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Woman Harassed by IndieStatik's Josh Mattingly Talks

Woman harassed by IndieStatik reporter speaks out about harassment in the industry.

If you care about women in the games industry, it's hard to miss the scandal involving veteran reporter Josh Mattingly and an unnamed female game developer. Last week a screen capture of their Facebook conversation went viral. In it, Mattingly escalates a conversation to a point that includes the line "kiss you on the vagina," and only gets worse from there. You can read more information about the conversation and immediate aftermath in CoatedPolecat's fantastic article.

Since the incident, Kotaku has managed to figure out who the woman is. Her anonymity preserved, she chose to speak to them about sexual harassment in the industry. It's a fantastic and chilling read, and you can get the full experience on Kotaku.

The woman, given the alias Alice Mercier, details not just her discomfort in that conversation but in the industry in general: 

I know there were people saying that I was leading him on, or that I should have shut it down...It gets difficult, because you're in shock, and your brain isn't really thinking, 'I am going to tell this guy that this is not appropriate.' It's more of 'I'm just going to ignore this and hope that it gets dropped." 

She talks about how its career suicide to go out and actually talk about her harassment. Currently, few people she interacts with realize that she is the woman in the IndieStatik scandal, and it seems like she would like to keep it that way. Every woman interviewed for the Kotaku article declined to go on record, a sign of the fear of being "that kind of woman." Another woman interviewed for the article states: 

"As a woman in game development, I have only so much political capital to spend before I get dismissed as a chick, [as] crazy, hysterical, shrill, stupid, not a real woman, not a real gamer."

As a woman in game development, I have only so much political capital to spend before I get dismissed as a chick, [as] crazy, hysterical, shrill, stupid, not a real woman, not a real gamer.

The comments made by Josh Mattingly highlight an unfortunate underside to the world of game development. While women have been a part of gaming since its inception, the industry is still a boys club. Game Developer Magazine reports "women make up around a fifth of that workforce; they're paid an average of about 25% less than their male counterparts." Online, female game developers are harassed based solely on their gender, as shown by the case of Zoe Quinn who dared try to put a game through Steam Greenlight.

What are your thoughts on the IndieStatik situation? With sexual harassment of women in the gaming industry? 

Published Jan. 28th 2014
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