Games industry rocked by multiple reports of sexual harassment accusations and allegations of inappropriate behavior
The games industry has been rocked lately because of numerous reports appearing on social media and game forums in regard to sexual harassment, violent threats, and inappropriate behavior against fellow workers. In one of the most disturbing recent reports, Ubisoft’s Product and Brand Marketing Manager Andrien Gbinigie has been accused of raping a games industry colleague, Kathryn Johnston. Since Johnston made her recent Twitter post about the ordeal, others have come out to either support her or offer up their own allegations against Gbinigie.
Sol Brennan, who used to work at Insomniac Games, was so affected by his experiences in the games industry that he considered suicide. Brennan accuses the company of protecting sexual predators and that it “throttled careers of great women”. Video-game developer Bungie has also become embroiled in the growing scandal via accusations made about a Destiny 2 game-streamer known as Lono, who is accused of behaving in an inappropriate manner with gamers such as JewelsVerne. The latter tweeted that Lono had his “hand on my thigh the whole time” during a gaming-related meeting.
Yet more troubling allegations have been leveled against writer Chris Avellone, who had worked for Paradox Interactive on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. Avellone is accused of deliberately getting women drunk and then making “non-consensual advances” toward them. The writer, who has also spent time with companies like Techland and Gato Studio, has been linked with further allegations of assault and sexual harassment, and he has been labeled a “conniving sexual predator” by one of his accusers.
Kallie Plagge, an editor for GameSpot, has been detailing her experiences with being bullied and belittled by male managers while she worked at IGN. Plagge states she had to tolerate being shouted and sworn at while carrying out her editorial duties with the company, which eventually led to her having panic attacks. Unfortunately, these reports just seem to be the tip of the iceberg, as The New York Times reports that more than 70 people over the last few days alone have been sharing tales of their personal experiences with facing sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior while working in the games industry.
The games industry has been rocked by similar scandals before, such as the Gamergate controversy of 2014 when women working in the industry were targeted by harassment campaigns that even involved rape and death threats. More recently, last year there was another wave of allegations made against game industry workers involving incidents of rape and abuse. Now in 2020, it seems the games industry will have to really clean its act up through sweeping reforms and the establishment of appropriate support services, as more and more victims bravely come forward and make their voices heard. Because the noise about this current games industry scandal won't just go away this time but will grow louder until it becomes deafening.