Hyerim Lee and the Gender Witch-Hunt

Hyerim LeeHyerim Lee is an e-sports Hearthstone athlete that goes by the name of MagicAmy. She is one of the most successful female Hearthstone gamers finishing in the top four in week five at the 2014 ESL Hearthstone Legendary Series and taking the number one on the sixth week. Her showing got her signed on with Tempo Storm, becoming the second female to join a major team. She also qualified for the ESL Legendary Series finals to take place in California.

Then allegations started to circulate around Reddit and YouTube that MagicAmy wasn’t what she claimed to be. That MagicAmy was being played by a Canadian guy behind the scenes with his ex-girlfriend playing the front. The conspiracy theory was fueled by speculation with no real evidence. The fire started to spread so much that even The Daily Dot started to look around for circumstantial evidence. In order to fan back the flames, Tempo Storm started up their own investigation into the allegations.

The team released a statement on their website on February 20, 2015 that MagicAmy decided to part ways with Tempo Storm. They also provided the information they obtained in their investigation.

We believe that MagicAmy is one person and that Hyerim Lee is indeed who she claims to be. This is based on multiple eyewitness and firsthand testimonies claiming that they interacted with her individually without William Blaney, her ex-boyfriend seen in cached pictures sharing the same username. We went through great lengths to cross reference travel records, personal information, and testimonies of accounts from her recent past. The personal information she has given us, combined with her employment records with Lunarch Studios, relationships with players, and the fact that she has met people face-to-face is enough to confirm her identity.

I find the interesting that gamers believed that Lee can’t possibly be that good without a man playing for her in the background. After all, that is what started this probe in looking into her identity. Andrey Yanyuk, the captain of Tempo Storm who led the investigation, expressed his disgust at the community in how they treated Lee.

This is a form of gender harassment, plain and simple. It is another effort by male-centric gamers that want to keep women out of their little circle. Or it might just simply be ego, because they cannot wrap their heads around how a woman can be better than a man at games. Regardless, it is clearly sexist and bullying someone because of their gender.

As a transgender gamer I have an interest in this type of bullying to come to an end. Although it was gamers accusing a cisgender female of actually being a cisgender male, it is not too different then a successful transgender female gamer being accused of actually being a male. In fact, I have seen these comments made about Scarlett, where gamers say that she is good because she is a “man”.

I would love to see e-sports being more egalitarian and open for all regardless of one’s gender.  Yet, we still have a long ways to go.

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Katie

Katie’s first experience with video games was in the late 1970s with Pong on the family Tandy TRS-80 home computer. She published her first gaming review in 1982 for the TRS-80 video game Rear Guard. It was around this time that Katie also discovered the joy of role-playing games, starting with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In college she played Doom, getting her into first person shooting games. This interest lasted until Final Fantasy XI was released when she started to spend time playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Currently she has an interest in many different genres of video games. She lives in Elgin, Illinois with her cat Éowyn.

About Katie

Katie’s first experience with video games was in the late 1970s with Pong on the family Tandy TRS-80 home computer. She published her first gaming review in 1982 for the TRS-80 video game Rear Guard. It was around this time that Katie also discovered the joy of role-playing games, starting with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In college she played Doom, getting her into first person shooting games. This interest lasted until Final Fantasy XI was released when she started to spend time playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Currently she has an interest in many different genres of video games. She lives in Elgin, Illinois with her cat Éowyn.