[UPDATE] Dancing Girls & Angry Resignations: Tale of Two GDC Parties
UPDATE #3 Saturday, March 30, 2013. YetiZen’s CEO has updated their letter to remove the assertion that Brenda Romero was out to “destroy YetiZen.” In the updated statement, Choudary said that after last year’s party, Romero called and threatened to “personally call all of YetiZen’s mentors, advisers, and investors and tell them to quit their support of YetiZen.”
We reached out to Romero, who told us the following:
I never threatened to “destroy Yetizen.” Note that in the year since, I have done nothing which would even suggest that statement is true. In my statement noting my resignation from the IGDA, I said nothing about Yetizen. It is the IGDA who, in my mind, violated their code of conduct. My issue was with the IGDA and the IGDA alone.
UPDATE #2 Saturday, March 30, 2013 (via Devin Connors). In an email to Game Front, the IGDA has again denied their involvement in the YetiZen party during GDC 2012. The organization has also released a statement regarding its party during GDC 2013.
From IGDA Executive Director Kate Edwards:
“The IGDA was a co-presenter of the Yetizen party Tuesday evening at GDC. Yes, we approved some of the costumes. We did not see the costumes of the stilt walkers. We did not know that any of the performers would be doing things on a stage.
“We agree that some of the performers at the party engaged in activities that were not appropriate. We apologize for that. The IGDA does not intentionally condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people. One of the core values of the organization is encouraging inclusion and diversity. That certainly means we would not want anyone attending an IGDA sanctioned event to be uncomfortable in any way with what activity was going on.
“Obviously we need to be more vigilant in our efforts. We intend to be so in the future. We know we can do a better job making sure all our programs and activities are inclusive and professional.”
UPDATE Saturday, March 30, 2013. Some of the facts in this article are in dispute, due to a conflict between statements made earlier this week by Darius Kazemi of IGDA and a statement issued this morning by YetiZen CEO Sana Choudary.
In her statement, Choundry asserts the following:
Darius Kazemi stated that YetiZen was the IGDA sponsor second year in a row, despite that YetiZen has had no IGDA involvement prior to 2013. His statement was false and misleading. Darius also did not attend the YetiZen party this year.
All entertainment and related promotion was approved by the IGDA prior to the party. The approval email from the IGDA explicitly highlighted their approval on the matter of the models’ attire, and is attached below.
YetiZen did not hire dancers. We hired avid gamers, who happened to be models, to discuss gaming with the invited guests. The YetiZen team (myself, my co-founder, and our resident artist) were invited by the rappers, along with our gamer-models, to dance for a few minutes on stage.
After our party last year Brenda Romero personally called us and threatened to ‘destroy YetiZen.’ She did not attend the party last year or this year.
We are therefore understandably disappointed that a relaxed social occasion has been so misrepresented and misinterpreted.
In 2012, Game Dojos was listed as the party’s official sponsor on GDC’s site. However, P4RC, Inc COO Kevin Dent claims to have attended the official GDC party that year, and earlier this morning tweeted his account:
— thekevindent (@TheKevinDent) March 30, 2013
Game Front is reaching out to the named parties above for further comment about the accusations made against them.
Also, in her post Choudary made the following statement: “The Press has published photos and statements of the two parties together making the YetiZen party appear sexually scandalous by association. Example Gamefront posts Wargaming party pictures on the same page as the YetiZen logo.”
We believe the original version of our story clearly delineated between the two events, but to avoid confusion we have moved the Wargaming segment to a separate page, and corrected a typo referring to the Wargaming picture’s placement.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE CONTINUES ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE