GaymerX CEO Matt Conn and SJW Game Developer Toni Rocca Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Matt Conn, the CEO of GaymerX Foundation, has resigned from his role of the social justice non-profit following long-running accusations of sexual misconduct, including sexual grooming.

His replacement, Toni Rocca, is also accused of pressuring young men and women into sex and accusing them of “transphobia” when they refused.

Both individuals are prominent within gaming’s social justice community, and remain vocal detractors of the GamerGate movement for ethics in games journalism, falsely accusing gamers of misogyny, transphobia, and sexual harassment in the video game industry.

GaymerX is an organizer of video game conventions and events, and was ostensibly designed as a “safe space” for LGBT+ individuals within the gaming community, providing a platform for “marginalized” game developers based on their gender and sexual orientation.

Conn will also be leaving the game studio he founded, MidBoss, which earned notoriety in 2017 after the studio told Trump supporters and conservatives to skip its game, 2064: Read Only Memories. The company tweeted: “If you voted for trump or support his facist [sic] regime, please don’t play our game.. Just go fuck off!”

Earlier this week, allegations had surfaced that MidBoss had underpaid its workers and that Conn verbally abused and sexual harassed people who worked for him at MidBoss. Former team members described their experiences with Conn publicly on Twitter, stating that they had earned “less than minimum wage” and that he had sexually harassed them.

Some employees stated that they waited until the Game Developers Conference had ended before making their allegations because they didn’t want to be in physical proximity to Conn, who was also present at the event this year.

ellen juniper mcgrody on Twitter

It is deeply hard for me to talk about this, but I have heard some of these allegations first and second hand. I am a former MidBoss employee. I earned less than minimum wage. I wrote it off as okay, but in light of these allegations, I can’t justify their behavior anymore.

jess on Twitter

overnight, i’ve received two more accusations of sexual harassment by midboss’s matt conn. when i made this first tweet, i had known his behavior was bad and had hurt multiple people, but even i didn’t know how bad or widespread it had gotten.

chris?? on Twitter

I wanted to wait until GDC was over and most of my coworkers were away from Matt physically before retweeting this but as someone who left Midboss as recently as this January I can attest to many of the things mentioned in this thread. https://t.co/RWBSvJ7Au9

? EMi @ NYC ? on Twitter

didnt you work at midboss? if so are you going to talk about your experience – I am only writing this because of the tweets that were just published: I can verify that the accu… https://t.co/sSbIvbCN4F

Former MidBoss employee Tyler Gausvik stated that he faced “sexual harassment/misbehavior, emotional manipulation, and other really toxic behavior” during his time at the studio, adding that threats of litigation prevented him from speaking out about the allegations. Conn allegedly told employees that anyone who spoke out against him would “develop a negative reputation” in the game industry.

Rosé Royale ?️‍? on Twitter

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. https://t.co/ExwtSS7l39

“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,” he added. “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.”

Gausvik and others pointed to Conn as the source of sexual harassment at the studio, including one other high-level employee, whom they refused to publicly name.

“Matt wasn’t the only one perpetuating these kinds of behavior, but I don’t feel comfortable naming the other person at this time because I do not know anything about their ongoing activities, but Matt was definitely the source, like I’d assume the other person only did it because it was seen as acceptable,” Gausvik wrote.

Conn has since deleted his Twitter account and disappeared from social media.

Following Conn’s departure, Toni Rocca has taken up Conn’s position as head of the company. Rocca attempted to downplay the claims against Conn, stating that “if it looks wrong it probably is,” and urged others not to join the bandwagon.

The new boss may be just as bad as the old boss. Accusations are now being thrown against Rocca, who is allegedly also another source of sexual harassment at MidBoss. L1quidcryst4l, who kicked off the initial series of accusations against Conn, states that the claims being made against Rocca are “not out of line” with Rocca’s past behavior.

jess on Twitter

public testimonies from some of the people toni rocca threatened or otherwise abused will be coming out shortly, and i will link them in this thread, though many are still scared to speak for fear of retribution.

jess on Twitter

i’ve tried, throughout this experience, to not take this process lightly. it was only when many victims came forth with similar stories & toni spoke publicly in a way that indicated she has not learned from this week, that i conferred w/ victims and decided to bring this forward.

An individual who assisted Rocca in setting up a convention booth, claims that Rocca was aggressively sexual with him throughout the weekend. When he rebuffed Rocca’s advances, Rocca allegedly sent him “belligerent” DMs demanding to know why he refused to have sex.

Tweets with replies by Avery, Tiny Goat (@AVeryTinyGoat) | Twitter

The latest Tweets and replies from Avery, Tiny Goat (@AVeryTinyGoat). enby queer theorist with a bad reputation. chaotic good (they / them)・♒ / ENFJ. bahston, ma

Rocca, who is transgender, allegedly accused victims of transphobia if they refused to have sex.

Tweets with replies by Avery, Tiny Goat (@AVeryTinyGoat) | Twitter

The latest Tweets and replies from Avery, Tiny Goat (@AVeryTinyGoat). enby queer theorist with a bad reputation. chaotic good (they / them)・♒ / ENFJ. bahston, ma

Neither Conn nor Rocca have admitted any wrongdoing, but Conn told game journalists that he plans on getting therapy to address his “personal issues.”

“I cut a lot of corners, I’m a weird guy, and I put people off in a lot of ways, and I don’t mean to, but I never intend to make anyone ever feel uncomfortable and I need to get better,” said Conn to VentureBeat. “I didn’t realize. I would never intentionally want anyone to ever feel uncomfortable. Especially looking back at it, I realize that there’s definitely a lot of things I could have done differently.”

You can reach out to Ian on Twitter at @stillgray, check out his videos on YouTube, and follow his political and gaming livestreams on Twitch.

 

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