasonable about a punishment actually gives her claim much more credibility.

    3. Josh says:

      I too had an issue with that same quote. So now that I feel he has a “right” to play magic, I am “not a safe person from whom to seek solace”, “not empathetic”, “not deliberate with your actions”, “not achieved a level of emotional maturity where you can be conscientious and distinguish between governmental censorship and a care-centered ethos that builds community”? Right away you are judging another person without knowing their history, without knowing a single thing about them. If a person believes another has the right to play a “GAME”, whether they be a rapist, murder, or whatever, those are not qualifications to be able to play a “GAME”. You are also not taking into account whether the person has paid for their crime, whether they are truly remorseful, whether they have turned their life around or anything else. No where on my booster packs or intro decks does it say “In order to play Magic: The Gathering, you must be a lawful citizen and have never committed a felony, including rape and murder”. Do I want to make friends with this rapist? Probably not. Do I want to play magic with him? Probably not, but I also don’t want to play magic with the guy sitting across from me playing his black/blue deck that will tear mine to shreds, but just because I don’t want to play with someone doesn’t mean they have any less “right” to play.

      It also seems as if your mixing up multiple concepts here. First we have that of playing with or allowing a rapist to play a “game”, secondly you have the use of the word “rape”. While they are tied together by mere spelling of the word, that is all. I seriously doubt that people saying they’re going to rape your deck at your local game store really mean that they want to have “nonconsensual vaginal and anal penetration” with your deck, nor do they want to do that to their opponent. To rape is to also despoil, because imagine if you will that a single word has multiple definitions. A logging company rapes a countryside of trees. It doesn’t do anything in a sexual manner and it’s not using the word out of context. I personally don’t use the word for gameplay but in it’s use it would mean to take your opponents life total way, to destroy their resources and win the match. If I sit here and tell you I’m feeling a little gay, does that mean I’m homophobic and hate men who enjoy the company of other men, or could that mean that I’m a bit happy? If I say I’m feeling a little queer, does that also mean I’m homophobic?

      For someone who is insisting on broadening everyones vocabulary and using more creative, or shakespearean terms, it seems as if you fail to grasp that many words have alternative meanings.

      One last thing, you seem very focused on eliminating the use of this word because it may deter potential female gamers from playing Magic. I don’t really believe potential Magic players walk into a random local game store, randomly pick out Magic and then hear people using the term and run and hide. People are normally introduced by friends and family, and after they pick up the game, if they decide to play publically, competatively, then yes, that may then affect the situation. Still though, women aren’t the only ones who get raped, men do too. If your fight is to eliminate it’s usage in the public gamespace, why fight for a single gender and condemn the other, why not fight for a better overall community for those of both genders?

      1. Haley says:

        You: ” Still though, women aren’t the only ones who get raped, men do too. If your fight is to eliminate it’s usage in the public gamespace, why fight for a single gender and condemn the other, why not fight for a better overall community for those of both genders?”

        The article you professed to have read before levying claims against: “Fostering a hostile environment toward rape victims can dissuade women from participating, but it also has implications outside of exploring women’s limited role in Magic. Men experience sexualized violence at stunning rates, too.”

        If you can’t read my argument, I’m not responding to your comment.

        1. Josh says:

          I read your article, and just because you mention that “men experience sexualized violence at stunning rates, too” does not then mean your article is focusing on both genders. You mention men all of ONE time and not even how it affects men and how they too may be dissuaded from participating. You only mention that these acts of sexualized violence happen to men. Now women on the other hand are mentioned six times, it’s mentioned how sexualized violence happens to women, how it happens to them MORE, and how they are affected by it and how they could be dissuaded from participating in Magic.

          So to tell me that I couldn’t “read” your argument is a falsehood. The problem is that you didn’t write your argument better, and instead of looking at what YOU wrote and saying “Hey, what he’s saying might be a little right” you want to go on the offensive, insult someone you don’t know again and continue with your pretentious attitude.

          You also cannot say that you are not responding to my comment with a response to my comment.

          I am in no way saying your article is without merit, and it does have it’s points. What I’m trying to get across to you is to fight for “all” people and not just some. Furthermore, if you don’t feel like certain types of people should be allowed to play, then you should fight to make it an official rule with stipulations attached and present that idea.

          For the record, this topic,, “rape” has affected my life more than you’ll ever know and to invalidate my opinion because it doesn’t specifically agree with yours is insulting.

      2. Mike says:

        I’d like to attempt to unpack this knapsack of absurdity that you decided was fit to post.

        You: “First we have that of playing with or allowing a rapist to play a “game”, secondly you have the use of the word “rape”. While they are tied together by mere spelling of the word, that is all.

        Haley: “I am tying together a common trend and exemplary incidents because I believe the former cultivates an environment in which the latter can occur.”

        It’s like you didn’t even consider (or read the part of the article where this point was made) that maybe the casual way in which people use terms like “rape” to describe inconsequential results in a trading card game minimizes just how heinous rape is. Both the disgusting dialogue of people on Twitter defending Jesse and the use of rape reflect a lack of sensitivity or concern for experiences of those outside of oneself.

        Is your argument in that paragraph really contingent on using a definition of rape that has fallen severely out of favor? As an exercise you should just Google the word rape and without looking at a dictionary website see how common it is for it to be used as a description for environmental pillaging (but if you do decide to cheat and look at the dictionary [do you really want to argue semantics?] check out the etymologies that also trace some of its earliest origins also label is as sexual violence) or any sort of domination that is non-sexual in nature. I can also count on my fingers and toes and dozens more digits the amount of times I’ve heard it followed up with descriptions body parts (i.e. mouth, butt, whatever other thing puerile infants think is appropriate to say) so it’s not even naive to think they’re using an alternate definition, it’s just wrong. If you use “gay” or “queer” in a disparaging manner (shown by attitude, tone, context, etc) then yes you’re homophobic, if not then rock on and good luck!

