Matt Conn, CEO of the non-profit GaymerX Foundation, has stepped down from his role after a series of misconduct allegations that range from sexual harassment to worker exploitation, GamesBeat reports. GaymerX hosted a series of gaming events aimed at LGBTQ gamers. Conn will also step down from MidBoss, an indie studio he founded known for the game 2064: Read Only Memories.
Conn’s departure comes only a few days after several former employees took to Twitter to discuss their negative experiences working with him.
Musician liquidcrystal wrote on Twitter that Conn and MidBoss “severely mistreat” their workers and exploit queer people to underpay them.
while ppl are talking employer mistreatment in the games industry reminder that matt conn and midboss (makers of 2064: Read Only Memories) severely mistreat their workers and have a streak of taking advantage of young queer people in tough situations in order to underpay them
— jess (@l1quidcryst4l) March 21, 2018
After liquidcrystal issued that tweet, subsequent tweets indicated that others had inboxed them with more allegations.
update: among the numerous people who have contacted me about matt conn after this, on top the fact that “he consistently undervalues women and enables others to do the same.”
it has also come to light that midboss’s “[matt conn] is a sexual harasser”
— jess (@l1quidcryst4l) March 23, 2018
Other former employees began to corroborate liquidcrystal’s tweets, as well. One former MidBoss employee, Tyler Gausvik, wrote, “Everything in this thread is true and unfortunately my reality.”
Former MidBoss employee here. Everything in this thread is true and unfortunately my reality. A lot of sexual harassment/misbehavior, emotional manipulation, and other really toxic behavior. I was threatened with litigation when I spoke out. https://t.co/ExwtSS7l39
— Cheddar Bae Bastard (@aquapupper) March 24, 2018
Gausvik told GamesBeat that Conn threatened him with litigation when he spoke up about working conditions, which allegedly included less-than-minimum wage pay for full-time work. Gausvik didn’t push the issue any further because he couldn’t afford the litigation.
“Nothing I was saying was untrue, however, I wasn’t going to keep talking if there was even a chance of legal action because I didn’t have that kind of money,” Gausvik told GamesBeat.
Game industry writer George Diez shared a Twitter thread about his own experience working under Conn, which included Conn showing him pornography from his own laptop and comments about Diez’s personal appearance.
In a phone call with GamesBeat, Conn said that MidBoss would add a human resources department, which it did not have, under its new leadership. GamesBeat said Conn did not admit to any wrongdoing but said he was “unprofessional” and “weird.”
“I cut a lot of corners, I’m a weird guy, and I put people off in a lot of ways, and I don’t mean to, but I never intend to make anyone ever feel uncomfortable and I need to get better,” said Conn. “I didn’t realize. I would never intentionally want anyone to ever feel uncomfortable. Especially looking back at it, I realize that there’s definitely a lot of things I could have done differently.”
Photo Credit: YouTube/El Charco (Screenshot)