(The emotions and opinions expressed on this piece are solely my very own. I’ve not spoken to the particular person I point out usually on this piece, and I don’t faux to talk for her.)
It ought to go with out saying that girls in a male-dominated area will probably be topic to scrutiny. Some males will need girls to show that they belong there, that they’ll cling robust and develop thick pores and skin, that they’ll take it on the chin like a person.
These girls will face sexism and misogyny on some degree, actually on various ranges at completely different instances, relying upon the time they spend in that male-dominated area. By the identical token, they’ll face those that say that mentioned sexism and misogyny don’t actually exist. These are simply figments of the ladies’s imaginations, that they simply need consideration and can do something to get it, that they’re perpetual victims.
In one of these surroundings, a girl has to combat to belong on almost each entrance. Whereas a sport like poker creates a baseline even taking part in area, every little thing else is a battle to a point.
Gamers like Ebony Kenney know this. They stay it.
Gamers like Ebony Kenney additionally face extra scrutiny due to race. This may also range now and again, scenario to scenario, and there will probably be many who say that the racism doesn’t exist. Identical story, completely different barrier to truthful therapy.
A Particular Place in Poker
Earlier this week, I wrote about Ebony Kenney’s unbelievable poker run in Cyprus within the Triton Tremendous Excessive Curler Collection, most pointedly her ultimate desk and $1.7M rating within the Coin Rivet Invitational. I centered on the impression that her successes, to not point out her openness and pleasure and vulnerability, had on me and different individuals in poker.
It was a second in time for Kenney to have fun, to be celebrated, and to get pleasure from all of it. She seemed to be doing simply that.
Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.
As soon as this settles in, I’ll have extra mind energy to assemble my ideas & thank everybody correctly.
Holy shit. I’m so fucking [email protected]_POKER @tritonpoker @ChipLDR @ChancesCards @jasonbsu @WPAGlobal @WPN_CEO pic.twitter.com/tnpIpkLxDW
— Ebony Kenney | Poker & Purposeful Pleasure (@Ebony_Kenney) September 13, 2022
Subsequently, she accepted the invitation of buddy Joey Ingram to look on his podcast in her first public engagement since her Cyprus experiences. And the primary hour of the two-plus-hour interview showcased her pleasure. She shared her emotions and observations, and he or she advised a few of her private life story.
Powerful Questions Require Powerful Solutions
Kenney knew that the interview with Ingram wouldn’t be all heat and fuzzy. Ingram requested the general public to inform him what they needed to know from Kenney, and he obtained numerous enter. He took notes and, in his signature type, took these subjects to her. A few of these questions have been robust, and he or she appeared ready to reply them.
One of many first robust questions centered on backing and/or staking. When a mid-stakes grinder all of a sudden travels to Cyprus for a number of the highest-stakes tournaments on the earth – on the invitation of the CEO of the location she represents as an envoy, no much less – the general public’s curiosity explodes.
How a lot of her personal cash did she spend to purchase in to these occasions, particularly the $200K buy-in Coin Rivet Invitational?
Did CEO Phil Nagy again her? In that case, what share did he take?
How a lot of her almost $2M in winnings did she preserve?
Ingram requested, and Kenney answered. She famous that a few of these questions from the general public, through social media, have been demanding and insisting that if she didn’t disclose the main points of her offers, she was being “shady.” She additionally famous that these questions appear to come back from males, geared toward girls, after they do one thing new or out of the extraordinary. Kenney identified the double customary, the one by which individuals demanded to know the main points of any backing she obtained to legitimize her scores whereas not asking the identical of each man who wins large in poker.
She responded accordingly:
“No. I’m not telling anyone shit. You don’t need to know. … You don’t have the proper to know shit. You’ve got the proper to take a seat right here and watch no matter you need. I get to decide on to be on this podcast. I select to share what I need. I’m selecting to maintain this to myself.”
Subsequent up, Ingram introduced up questions on bots on Americas Cardroom. Kenney mentioned that she and different staff professionals work laborious throughout the firm to be sure that the location is protected and continually bettering. She mentioned that she is joyful to signify ACR, an organization that showcases variety and inclusivity.
Kenney was the primary to handle Nagy particularly.
“Whereas Phil Nagy doesn’t at all times make the most effective choices, I do suppose that he takes a number of the greatest probabilities and works actually laborious for poker gamers. He actually does, really, wish to make poker higher for everybody.”
Prepare Begins to Derail
As Ingram took a break to refill a water bottle, Kenney began to learn the chat to fill air time. She shouted out the compliments and the love she was receiving whereas additionally addressing a little bit of the hate. She acknowledged that there are at all times haters, and usually, they don’t trouble her.
