The video games industry reels from sexual abuse allegations against several high profile game developers and creators.
Jeremy Soule, a composer who has worked on The Elder Scrolls series, Alex Holowka, the co-creator of indie game Night in the Woods, and Luc Shelton, a programmer at Splash Damage, a developer which has worked on the Gears of War and Batman: Arkham series.
On Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, game developer Zoë Quinn posted allegations that Holowka had sexually and verbally abused them. Quinn visited Holowka in Toronto, where the Night in the Woods co-creator is alleged to have prevented the developer from leaving by withholding the funds needed to get a plane ticket home. Quinn’s account explains that “A lot of that month hiding from him in the bathroom.”
Celeste developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, who have lived with Holowka, posted messages of support, saying that they “believe” Quinn’s allegations.
Adelaide Gardner, a creator for tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons alleged that Shelton “assaulted me and gaslit me and at least one other woman two years ago.”
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In a post on their personal site, game developer Natalie Lawhead alleged that Soule raped them several years ago. “He made advances on me and I explained that I didn’t want this and wanted a friendship. He was very threatening and didn’t listen. He made it clear that it’s ‘him or bust.'” wrote Lawhead in the post.
As is always the case when allegations of this kind are made, there are several who dispute the allegations and accuse the accusers of making the accusations for fame and fortune. However, the overwhelming response is one of support and positivity.
Under Quinn and Gardner’s tweets, there are many games industry figures and gamers offering a supportive shoulder and a simple CTRL+F search for “sorry” in the responses will show that many are appalled at the abusive behavior that has been alleged.
It’s a bit soon to say if this is the game’s industry’s #MeToo moment, and that scores of people will come forward with their own tales of sexual abuse. A tweet by indie game developer Quinn does say that they’ve received several messages from other alleged victims of Holowka’s, confirming that although not everyone believes the allegations, many now feel brave enough to come forward.
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