MidBoss CEO accused of exploitative practices, sexual harassment
"I've made some major mistakes," says Matt Conn of 2064: Read Only Memories studio and GaymerX organizer
MidBoss has positioned itself as an inclusive company, but the organizer of the GaymerX queer gaming convention and developer of 2064: Read Only Memories has been the subject of a variety of allegations that paint a different picture.
The issue surfaced during the Game Developers Conference last week, when musician liquidcrystal posted a thread on Twitter about the studio and its CEO, Matt Conn, saying they "severely mistreat their workers and have a streak of taking advantage of young queer people in tough situations in order to underpay them." She went on to say that Conn undervalues women, and has been accused of multiple incidents of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior in the work place.
The musician admitted the information was second-hand, saying she decided to speak up because she isn't in the games industry and was thus is in a safer position to speak up about it. However, a number of former MidBoss employees corroborated the allegations in the days that followed.
Tyler Gausvik, who handled social media and marketing for 2064: Read Only Memories, said, "Former MidBoss employee here. Everything in this thread is true and unfortunately my reality. A lot of sexual harassment/misbehavior, emotional manipulation, and other really toxic behavior. I was threatened with litigation when I spoke out.
"My time at MidBoss was full of a lot of good things and I met a lot of wonderful people, but Matt's behavior was horrific and terrible on so many levels. I could go on for hours. I was paid less than minimum wage for full time work, berated and belittled for hours over minor mistakes, called an unprofessional slut, and was also subjected to inappropriate sexual workplace conduct/harassment, and grooming."
Freelance writer Ellen McGrody confirmed she made less than minimum wage during a stint working for MidBoss.
Freelance photographer and Babycastles member Emi Spicer also weighed in, saying, "I can verify that the accusations are true. I did not have the entire experience that was written about in the initial tweets, but I did experience a large amount of it. The behaviours discussed are not just limited to Matt. However, it is important to note that there are many vulnerable people who need help who are employed by that company. Please protect ex- and current MidBoss employees."
Conn acknowledged the accusations on his own Twitter account, saying "I have a lot I need to say and 280 characters at a time won't cut it. I've made some major mistakes and I plan to own up to and fix them, however I can't give everyone answers immediately, but please know that I will not skirt from my responsibility to give you answers. Please grant me your patience a little longer to make sure I can collect my thoughts."