        You also mention you don’t think that hearing the word “rape” thrown around casually keeps people from potentially playing Magic. Magic is necessarily a social game in that in requires someone else to play. We know that a fair number of women play kitchen table MtG (which MaRo and WotC have noted from their internal assessments). The question is why aren’t they showing up to shops? It may not prevent them from learning how to play but it may disincentivize them from feeling comfortable enough to invest in the game competitively (i.e. joining or reaching out to form play testing groups, regularly showing up to LGS tournaments, traveling to larger tournaments…)

        also, the author does not specify gender when explaining why saying rape is harmful: “Reducing the harm we enact against others is a complex process rife with competing interests. In this instance, however, I think the mental calculus is a simple weighing of costs and benefits. It costs you very little to be purposeful with your language. For someone suffering with PTSD, your failure to exert what will ultimately be a negligible effort for you, this seemingly small mistake can cost a great deal”

        Which she says right after including men in her discussion of who is impacted by rape. You are projecting that she doesn’t care about male victims. She is fighting to end this language for the benefit of all genders.

        Overall though this article is one of a series on the disproportionate representation of women in MtG so she connects it back to that. She acknowledged saying “rape” can hurt and trigger all genders of sexual violence victims but then because women are disproportionately affected this trend could be limited women’s participation. Men are not underrepresented amongst MtG players which was the OTHER point of the article.

        1. Josh says:

          My argument is that the word has a different definition, which completely applies in the way it’s being used. Are you telling me Mike that you think people at your local game store are using the word “rape” to imply that they are going to forcibly have sexual intercourse with you or do you think they’re using the word “rape” to imply they are going to despoil your deck and win the match? To say that the definition is fallen severely out of favor, yet when people are obviously using it in such a way is ludicrous.

          At another point in her argument she compares murder to rape and shows how murders happen at a much lower rate and how there usually isn’t a survivor of murder. That is true, the person murdered doesn’t survive, but their loved ones do and maybe kill or murder is a trigger word for them, but people don’t really mean they’re going to actually kill their opponent at FNM, THAT is a metaphor. I highly doubt people are going around their FNM throwing around “rape” as a metaphor implying that they’re going to have vaginal or anal sexual intercourse with them and their decks. That right there is my point, it has another definition and it’s other definition completely applies. True still there is another definion in which it refers to an actual seed or oil, it’s just as ridiculous to imply these people are meaning this third definition as it is the first definition, because the first and third don’t fit the context but the second does.

          1. Mike says:

            It’s almost as if you didn’t read anything in the first few paragraphs I’ve posted. Coupled with the fact that you demonstrated that you didn’t comprehend what you supposedly read in the author’s article, I don’t believe you’re willing to have a conversation unless it’s with a mirror.

            It doesn’t matter if their intent wasn’t a threat, it matters that their choice of word is a) lazy b) potentially harmful (do you not understand PTSD or mental health issues?) c) not acceptable language when describing actions or outcomes of a card game.

  6. Jason Alt says:

    This was a great piece and I hope we can run more like this in the future.

  7. Randally D says:

    You can call Jesse a lot of names, but he was never convicted of rape, so he’s not a convicted rapist.

    1. Haley says:

      I didn’t call him any names. The opening paragraph provides an accurate reporting of the charges of which he was convinced. He was convicted of nonconsensual vaginal and anal penetration. Colloquially, we call that a rapist.

      1. Randally D says:

        Oh excuse me, I didn’t know it was a colloquial term. Here I am being ignorant and thinking that you had to actually be convicted of rape to be considered a convicted rapist.

        1. Jason Alt says:

          You know your argument is a good one when it’s rooted in semantics.

          1. Retep says:

            Kind of ironic to say that when the second main point of the article is about the use of a word in the MtG community… Isn’t that semantics?

    2. william says:

      pleading guilty generally means…you were convicted.

  8. KA says:

    I really don’t want to defend this guy, but I don’t think society’s game of bash-the-felon is right either. We’re not asking this guy to babysit our kids. We’re asking him to behave responsibly in a public space, one with witnesses everywhere and a strict code of conduct, where he’ll get banned if he does cause trouble. There are places where a felony-level lapse in morals and/or impulse control will rightly keep you out forever, but I think social justice in the broader sense requires invoking this as sparingly as possible. (He wouldn’t be the first felon to grind Magic tournaments for lack of better job options.)

    There’s that, and I also don’t think this guy specifically is the problem. Public spaces aren’t rapist-free. IIRC, something like 6% of American males will admit to having done what this guy did, so long as it’s an anonymous survey and you don’t call it rape. If you play a 9-round day at a GP, there’s a nearly even chance you’ll see one across the table. I worry that drumming off the very small percentage who managed to get convicted is an easy distraction from the hard work of actually making people feel safe.

    The skidmarks who think rape is an okay thing to joke about, though…can we drum them out? Please?

    1. Anonymous says:

      well said

  9. Drinket Mage says:

    1. He did a crime, and that’s bad, but then after he did his time, and then presumably learned not do his crime again. With that being the case I see no good reason to not treat him like everyone.
    2. If you don’t want to play with me because my having the requisite empathy to want to defend the man means I somehow have no empathy then that’s fine with me, fuck off. I wouldn’t want to play with such a horrible bigot anyway.

  10. Solid Snake says:

    I don’t even know where to start here. The guy paid off his debt to society, he was deemed fit to be around normal people and released by the government. He is open about his transgression. And to top it off this was what? 7 years ago?
    I don’t see why he shouldn’t be allowed to play a game in their free time. We don’t have a problem with Patrick Chapin, yes he was a criminal but he’s grown up from the stupid 19 year old troubled youth he was into a pillar of the community and by all accounts a good person. Why doesn’t everyone get a second chance like our good friend Patrick?
    As to the rest of this article, I disagree with almost every word but I don’t think I’m articulate enough to get my point across with such a difficult subject.

