Malaysian Indie Games Studio Faces Allegations Of Sexual Harassment & Workplace Abuse

Over the weekend, allegations of sexual harassment and workplace abuse have emerged surrounding Malaysian indie games studio, Persona Theory Games; also known as the developers of Fires At Midnight and Kabaret.

The accusations first surfaced four months ago on a Reddit thread, where the top commenter shared their negative experience with an unnamed male member of the studio during their internship, citing that he “[harassed] men, women, full-time employees, everyone” and that “apparently it had happened to all the interns.”

Another commenter shared their own experiences under the same thread, stating there was “harassment, long threatening messages on Discord at 2am, and pointlessly long meetings where nothing gets done because one male lead wanted things done his way.”

These allegations once again resurfaced a few days after Persona Theory Games co-founder and managing director Saqina Latif was nominated for The Game Awards 2023 Future Class, an honour presented to those who represent the inclusive future of the video games industry.

Since then, ex-employees and victims have come forward on Twitter with new information, specifically accusing co-founder, producer, and writer Buddy Anwardi. According to screenshots shared by Hafiz Azman, founder of 7th Beat Games, Buddy Anwardi allegedly engaged in emotionally manipulative behaviour including coercing interns into sexual relations with him.

Amidst this shocking news, community leaders from the Malaysian game development scene have spoken out in solidarity with the victims. Many have openly condemned the misconduct at Persona Theory Games, and shared their wishes to keep the Southeast Asian gaming scene a safe space for everyone.

This includes OutCrowd, a Malaysian-based community for underrepresented parties in the gaming industry, who have shared a list of resources for anyone dealing with sexual harassment or workplace abuse.

Persona Theory Games has yet to release a formal statement addressing these accusations.

Following these allegations, Persona Theory Games has released an official statement announcing a change in management as a transitional step towards rectification. Abu Huraira and Ahmad Helmi will assume the role of Acting Co Chief Executive Officers, while Co-Founder and Managing Director Saqina Latif will be stepping aside temporarily.

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