Because the two-hour mark neared, Ingram mentioned that he was finished speaking about Nagy and her potential staking offers, indicating he would veer off into different questions. However then he started speaking about how poker website ambassadors (and others outdoors of poker) get a “free go” to “shill merchandise” with “no accountability or accountability for no matter occurs.”
Kenney acknowledged accountability to her viewers concerning the product she’s selling. She took exception to Ingram utilizing the phrase “shill” versus promote.
WHERE IS THAT TRAIN GOING?
Ingram then introduced up the Daniel Negreanu tweets, a sequence of tweets Kenney made in Might 2022. They have been explanations of experiences she’s had on the poker tables and issues males have mentioned to her and methods she’s been harassed. This was in response to Negreanu having made a few of his customary feedback about why he believes extra girls don’t play poker. One of many cases she detailed was about Negreanu himself, seated subsequent to her at a Foxwoods $10K buy-in match in 2008 or 2009.
4) He simply says,“Yeah I’m staring,” & by no means stopped. My stint on this tourney was quick lived as I didn’t know learn how to fold aces. The sting of busting the match was overshadowed by the aid I felt of not having somebody straight subsequent to me overtly gape at me your entire time.
— Ebony Kenney | Poker & Purposeful Pleasure (@Ebony_Kenney) Might 8, 2022
Explaining additional to Ingram, she said that many individuals make errors and develop from them, study from them, however that Negreanu will not be a type of individuals. Negreanu’s response to her two tweets was to handle it by badmouthing Kenney in a vlog. Kenney famous:
“In my view, he must develop the fuck up and be keen to have robust conversations and don’t ask questions you don’t need the reply to.”
Kenney went additional to acknowledge that she, too, wasn’t at all times good to individuals in poker. In actual fact, she acknowledged being unsupportive of girls in poker however altering and rising over time. Now, she asserted, she is attempting to make up for that by admitting her errors and attempting to be a greater particular person. She solely wished that Negreanu would do the identical, for him to have the ability to have a look at his dangerous habits that has contributed to maintaining girls out of poker.
Prepare Goes Off the Tracks
By that time within the interview, as Kenney was answering Ingram’s query, Ingram was absorbed within the chat field. When attempting to paraphrase her solutions, he was not correct and nonetheless studying the chat. She corrected him, after which he defended Negreanu’s proper to do what he desires as an grownup.
Kenney then observed a number of the chat asking her to handle sexual harassment allegations in opposition to Nagy with the identical vigor as she did the Negreanu scenario. She agreed that the Nagy subject was price addressing.
“A hundred percent. The actual fact of the matter is that there are not any individuals round Nagy saying it’s okay. I’ve had a number of conversations with Nagy about issues that he mentioned or no matter, and I’m going laborious, interval. Everyone that is aware of me has seen me in any sort of interplay with Nagy or anybody…I don’t maintain again. … On the finish of the day, for me, to ensure that extra girls to be in poker, it’s not about telling the lads to close up and sit down. It’s about working with the lads.”
She added that the best way a person responds to being known as out for mentioned habits issues. Some individuals are open to listening and turning into higher individuals, and a few are usually not. She appeared to place Nagy within the former class. Kenney additionally mentioned that she was not “advocating” for Nagy. Regardless of a pushback from Ingram, she insisted that she doesn’t defend him and by no means held again from giving Nagy a bit of her thoughts.
Prepare in Flames
It obtained worse.
Ingram was centered closely on the chat and didn’t seem to listen to a lot of Kenney’s frustration till it was too late. Ingram mentioned one thing about her being “fired up” about issues for ten years and that’s all individuals see from her.
Each tried to carry the interview to a conclusion, however…
Ingram wrongly paraphrased her once more.
Kenney observed a moderator within the chat utilizing the phrase “bitches” about girls combating one another in poker and assumed it was a male moderator.
Ingram mentioned the moderator was a girl.
Kenney mentioned the chat ought to be higher and nonetheless took exception to the phrase.
Ingram blamed the feminine moderator for getting him “in hassle.”
Ingram mentioned he was attempting to grasp Kenney’s factors, however, in actuality, he was truly studying the chat on the identical time.
Kenney identified how chat streams will be poisonous.
Ingram mentioned he doesn’t censor the chat.
Kenney insisted that she units guidelines on her chat throughout livestreams.
Ingram mentioned dangerous habits is subjective.
“Extra censorship is healthier,” Ingram mentioned, laughing. “That’s my takeaway.”
Kenney ended the interview.