    1. Anonymous says:

      At no point did the author state that the individual shouldn’t or couldn’t play this game. I believe the footnote on a single paragraph of the whole article was “this person shouldn’t be on OFFICIAL WOTC coverage”. You see this in most professional sports to some degree. Really a minor point in a larger conversation.

      1. Maximumfat says:

        Not being on the coverage is another issue in itself. If WOTC wants to regulate who is NOT on camera, then they are also dictating who CAN be on camera. There is already a bias towards professional players for some good reason, but why should everyone not be afforded the chance for a little recognition when they are performing well. I really feel that a criminal past has no bearing on this matter at all. They are two completely different issues. If one is allowed to attend the tournament, then what does it matter which seat they are in. If he made it to the finals, should they just not broadcast the games? SCG puts on events to make money, they are a business. He paid his entry fee, won the required amount of matches to move on, and got all but sucker-punched by a color commentator.

        As for the post below this one….. If a judge agreed that 3 months is an acceptable amount of time for incarceration then please explain why your opinion should be put higher than their ruling?

        1. Haley says:

          Because neither the rules and confines of the MtG community nor the norms of informal associations/interactions with people are not affixed to a legal standard. The standards of who should be welcomed openly into the MtG community are not formally tied to the ‘justice’ the VA courts metered out. Jesse had an opportunity to use his platform on Reddit to promote a healthy model of enthusiastic consent and instead he engaged in a self-aggrandizing, ego-stoking exercise in demonstrating how this really hasn’t negatively affected his life (his sentence was suspended so he could continue to attend school and an internship-so it had little bearing on his continued attainment of professional success). Fully claiming responsibility would mean using your opportunity in the spotlight to present information that could be used to prevent future incidences. I’ m not asking that he self-flagellate or rehash all of the deals of the case. But instead of an essay outlining all of his successes (which is essentially what his post amounted to) he could have publicized information about eradicating the crime he perpetuated without discussing his case specifically.

          1. Axehurdle says:

            Really? I think that would be LESS sincere. I don’t see how writing about your crime and discussing how to stop it is in any way indicative of accepting full responsibility and being remorseful. Honestly if someone committed a crime and then to show remorse wrote an essay on why that crime is bad I would assume they weren’t sincere and were just trying to look good. I wouldn’t trust someone who did that.

            I really enjoyed this post by the way, it seemed informed and well put together and made some very strong points. I would like to mention something that others in the comments have brought up though. The line

            “When you […] defend a convicted rapist’s “right” to play a game”

            is very unfair. Judging from the rest of the post and your comments I believe that you didn’t really mean that anyone who thinks he should still be allowed to play has those traits, since you seem to be trying to stay neutral on the issue of whether he should be banned and if read literally that line clearly supports his banning. (as anyone against it has many negative traits.) I would like to go on to presume that the specific defenses that you are referring to were not polite, well mannered opinions on tournament policy but something less savory. I thought I would mention this line because it hadn’t been addressed in a non-conflagratory manner yet and I wanted to suggest that you may want to be more careful about such things in the future because I believe this line would offend several people whom you don’t mean to offend.

            Just some constructive criticism, and I wanted to say again that this was a good post and I really enjoyed it. Keep doing good.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Really, you think 3 months is “paying your debt to society” for raping someone? Would you feel that way if it was your mother or sister, and everyone around you was acting like it was no big deal?

  11. Anonymous says:

    When you physically and mentally traumatize somebody, you may have to wear it on your shoulder for the duration of your life. part of the reality of fucking up

    1. Anonymous says:

      I don’t wish to sound like a complete dick here, but if people are pushing for and saying that drunk sex is rape……if he was drunk when making his decision how can he be held accountable? If a woman can’t be held accountable for sleeping with someone when drunk, then by that logic no one should be held responsible for their decisions when drunk

      1. Alan says:

        You are just too clueless, its laughable. The simple nature of sexual intercourse would dictate that the man is the only one capable of raping a chick with the exception of a woman doing things to a man while he is sleeping, or whipping out the strap on. But no accessory forcible penetration is a one way street.

        In order to have sex, especially anal sex, it’s important to have an erection.

        This isn’t going to happen if you are actually the one being raped. As we all know as guys, arousal = erection. Men can still have intercourse with women when they aren’t aroused. It’s actually more painful for women in that case too because their natural lubrication doesn’t kick in from their arousal.

        This is all really simple if you just try and think about it. But you don’t want to. Too many of you will never even listen to reason because the number of chicks who have turned you down outweighs everything else.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Wow seriously? So now if a man is to get raped and has a physical response, being an erection, then it wasn’t rape and he must have wanted it because he got erect? Someone just took stupid to a whole new level.

  12. Sygg, Internet Guide says:

    This is an interesting article and I think there are some really great parts and one really messy situation.

    Overall, I want to say that I wholeheartedly agree that language and the way we present ourselves definitely define the community. Being more choiceful in our language can go a long way to making things more welcoming and I think that can only ever be a good thing. I am very impressed that the article provided not only a call to action but also specific suggestions on what actions the reader can take.

    On the Zach Jesse scandal, honestly and truly, I don’t know what is right. I keep coming back to Patrick Chapin. Zach Jesse and Patrick Chapin both have a felony record, they both served the sentence given to them by the Judicial system, and they both spend free time playing MTG. Jesse is a violent offender while Chapin dealt drugs. One ruined one life, one ruined many lives. Should both be thrown out? Should neither? How do we, or WOTC, decide which crimes are OK and which ones aren’t? Is the DCI required to do a background check prior to admittance, if so, prior to participation in what level of tournament?

