Gaming

Allegations of assault and drink spiking surface after GDC 2023


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Multiple people were reportedly harassed, assaulted, or drugged during the Game Developers Conference, prompting a wide discussion about such behavior at gaming events in the wake of Me-Too revelations in recent years.

Guy Blomberg, the founder of Games Industry Gathering, said in a tweet he had been informed of multiple people who had their drinks spiked with “roofies,” also known as the date rape drug, or Rohypnol, during an after-hours karaoke event last week during GDC. The event, co-hosted by Blomberg, took place on Thursday evening at the Pandora club in San Francisco.

And in an update, Blomberg noted that reports have come in about multiple spiking incidents at multiple parties during GDC. And co-organizer of the karaoke event Ty Taylor said he was trying to get footage from the club to get security camera footage of the event. He confirmed the event had no official affiliation with the GDC, the Games Industry Gathering, or any other sponsors or professional organizations.

The GDC said in a statement that the alleged incidents occurred offsite during various events in San Francisco.

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“We are very upset to hear that some people, especially women, reported concerning experiences during the GDC week at off-site events, including assault and drink spiking,” the GDC said in a statement. “This is outrageous and unacceptable; everyone has a right to feel safe. We severely condemn any such behavior and support the victims; we encourage reporting to the police and hope the perpetrators will be found.”

The GDC added, “At the GDC event, we take everyone’s safety very seriously, we do our best to provide a secure environment on site, we enforce a strict code of conduct and make sure that the GDC team is available to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, to provide escorts, or to otherwise assist those experiencing unacceptable behavior to feel safe for the duration of the conference.”

>>Follow VentureBeat’s ongoing GDC 2023 coverage<<

I have seen multiple threads where GDC attendees expressed horror and outrage at the incidents and discussed ways to address the problem going forward. Many urged people to provide any information of incidents that they witnessed.

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline also posted more information in a tweet about how to get help via a text message.

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