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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

59% of women who play video games online mask their gender to avoid harassment, according to a new study by Reach 3.

Why it matters: Women face harassment that makes simply enjoying a multiplayer video game online a fraught proposition.

  • Some women play as male characters, refrain from speaking over voice chat, disengage, or seek women-only gaming groups to avoid sexist comments and harassment.
  • "We try to hide what we are so people don't flirt with us, send us stuff or send us messages we really don't want or pictures," one respondent to the Reach 3 survey said.
  • Three quarters said they've faced gender-based discrimination, including sexual messages, patronizing comments and "men throwing or leaving a game when finding out the player is a woman."

The big picture: Gaming has historically been marketed to boys and men, explicitly or implicitly encouraging a culture in online games that is hostile to girls and women. Progress to create a more tolerant atmosphere is slow.

  • Experts say men need to call out other men, to create a climate inhospitable to harassment.
  • The games industry itself and the competitive gaming scene are dominated by men and have been slow to root out harassers and abusers. A wave of #MeToo accounts made headlines last summer.

Women play many of the same games as men.

  • 88% of women in Reach 3's survey say they play competitive games, including MOBAs, first-person shooters, fighting games and more.

Watch this viral clip from January, in which a streamer verbally dismantles a sexist male Twitch viewer as she flawlessly plays a game.

The bottom line: Chronic harassment of women and girls happens in such great numbers that many women aren't allowed to be themselves even in online spaces.

Go deeper

A game review, with one less string attached

Screenshot: Marvelous/Grasshopper Manufacture

It’s unclear if the upcoming Nintendo Switch releaseNo More Heroes 3” is good or bad, but an outcry over its review embargo raised a red flag.

Driving the news: A restriction that would have blocked critics from reviewing the game until nine hours after it went on sale was altered last night in a reminder of how fraught the game-reviewing process tends to be.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.