Gameloft's Christmas Party Says A Lot About The Games Industry

Last weekend's office holiday party at Gameloft Montreal featured one giant circus performance, complete with acrobats, stilts and... topless women, according to a few sources. This made at least one attendee rather uncomfortable.

I first heard about the party last week, after seeing a tweet by Montreal-based game designer Michel McBride-Charpentier:

It seems that there were at least a couple of eyebrow-raising Christmas parties in the Montreal scene. While we haven't heard much more about the Warner Brothers one, I've gotten in touch with one attendee at the Gameloft party, who spoke to me under condition of anonymity. According to that attendee, there were several women wearing nothing but g-strings and body paint that "looked like armour with [their] boobs showing."

"When they were done, the girls basically went through the crowd, partying, I guess, with people," the attendee told me. "They were taking poses so people could get pictures of them, and they were 'dancing.' (I'm putting [quotes] because to me it was clear those girls got paid to make their boobs bounce around.) They were jumping around, and when they saw each other, they would make sexy poses and dance together, almost grinding each other."

GameLoft is the popular developer/publisher of many top mobile games, including Modern Combat and My Little Pony. While we didn't attend the party and haven't seen images from it, we have asked the company for their side of the story. We'll let you know when we hear back.

According to the attendee, some people at the party made comments about how inappropriate it was. Some attendees danced with the topless women. Others tried to ignore them.

"I have to say I really was not very comfortable with the situation," the attendee said. "I did not feel [like Gameloft respected] the female employees there. I feel they were not taken into consideration at all. I could not believe that this idea was given AND approved by someone."

"When a company encourages these kinds of things, how are we supposed to tell men in the company that women working with them are serious, intelligent people?"

The attendee went on. "I also felt that it was inappropriate. You know, if the social committee organised an activity to a strip club, it would be weird but at least you would know where you're going. The holiday party, you go there thinking of having a nice time with the people you work with, and you end up with naked girls around you, that is the last thing I was expecting and I felt it was imposed on me.

"I feel quite sad about this, because I know that companies struggle to have girls working for them, at least they say so ... but this kind of behaviour makes me feel that it's not really true. That they do not really want it that much. I feel that if a company that does that tries to hire me, I will probably decline their offer since to them women are still objects that are only good to look at. I am pretty sure some girls/women would think about it twice if they heard about something like this."

In a male-dominated industry like gaming, where females still often feel uncomfortable or out-of-place because of their gender, situations like this can just make things worse.

"I think it's already pretty hard to be taken seriously as a female in this industry," the attendee said. "A teacher used to tell me, 'As a man in the video game industry, you have respect until you lose it. As a woman in the video game industry, you have no respect until you gain it.' When a company encourages these kinds of things, how are we supposed to tell men in the company that women working with them are serious, intelligent people? How are we supposed to tell our players that the girls playing with them are not only good to look at?

"On top of that, as a human being (male or female) I think it is just inappropriate. It is a holiday party, at work. There are some things that are acceptable in a work environment and some that are not. This is not acceptable. The company would not accept pictures of naked women on the walls, why would it accept naked women at a Christmas party? You would not see these kinds of things in any other holiday party, in another industry!

"Overall, I was uncomfortable, but also pretty [annoyed] that some money was actually spent on that, when it could've been on something that everyone could enjoy (more food? magicians? I don't know, something else!)"

Picture: Andjelka Simic/Shutterstock


    I disagree with the line "You would not see these kinds of things in any other holiday party, in another industry!".

    I thought this stuff was pretty common place in Wall Street etc.

    A company that knows how to throw a party... where the hell do i sign up? time to dust off the CV.

    The whole "this would only happen in the games industry" is bollocks. I have read of similar situations elsewhere. I remember one article about a company party in Germany where they hired prostitutes to.. ahem... 'service' who ever wanted it at the party.

