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Board recreation makers distance themselves from CEO accused of assault

Main tabletop gaming corporations, together with the publishers behind Gloomhaven, One Night time Final Werewolf, and Blades within the Darkish, say they’re evaluating their relationship — or outright terminating it — with accent maker The Damaged Token after its CEO was accused of assault by a former worker.

The Damaged Token is a producer of novel board recreation equipment, and is finest recognized for a line of customized wood field inserts for standard titles by publishers corresponding to Fantasy Flight Video games, CMON, and Wizards of the Coast. Their merchandise are broadly endorsed on YouTube, and have been really helpful in articles right here at Polygon. Based in 2013, the corporate’s success has paralleled the general growth within the tabletop trade over the past decade.

On Aug. 18, a former worker of The Damaged Token revealed on Medium an account of what she stated is a sample of sexual assault and abuse by the corporate’s CEO, Greg Spence. The allegations led to widespread condemnation all through the tabletop video games trade on social media. Spence, in a public assertion posted Thursday night time, stated “none of these accusations are true.”

[Warning: The accusations include references to sexual assault, abuse, and stalking.]

Former Damaged Token worker Ashley Taylor alleged in her Medium publish that Spence professed romantic emotions for her, was rebuffed, and he retaliated. She wrote that Spence “selected to make use of many alternatives to place his arms on me and sexually assault me. If I didn’t enable him to do what he wished he would get more and more indignant and mentally abusive.” Taylor stated she “felt caught,” feared being fired, and that her psychological well being began to say no.

“I ultimately gave in to him and began to do as he wished to ensure that the abuse to cease,” Taylor stated. “I used to be downright depressing at this level. I now totally understood the sport that he was taking part in and I didn’t have a means out.

“If I ever went in opposition to him my job was on the road. He anticipated me to be with him sexually or my job was on the road. He anticipated me to work all hours of the day with no additional pay or my job was on the road. I needed to at all times abide in every thing I did. I lastly had sufficient and regardless of the fixed threats I began to struggle again.”

Taylor stated she ultimately left Damaged Token for one more firm, however alleged that Spence continued to stalk her at trade occasions.

Taylor stated that the rationale she made the accusations public now was as a result of “it occurred to a different lady,” implying that different people “have been harm by [Spence].” However she added, “That’s their story to inform. We can’t enable predators to proceed doing this.”

In an announcement posted to the official Damaged Token Twitter account and on Fb on Aug. 20, Spence denied Taylor’s accusations and talked about her reference to a second accuser. “I now discover myself within the very uncomfortable place of defending my integrity,” he stated. “Whereas I accomplish that with the entire confidence that none of these accusations are true, I’m genuinely sorry for a way this may increasingly have an effect on my household and our terrific crew members at The Damaged Token.”

“Extra allegations is perhaps raised,” Spence continued. “I’ll take all allegations severely and handle them in essentially the most easy, clear method attainable whereas giving full respect and because of those that made these allegations.”

Polygon has reached out to each Taylor and Spence. Each declined to remark, and as a substitute referred us to their public statements.

In the meantime, these within the tabletop trade look like taking the accusations severely. Previous to Spence’s public assertion, Isaac Childres, the creator of Gloomhaven and the proprietor of writer Cephalofair Video games, stated on Twitter that his firm was evaluating its enterprise relationship with the corporate. The Damaged Token’s merchandise had been included in Cephalofair’s record-breaking crowdfunding marketing campaign for Frosthaven, an enormous role-playing board recreation and the third most-funded Kickstarter marketing campaign in that platform’s historical past.

“Sexual assault and harassment has no place on this trade, and Cephalofair Video games is dedicated to creating it secure for everybody,” Childres stated in a tweet. “We’re exploring choices relating to the inserts bought in the course of the Frosthaven KS (in addition to different Damaged Token obligations), and we’ll have extra information quickly.”

Bezier Video games, makers of the One Night time collection of video games, additionally revealed an announcement on Twitter saying that it’s taking motion.

“We have now a zero tolerance coverage for harassment and are extraordinarily disturbed by this information,” the corporate stated. “We’re at the moment trying into this to find out our subsequent steps.”

Evil Hat Productions (AGON, Blades within the Darkish) stated in an announcement that it could terminate its enterprise relationship with the corporate.

Iello (King of Tokyo, Mountains of Insanity) has gone to Twitter and “demanded that Damaged Token stop and desist promoting or selling any formally licensed” equipment for video games from its catalog “instantly.” COO Stephan Brissaud stated he would donate proceeds of the final three years of gross sales of these equipment by way of Iello’s personal storefront to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest Nationwide Community (RAINN).

Floodgate Video games (Sagrada, Holi: Pageant of Colours) has additionally added its voice to others on social media, saying that it’s going to finish its licensing agreements with The Damaged Token.

Taylor’s preliminary assertion notes that she knowledgeable the Sport Producers Affiliation (GAMA), an trade commerce group, that she had motive to concern stalking and harassment from Spence at its annual Origins Sport Honest conference.

Reached for remark, GAMA president John Stacy referred to an announcement emailed to all members of the affiliation on Thursday. He reiterated the group’s “zero tolerance” coverage on sexual harassment and abuse, however added that GAMA is restricted within the motion it may well take on this scenario.

“We will uphold a code of conduct at our occasions and applications, however we aren’t a courtroom that adjudicates some of these points to find out the reality,” GAMA stated in its assertion. “We are going to advocate for members to behave ethically and responsibly in the direction of one another and take actions as mandatory inside the framework of the regulation.”

This isn’t the primary time that allegations of harassment and abuse have surfaced across the Origins Sport Honest. The high-profile occasion is historically a centerpiece within the tabletop gaming conference circuit. Public outcry in 2018 led to quite a lot of useful adjustments in how the occasion is run.

The Damaged Token isn’t scheduled to seem as a vendor at September’s Gen Con tabletop gaming conference in Indianapolis.

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