Something is rotten in the state of Dangen

Something is rotten in Dangen Entertainment.

And his name is Ben Judd.

This thread has a VERY HEAVY CONTENT WARNING for the following: sexual harassment, racism, sexual assault, harassment, abuse, gaslighting

tl;dr version: Ben Judd, CEO of Dangen Entertainment, steps down after numerous allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse as well as multiple reports of indie devs being swindled by Dangen. Judd, however, has still not apologized to his victims or stepped down from his other position of power at Digital Development Management and Dangen has not made good on money owed of said swindled indie developers.

A complete (as best I can tell) timeline:
  • It’s been an open secret for a while that Ben Judd, CEO of Dangen and former Capcom translator, has been… to put it mildly… a gross dude. On August 27th, when allegations around Alec Holowka were being brought to light, Alex (aka @dirtbagboyfren on Twitter), an artist and game designer with history in the Japanese indie scene and had worked with Judd on titles like Mighty No. 9, posted the following thread: https://twitter.com/dirtbagboyfren/status/1166544727849623552

  • While those allegations didn’t upend everything, they did empower others to speak out against Judd and his company. In September, the developer of Devil Engine, an indie game that was being published by Dangen, tweeted (which have since been taken down) and posted on the game’s itch.io page’s comments that they had been ghosted by the publisher and were seeing zero royalties for their game.

  • On November 23rd, an anonymous reddit post allegedly from another indie developer working with Dangen who is under NDA reports similarly getting hassled by Dangen.

  • On November 29th, a Medium post was posted by an anonymous source referred to as The Writer. The post was later taken down by Medium, but there exists an archive of the lengthy article. It contains a lot of receipts from the Devil Engine and Fight Knight developers regarding Dangen and some creepy emails Judd had sent Alex. It’s a 40+ minute read, but I encourage you to read it if you want the full picture of what’s going on. Suffice to say, it’s thorough and does not look good for Dangen or Judd.

  • The Medium post leads to a giant outburst of voices coming forth on twitter, including from indie developers and NB & women developers who have unfortunately worked with Ben. Included in those are voices of support for the victims from across the gaming industry, including at least one Dangen employee.
    https://twitter.com/indigo_silk/status/1200659083113779201
    https://twitter.com/shonyaku/status/1201334805243125760

  • Dangen Entertainment releases a counter Medium article. It doesn’t address any of the sexual assault/harassment allegations at all and instead just tries to discredit the character of the authour of the original Medium article and nitpick. I believe It’s not really worth going through, but for posterity here is the archive.

  • IGN Japan and US|Gamer write articles regarding the allegations, including contacting more developers anonymously who corroborated with the Medium article and Alex’s experiences.

  • On December 7th, Alex, facing harassment and backlash for their part in the article, released a large collection of personal information about their past relationship with Judd, detailing his abuse, harassment, gaslighting, etc. Severe CW on this one. They
    had a translator associated with the story post both the english original and japanese translation: https://twitter.com/OnTakahashi/status/1204431121154363392

  • The next day a second Medium post is released by the anonymous developer.. The article largely outlines the shady dealings of Dangen in the days since the first article, some clarifications to address the nitpicking of Dangen, outlining more of their own dealings with Ben Judd and the Dangen staff, and just a whole heaping pile of more “Ben Judd is a massive creep” evidence.

Which leads us up to the last 24 hours, when Dangen Entertainment tweeted out that Ben Judd would be stepping down as CEO and Nayan Ramachandran would move from full time to freelance. The company would be restructuring accordingly:

This, predictably, tried to shift the spotlight off of the company to Ben while not really addressing any of the problems.

The response from those affected has not been optimistic.

https://twitter.com/Sorcerobe/status/1204710051862085632

https://twitter.com/OnTakahashi/status/1204799241681428480

https://twitter.com/dirtbagboyfren/status/1204701515664900096

https://twitter.com/dirtbagboyfren/status/1204715055217905665

https://twitter.com/amythan2019/status/1204712072015044609

https://twitter.com/dirtbagboyfren/status/1204920359268405248

2 Likes

To add to those responses, the writer of the Medium posts has started posting on ResetEra:

It doesn’t sound like any real change is actually being made, just incredibly obvious damage control. Dangen couldn’t even help but put some line claiming the accusations against them aren’t true in their response.

2 Likes

Thank you for bringing that post to my attention. It puts a lot of things into perspective for those unfamiliar with the inner workings of the game industry, especially those linked between East and West.

This part in particular really lays out the influence Ben Judd has in games:

The fact that Ben Judd is trying to spin this whole thing into Gamergate 2.0 where it’s just some jilted ex-lover sicking a hate mob on him, the abuser, is beyond disgusting.

The game industry always has a problem with trying to emulate films, but we really, really didn’t need games own Harvey Weinstein.

And DW (as she is wanting to go by) is right 100%: Ben Judd isn’t having his influence removed with these changes, only being hidden behind others.


Another small development showing that Dangen is not done dicking around indie developers: Devil Engine developers have been locked out from the steam page of their own game.

2 Likes

This is real shitty and needs more exposure.

1 Like

Weekend update:

BEN JUDD GOT FIRED FROM DDMA

…for breaking NDAs and not actually for his behaviour. :upside_down_face:

BUT he got fired AND he got fired from the job that gave him the tremendous amount of influence he had in the game industry.

And that is something to celebrate.


So… where does that leave the story?

  • We still have Dangen Entertainment, who have a lot to answer for, including unpaid royalties and games stolen from their developers.
  • We still have a CEO of Dangen Entertainment who has yet to address the scandal around his company days later. Not exactly boosting confidence that he isn’t just some talking muppet of Ben Judd’s.
  • Nayan Ramachandran is still with Dangen, even if only a freelancer.

Now those three are all very important. The indie devs that dealt with Dangen are very much still at risk (and still being hurt) by their actions, Ben Judd can still weasel his way back in through Dangen, and Nayan didn’t really face consequences proportional to his actions.

Buuuuut everything else that you could want though has kind of surprisingly happened? Ben Judd is no longer at Dangen. He was fired from DDMA. He was removed from Bitsummit. Dangen was also removed from being a sponsor of Bitsummit going forward. The nasty shit Dangen has done to developers has been dragged out into the light and they’ve been shown for what they are, likely (hopefully) having a lasting negative impact on both finding new business partners and selling games until they straighten out their image.

For those affected, that seems like a win.

5 Likes