Sexual Harassment Accusations at Tabletop Gaming Convention

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Via Polygon- “The world of tabletop gaming is coming to terms with accusations of sexual harassment after allegations of improper behavior at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio.

Origins Game Fair, which ran June 13-17 this year, is a tabletop gaming convention sponsored by the Game Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA). Its partner this year was Wizards of The Coast, known for Dungeons & Dragons and the Magic: The Gathering franchises. Other sponsors included a who’s who list of major publishers, including Rio Grande Games, Iello, Wizkids, Paizo and CMON.

Origins is an opportunity for fans to see the latest games, and for those in the industry to see each other and do some networking ahead of Gen Con, the nation’s largest tabletop gaming convention, which is held in Indianapolis each August. Many in the industry choose to mingle outside of the event, and that’s where at least one attendee says an exhibitor sexually harassed them. The allegations surfaced on a personal Facebook page and on Twitter, but were also sent to GAMA. The individual accused has denied the allegations.”

The article goes on to describe GAMA’s response of investigating the incident, as while as reddit’s response, including several comments of women describing that sexual harassment within the gaming community is a continuous problem.

Being a woman within the gaming world automatically means you’ll likely have to deal with some form of harassment at some point in time, and that is incredibly unacceptable. I’ve been verbally attacked just for being female countless number of times in online video games and now I refuse to use voice comms when playing these games unless I’m in a party with my friends. Comments along the lines of “Go back to the kitchen,” and “I refuse to play with women because they’re incapable of being good at games,” are among the tamer of insults I’ve heard. While I would obviously prefer to communicate with my team at will, I feel more comfortable not using my voice. This fact--that I (and other women) am unable to verbally communicate with my team because of the likelihood of harassment occurring--should be enough to send shockwaves through the gamer community, but it still hasn't, which is highly disturbing.

The amount of people who are surprised of the harassment I and other women have received in online gaming is often rather high. And even more people I interact with are surprised to first learn that I’m involved in the gaming community at all, although in a way at times, expected. It follows the stigma ingrained in society of “girls don’t play video games," which I'd guess draws from the phrase "girls don't play sports," which likely draws from a whole other set of phrases uttered by men throughout history telling women what they "don't" or "can't" do.

I’m hoping that GAMA conducts a thorough investigation of these claims in order to deliver justice appropriately, as I also wouldn’t want someone’s life to be damaged over a false accusation. It is important to remember, however, that toxicity is a pervasive problem and we as gamers should be banding together as we enjoy the things we love rather than project feelings of hatred, stereotypes, and harassment onto one another.