GDC 2023 attendees were reportedly subjected to abuse, assault, and drink spiking
UPDATE: GDC responds.
UPDATE 28/03/23: GDC has responded to the alleged drink spiking at an off-site party, as well as unwanted advances in and around the show.
A representative for GDC told Kotaku: "We are very upset to hear that some people, especially women, reported concerning experiences during the GDC week at off-site events, including assault and drink spiking. This is outrageous and unacceptable; everyone has a right to feel safe. We severely condemn any such behaviour and support the victims; we encourage reporting to the police and hope the perpetrators will be found.
"At the GDC event, we take everyone's safety very seriously, we do our best to provide a secure environment on site, we enforce a strict code of conduct and make sure that the GDC team is available to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, to provide escorts, or to otherwise assist those experiencing unacceptable behavior to feel safe for the duration of the conference."
ORIGINAL STORY 26/03/23: Game developers and others from within the industry are speaking out about "multiple folks" who were assaulted or spiked at this year's GDC event.
The conference - self-described as "the game industry's premiere professional event, championing game developers and the advancement of their craft" – ran between 20th and 24th March in San Francisco, California. As the event drew to a close, however, attendees began sharing concerning stories about their experiences at the event.
"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," tweeted developer Leena van Deventer (thanks, TheGamer).
"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."
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.— Leena 🌵 (@LeenaVanD) March 24, 2023
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.
"It’s gutting to thud back to earth when hearing these things. They shouldn’t happen. This year we shared their photos in group chats, though. And we strategised redress. And we reached out to the women to provide care. We’re better at being kind than you are at being a deadshit," they added in a subsequent tweet.
"We've always had each other’s backs, but now you predators better be mindful of our fronts. We know who you are and who you (currently) work with. We have more info than ever, and more ideas what to do with it; hell hath no fury like a woman informed
"Get the hell out of our industry."
I'm furious this not only happened, but that it tends to happen so frequently that it's become almost common place. It's NOT fucking ok or acceptable.— Guy 'Yug' Blomberg (@YugSTAR) March 25, 2023
We are doing everything we can to work with the venue, look through security footage, and reach out to various people.
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Stride PR VP Guy 'Yug" Blomberg echoed the reports, stating on Twitter:
"We've been informed of multiple folks that were roofied last Thursday night in San Francisco, most probably at the karaoke event we hosted. Thankfully they had friends who looked after them, and they're okay, all things considered.
"I'm so very sorry they had to go through such a horrifying experience, it's absolutely not their fault, and we're already in the process of tracking down the fucking scumbag who did this.
"I'm furious this not only happened, but that it tends to happen so frequently that it's become almost common place. It's NOT fucking okay or acceptable," Blomberg added.
"We are doing everything we can to work with the venue, look through security footage, and reach out to various people. Please check in on your friends, and if anyone else has anything to report please get in touch with me directly, or you can also reach out to the Games & Online Harassment Hotline by texting SUPPORT to 23368."
Every year, there are stories about groping, drugging, harassment, and even more stories of countless attempts to create opportunities for assault at games industry events like #GDC23. It's heartbreaking and infuriating that this feels so normalized...— Games and Online Harassment Hotline (@GamesHotline) March 25, 2023
Text SUPPORT to 23368. pic.twitter.com/XGpwcO8nvt
"Every year, there are stories about groping, drugging, harassment, and even more examples of countless attempts to create opportunities for assault at games industry events like GDC," added Games and Online Harassment Hotline via a tweet, inviting people impacted by such predatory behaviours to get in touch.
"It's heartbreaking and infuriating that this feels so normalised, like something we all just have to put up with and hope to evade by luck."