    It is a very hard, messy conversation. I don’t think there is a very simple or easy answer. The one conclusion I do have is that I do not believe excluding Zach Jesse or any felon from WOTC coverage is the right solution. Firstly, the logistics of the situation would be untenable if Zach Jesse somehow made it to a finals. Second, I do not see how it really changes anything, all it does is make him less visible.

    And lastly, I really encourage everyone to go read “In light of recent discussion: a post by Zach Jesse” over on the MagicTCG subreddit.

  13. shivam says:

    Thank you for writing this. It’s incredibly important and i hope it helps to start moving the needle on culture change in our hobby.

  14. Chad says:

    I agree with JJ, the word “rape” has to be removed from the Magic vocabulary to describe utter dominance in a card game. The word is drenched in criminal sexual undertones and should be purged from around card tables, podcast, and the like.

    What if a racial word was used to describe an opponent that did everything to lose but won anyway? “He tried to punt but he totally *insert slur of choice*-ed his way out”

    What ever ‘questionable” speech that’s used at kitchen tables and in the privacy of playgroups should stay there. Once you enter a public place that language has to be kept in check. It’s up to that local magic community to regulate behavior that’s welcoming to everyone of all genders, creeds, and colors. Ultimately it’s on the shoulders of the TO’s and shop runners. The threat of banning might be the only way to deter foul behavior.

    As far as Zach’s “punishment”, the fact that him and his parents are lawyers is it possible it was plea bargained to aggravated assault so he could get his law degree and not register as a sex offender?

  15. Justin says:

    So I feel like your article bounces around a few different issues in a way that was a bit hard for me to follow, but I think on all points aside from how we should handle this player existing in the community. I think there is something very important to remember.

    So having never met, or even seen footage of this person, I know very little about him. What I do know, is what I read from reading the article regarding the offense and the proceedings following it. I read about two drunken college students ended up together and how one did something terrible to the other while in this state.

    Here are some facts:

    Being drunk is not an excuse.
    What he did will stick with the victim most likely for the remainder of her life.
    It is 100% his fault.
    She is a human being whose rights were violated while she was in a position where it was hard to defend herself.
    He is a human being.

    Some members of the community are even going as far to say that they would like to hang this man, but I don’t think people get the point here.

    My problem is this: alienating him, punishing him, etc. does not help anyone. It just doesn’t. It makes us feel comfortable because we feel like getting rid of this person solves the problem, we get this sense that this is somehow going to prevent future cases. But it’s not. It will always be more productive to treat a person with kindness and compassion, no matter the severity of the crime (unless, of course, it can be shown that a person is severely mentally ill in some way and not fit to live in society, but that is a different topic).

    When you tell someone they are subhuman enough times, they believe it. They don’t feel a drive to change and just accept that as a part of who they are. They just accept that they are some inhumane beast that commits crimes like rape, and sometimes, it happens again.

    The alternative is to treat them like a person. I”m not saying we should trust them. I’m not saying we should be friends with them. But we should at the very least treat them as though they are a person, as it will have a much more constructive effect towards creating a human being that can exist in normal society.

    All I’m asking is that when you sit down across the table from this person at a GP, you treat him as you would any person you do not know. You do not act as though you are some authority worthy of passing judgement on him. You do not act like he stopped being a person when he committed this crime. You act like he is human being, and a magic player. You take note that it is someone you should be wary of trusting, and possibly someone you might want to avoid when you can. But you treat him like a human.

    (Also, on the note of featuring such people like him on coverage, the latest MagicTheAmateuring episode has a good discussion on this which includes, among many other things, how they can’t really remove someone like this from coverage without banning them entirely. They can focus on other people, but if he’s in the top 8, well, he’s in the top 8.)

  16. ElspethSC says:

    I completely agree that removing sexual assault language from casual slang vocabulary is good and important.

    That said, I have no problems with Zach Jesse being included on coverage of the event. The MTG community is not the justice system. It is not our responsibility to determine what kind of punishment someone deserves based on our incomplete information on what happened. As it happens, Zach posted on reddit a full account of the consequences of his legal situation. He has been through a lot, and while obviously he did something wrong, that does not mean he needs to be shunned forever. The legal system gave him what the facts of the case said he deserved, and he is still facing the consequences of that decision. It is not our place to impose vigilante punishments upon him beyond those given by the court.

    The second there is evidence of Zach doing something wrong or inappropriate in the context of playing MTG, I am fully ok with banning him, not covering his matches, anything the governing body of MTG wants. Until something like that happens, though, and I highly suspect that it never will, we need to treat Zach as a person. The bottom line is that you could run into Zach or another person with a similar background in the grocery store, at work, or pretty much anywhere, and most of the time, you would never know who he is or what his background is, and that is OK. Obviously, if something inappropriate happens, that should be reported and handled, just like if anyone had this problem. Playing against someone in an MTG tournament is in a public place, surrounded by other people. It is a very safe environment, and I, even as a female, would not hesitate to play a match against him.

  17. Justin says:

    Woops, I messed up that first paragraph. I meant to say I agree on all points except how to handle this person as a member of the community.

  18. Sophia Eris @HiddenTara says:

    I think this Blog Post infantilizes women & uses loaded language to win an argument no one is having. I am a woman who has been playing Magic since 1999. If I heard any younger kids talking like that I’d tell them their mother needs to wash their mouth out with soap. Grown ass men acting like man children, who cares? Trigger Warring? What are you 12? I’m 29 years old seems like you really need grow up and mature.

    If “Zachary Jesse” plead guilty and paid his debit to society then that’s that. What should we have just put a bullet in his head live on Twitch & call it a day,? You more than likely searched and dug up that information.

