I Think Overwatch 2's Sexual Harassment Simulator Controversy Isn't a Big Deal

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Overwatch 2’s Sexual Harassment Simulator Controversy Explained 4
Credit: Blizzard

If that title threw you for a loop, don’t worry. So, you may not have heard, but a custom game mode in Overwatch 2 entitled ‘Sexual Harassment Simulator’ has been causing outrage since it was spotted a few days ago. While Blizzard quickly took it down, many are upset that this was even able to happen and are understandably worried about children being exposed to inappropriate content.

However, the flames burned a little hot, and I don’t think there’s as much to be concerned about here as you might think. So, in this article, I’ll explain why Overwatch 2’s sexual harassment simulator controversy isn’t a big deal.

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Overwatch 2’s Sexual Harassment Simulator Controversy Explained

Overwatch 2’s Sexual Harassment Simulator Controversy Explained
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Credit: Blizzard

The headline here is that there was a custom game you could load into called Sexual Harassment Simulator. Custom games are created and hosted by players on Overwatch 2 servers, so they rely on Blizzard but Blizzard doesn’t create them.

Basically, in game, you play as Cassidy, a hero that was renamed to remove an association with a Blizzard employee responsible for sexual harassment. As a reference to Cassidy’s Overwatch flash ability, the game tells you to ‘flash to knock down your victims’ and then asks you to teabag your victims to have ‘sex’ with them. After doing so, text appears saying ‘raping…’ followed by the enemy hero getting marked as ‘pregnant’ in the game. Soon after, a Torbjorn bot is spawned to simulate a ‘child’ being birthed.

As you’ll see, it’s a stupid mode that anybody above the age of 14 probably wouldn’t have much interest in actually playing, but unfortunately, some kids did, indeed, find their way to the mode, causing much outrage on social media. Few were happy with the idea that children could partake in a weird simulated sex crime in what is supposed to a colorful, upbeat game fit for folks of all ages, including kids.

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For many, this spoke to a problem with moderation in Overwatch 2, while others saw this as another example of custom games going too far, pointing to the legions of other custom games you can find in Overwatch 2, like those marked as 18+ or those with weird premises often focused on the physical attributes of female heroes.

What People Are Missing About This Controversy

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Credit: Blizzard

First off, there’s no problem with moderation in Overwatch 2. This isn’t a compliment towards Blizzard but rather an acknowledgment of a sad reality. Whenever you have custom games players can create and host, even with strict guidelines, players will circumvent the rules to try and get edgy content out there.

Just like text filters are well-meaning but ultimately can’t stop anybody interested in being profane, with millions of players Blizzard can’t manually moderate every custom game in Overwatch 2, so what it will often come down to is whether or not enough people see and a report a particular custom game for it to get taken down.

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Second, the idea that the existence of this mode caused actual real-world harm is overblown. While gross and uncomfortable no doubt to see, it’s a custom mode in a video game. There’s no sexually explicit content outside of text appearing, and everyone who loaded into that custom game specifically chose to do so.

Of course, the few who would be interested in such a mode are likely children, but in the same way your teen is probably watching explicit content online or with friends, it’s doubtful that the text you could find in this custom game, while it was live, traumatized many.

While free-to-play, it’s also important to remember that Overwatch 2 is rated, as a video game, for teens and older, so 9, 10, 11, 12 year-old kids aren’t supposed to be playing anyways. This isn’t to excuse the custom mode but more to say that teenagers, as you all probably know, are known for this kind of edginess.

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What’s more is that Overwatch is a game about murdering people oftentimes filled with toxic and angry gamers happy to shout or type mean, profane things at everybody else in the lobby. This isn’t good, of course, but is, unfortunately, par for the course for almost all big, competitive online games and has been since the dawn of time.

All told, stumbling across a weird custom game that was unfortunately kept live for a few days is likely not even going to be the most inappropriate thing you see in a single play session. To me, this speaks less to a need for Blizzard to hire more mods and rather to parents and adults educating their kids on what kinds of content and interactions are best avoided.

Is Teabagging Sexual Harassment?

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Credit: Blizzard

A side question brought up once again by this controversy is the question as to whether or not crouch-spamming, better known as teabagging, is an act that rises to the level of harassment.

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If you don’t know, teabagging is something gamers will do in any game you’re able to crouch in when they want to be toxic, showing off how they’re alive and you’re dead. There’s a vague allusion in the name to a sex act known as teabagging, but for the vast and overwhelming majority of teabaggers, it’s just something you do to talk some trash.

While teabagging is no doubt an instance of griefing and can be pretty fairly considered toxic, it’s hard to call it more toxic than a bunch of other foundational elements found in online games. For example, death comms in Call of Duty where you can hear the person you’ve killed briefly oftentimes leads to toxicity.


Voice chats in general oftentimes breed toxicity, as does text chat. Being able to choose a username is oftentimes an invitation to see what you can get away with, much the same as choosing a clan tag is often a similar challenge. Unfortunately, when you have gamers competing, competition inevitably seems to come with trash-talking.

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This is unfortunate if you’d rather gaming was a nicer, friendlier place, but for many, trash-talking (outside of extremes like using racial slurs or consistent bullying) is part of the fun of online gaming, and it’s also why it’s generally very easy to mute or block folks in games.

Though it’s fair enough to be annoyed at someone griefing you with a teabag, in the context of a virtual game played competitively against other folks, it continues to be tough to see how this particular act can rise to the level of harassment or even sexual harassment.

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