Brandon Boyer dismissed from Juegos Rancheros
Austin indie game organization removes co-founder and former IGF chair from board of directors over conduct concerns
Former Independent Games Festival chair Brandon Boyer has been removed from the board of Juegos Rancheros, the Austin-based non-profit behind Fantastic Arcade.
In a public statement posted to the group's site yesterday, the remaining board members--Adam Saltsman, Katie Kizziar, Rachel Weil, and Wiley Wiggins--said they were recently "made aware of several concerns regarding Brandon Boyer's conduct in our community."
"As a first step toward addressing these claims, the leadership has voted unanimously to dismiss him from the Juegos Rancheros Board of Directors, effective immediately. While no final decision has been reached, we believe this is the best way forward while we continue to investigate the matter."
The group said it will revise its Safe Spaces Policy, improve ways for people to express community concerns to the board anonymously, and use Boyer's dismissal as an opportunity to make the board reflect a more diverse cross-section of the local development community.
"The Juegos Rancheros Board of Directors deeply regrets that these additional provisions were not in place before we began to receive reports, and we sincerely apologize for the confusion, hurt, or distrust this caused for anyone in our community," the group said. "We are committed to fostering a welcoming and safe environment, and the remedies outlined above are our next steps toward achieving this goal."
Boyer released a statement of his own on Twitter, saying he is fully cooperating with the group for a smooth transition of his duties, which including co-organizing monthly events and the Fantastic Arcade, which takes place each September as part of the Alamo Drafthouse's genre film festival, Fantastic Fest.
"While details of the events that have precipitated this change of leadership are rightly being kept scant and anonymous, I understand that at its heart it pertains to feelings of mistrust and intimidation held by the wider community," Boyer said. "I have always endeavored to create safe and welcoming spaces for all of the events I have been involved in over the years, and I am incredibly disappointed to learn I have failed in that regard here.
"I believe that I let my handling of certain events become a deep wound that inaction would not allow to heal. It has become very clear that conflict avoidance is a personal weakness and failing, and clearly no trait of the head of an organization. I fully trust that new and more diverse leadership can help foster an even better future for the local community of artists and creators."
Boyer then offered his apology "to anyone hurt by any of my actions or lack thereof," and pledged to better himself in the future.
Juegos Rancheros was formed in 2011, during Boyer's five-year stint as chair of the Independent Games Festival. He is also the founder of gaming site Venus Patrol, and his writing has appeared on Edge, Gamasutra, Offworld, and GamesIndustry.biz.