Talking Her Thoughts
After the podcast, Kenney took to Twitter with a thread.
And it didn’t take lengthy for the disgusting feedback to start, similar to this one, which disappeared, both by the creator or Twitter.
Not solely did she need to reiterate her emotions on Twitter after the podcast ended badly, she needed to learn abusive tweets and retweet ones like that to show her factors.
Ones she didn’t reply to included these calling her: fragile, a great actor, that bitch, triggered, disappointing, contradicting, hypocritical, performing like a sufferer, simply offended, clown, sex-obsessed, femnazi, Swahili princess, bully, of questionable integrity, scummy, consideration seeker, social justice warrior, immature, has a sailor’s mouth, and indignant lady. There have been ones telling her to stay to speaking poker and, alternately, to close up.
However, some individuals marvel, why is she upset?
In little greater than two hours of what was speculated to be a respectful interview, Ingram turned indignant and distracted, and Kenney discovered herself able of defending her boss, her firm, her previous experiences, her intentions, her character, and her emotions.
You will need to word that roughly half-hour into mentioned podcast, Kenney addressed the best way some males within the poker public reply to her. She mentioned that she was conscious of the “disgusting” nature of the web chat that ran alongside the Triton livestreams. Nevertheless, since she was taking part in stay, she didn’t need to take care of the chat as she performed.
By the point the interview was nearly over, the chat field was crammed with racist, misogynistic feedback, copied right here as they appeared.
“Extra girls don’t play poker as a result of Joey let’s girls say the b phrase in his chat.”
“OK, WOMEN WANT CENSORSHIP ONLINE, GOT IT.”
“Should you can’t deal with individuals speaking shit to you, you’re can’t deal with poker.”
“Joe let it go, I’m scared for ur life.”
“Feminist exercise happening rn.”
“Giving one particular person all that spotlight is UNHEALTHY.”
The video feedback on YouTube have been equally astounding. These are just a few:
“Some individuals use their id as a defend for dangerous habits and the world doesn’t maintain them accountable. She lived as much as each horrible stereotype she hopes to finish.” (69 likes)
“In my view this lady is what’s mistaken on the earth. (78 likes)
“She’s clearly one other z lister who’s attempting to make use of #blacklivesmatter #metoo to get her identify on the market. I’m wondering what number of instances Mr Nagy got here to her resort room at 1am to catch the spider.” (67 likes)
Word that these feedback have been there for days, not deleted and even corrected by the proprietor of the channel.
In case you are an grownup lady, you’ll by no means in your life expertise any degree of success with out the energetic jealousy of small males undermining your pleasure.
I hope future generations of girls have a unique manner forward, but it surely will not occur in mine nor Ebony’s lifetime. https://t.co/bdYsGDgc1V
— Kat Arnsby (@ThePokerBaffer) September 15, 2022
Then, there was the two+2 discussion board thread devoted solely to “Ebony Kenney.” It began with a put up stating that she was good for the sport, however, “Who’s staking her?” It solely took to the seventh put up for the racism and sexism to start.
“It’s really easy for some individuals. Simply be black and a feminine. Not saying he can’t play however zero likelihood getting there being your typical on-line dude.”
In fact, somebody mentions the vibrator she wears round her neck and the YouTube movies she has finished about intercourse toys. And somebody quoted that to say, “She undoubtedly looks like the kind.”
After Ingram’s podcast aired, the discussion board posters turned it up just a few notches.
“I noticed her have an entire and complete soften down on the borgata when a desk close to her had 2 gamers joking round with one another racially. … Her melting down at web insults will not be remotely shocking.”
“Former WPT grinder binks large rating, chaos ensues, information at 11, unsure why this can be a large deal outdoors of her pores and skin coloration which makes the entire path primarily based in racism.” (Response to that: “tanned white?”)
“Lol what an insufferable human being. So aggressively woke and triggered by seemingly every little thing, even when its laughably contradictory. She’s additionally probably extremely unstable and determined for consideration.”
“By no means heard of her however she looks like a brilliant poisonous and horrible human being and I really feel dangerous for anybody who need to spend a minute of their life together with her. That being mentioned, she’s fairly scorching and can in all probability get staked in future too due to that so good for her I suppose.”
“I actually dislike when poisonous (and infrequently privileged) individuals disguise behind a declare of oppressed standing to behave badly. You simply obtained an enormous stake to play an enormous occasion due to your seems and gender. … Whereas girls do generally get mistreated on the poker desk, total it’s an enormous benefit in poker to be a feminine beneath 40. … We’re speculated to respect a girl who wears a vibrator as a necklace?”
