A new case of alleged sexual assault has just been outed, this time involving Oculus VR co-founder Michael Antonov. Autumn Rose Taylor, current Marketing Director at Owlchemy Labs, said that one of her experiences in the games industry involved “[being] hit on at developer meetups. Harassed and belittled for being a young woman. Touched inappropriately.”
Taylor was initially hesitant to disclose the name of the person involved: “I don’t know if I feel strong enough to tell that story yet. I’m not sure. I’m not even strong enough to name this man.”
Ultimately, Taylor decided to name the person that was allegedly involved in this occurrence: “Michael Antonov was a f***ing creep to me at an Oculus event. Men don’t get to keep doing this.”
Through a series of tweets, Taylor describes the alleged incident of sexual assault and harassment. It allegedly happened during a Game Developers Conference, though the exact year wasn’t disclosed. Taylor was reportedly attending a VR Party and was invited to try unreleased demos: “I was new. I remember trusting them, they’re an important person that I admired. So naive! They showed me VR demos, but put their hands up my skirt while they did so.”
This situation allegedly happened at an apartment near the GDC convention center, something that Taylor thought wasn’t unusual: “A friend had shown me their demo in their hotel, so I thought that was normal,” she said, later clarifying her allegation based on some outlets misinterpreting her story:
“I was actively demoing a VR experience, still wearing a headset, when Antonov put his hand up my skirt,” Taylor said.
Andrew Bosworth, Vice-President of AR/VR at Facebook, replied to Taylor’s allegations with several tweets. “These stories are sickening. I’m sorry it happened then and that you have to face the trauma again now,” Bosworth said. “For confidentiality, I can’t share details but harassment isn’t tolerated or ignored. We investigate every claim, every time,” he added.
Yup. My experience in the games industry with this actually led to me leaving/changing my major in college. VR roped me back in, but this was still a constant reality. Being hit on at developer meetups. Harassed and belittled for being a young woman. Touched inappropriately. https://t.co/RTkHBVoz0Y
— Autumn ‘BLÅHAJ’ Taylor 🦈 (@lusterly_) August 27, 2019