IGDA under fire for mishandling harassment controversy

IGDA under fire for mishandling harassment controversy

IGDA under fire for mishandling harassment controversy

A report from sheds light on the alleged bullying and harassment of former IGDA Women in Gaming Special Interest Group Chair Jennifer Scheurle, and IGDA’s reluctance to condemn Scheurle in a timely and meaningful way.

A group of developers filed an initial complaint in 2019 with the IGDA Foundation, the organization’s charity, alleging “a history of deception, bullying, defamation and abuse” in a 16-page document describing and classifying Scheurle’s conduct. The complaint was eventually dismissed by the IGDA Foundation, but not after a friend and supporter of Scheurle contacted a plaintiff with knowledge of the report, suggesting a breach of confidentiality within the organization about the complaint.

The complainants next took their case to IGDA itself – Scheurle was involved with foundations and professional societies. The 34-page formal complaint was filed in September 2020 by 14 complainants and six supporters against Scheurle, alleging “multiple physical abuse and professional misconduct committed by Jennifer Scheurle between 2017 and 2020. “. Both the 2019 and 2020 complaints depict Scheurle’s harassment, theft of credit and other professional misconduct.

The IGDA’s formal policy on responding to harassment complaints outlines a seven-step formal process for responding to such allegations, which Scheurle’s case does not appear to follow. As the allegations spread and drew attention, Scheurle was excluded from consideration at the 2020 Game Development Hero Awards, as well as in the Game Awards’ Future of 2021 category. Scheurle resigned from her IGDA chair in September 2021.

The IGDA’s lack of response to the situation also doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident —’s report also contains two separate anonymous accounts of the agency’s inaction in responding to formal complaints of member misconduct. These, along with Scheurle’s case, paint a blurry picture of the group’s ability to enforce its own rules: Scheurle’s withdrawal from the group has come under increasing public pressure and formal condemnation by two other groups, all of which should be followed within IGDA Harassment Policy.

One developer interviewed for a story expressed frustration with this inaction and hurt in the face of IGDA’s stated mission: “It’s frustrating because this group is a group of many people in the games industry, but theirs The behavior does not appear to have the interests of personal, marginalized, at-risk developers at heart.”

Sony Santa Monica writer Alanah Pearce echoed that sentiment in a YouTube video calling for more attention to the story and a more substantive response from IGDA. Pierce has repeatedly expressed his desire for the organization to better deliver on its mission, saying “[I’m] Not trying to shut down IGDA, I think what they do is important, but I do think they need to take responsibility to make sure they do the job right. “

For its part, IGDA points to its recent update of its ethics code and the creation of an ethics committee to investigate similar complaints in the future as evidence of its commitment to getting better. This story of professional misconduct comes at the same time as similar behavior by indie developers like Moon Studios, Funomena and Mountains, and years of bombshell allegations of bullying and sexual harassment from Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.