Organizers of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPS) are facing backlash this week, after caving into the stream chat's demands that they remove a table leg blocking a female broadcaster's legs and waist from view. The stream in question took place on February 23rd, however, the incident resurfaced to a wider audience in a Reddit post on Thursday.
"Since the start of DPC, many spectators have always been dissatisfied with our table legs, saying that it is affecting watching exciting games," the organizers explained in a translated Weibo post. "Nowadays, many viewers ask where the table legs are? Here is good news for everyone — the evil table legs have been sawed off by us!"
As pictured above, it is clear that the organizers removed the center leg to ensure that viewers could have an unimpeded view of the female presenter. While not everyone had an issue with the decision, it drew significant criticism from many people online, who saw the joke as objectifying to the on-stream anchor and bad for women in esports.
"Female players feel that it’s a bit disgusting to be perfect..." said Weibo user Gnome children in response to the original post. "In order to let the audience see the female anchor’s legs, the table legs are cut off. This is really unnecessary..."
"This is more of a reason why women don't want to join esports," stated Reddit user BladeHaxorus in response to a Reddit post about the situation. "Imagine being competent at a video game and presenting, working hard to get a job, and a bunch of horny idiots really just want to see your legs zoomed in. Ok, idiots will be idiots. Fucking mass block them and ignore them, right? Wrong. Your boss calls you up and talks about this really funny skit where they cut off a part of a table to show off your legs for entertainment."
Reddit user Morgn_Ladimore also spoke up, saying: "People saying 'maybe she agreed to it,' I mean, yeah, maybe she did. But when your boss tells you the viewers want this or whatever, and 'asks' you if you're OK with it, you're kind of being put on the spot. Kind of a no-win situation. Why can't they just ignore those dumb comments from viewers?"
It is clear that at the very least the decision made a significant number of viewers uncomfortable. The tournament organizers could have very easily ignored the trolls in the chat demanding that the broadcaster's legs be visible. Instead, they gave in to the disgusting comments. The sexist behavior of the chat was not only tolerated but accepted by tournament organizers.
When tournament organizers make decisions like this, they make it clear that women are not welcome in esports.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.