Jennifer Scheurle, IGDA Chair, Steps Down Over Abuse Allegations.
The International Game Developer Association’s chair of Women in Games (WIG) Special Interest Group (SIG) had to step down over increasing allegations of abuse.
The victims lodged former complaints back in 2019 and 2020 after “multiple informal complaints.” The formal complaint report is 120 pages long consisting of statements and evidence from the victims.
The news came out last week when Scheurle took to Twitter and announced that she is stepping down from her role as IGDA WIG SIG chair. The allegations against Scheurle were made a while back but didn’t reach the public as they did recently. Scheurle was nominated in GameHers awards as ‘Rising Leader’ and ‘Advocate of the Year.’ It was after the nominations that victims started raising voices.
One such victim Noni Och tweeted, “Jennifer Scheurle should not be nominated for anything let alone a ‘Rising Leader’ award.” She further shared that she was “manipulated and essentially groomed” by Scheurle.
Scheurle in her statement said, “I have always tried to embody the value of believing victims and this does not change with the accused being myself. Many people I love are hurting and I wish to not bring any more harm to any of you. I’m sorry for any harm I have caused Noni and others, both past and present.”
She also added that she won’t be taking part in awards and retract her nominations. Moreover, she also said that she will refrain from advocacy work and upcoming writing and speaking gigs.
However, the statement released by IGDA rejected allegations on Scheurle and said, “After thorough investigation, the submitter of the complaint was informed there was not [sic] compelling evidence of wrongdoing. They were also invited to submit additional materials in the future to have the investigation reopened.”
Jennifer Scheurle is also a lead game designer at Black Bird Interactive. After the allegations surfaced on Twitter, Black Bird Interactive CEO Rob Cunningham reiterated that their company takes harassment seriously. BlackBird has also launched an internal investigation in the company to see if there is any unacceptable behavior of anyone with any of its employees.