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New Wave of Allegations Against Game Developers Proves Why MeToo Is Still Necessary

A woman holds a sign that reads "#MeToo."

As Hollywood continues to come to terms with a long covered up history of abuse and assault, the video game industry seems to be about to face a similar reckoning. Several prominent game developers have been accused of sexual assault by various women, including Zoe Quinn, who was one of the women viciously targeted by the Gamergate movement.

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The movement began with Nathalie Lawhead, a game designer, publishing a post titled “calling out my rapist” on her website. She details that she was assaulted by Jeremy Soule, a composer. Lawhead includes multiple emails backing up her allegations and writes about the toxic work environment that also led to her losing her job.

“I realize the consequences involved in sharing this. I know what happens when AAA fandoms go after someone, but I can’t survive not talking about it. Living with this is like a slow death,” she wrote towards the end of her post. “I’m suffocating. I hate how we talk about rapists. I hate how we defend them. I hate how you can share all this, and slowly watch as your sanity gets questioned, and everything about you gets picked apart until ‘did it actually happen to you?’ ‘did you want it?’…”

She continued, “Jeremy said a lot of things about me, to make sure I don’t stand a chance. He controlled my success. He controlled how people view me (both positively and then negatively). He’s good at making people think that he was actually helping, and that you are out of your mind. I worked very hard on proving all this wrong and coming to a point where I could say something and it stands a chance of being heard.”

Following Lawhead’s post, Quinn then posted an account to Twitter about her experiences with Alex Holowka. Her harrowing account, detailing being gaslit, assaulted, and having her career threatened by Holowka, is hard to read, but it’s important to do so. You can see her tweets below.

Quinn’s Twitter account is now home to more women coming forward to tweet their stories about being assaulted or harassed by games developers.

Other stories have surfaced, as well.

This is deeply painful to read, but it is vital that we do so and uplift the courage of these women. They deserve to be heard, and to have their alleged abusers outed and face consequences for their actions. Too often, women are shamed into silence, but we cannot tolerate that any more. Women deserve safety and respect in the workplace, and if a man crosses a line, he shouldn’t get a free pass because he’s “somebody” in the industry.

Support women. Believe women. And for the love of all that is good, don’t just let men get away with this. These are serious allegations, and they deserve to be treated with respect. It’s time to fight for a safe environment to exist in, in all industries. Hollywood was first and still has a ways to go, but if the #MeToo movement reaches every possible workforce, leading to meaningful change, then that’s when we will be able to say that the movement has run its course.

(image: Shutterstock)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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