    I also read your other post. You are nothing more than another run of mill Gender Activist stirring the pot pushing in a political agenda where it doesn’t belong. This a card game, we play it to have fun, so help elevate it, not tear it down!

    #NotYourShield

    1. Haley says:

      People are still having arguments over whether or not it is acceptable to use “rape” to describe Mtg. My personal experiences as well as those of other women and men who have spoken to me in person or reached out online confirm this is still present in many LGSs.

      If the trigger warning doesn’t apply to you, skip over it. Including additional information doesn’t hurt anyone, it just alerts those who would like to know.

      I have not endorsed banning Jesse nor killing him. Hyperbole is fun though!!!!!!!!!

      I am not tearing down Magic. I am challenging norms of the community that act as barriers to it being a fun environment. If saying “rape” is key to you or anyone else having fun, I would ask that you explore why that is true.

  19. Kochisgood4you says:

    If it were true, that convicted felons should not also have a chance to be reformed and gain a status of popularity in the public eye, NFL MBL and NHL, would be unwatchable. There are so many players that have been identified as convicted rapist, murderers and armed robbers playing in these sports. None of which are verbally deprecated whenever they are shown preforming in those sports.

    Why then, in this case, is it so imperative that Zach Jesse be denigrated for his past crime? I understand sexual violence is an extremely serious and scaring event for anyone unfortunate enough to be victim to.

    Jesse claims to have never attempted to cover up his past (Reddit http://tinyurl.com/p8u2pc8). Jesse has attempted to be honest and clear about the situation and explain the things he has done in attempt to repent for his mistakes.

    I do not know Zach Jesse, the Victim of Jesse’s crime, Drew Levin or any relationships between Levin and the former . But, I can’t help but wondering if Levin’s actions were entirely noble, or if they were prompted by a hidden past troubled relationship between them.

    Regardless of what happened in Jesse’s past, how is it fair for anyone person to single out another person, and push an agenda that popularises “Hate” against them. That is plain unethical and surely should be considered harassment or slander.

    I find Levin’s denigration of Jesse, and the broadcaster, offensive. Nowhere close to how offensive sexual assault is, but still offensive in it’s own right.

  20. Yves McCrae says:

    I just wanted to chime in and let you know that I found this article very insightful.
    I feel like over the past year, first with gamer gate and now this, that I have had to really self evaluate what I think is okay. I really appreciate a very well spoken article regarding these issues, told from a perspective that I don’t have, and was never exposed to.
    It’s a real problem that the internet’s anonymity allows people to act like monsters, but I just wanted to highlight the fact that if it wasn’t for the internet and writers like you, I believe I wouldn’t be nearly as educated about issues that women face on a day to day basis, and I wouldn’t have the empathy that I have now.
    Thanks again!
    Yves

  21. Christina says:

    The numbers provided for “Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate” and “Forcible rape rate”, make absolutely zero sense. If you copy and paste numbers from the internet, at least include some units or context so it’s not random gibberish.

    1. Haley says:

      They are from the Uniform Crime Report, which is the forum through which the FBI publicly releases national crime statistics.

  22. PantsStatusZero says:

    I think our society has spent far too much time painting women as de facto victims for you to spend another 1600 words on it. And where I do realize that wasn’t the goal. It is a definite and disturbing underline theme of this piece. Along with other things, it is questionable why “the impetus” was even included in this article. Given that fact that it doesn’t really inform the usage of the term “rape” with in the gaming community nor does right create a strong argument on why people should be compiled not to use the term. IDK just fail. Fail because this article is about three different things. None of which were well executed.

  23. Jeff says:

    This article fails to comprehend that I can be against what Zachary did without being pro witch-hunting. He has served his time as deemed fit by justice, and there’s nothing wrong with accepting that. I’m not saying you have to be his friend, but you also don’t have to punish him more than he has already been punished. To demand that from people with the threat of calling them “rape apologists” is not going to get you anywhere. Drew Levin is very well intentioned but I do not agree with his methods here, and I know a lot of people who also don’t.

  24. Overlord says:

    You committed a crime! That means you must suffer for the rest of your life, are never allowed to have fun again and are not permitted to have a hobby!

    I mean sure, if you have literally just committed genocide then you probably shouldn’t be in a Magic tournament, but the fact that Zack raped someone ten years ago is completely unrelated to Magic and shouldn’t have an effect on what he does within Magic. Also, are you seriously arguing that rape is worse than murder because nobody can hurt your feelings after you die?

    You can’t trust me and don’t want to play with me because I don’t want to crucify a person who paid their debt to society, never hid the truth and now wishes to simply move on with his life? You think he should be hunted and persecuted until the day he dies, all because “muh feels”? You’re pathetic.

    I do agree that rape shouldn’t be part of anyone’s regular vocabulary, same with calling things “gay” or the like. I think it’s just one of those things society needs to grow out of, for instance up until about 60 years ago it was just fine to call a black person the N word, but it isn’t now. I think the same will happen with other offensive terms.

    1. Haley says:

      I did not imply rape is worse than murder. I said employing that language has differential effects on those present because of the differential effects of the crime and their respective prevalence.

      Yes, obviously I said he should be hunted, persecuted and crucified. Bravo. It must be pretty fun to put words in peoples’ mouths.

      1. Overlord says:

        But you did imply that Drew Levin was indeed correct in his actions when he posed his “questions” to the people who came to Zack’s defense. The people who defended him were not defending his crimes, they were defending his right to have been reformed by the criminal justice system and continue to move on with his life. You are agreeing with Drew, that because of what Zack did over a decade ago, he should be constantly reminded and not be allowed to feature in an MtG tournament, or to take part in other public or social events, because of a crime he committed. Kinda sounds like you’re persecuting him. Going on a little witch hunt for a man who has clearly made mistakes and would like to move on.

