The Game Developers Conference 2023the video game event focused on developers and other professionals, has returned to San Francisco, but for many women attendees it was a bad experience (and it’s not the first time it’s happened).
Several GDC attendees are denouncing multiple instances of inappropriate conduct, sexual harassment, groping, and even the use of “roofies” (flunitrazepam, or the “rape drug”) among women who attended.
Women at GDC this year have been belittled and undermined in their roles, been hit on relentlessly, and had their drinks spiked by predatory men.
Two women were even lured up to a hotel room by a man in a position of power for a “pitch”, where he then assaulted them.
— Leena 🌵 (@LeenaVanD) March 24, 2023
Developer Leena van Deventer was the first to denounce it on Twitter: “Women at GDC this year have been belittled and undermined in their roles, they entered them without rest, and they put drugs in their drinks by predators.”
“Two women were even lured to a hotel room by a man in a position of power for a ‘presentation’, where they were then sexually assaulted.”
We’ve been informed of multiple folks that were roofied last Thursday night in SF, most probably at the karaoke event we hosted.
Thankfully they had friends who looked after them and they’re ok all things considered.
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— Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg 🔜 PAX East (@YugSTAR) March 25, 2023
Guy BBlomberg, VP of Stride, also echoed that several women were made “roofie”, probably at a karaoke party last Thursday. Fortunately, they had friends who took care of them and they are doing as well as possible.
“I’m furious not just that it happens, but that it’s so frequent it’s almost commonplace. It’s not fucking acceptable.”
Machismo and harassment in video game events, an evil that has not been eradicated
The online harassment phone in video games in the United States has also echoed the situation. “Every year, there are stories of groping, drugs, harassment, and more examples of attempts to create rape opportunities at game industry events like GDC.”
The objective of this service is to offer support and protection to women who, for many years, have lived with the idea that this is something normal and with which they have to learn to deal.
Van Deventer also describes your support and protection network for these cases. “This year we have shared their photos, we have made strategies to protect each other’s backs. We are better at organizing than you are at being shit.”
But these traumatic experiences have been seen for many years. the scriptwriter Kim MacAskill describes an acquaintance who has been robbed on her two visits to the GDC and is no longer willing to attend. “GDC please seek professional assistance for this. As the director of a AAA game, I don’t feel safe attending. I want to feel safe.”