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- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Final Fantasy 14 is one of the biggest MMORPGs today with hundreds of thousands of active players around the world. Given its large playerbase, it isn’t a surprise that there would be large fansites dedicated to the game, the biggest of which is The Moogle Post.
A new report by PC Gamer calls to attention accusations of sexual harassment against the website’s founder and editor-in-chief, a player named “Oldbear Stormborn.” According to the report, alleged victims of Oldbear, who refer to themselves as Anonymous Janes to protect their identities, have come forward with their stories of sexual harassment that also involved blackmail, coercion, and emotional manipulation. A total of 15 women have shared their stories, although not all of them have been published at this time, with some presenting screenshots of conversations with Oldbear that allegedly prove the harassment.
The testimonies allege that Oldbear began his cycle of abuse years before The Moogle Post even existed, with the earliest story occuring in 2013 wherein he allegedly entered into separate abusive relationships with two members of the free company (guild) they were in at the time. The testimonies of the two women depict very similar stories of emotional manipulation, verbal abuse, solicitation of sexual material and/or acts, and blackmail.
The report supposedly reveals a pattern of abuse throughout the stories that involve something called “love-bombing” which is then followed by manipulation or blackmail. This includes the stories of some of the women who worked with Oldbear at The Moogle Post. Several of the shared conversations with Oldbear even show him admitting to his manipulative actions, even going as far as calling it a “game.”
Since the testimonies began coming out online, Oldbear has resigned as editor-in-chief of The Moogle Post, deleted his social media accounts, and sent a statement to PC Gamer seemingly apologizing for his actions yet never specifically admitting them. Soon after though, Oldbear restored his social media accounts and has expressed his intention to keep working on The Moogle Post while also declaring the accusations against him to be false.
The report also reveals that Oldbear or an associate of his has expressed intentions to publicize sensitive materials of the victims, seemingly in an effort to silence them.
It’s unclear what will happen next as more testimonies are shared. The report states that some of the contributors of The Moogle Post have expressed their intention to cut ties with the website due to these events. Many others have expressed support for the victims although there are still some who are skeptical about the reports, regardless of the quantity of the stories and the evidence that supports them. Regardless, the repercussions towards Oldbear as well as The Moogle Post will become evident in the coming days and weeks.
The #MeToo movement has continued to grow since it first appeared last year and its growth beyond Hollywood and into other sectors such as video game communities shows just how much. As for the Anonymous Janes, their mission is to not only provide a platform for victims to tell their story but to also spread awareness that abuse in online communities exist and to warn other women who might come across Oldbear or someone like him.