        1. Haley says:

          Distributing information is not a witch hunt. Neither Drew Levin nor I endorsed banning him. I do believe other MtG players have the right to express their disinterest in having him in our community. As to being “constantly” reminded I will copypasta my response to a comment above:

          “Because neither the rules and confines of the MtG community nor the norms of informal associations/interactions with people are not affixed to a legal standard. The standards of who should be welcomed openly into the MtG community are not formally tied to the ‘justice’ the VA courts metered out. Jesse had an opportunity to use his platform on Reddit to promote a healthy model of enthusiastic consent and instead he engaged in a self-aggrandizing, ego-stoking exercise in demonstrating how this really hasn’t negatively affected his life (his sentence was suspended so he could continue to attend school and an internship-so it had little bearing on his continued attainment of professional success). Fully claiming responsibility would mean using your opportunity in the spotlight to present information that could be used to prevent future incidences. I’ m not asking that he self-flagellate or rehash all of the deals of the case. But instead of an essay outlining all of his successes (which is essentially what his post amounted to) he could have publicized information about eradicating the crime he perpetuated without discussing his case specifically.”

          1. Anonymous says:

            How well do you even know this person? Do you know what his current occupation is? What relations he has? What he’s done in the past ten years? If none of that even remotely interests you, than I think you lack the empathy to write about this subject matter.

          2. Hypocrite says:

            So people cant change, do you suggest that rape victims should have their private shops and offenders too? Why to let people out of jail? divide a world with “criminals”, then “ex criminals” since by your standards they cant be trusted then “victims” and then “normal population” Thats the only logic which is possible to follow by you, none is defending a rapist for being a rapist, they are defending a common sense, which you lack.

            Women have a lot higher amounts of sexual assaults, compared to men, but on the other hand men suicide rates are HUGE compared to women, in some countries its 10:1 ratio, so we could “rewrite” your story to his side as to “he now can feel emotionally unstable and suicide” but you wouldnt feel any sympathy to him, would you? You are super hypocritical and advocate the causes you think are right, but they are not.

            A woman playing a magic the gathering with rape convict is as safe as the same woman in a shop or in a cinema or in a park, etc. What you suggest? To divide populations or never let anyone out of jail…?? Lets not stop there, lets divide people with blue or purple hair, different ethnicity, race, weight, etc. All of them can make one another feel unsafe or uncomfortable at one point or another.

            Your thoughts pattern is really childish – If you dont agree with the ban you are automatically a rape advocate, and all women and some men will be uncomfortable around you and WILL not trust you, i didnt read so much bullshit in one place in a really long time, cudos for that.

            I AM SORRY, but you are either REALLY STUPID or a big HYPOCRITE.

  25. Jamie says:

    In Canada, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms enshrines our legal right to be protected from discrimination.
    It is illegal to discriminate against people based on their criminal records (or gender, race, creed, etc.)
    Further to that, to make a public example of someone through a media outlet by means of this form of discrimination would be considered libel.
    You are fortunate that the United States allows you to defame and damage people’s public image with no recourse.
    This sort of journalism lacks ethics and integrity.

  26. You again? says:

    Are you aware that the word “rape” also means to “spoil or destroy”?

    Now, look, I don’t want to defend the man’s actions, forceful sexual contact is never acceptable. It’s odious and disgusting, but how does his crime bar him playing a card game at any level? Does Wizards of the Coast have a policy of disallowing convicted felons to play at the professional level? Granted, the oversight of having him as a featured match is a little disconcerting, but the man has already been punished for his crime.

    Are you aware that men and women BOTH have a higher chance of being raped in any branch of the US Armed Services (Military) than any civilian?

    Are you aware there are real issues going on in the world, and bitching about someones juvenile use of the english language solves absolutely nothing?

    You can’t grow or overcome your trauma if you hide in your goddamned turtle shell and tell everybody how to act so that your “feelings” aren’t hurt.

    You can’t use Wikipedia as a source for scholarly information. Using the word rape in a juvenile manner is indeed protected by the first amendment, and was reaffirmed by the US SUPREME COURT.

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/speakeasy/protecting-outrageous-offensive-speech

    What it boils down to is: If you don’t like the community, WTF are you doing trying to inject yourself into it? AND then, after you force your way in, you claim you don’t like it and that everyone should change? That is total BS. MTG is populated by social misfits, and awkward types. If you don’t like us, go be with your normal friends, and stop trying to tell us how to live. Do you think the majority of Magic players are going to lunge across the table and rape you?

    Also, according to the FBI, rape is the MOST FALSELY REPORTED CRIME. That doesn’t lessen the severity of the crime, or make it ok, it just means that lots of people lie about being raped. Why is that? http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/1996/96sec2.pdf

    1. Anonymous says:

      thats not true. ppl get raped at mtg tournaments all the time. Just a few weeks ago drew levin fingered my butthole at a gp

  27. Tylor says:

    Not that this was the exact point of the article, but what does the community lose if convicted rapists aren’t allowed to play at a sanctioned level?

  28. “intersectional feminism” holds that everyone who is not a white, straight male is “oppressed and traumatized” to varying degrees, and that we increasingly hear about “a need for safe spaces, trigger warnings, and micro-aggression watches.”

    She said her recent talk on feminism at Oberlin College was met with “girls with red duct tape over their mouths,” protest placards, and students who were “constantly mocking” Hoff Sommers’ remarks. When a philosophy professor stood up amidst the uproar and urged the audience to be civil, he was “booed, hissed, and yelled at.”

    That’s because “the ideologues are the most vocal,” Hoff Sommers said, and “they drive the agenda.” The “worldview of grievance feminism” is based on “questionable statistics” and “twisted theories of patriarchal society,” she added.

    “There are hundreds of scholars and lawyers and staff working night and day researching, rethinking, reframing—those are their words—according to twisted theories about gender as well as victim propaganda, or specious statistics—exaggerated statistics.”