“Ebony Kenney might be listening to black rap music, the place each 2nd phrase is bitch or n***** …by no means heard her to complain about that…come tf on!”
There have been a number of feedback questioning her blackness, together with one semi-long rant about desirous to know her ethnic make-up as a result of individuals who have extra whiteness than blackness shouldn’t be thought-about black.
This one will simply be right here on this image as is:
The sexist feedback included issues like “girls usually are usually not thinking about technique video games and are usually not comfy with threat,” and “the ‘misogynistic’ allegation is so performed out.”
I listened. An uplifting lady requested the poker world to simply carry their finest selves to the desk and wow, what you bought in return is a humiliation. You Ebony, are a ROCK STAR! Some individuals have to test their jealousy, immaturity, racism and misogyny on the door! #raiseitup
— ♠️ ♥ Lupe Soto ♦️ ♣️ (@PokerLupe) September 15, 2022
However, once more, individuals wish to know why she’s upset?
Damned if She Does or Doesn’t
What many are lacking on this bullying of Ebony is that she was going to be criticized irrespective of her phrases on the podcast.
The truth that she is a girl in poker – an outspoken one who stands up for her rights as a black lady – introduced the haters to her mentions from the beginning. Don’t wish to be handled in another way? Don’t act completely different. Don’t wish to be scrutinized in poker? Don’t play poker. Don’t wish to be harassed? Don’t gown like that. Don’t wish to be sexualized by males? Don’t speak about intercourse.
And when Kenney was invited to play within the largest buy-in poker occasions of her profession as a result of somebody trusted her and believed in her, the questions multiplied in quantity and scope. Don’t wish to be questioned about backing? Don’t play excessive stakes. Don’t wish to get bashed in a podcast? Don’t go on one.
Totally different Guidelines
Males with out a lot expertise on the earth or and not using a closeness to girls of their lives may say that girls function advantageously beneath completely different guidelines than males. Males fret that they need to be extra cautious in how they communicate to girls, to be delicate to phrases and phrases that hurt.
Allow us to not overlook that males created this method and the foundations beneath which everybody operates.
As talked about within the introduction, girls face scrutiny irrespective of their actions. For instance, there is no such thing as a manner that Kenney may have escaped that podcast unscathed, so long as Ingram echoed the messages within the chat field. He ought to’ve been conscious of that, centered on questions and solutions, saved the interview on observe, and – most of all – protected his buddy and visitor from a pile-on.
As a substitute, he facilitated the pile-on.
As Kat Arnsby mentioned in her insightful and private put up about this very subject, Ingram will not be the enemy. There is no such thing as a name to “cancel” him, at the very least not right here. Ingram is healthier than his podcast with Kenney, however to stay as much as that evaluation, he must do a deeper dive – on a private degree – to search out out what girls face each day. And he should determine if he desires to be part of altering that.
Matt Berkey additionally addressed the difficulty in a considerate dialogue together with his crew on the Solely Buddies podcast. He confirmed the degrees of nuance, which ought to have dictated the best way Ingram dealt with his on-camera interview with Kenney. And all through Berkey’s personal podcast, he posed robust inquiries to himself and others, taking accountability for errors up to now and pondering aloud about learn how to do higher. Whereas this was a male main the dialogue with just one lady within the room, it’s a dialogue that many individuals – particularly males – should have.
Many of the podcast hosts, poker information writers, discussion board managers and moderators, and poker firm homeowners and executives are male. They’ll management the narrative, the extent of protection, the slant of mentioned protection, and when the neighborhood – as an entire, supposedly – will get uninterested in speaking about one thing.
Ladies want to talk up…for one another. It’s straightforward to say that we stick collectively however rather more tough to do it when it requires standing as much as our male counterparts and dealing with the wrath of those that get uncomfortable with it. We are able to do that, nonetheless, in a manner that doesn’t alienate these keen to face privilege, sit in discomfort, and develop.
With that mentioned, nuance and understanding should result in a change in the best way girls are handled in poker…shortly. Ladies are uninterested in having this dialogue, decade after decade.
Society – not simply poker – applies completely different guidelines and requirements to girls. Acknowledge that, and work to vary it.
@Ebony_Kenney We applaud ur superb Triton Collection week & optimistic vitality! Excited to see what u conquer subsequent!
Poker neighborhood: Let’s proceed on the lookout for alternatives to raise gamers, employees, media, occasions & all issues poker! Let’s try for excellence over ego.#raiseitup pic.twitter.com/y8ZsrbhvCl
— Ladies’s Poker Affiliation (@WPAGlobal) September 16, 2022