Recently, many people within the games industry have come forward and spoken, openly and bravely, about their experience with abusers. The sharing of these experiences, which have often involved high-level game producers and developers, as well as streamers and journalists, has brought to light how the industry has sheltered many abusers, and has led to some action.
Two Ubisoft executives have been suspended over abuse allegations, and the developer is reworking how it deals with employee complaints as it becomes clear that employees were not being adequately protected. Companies that were previously working with Chris Avellone have distanced themselves after multiple women have come forward with accusations of sexual assault and harassment. Twitch has suspended multiple streamers accused of abuse.
But this is all part of a wider, systemic cultural issue, and the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has released a statement calling for the industry to “recognize the failures that led to these situations.” It includes links to resources for victims of harassment, and outlines some of the ways in which the games industry has failed to keep people safe from harassment and abuse.
The full statement from executive director Renee Gittins, is below.
IGDA Statement, June 30, 2020
“Over the past week, brave individuals have shared their experiences with discrimination, assault, and sexual harassment within the game industry and at our events. It is heartbreaking to witness how many people have suffered at the hands of abusers within our industry and to recognize how many more continue to bear their pain in silence. It is imperative that we recognize the failures that led to these situations and come together to create solutions that ensure the game industry is inclusive, supportive, and safe for all developers.
Each and every one of us can help our industry be a safer and more inclusive environment. We encourage you to stand up for your fellow developers against any injustices you witness and know that the IGDA and the game industry at large will support you. If you are in need of support, please use our harassment resources or contact us.
In order to support diversity within our industry, we cannot allow harassers and sexual misconduct to go unchecked. All of the efforts to recruit women are in vain if they are assaulted or made to feel unwelcome within our industry and its events. We must use this as a turning point so that we can ensure that game development and game developers are able to thrive.
We also recognize that change is needed from the top to be truly effective. This does not mean simply writing policies, but truly implementing, upholding, and living them. Our latest Developer Satisfaction Survey showed that while 71% of companies had non-discrimination policies and 64% had sexual harassment policies, only 59% felt those policies were adequately enforced and 65% believe there is not equal opportunity for all within the game industry.
The IGDA is working to create a compilation of resources for game studio leadership to ensure the cultivation of safe, positive company culture. We need to fix this system from the top down to uproot toxic cultures and harassment. For too long people in power have turned a blind eye to harassment allegations. We must stop this cycle and remove the poison that stops the growth of diversity within our industry.
Together we can condemn the failures in our industry’s past and take the steps forward to enact change in our industry that will ensure this wonderful, creative, diverse industry will support every person who contributes to it.”
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