Game developers are highlighting sexual harassment in the industry after several people accused colleagues and peers of assault and abuse. Many women came forward and shared their experiences online, after a developer posted a blog alleging she was raped by a colleague.
The allegations cannot be detailed for legal reasons. But the wave of posts has been compared to the “me too” movement, which exposed harassment in the film industry.
“Video games are having a #metoo moment. The toxicity from fans has been well documented for years but the toxic, abusive, predatory behavior between developers has mostly been spoken in whispers between trusted friends,” said media critic and writer Anita Sarkeesian.
“I’m in awe of the bravery of those who have spoken up today.” The “me too” movement took off after a number of women accused film executive Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, abuse or rape. Mr Weinstein denies the charges.
The current wave of allegations from within the games industry started on Monday after one developer posted a detailed account of rape and abusive behavior by a former colleague. It was followed by several accounts of sexual harassment from other developers.
Many women described being groped or grabbed at industry networking events. Others said men had tried to lure them to hotel rooms with the promise of work opportunities or collaborations. Some of the accounts detail long periods of emotional manipulation and abuse by senior colleagues.
Many of those posting said they felt “dehumanized” by the experiences, which had a lasting effect on their mental health. The allegations have been made shortly before the Pax West gaming conference, which will see thousands of indie game developers head to Seattle, Washington, on 30 August.
The “Times Up” campaign group, which fights sexual harassment, called the actions described in the posts as “disturbing” and “unconscionable”. “This should be a moment of reckoning for the industry. This culture of sexual harassment, gas-lighting and retaliation cannot go on any longer,” the group said.