Because the Culture Wars have now spread to every imaginable front, over the past few years board games have gone through their own struggles because traditionally marginalized players in space fought to be more inclusive, in turn to face increasing levels of opposition. That outcry has taken a strange and hostile turn over the past week, with attendees of the massive Gen Con exhibit being sent harassing messages from people who look like the convention staff themselves.
Several attendees who posted online shared racist and sexist messages they received before they arrived at the show (which runs from today, August 4 to Sunday, May 7). 7 August), some attributed it to program and security staff, others from other attendees.
Here’s an example, provided by program safety consultant Kelsey Danger, showing that the messages were designed to try to convince the targeted people not to attend the show:
Gene Con organizers have since released a statement, saying:
We are aware that there are harassers attempting to impersonate Gen Con attendees and staff via text and email. We encourage you not to engage with them and instead report any concerns…
The selected targeting of marginalised attendees led some to speculate that someone inside Gen Con had played a part, but Gen Con later denied this, saying that none of the attendees affected had provided their phone numbers to the organisers. Instead, it simply seems that folks who it would be assumed would be in attendance at the industry’s biggest North American show were targeted, along with anyone commenting or replying to tweets about the subject:
If you or anyone you know was affected, Gen Con’s email address guide above is a useful tip to pass on. Hateful messages on Twitter should of course be reported immediately.
Gen Con is held every year in Indianapolis, and is the largest board games event in North America, for both industry members and fans. The last pre-pandemic show in 2019 attracted nearly 70,000 attendees.