Sexual Harassment Plagues Gaming Industry And No One Knows What To Do
Posted on Tuesday, January 21 @ 13:46:57 Eastern by Daniel Bischoff
This weekend, a member of the enthusiast press from newly launched IndieStatik.com sent some very inappropriate messages to a woman working in the industry in the hopes that she could confirm some hot news scoops for him.
The gorey details came from Laralyn McWilliams, a developer whose friend received the harassing messages from Josh Mattingly, CEO and founder of the recently Kickstarted website IndieStatik.com.
McWilliams posted edited screencaptures, but the Internet never forgets and the full exchange was eventually revealed over at NeoGAF. Basically from the first few messages, Mattingly spoke rather inappropriately for a professional conversation.
By the end of the exchange, Mattingly promises that cunnilingus is his favorite thing in the world. No one in their right mind would say these things to a professional acquaintance, and Mattingly wasted no time in assuring onlookers that he was not in his right mind.
Mattingly explained via his Tumblr blog that he's been struggling with personal loss and alcohol dependancy, which he says is not a justification or excuse for his behavior, but he brings it up in apologizing so make of it what you will.
In the end, the entire debacle opened the door for industry personalities to shoot their mouths off in the most heinous way possible. Nevermind that I think "pretty lady" is a sleazy way to chat up a professional contact you have, no matter the industry, others in gaming felt like the woman in question didn't do enough to turn Mattingly down.
Clearly, no one in the industry knows what to do and in a hyper-connected Twit-scape like ours, there are more than enough opportunities for industry personalities to shove foot in mouth.
Leigh Alexander harkened back to the reaction she received after drunken escapades on Giant Bomb's podcast at E3, which truly has nothing to do with the sexual harassment this woman received.
David Jaffe argued that the exchange was not "cut/dry" and also said that the woman should have given a concrete negative response, or else go without feeling harassed. Jaffe even said that the woman condoned the sexual dialog with "hahas". All of this was written in Jaffe's natural "screw 140 characters, I'm just gonna keep tweeting" style.
There are more reactions to this scandal, but ultimately this event is endemic of the game industry. Having a "welcome to the club" attitude won't help anyone and offering excuses for both parties to continue tolerating this behavior will only lead us down a darker path.
With the video game market expanding, the medium's unique ability to impress people with new ideas and experiences through engaging play, and new levels of equality breaking ground every day, we cannot accept this kind of behavior any further or else waste the opportunity to better lives with play.
If you're a female in the video game industry, please refuse to stand for this kind of treatment. If you're in press releations and feel like your job is in danger if you don't play along with immature advances like these, get vocal and walk when your boss doesn't support you. I'm sure the courts will decide in your favor in both cases.
Even if they don't, you'll feel better knowing you haven't willingly continued your march into such a toxic, cyclical, and uncaring industry.
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