Candy Crush developer King responds to criticism over the cancellation of its Gaming Ladies event. The women-only games event was set to take place in Barcelona, Spain later this month, but was cancelled due to online harassment.
King has previously voiced its support for diversity in the games industry, which is why some were so frustrated that the event was called off.
King Cancels Gaming Ladies Event
Initially set to take place on July 27, King called off Gaming Ladies as an online Spanish forum caught wind of the event, leading to a wave of harassment and hostility in protest of the women-only event. But King’s decision also caught backlash, particularly from famous indie gaming figure Rami Ismail who mentioned Gaming Ladies during his talk at the Gamelab event in Barcelona.
Ismail told attendees that it is “important” to show support for events like Gaming Ladies, “to show people who are passionate about games, that our industry is welcoming and safe.” Women-only events are no different from other special interest meetups for C++ developers or those involved in orchestral music. They allow people to have “open and honest discussions about shared issues” and that the cancellation of Gaming Ladies is “damaging” to the industry.
In a statement to VentureBeat, King explained its decision:
“At King, we’re committed to fostering a culture of diversity and equality and have a number of initiatives in place to support this goal.
In this instance, we agreed to host a ‘Gaming Ladies’ event at the King office in Barcelona and the event attracted a lot of interest, mainly positive but some people had negative feedback to the fact it was an all-women event. We have decided to put this event on hold for the moment for two reasons. Firstly, we want to consider the feedback we’ve received around the event and secondly, for the safety of our staff and people registered to attend.”
While some agree that it’s fair for King to consider the safety of attendees, others are not convinced. Some argue that the Candy Crush creator is simply ‘giving in’ to harassers’ demands to cancel the event as they did not agree with an event that excluded men.
During his talk at Gamelab, Ismail said that the industry should not defend harassment “even by accident.” King may not have set out to defend the harassers intentionally, but the company has inadvertently done so anyway. And so although the company supports diversity in the industry on paper and in statements, the company will now have to show that belief in practice.
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