At least two members of the International Game Developers Association have resigned from their positions. This follows a San Francisco party Tuesday night during which scantily clad women reportedly made some attendees feel uncomfortable.
Forbes blogger Carol Pinchefsky wrote about the party yesterday, describing a scene where women in skimpy shirts and costumes danced on stage. Student Alicia Avril told Forbes that she attended the party and wasn’t too psyched about it. “You’d think that the IGDA would be more thoughtful in their own party and how they’re portraying themselves,” Avril said.
The IGDA is one of the major trade groups in the game development scene. This party was timed to the Game Developers’ Conference, one of the biggest gatherings of game creators in the United States. You can see a photo from the party right here.
Today, IGDA board member Darius Kazemi said he was resigning from his position in the wake of this news. Designer Brenda Romero also said she would step down from her chair position in the non-profit organisation.
“I went home last night to work on my Friday GDC talk feeling super uplifted by the turnout and support for the #1ReasonToBe panel,” Romero said in a statement e-mailed to Kotaku. “I woke up to DMs, texts and links to news of the IGDA party. It really saddens me. I have been a long-time supporter of the IGDA. However, my silence would have been complicity. I had no choice.”
The International Game Developers Association is a non-profit organisation that helps game developers across the country collaborate and network. They put together this party in collaboration with a start-up called YetiZen, which took some heat last year for a similar fiasco.
“I had massive reservations using YetiZen as our sponsor the second year in a row after they burned us last year by using scantily clad women,” Kazemi wrote on Twitter today. “But I did not speak up about them internally because I did not want to rock the boat with like, 2 weeks left in my term. For that: I’m sorry.”
I reached out to both YetiZen and the IGDA for comment this afternoon. We’ll update if we hear back from them.
UPDATE: YetiZen CEO Sana Choudary has responded saying that her company will have a statement on Saturday. Why the delay? Choudary’s email to Kotaku: “Reason for this unlike the people spreading this in the press now I actually have critical business meetings and milestones we need to hit next few days. Business success doesn’t come if I let every person with a bone take away my concentration from my key goals.”
UPDATE: IGDA director Kate Edwards has also sent over a statement:
As many of you know, the IGDA was a co-presenter of the YetiZen party Tuesday evening.
We recognize that some of the performers’ costumes at the party were inappropriate, and also some of the activities they performed were not what we expected or approved.
We regret that the IGDA was involved in this situation. We do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people.
One of the core values of the IGDA is encouraging inclusion and diversity.
Obviously we need to be more vigilant in our efforts. We intend to be so in the future.