TW: Rape, Physical And Emotional Abuse.
Recently, a pair of games industry veterans have been publicly accused of sexual assault and abuse. On August 26th, independent game designer Nathalie Lawhead published a blog post in which she outlined her experience working for a game studio in Vancouver, during which time she was raped by composer Jeremy Soule (of The Elder Scrolls fame). In her story, Lawhead alleges that Soule assaulted her during her stay at the unnamed Vancouver studio, and took advantage of her while she was in an emotionally/financially vulnerable state.
i wrote a post that you should read— Nathalie Lawhead (@alienmelon) August 26, 2019
calling out my r*pist & naming nameshttps://t.co/Cc3mHGfiBg
please read it
if you believe me please share it, please rt it, put it on full blast
i don't want any woman to ever get hurt by him again
[TW: sexual assault, game industry "legends"]
In the wake of this publication, another indie developer, Zoë Quinn, took to Twitter to describe their own experiences with abuse. In their Twitter thread, Quinn describes their relationship with one Alec Holowka, whose body of work includes the indie adventure game Night in the Woods. According to Quinn, over the course of their relationship, Holowka was regularly physically and emotionally harmful to them.
Iíve been silent about this for almost my entire career and i canít do it anymore. Sorry if this is rambling and messy, Iím scared shitless to out an industry legend like this but I canít live with the secret anymore 1/2 pic.twitter.com/DpbhtuaoEP— zoŽ ďbi fieriĒ quinn (@UnburntWitch) August 27, 2019
As of this time, neither of the accused parties have issued any statements regarding the matter. While it is difficult to fully ascertain the situation in the absence of more information, our hearts go out to the victims who bravely came forward with their testimonies. We will keep following this story and any updates that arise.
Update: The official Night in the Woods Twitter account has posted a response to the allegations against Holowka. In it, the game's co-creator Scott Benson, states that they will be cutting ties with Holowka, as well as cancelling a current project and delaying Night in the Woods' Limited Run release.
Additionally, according to Kotaku, Jeremy Soule has denied the allegations against him. In a text sent to Kotaku, the composer said that "These 11 year old allegations are false. I am shocked and saddened that these outrageous claims have been made." However, another accusation has been levied against Soule, this time from vocalist Aeralie Brighton. According to Brighton, Soule sent her a lewd video of him masturbating in 2014, and was removed from a project she was working on after rebuffing his advances. More details can be found in the Kotaku article.