The gaming industry is abuzz because Brenda Romero, disgusted by an act of sexism at the Gamer’s Developers Conference, resigned her position as co-chair of the International Game Developer’s Association’s Women in Games group.
But this is not the first horrifying story to rock the gaming industry this week.
On Tuesday, Meagan Marie, community manager at San Francisco gaming company Crystal Dynamics took a big, public stand against sexism, too.
Crystal Dynamics makes games like Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain. She’s known for organising “cosplay” events where gamers dress up in costumes.
Video games tend to depict women in revealing clothes, so some of the customers are sexy. This is a problem because some men think the costumes mean they have the right to be vulgar or aggressive.
Marie said on her blog that at the PAX East gamer’s conference held last week in Boston, a journalist with a camera approached a group of costumed women gamers who were playing Tomb Raider. He started asking them sexual questions on camera.
Marie kicked him of the area, reported him to the conference organisers where he was reportedly removed from the show, and maybe even banned from future events.
And then, because Marie was reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In,” she felt emboldened to blog about the incident and speak out against other horrible sexism stories:
“When a drunken CEO of a then-startup pointed to my midsection and said ‘I want to have my babies in there,’ I laughed. … The trend continued for years, and I took it silently each and every time. It got so bad that one of my Game Informer coworkers had to sit me down and convince me to file a complaint against a massive publisher, after one of their PR leads repeatedly commented about how much he ‘loved my tits’ at a party.”
After she posted that blog on Tuesday, she started getting hate mail and threats:
“I apologise in advance for the vulgar language. Yesterday a lot of the fears that kept me from speaking out for so long were realised. Although the general response to my words was overwhelmingly positive, I was and still am being called a stupid bitch, a cunt, and ‘all that is wrong with womankind. I’ve been insulted, misrepresented, and threatened.
She’s said it’s hard on her but she’s fed up:
“I’ve not even detailed the worst encounters (which turned physical) that I’ve come across below. And I’m just one woman,” she wrote. “This is a problem in our industry. This is something that needs to be addressed.”
We have reached out to Crystal Dynamics for comment.
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