A serious uproar has erupted in the wake of last night's International Game Developers Association party at GDC, which featured several female dancers in "skimpy" outfits.
The International game Developers Association is taking serious heat for its party at the 2013 Game Developers Conference, which one attendee said had "at least three girls in white outfits - one was in a skimpy t-shirt one was in this weird furry get-up - dancing." There were more women on stilts dancing among the crowd, according to student developer Alicia Avril, who provided photos to back up her claim. "I walked in there not expecting that sort of display," she added.
The backlash was immediate and furious. Board member Darius Kazemi, whose term on the IGDA was scheduled to end in three days, resigned rather than waiting it out, while the Women In Games Boston group withdrew its IGDA support. The most high-profile resignation came from industry veteran Brenda Romero, who was co-chair of the IGDA's Women In Games special interest group.
"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 told Polygon, referencing an IGDA panel discussion about the many challenges faced by women in the videogame industry. "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. And just hours after our panel, too."
Given the drive for equality and elimination of discrimination in the industry - a very righteous drive, mind - it's amazing that something like this was allowed to happen. Regardless of how you may feel about it personally, the optics are so obviously awful that it's absolutely mind-boggling that nobody involved in the decision-making progress put the brakes on the whole thing. It's a remarkable failure of leadership.
We've reached out to the IGDA for comment and will update if and when we receive a reply.
UPDATE: IGDA Executive Director Kate Edwards has issued the following statement addressing the GDC party:
"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."