    She relates that when she was a liberal feminist, she “went to the American Philosophical Association years ago, and read a paper that was critical—I saw too much Marxism, and I just thought the feminist critiques I was reading were not sustainable.” Hoff Sommers presented her paper thinking that “we would all argue and bicker, and then go out for drinks: that’s what you do at the APA. Let’s just say, we did not go out for drinks. Women were hissing and stomping their feet as I was reading. And so I was ex-communicated from the church of feminism that evening.”

    “So, if you are a man or a woman, a political moderate, a libertarian, a conservative, a good liberal who cares about the well being of American society … you have to do all in your power to challenge this juggernaut. … We have to find a way to back feminism, to take back the women’s movement” from the “paranoia and the conspiracy theories and the carrying on, the psychodrama, the identity politics, the victimology.”

    What a damning critique by the author of “Who Stole Feminism”, wouldn’t you say?

  29. Moxi says:

    Important topic, but Haley Gentile is shooting her self and her cause in the foot, when she says. Anyone who does not agree with me has no empathy. That is no way to start a debate on anything brings more harm then good with this borderline rhetoric..

  30. Jack McKenna says:

    Thank you for being rational and logical about the issue of rape and rape culture in mtg.

    I love magic, but the community is really making me sad right now.

    We need to realize that the right of rape victims supercedes the rights of rape perpetrators, and I’m kinda horrified so many people are falling over themselves defending this Zach Jesse guy.

    Thank you for doing good work at least.

    1. the truth says:

      no one is trying to take away any rights from the victim(s)

  31. Anon says:

    this is why I prefer the older days of magic. We could play to get away from the house and not worry. Now with the Twitter army and feminists demanding that they be heard a good player gets the boot for something that happened a decade ago. Blehhhhhhhh

  32. the truth says:

    This should not be a controversial topic. Allow me to be more clear: The world does not cater to you, nor do the people in it. You are not entitled to feel comfortable. You must take risks as you see fit. This is not an opinion or an idea, this is a fact. I’m genuinely sorry some of you are uncomfortable with this fact, but that does not make it any less of a fact. It is what it is. So, please, deal with it and stop wallowing in your own drama about the topic.

  33. George Jackson says:

    rape [noun]

    An act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation:
    the rape of the countryside.

    Archaic. the act of seizing and carrying off by force.

    As a rape survivor (of the sexual kind, not the plundering kind), I hereby give everybody permission to use the word ‘rape’ in its completely correct context, and will assist in the bludgeoning of people who get all stupid about it. If I was in a place where overhearing the very word would send my world crashing down around me, I’d have bigger issues to deal with in life than Magic players. Rape. Rapey rape rape rape.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that people are trying to be sensitive to other people who’ve been through bad stuff, that’s great. However, all of the hnnnng, I’m so triggered!!!111! that’s going around is counterproductive to actual healing. It’s not up to everyone else in the world to pad all of the corners in life for me, it’s up to me to recover. Sometimes a thing will freak me out, that’s just how it goes. I deal with it, I move on. I neither need nor want the help of twitter outrage piled on random people for the crime of saying a word.

    As for whatsisname the convicted rapist, I’m ambivalent. I frankly couldn’t care less if I ran into the guy. He’s not my rapist. However he is someone’s rapist, and it would quite likely ruin her day if she ran across him. I sort of doubt that she’s a Magic player, but if she was and the two of them showed at the same venue, I wouldn’t have a problem with his being asked to leave. He has to accept that, regardless of time served or penance done, he has a victim out there, and her needs come before his in any conflict. That said, Wizards has a responsibility to codify the exact rules for dealing with criminal players. Not “oh crap, twitter says someone’s a rapist, quick kick him out before we look bad”. Because as it stands right now, it seems that serial killers are A-OK at Magic tournaments as long as they didn’t rape their murdered victims.

    1. George Jackson says:

      Additionally, I’m going to correct you: “If you have more than a few women in a room, statistically, it is likely at least one of them has encountered rape or sexual assault.” should be “If you have more than a few PEOPLE in a room…” Any packed game space with at least a handful of men will have a male rape survivor in it. We exist too, thanks. In far greater numbers than people expect.

      Additionally, anyone claiming PTSD over hearing a word is either lying or so horrifyingly broken that they should be in an institution receiving professional help. If you want to see a great PTSD freakout, grab me from behind or run up and start shouting in my face, you’ll see me wildly swinging in no time. But never has a word or even a sentence even twitched the needle on my trauma-o-meter. Don’t touch me and don’t make sudden loud noises, that’s really the extent of it.

  34. Anonymous says:

    It seems like the events and subsequent media surround Zachary Jesse were shoehorned into an article about a topic that simply shares a word.

    For those who make the argument “but it has other definitions!” are picking the low hanging fruit here. It doesn’t matter that these words have other meanings. Their most well known meaning is the “default” meaning, and I truly doubt that most of these kids or man-children who use such language really get the concept of despoiling an area. The use of the word Rape to mean a horrible defeat is widespread in gamer culture and I do sometimes wonder if it isn’t something to do with the fact many of these games began with a predominantly male audience and as such those words did not have such a heavy social cost. It’s origins, original definitions, or meaning do not have any bearing on the fact that is does not belong in polite conversation. Finding a new adjective is a simple and painless way of perhaps creating a less toxic environment so I cannot see a reason why we should try to eliminate.

    In the Zach Jesse case, I am of a mind that he served his time and without further inciting incidents it seems wrong. This does not excuse his past actions, but it sets a scary president that someone can be punished or removed from the game for something that happened in the past if enough stink is raised about it. If these tweets had been sent because this person was known to use the word Rape or create an unhealthy/unsafe game environment then these actions would be justified. Additionally, I think everyone but the most simple minded can get behind the idea of “using this word isn’t cool, so let’s not do that anymore” but by attaching it something which at best exists in a gray area, it allows detractors to change the point of your work and diminish its message.

