Esports community condemns Semmler rant against women's esports leagues

Source: Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive commentator Semmler sparked backlash on Wednesday after he released a series of tweets advocating against the ESL's newly announced women's league "GGForAll". The commentator called the creation of a women-only league "discrimination and toxicity" toward men, demanded sarcastically that men-only tournaments be created, along with mocking people who replied to his angry tweets.


Semmler's rant elicited many responses from the esports community, with many leading personalities accusing him of being toxic and sexist.

Semmler goes on angry rant about women-only leagues in esports

Throughout Wednesday morning and afternoon, Semmler posted a series of angry tweets referencing the ESL's plan to create a women's-only league. 


"If the goal is to get more women to compete with men, isn't having a league with free money only for women actively working against that goal?" Semmler stated. "Why compete with the men at all if you get a guaranteed payday in a far less competitive environment? [...] If the goal is to have a women's league, and that be the end goal, then this is a great initiative and I fully endorse it!"



In a follow-up tweet, the CS:GO commentator expounded on his argument, retweeting a female former CS:GO pro, who explained that she spent years grinding without caring if other women competed, saying that she is mad at her past self for doing that.


He argued that ignoring other women and not advocating for them is actually the correct way it should be, choosing to completely ignore sapphiRe's follow-up tweet in which she argued she was wrong for that approach, saying "I should have done better. Role models matter. I'm trying to do better now." 



Surrounding his argumentative tweets, Semmler published a series of emotionally driven tweets, which were the primary source of backlash from the esports community, many members of which accused Semmler of presenting men as the victims in esports. 



He also took to Twitter to mock people who responded to his angry rantings about oppressed men in esports, including mocking someone for having pronouns in their bio, and claiming another user was dishonest for pointing out that men are not a particularly oppressed group in esports, as well as straw-manning their argument.


The entirety of his rant left a bad taste in many peoples mouths, even people who might agree with his initial argument that it would be better to incorporate women into T1 esports, rather than build separate leagues.

Esports community responds to Semmler

Many prominent members of the esports community spoke out against Semmler's advocacy against the ESL's new women's league. Notable personalities like VALORANT Pro Chloe, NGS esports operations employee Aloe, VCT commentator Velly, and many others spoke out against Semmler's stance.


"I never understood the drama around women's leagues in esports," Velly said. "You nerds have GOT to chill. Let the ladies have their thing and mind your business. It's not hurting anybody and it's literally growing the thing we love."



"What in the misogynistic CS caster did I just read?" said Aloe, of esports operations for NerdStreetGamers. "We’re so tired of repeating ourselves. It’s every time an initiative for women in esports rolls around that we have to prove our right to be here."



VALORANT pro and VCT Gamer Changers competitor for 24Haven Chloe Hime said, "I love how when the topic of Women in Esports is mentioned all of the washed-up CS talent get mad LMAO. There’s a reason why people don’t hire you guys for any work under other games."



Chloe continued in a tweet replying to Semmler: "Because of the VCT Game Changers initiative, many teams made up of marginalized gendered players have been competing in BOTH Game Changers leagues AND open co-ed Valorant circuits? In fact, we’re seeing even more than we ever have in any other esport. The goal is never to become the best 'Game Changers team' or the best 'female team' or whatnot — it’s to get better and better to the point where you’re the BEST team."



Cloe also provided a separate comment to Inven Global, directly refusing Semmler's argument that you have to choose between women in Tier 1 and women's events.


"The point of the Game Changers system and others like it is run so that the circuit does not interfere with the co-ed events (eg. VCT GC and VCT Challengers)," she said. "Teams have the option to choose if they want to compete in one of the two, or both. There is absolutely no trade-off or opportunities lost by playing in a women's only league, as the option to play qualifiers for other co-ed events and Cash Cups are always there. Riot did an amazing job at this with their Game Changers circuit."


VALORANT pro CLG bENITA also spoke up, referencing the long history of women's CS, saying, "Wait whatttt? I started CS in '03. Joined ESEA '04 & started playing in ESEA league (no gender requirement). Played my first female-only event in 2010. Having BOTH is what encourages more women to compete in ALL spaces (not just female-only events). The second method absolutely helps the first goal. It's literally the point to show women that you could compete amongst each other, get more women to compete & then they will be involved in the competitive community which then they are exposed to all-tournament signups. Me and so many other women are proof of that and for you to be so close-minded is unfair. Go learn about the history of CS and women's CS which started in early 2000."


Overwatch commentator Mitch Leslie backed the support for game changers style events, saying, "I honestly don’t think this is too polarizing but as much as I like the plans from ESL, I really think that for every DEVELOPER of an esports game, a #VCTGameChangers style initiative should be at the top of their list. I’m embarrassed that OW is so far behind in this regard. Game Changers fucking slaps and I’ve interviewed many of its competitors who have all spoken really highly of the experience. That alone is more than enough convincing for me."


CS:GO coach for Dignitas Faruk Pita also chimed in, "How to piss off the male CSGO community: Host a women’s tournament. Lmao. Shout out to all women playing CSGO. Don’t mind the haters. Do your thing."


Overwatch pro and former commentator Jake Lyon argued that it would be great if we didn't need women leagues, but right now we do, in a Twitlonger he published on Wednesday.


There were numerous additional replies as well from key members of the esports community, overwhelmingly supporting women in esports in response to Semmler's take.


While there were some outliers standing with Semmler's argument, the majority of relevant esports influencers stood staunchly with women and women's leagues, arguing they do not trade-off with Tier 1 women's inclusion and are instead a key way to invite women into a traditionally male-dominated industry.

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