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Woman Harassed by IndieStatik's Josh Mattingly Talks

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

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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? 

Originally Published Jan. 28th 2014

Associate Editor

Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.



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Comments
  • 20
    Brian Skahan 8 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    Fear of being "that kind of woman." Ugh. It's awful that this is what happens in the industry, though it's definitely not isolated to just the video game industry. It's sad that people in situations like these are scared to come forward because they're often accused of trying to ruin the industry, company, reputation of the accused, etc.
  • 1
    M_4800 8 months ago
    Anyone who thinks she was leading him on is an absolute idiot.

    But I don't think she should quit the industry simply because of this type of interaction. Even if the gaming industry was 100% women, I believe that weird interactions would still be happening all the time. We know that women in power abuse their power. Women teachers rape young boys and girls and it happens all the time. Some people are just weird. Some have moments where they just aren't thinking straight. And add the internet, where everyone knows its much easier to say offensive stuff compared to real life, and you'll get uncomfortable situations.

    A woman can rape a boy and get probation and house arrest. And then that woman is not vilified at all compared to what happened to Josh Mattingly. Let's admit that that is BIZARRE. It does NOT excuse the behavior of people like Mattingly, and it doesn't mean that there is no gender imbalance. But let's put things into perspective a bit.
  • 41
    Amazon Eliza Steel 8 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    Breaks my heart reading this. It's 2014 for crying out loud. It's sad enough that this kind of harassment in the workplace has only come to the forefront within the past few decades, let along centuries of women working side-by-side men in fields, factories and shops.

    Geek culture is supposed to be one of the most open and accepting consider the social stigma of just being a geek/nerd/gamer etc. This kind of behavior shows how far off the mark that perception likely is. Maybe industry geeks have just been so entrenched in their male majority or socially awkward that they don't understand how completely tactless they are.

    I also wonder if a lot of geek guys resent women due to various reasons growing up, social issues, etc.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 8 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    It's really not that complicated. Geeks and nerds are - and have always been - afraid of women. It's just that none of us can stand to admit it.

    That's all there is to it. All their stupid behavior stems from that fear, combined with their deeply entrenched insecurity.
    Last edited 8 months ago
  • 5
    Elizabeth T 8 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    Sadly, it's not just geeks and nerds who fear women. Any man who treats women (or other men, even) as lesser creatures/beings/things are suffering from fear and insecurity. They hide it with aggressive behavior, ie, "the best defense is a great offense" theory.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 8 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    Well, of course. It's just that the nerd, almost by default, fears women. Actually, they either fear or idolize females; there's no in between because of the lack of interaction.

    That lacking has a bizarre affect on how the social outcast perceives women. It can take many different forms, but that perception is almost always flawed in some way...as all wisdom is without experience. ;)
    Last edited 8 months ago
  • 60
    Amanda Wallace 8 months ago
    Associate Editor
    Last edited 8 months ago
  • 60
    Amy White 8 months ago
    Editor in Chief
    "'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.'"

    This is the problem, and women aren't the only people who face it, nor is gaming the only industry where it's a problem. Until industries, companies, and people embrace that doing a good job is goal one and the support someone needs to get there is worth the investment, employees everywhere will feel that they are walking a narrow line to maintain their image, respect, and political capital at work.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 8 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    "Until industries, companies, and people embrace that doing a good job is goal one..."

    This. In business, the ONLY goal.
  • 60
    Venisia Gonzalez 8 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    I too, got teary eyed when reading this because in this day in age one would think it's NOT okay. The sad thing is that it's done every day. No one should be afraid of speaking out but often a victim has no choice in order to protect themselves. It shouldn't be that way ever. I hope this unfortunate incident gets the light it needs to make a difference, for things to change. It shouldn't matter what your gender, sexual orientation or race is...if you do a great job, that should be it....PERIOD.
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 8 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    It's just sad that people see gender or race at all.

    If the person does the job and does it well, what else is there to talk about? Such harassment only stems from massive insecurity, which unfortunately runs rampant in this industry. Mature, secure individuals don't go around saying things like Mattingly said.

    Don't care what gender you are, what race you are, what religion you are. All of that is irrelevant. Good at what you do? Awesome. That's all I need.

    The only time this changes is when someone rubs their "difference" in my face (whether they're gay or a minority or whatever), obviously challenging me to say something so they can play their predictable trump card of, "oh, you don't like because I'm..."

    That's equally immature and insecure. Everyone, just...do what you need to do, be the people you want to be, and forget everything else.
    Last edited 8 months ago
  • 60
    Venisia Gonzalez 8 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    I agree with you completely.
  • 41
    Amazon Eliza Steel 8 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    - Did you notice when the president compared the workplace to Mad Men that the Republicans chose not to stand and applaud?
  • 60
    Fathoms_4209 8 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    That's because it's a ridiculous assessment.

    I know men in the workplace who go to work terrified every day. They won't look a woman in the eye and basically try to avoid all contact, lest anything they do be misinterpreted, resulting in the loss of their job or worse.
  • 30
    Game Oracle 8 months ago
    Columnist
    Wish I had been there to actually hear and witness the event.
  • 60
    Amanda Wallace 8 months ago
    Associate Editor
    The "event" was a Facebook conversation, you can read it here: http://i.imgur.com/kQ6XlXZ.png

    If you're uncomfortable with talk of sexuality, it gets a bit graphic at the end.
  • 41
    Coatedpolecat 8 months ago
    Featured Correspondent
    Good post. To be honest I teared up a bit when reading the article.

    It saddens me to think anyone has to wake up and face that kind of environment.

    I hope as a result of this we see more women step forward in the industry. This behavior drastically needs to change and yesterday.