An apology to the community & a statement of values
I first want to apologize for remaining silent for so long — I have wanted to spend the past many months reflecting, talking and trying to gain a better understanding of the feelings of the wider community before speaking out publicly.
As you might have heard, I am no longer serving on the board of Juegos Rancheros, the non-profit I founded in 2011. As I have since learned, at the core of the issue is my propensity to close down on people during times of stress, and the anxiety that has created in our community — particularly among women — both here at home, and ultimately more broadly.
Instead of communicating clearly, promptly, and fully with people, I have gone silent, left texts and emails unanswered, avoided direct confrontations, and allowed serious questions to mount about the meaning and motivations behind my behavior. The longer that avoidance continued, the more the situation and those fears snowballed, rather than healing with time and returning to normal, as I had naïvely hoped it might.
I think many people who have had personal or professional dealings with me over the past decade can recognize an experience they’ve had with this. It’s selfish and inconsiderate behavior I have begun to take steps to work through, get to the root of, and better address in the future.
Where it has proven more serious is in situations where, for example, I have retreated from personal relationships, causing people, understandably, to worry whether a personal dealing with me could have professional consequences or repercussions for them. I fully admit that I have never taken any explicit steps in my private life to reassure anyone that silence on my part does not bring with it other lost opportunities — that me shutting down on a person isn’t also the sound of 100 more slamming doors.
In that way, it is true that I have never given real consideration to my position of power in any part of my personal life, which I regret. What has become clear to me over the past months is that I have always had an additional layer of responsibility, both to individuals and to the wider community, to ensure that those feelings might never occur. It is a responsibility I flatly did not recognize, and it’s one I take seriously, and care about deeply.
At the same time, though, it’s also absolutely true that I have never used, or even considered using, any of the platforms I’ve been provided to try and hold anyone back, or see their professional life stunted, particularly for any personal reasons.
This is an allegation I have been told first-hand that the board investigated and also found to be untrue, and that they have since informed those who made the allegations of their findings.
I am very aware that the tenor and pitch of the conversation that surrounded my exit from the board last year caused many to believe that something much more serious had occurred.
I want to state very clearly, though, that throughout my career and my life more generally, I have always tried to do what I believed was the good & right thing, and have never intentionally acted in a way that would jeopardize the organizations I oversaw or my role inside them.
I obviously have not always got everything right, have learned a number of hard lessons, and know that I may never get the opportunity to apologize to anyone who deserves it. I understand it will be a long road ahead to fully regain the community’s trust.
I would like to use this opportunity now, though, to say how sorry I am to anyone who has experienced any of the above as they have worked with me in the past. I’d also like to apologize to anyone who has wondered if they’ve put faith and support in someone who was using that good will to hurt those around me.
All of my work going forward will be dedicated to ensuring that I never cause such anxiety again.
Separately, I want to take this opportunity to be very clear about the values I have tried to uphold throughout my career.
In both my work as a writer, and through all of the events I have curated or otherwise co-organized since, I have only ever tried to use the position and platforms I was given to put a spotlight on and champion what I felt was important, under-appreciated work — never to put people down — regardless of my relationship with any particular artist.
My guiding criteria for all of my curation work has been based entirely on the character of the event itself, and any given game’s appropriateness for the audience that will be attending.
There has never been a prerequisite that any creator be a friend of mine to be considered, and being close to me personally has in no way been a guarantee for being included. As you can imagine, this has proven tricky to navigate at times, but it’s a strict separation I have always strived to maintain.
I strongly believe that safe spaces policies, responsibly mediated and overseen, are an important bedrock of healthy communities. I have worked very hard throughout my years of organizing multiple events to introduce and strengthen those policies, personally have had to make difficult decisions in enforcing them, and in general have always tried to create spaces that felt open and welcoming to all who might want to attend.
I have always seen my role in the community as someone who was able to broaden and diversify the idea of what games could be, who they were for, and — most importantly — who was creating them, to as wide an audience as I could reach.
I have focused much of my attention, especially in the past several years, specifically to amplify and lifting underrepresented voices wherever and however I could. I look forward to building new opportunities and collaborating with others to continue this work — and simply the work of being a better person, who is here to help other people — in the future.