    While its fine that some people may have found this uncomfortable and that it was probably inappropriate (I dont know what the company culture is like), its probably worth remembering that these weren't strippers but a 'burlesque circus act' which sounds like something I wouldn't mind seeing (although, again, probably not at a company party).

    Hell maybe they should have just had some sexy men in body paint gyrating around. Keep it fair and balanced and whatnot.

    Dear games 'journalists',

    Please stop writing hyperbole at every opportunity. One christmas party does not make an industry, one sexist trailer does not make an industry, and the ignorance of a sexist PR representative does not make an industry.

    Jesus, you don't hear the television industry saying their industry is a cesspit because Jersey Shore exists, do you.

      I like you, you get a cookie.


      thats not the point it made some of the attendees uncomfortable

        But they shouldn't be uncomfortable, it is only boobs, if they aren't uncomfortable around topless men they shouldn't be uncomfortable around topless women.

          They are more than likely uncomfortable around topless men as well, especially in a work environment where it would be inappropriate for pretty much anybody to be topless. But of course since nobody hires any topless men for these events, we don't get to find this out.

          So I bet you'd be a-ok with some male strippers at your NYE party. Listen, I'll send you a g-string, so you can get into the swing of things.

            I would be perfectly fine with it, it would be hilarious.

    I have a couple of friends who have stripped for a job and both of them absolutely hate it when people assume they were being objectified. They were there by choice, being well paid for it and had complete control over everything that happened. They felt that people white knighting them took away the power of choice and that objectified them more than any of their clients did.

      I understand what you are saying but whether they are their by choice and getting paid dose not mean they are not being objectified. Striping by its nature is objectification, that is the body as an object being sold for the titillation of an audience. regardless of how safe or how in control the women are they are still objectified.

        They weren't strippers - they were painted in body paint. There is some talent in that - hence that international body paint festival that is held every year (cant remember where, somewhere in Europe I think). I might be splitting hairs here though.

        What pay dosage are they getting?

        But in all seriousness, it is not objectifying , I bet you wouldn't say male strippers are objectifying men, it is all a double standard. If a girl wants to sell her body there is no harm in that and good on her, and I feel the same for men who want to do that.

          There's nothing wrong with strippers and the issue is not objectification, it's the incredibly lack of tact and conscientiousness on behalf of the company for organising strippers at a WORK FUNCTION

            Yeah, that's the point everyone's missing here. Objectified or not, it's the company's actions that are being criticized, for not being sympathetic to the fact that not everyone WANTS strippers at a Christmas party.

        Uncle Freeze perhaps didn't phrase his idea correctly. It's not that they aren't being objectified, it's that they know they are, and have made a decision that the money they make for said objectification is an appropriate trade-off.

        But essentially his point stands, these people make a decision, and then have it questioned and or nullified by people who think they know what's best for them. Which is, definitely, trying to take control away from them as a person, objectifying them.

    The human body is natural and something to be comfortable with, not ashamed of.
    Boo to those who felt uncomfortable.

    The comments on this thread show a complete lack of understanding of the issue and totally miss the point. Ugh. Grow up people.

      Well that's the best clarification of the point we've apparently all missed I've ever read.

      So why don't you do the honours and actually get to the point? Or better still, tell the people who lack understanding, mainly you, how this came to be.

    In reference to people missing the point, I completely agree.
    As to the people saying it's natural, he human body is beautiful etc - grow up. It's a work party.

    A work party. EG work.

    If you're not allowed to click on something that says NSFW at work, then why should it be ok at an official party paid for and endorsed by the company?
    I'm a male, and I would be flat out uncomfortable at such a party - I would likely leave.

    I can get annoyed at *some* of the 'women in the games industry' articles that appear here, but the complaints noted in this article are completely valid. How can a company be seen to be encouraging women to join a company then hire a bunch of strippers *cough* sorry, 'burlesque dancers' at a party they host?

    I know I'm probably commenting towards a bunch of 14 year olds, but believe me, when you grow up and get a job *some* level of professionalism should and will be expected of you. And shame on the companies that behave in this way.

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