I know we tend to like keeping things positive and chill here, but this is really important news that I think ought to be shared. Some women have come forward to share their stories of abuse and trauma they’ve endured in the games industry. [cw for sexual abuse/assault]
Sorry if I missed someone, I added all that I’ve seen so far.
Horrifying stories. Grateful for social media to be able to give these victims a voice. It’s hard reading them tbh. I hate reading the threads about Zoe where some people discredit her… as a woman and victim of molestation as a child I can’t help but believe them all. It takes SUCH courage to come out and say someone did something like that to you. I’ve told people close to me, but never reached out to make sure they were reprimanded ect. The things your brain tells you like “they didn’t mean it” “don’t want to make a big deal now since it’s been so long” and on top of all of that if they were a big name that could hurt your career? I can’t imagine. That’s why I believe them though.
Also how do you feel about the games they created? That’s where it’s hard for me to separate the creations from the creators, should we? I love Night in the Woods… not sure how to think about it now.
It’s awful, and unimaginable for anyone who has not gone through something like this. And the world makes it very hard for victims of abuse in general. There are ideological and social structures in place that make it hard for victims to even process abuse on a personal level, never mind outwardly or on a public level. It’s terrible.
It’s difficult. On the one hand there’s a lot of media that we can turn to instead, but on the other there are other people who worked on games like that and it’s as much theirs as that of the person in question. So maybe not quite a separation of art from artist but an acceptance that art like a game is never just one person’s creation. Regardless, opting out of a game or any media is a fair choice.
Sorry to hear you had to go through that as a child, I hope things are a lot better for you now.
It is honestly so tiring to see jerks victim blaming these people; it’s even more incredible that Zoe Quinn has shared her story again after dealing with the GamerGate crap a few years ago.
I’m not too sure myself yet. I’ve had NITW on my wishlist for ages and I still want to play it. Alec co-founded the studio that created the game, and while I don’t want to give him any money… I also don’t want to discredit the hard work of all the other folks who contributed to the game either, they deserve their fair share… Honestly, if someone chose to play or not to play it because of this, I wouldn’t be mad.
If it’s any comfort, the other co-creater of NITW, Scott Benson has claimed they didn’t know about Alec’s history but that they believe Zoe. Twitter thread here: Henry Dubb OK on Twitter: "thanks to folks who dm'd me about the thing, no we didn't know about that thing, i'll say something about the thing when i have actual words put together."
BTW, if anyone knows which studios Natalie Lawhead was referring to in her blog post, please DM me. I’ve no idea who they might be, and while I understand that she didn’t publicize their names for her own reasons, I would like to know.
I don’t want to accidentally support a company with toxic management and workspace (as someone who has been through some of that shit myself).
Seems like the industry is finally getting its #MeToo moment.
Alexis Kennedy, developer and designer at Failbetter Games (Fallen London, Sunless Seas), also accused of abusing women.
Thanks for sharing updates here! I’m glad to see that the NITW studio is genuinely taking the issue seriously and taking Alec off the team. Can’t speak for creations from others accused, but I think this clears up some guilt anyone might have had about enjoying NITW.
Update post: [CW again for sexual harassment/assault]
First off, some of the people I’ve mentioned are actually non-binary. I didn’t know (not everyone has their pronouns listed in their Twitter bio), so I’m sorry about that. Didn’t want or mean to erase our non binary folks.
More Sources Below
Noel Berry and Matt Thorson have come out to support and corroborate Zoe’s story: Matt Thorson 🍂 on Twitter: "I lived and worked with him, and it took me so long to understand. I just want to echo Noel, I’m sorry this happened and I believe you ❤️… https://t.co/79WpwtfAuf"
Adelaide Gardner had mentioned Luc Shelton raping her also in Sep. of last year but that post didn’t get any media attention: Adelaide 🔜 PAXU on Twitter: "Watching #KavanaughHearings, a lot of feelings were brought up. A lot of bad memories. February, Luc Shelton assaulted me in his home. It was extremely painful, I was crying, & I begged him to stop. He didn't. I didn't realize what had happened until therapists sat me down."
Autumn Taylor has reported on Michael Antonov groping her during a VR demo: Autumn Rose Taylor 🔜 #OC6 on Twitter: "Fuck it. That this experience sticks with me years later... means something. This person in a position of power when VR was new made me feel small. I shouldn’t discredit my experience. Michael Antonov was a fucking creep to me at an Oculus event. Men don’t get to keep doing this.… https://t.co/l2unvJWg4P"
Katie Chironis also experienced harassment at an Oculus event: Katie Chironis on Twitter: "I was sexually harassed at an oculus holiday party in front of about 10 other employees, several of whom instantly came forward to corroborate the story when I reported it to HR. the guy still works there. Oculus’s “zero tolerance” policy is a real soft zero, as it turns out… https://t.co/MHaW2pPY6V"
Adding on to what @Sir_Laguna mentioned above, Meg Jayanth has come forward about Alexis Kennedy’s abuse: meg jayanth on Twitter: "An anon account has been naming abusers in the games industry. Alexis Kennedy is one of them. I can't speak to the motives of the anon, but Alexis is a well-known predator in the games industry. I have been warning people about him for years."
Further corroboration on Alexis Kennedy from Leigh Alexander, Bruno Dias, Lesleyann White, and Olivia Wood
Carrie Witt on Marc Ten Bosch: ✨Carrie Witt✨ on Twitter: "I experienced this at my FIRST networking event, as a 21 year old still in college, interning for two companies. I was asked by one company to help throw a PAX East party. I was so excited to be taken seriously, to be asked to help, and to get to network and make friends."
Rock Paper Shotgun and games industry.biz have started sharing coverage on it
Damon Reece has called out Starbound for not paying workers: damoon's haunted 🏳️⚧️ on Twitter: "i started out my gamedev career working on starbound for almost two years. i was sixteen. i worked hundreds of hours and wasn't paid a single cent for it while the company made unbelievable amounts of money off of my labour, and that of around a dozen other unpaid workers."
No pay accusation corroborated by others who have worked with Chucklefish in the past: Samanthuel Louise Gillson, Liz last name?, Christine last name?
Yes! that was very quick action on there part as well. Wow props to them.
Zoe Quinn has had to delete her Twitter account due to the increased amount of Internet hate after the news broke, and Alec’s sister had to private her Twitter due to people sending her awful messages about her brother.
But maybe this painful episode can turn into something better someday:
While I praise Alec’s work, consider this- people left the industry because of what he did. People gave up their dreams, the art they wanted to make. People, drawn by the promise of working with a well known indie developer, found themselves caught between giving up their dreams and financial stability and getting away from him. People spent years with him as a destructive presence in their lives. People developed PTSD. People spent hours and money on therapy. People felt trapped by him. It’s hard for me to see how one man’s work is worth what he did to so many others.
Wow, thanks for sharing. Sad to hear how much Scott and Bethany struggled with all this