  35. Concerned Guest says:

    Dear Haley Gentile,

    Let me first applaud you for shedding light on this type of misogynistic behavior that is sadly all too prevalent in the Magic community and greater society. As with many people, my family, friends and I have been impacted by sexual and domestic violence to varying degrees, and I take this matter quite seriously.

    With that said, I would like to draw your attention to the unintended consequences of Drew Levin’s actions, whereby he brought information about a violent sexual assault committed by Zach Jesse against an unnamed woman in 2004, which was in the public domain, and is now in the public consciousness via social media. That information was the “impetus” for this article, as well as several others regarding rape culture, our justice system, survivors of sexual assault, and society’s attitude towards convicted sex offenders, not to mention less important topics regarding DCI and its treatment of players.

    You begin your article with a “Trigger-Warning”, and rightly so. But did Drew Levin offer the Unnamed Survivor of this assault a trigger-warning? No he did not. It has been well over two months since Drew Levin’s initial Tweet, and it seems to me very likely that the Survivor of this particular sexual assault has been made aware of the Tweet and subsequent discussions of Her case. It has been over 10 years since the crime occurred, and we can only hope that through the love and support of her friends and family, and with the aid of trained professionals, the Unnamed Woman now lives a happy and healthy life. Was it not enough that this Survivor had to endure the attack? Was it not enough for her to hear the rumors and gossip of some of her classmates at University. Was it not enough that she had to summon the courage to press charges, and go through the legal process, while so many other victims do not speak out? Was it not enough that She had this ordeal play out in the local media? Apparently not.

    Because of Drew Levin’s ill-conceived and reckless use of social media, She and Her loved ones will most likely have to endure another round of pain and hurt 10 years later, not to mention the pain inflicted on Zach Jesse’s wife and family, only this time it isn’t in a local Charlottesville newspaper, but on a global scale. Were Drew Levin’s intentions to safeguard the Magic community from Zach Jesse specifically, or to promote a safer environment more broadly? Drew Levin’s “Quick Reminder” is not a serious attempt at either. Surely there were better options available to him than a flippant Tweet during a tournament. I am very glad that Drew Levin knows nothing about me or my family’s pain, as we most certainly would not want him “championing” us in such a way, even if he was face to face with someone who caused us harm.

    The one bright point in all of this is that perhaps mature and meaningful discussions, such as this one, may begin to affect attitudes and behaviours in the Magic community. If so, Drew Levin deserves no praise, and we can all take a lesson on how not to conduct ourselves with regards to such serious matters.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

  36. Avid Reader says:

    Ms. Gentile,
    I feel your article would have been a true reflection on community safety if you didn’t refer to Drew Levin’s twitter posts as things to consider.

    There is nothing to consider in the words of a flippant, agenda-pushing coward. His posts are insulting to the victim in the careless way it brought up a rape and the way he later tried to stake out moral ground for himself as a defender of the victim and like-situated women. This is puerile micro-aggression at its absolute worst: in public, by a man, and by throwing out details of a past not his own without a woman’s consent.

    Levin is a ‘blogger’ for an online vendor and event organizer, calling him a fake journalist would be high praise. Unsurprisingly, Levin demonstrated no real ethical judgment in his ‘reporting’, knowing that all he needed to do was put information out in the public sphere and take credit if any cheap applause was thrown his way. If he would be condemned for his irresponsible actions, he had a plan: to point the finger at Zach Jesse and scream ‘rapist’ repeatedly.

    Women do not need a victim to relive memories of a sexual assault dragged out into twitter by a man to feel safe.
    Women do not need a victim to relive memories of a sexual assault dragged out into twitter by a man to get justice.

  37. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were
    just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book
    from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post.
    I’m very glad to see such excellent information being shared freely out there.

  38. Hypocrite says:

    So people cant change, do you suggest that rape victims should have their private shops and offenders too? Why to let people out of jail? divide a world with “criminals”, then “ex criminals” since by your standards they cant be trusted then “victims” and then “normal population” Thats the only logic which is possible to follow by you, none is defending a rapist for being a rapist, they are defending a common sense, which you lack.

    Women have a lot higher amounts of sexual assaults, compared to men, but on the other hand men suicide rates are HUGE compared to women, in some countries its 10:1 ratio, so we could “rewrite” your story to his side as to “he now can feel emotionally unstable and suicide” but you wouldnt feel any sympathy to him, would you? You are super hypocritical and advocate the causes you think are right, but they are not.

    A woman playing a magic the gathering with rape convict is as safe as the same woman in a shop or in a cinema or in a park, etc. What you suggest? To divide populations or never let anyone out of jail…?? Lets not stop there, lets divide people with blue or purple hair, different ethnicity, race, weight, etc. All of them can make one another feel unsafe or uncomfortable at one point or another.

    Your thoughts pattern is really childish – If you dont agree with the ban you are automatically a rape advocate, and all women and some men will be uncomfortable around you and WILL not trust you, i didnt read so much bullshit in one place in a really long time, cudos for that.

    I AM SORRY, but you are either REALLY STUPID or a big HYPOCRITE.

  39. JB says:

    I see you’re using a statistic to show a 26.9 “rate” of rape. According to your source, that is 26.9 rapes per every 100,000 people in 2012. That’s a statistical 0%.

    Not downplaying how abhorrent that act is, as I believe anyone convicted of rape should be castrated or worse. It just seems extremely misleading when we see these stats used to push an agenda around social justice issues. Social justice has absolutely no place in Magic the Gathering. SJ destroys everything it latches onto.

    Turns out people don’t like to be called rapists, racists, or any other buzzword that’s hot for the week.

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