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Around two years ago Alexis Kennedy, a founder of Failbetter Games, was accused of abuse by multiple women which Kennedy has always denied. Now, Kennedy of Weather Factory has put out an open letter and the situation gets a bit murky.

The allegations didn't just involve Kennedy though, as his partner Lottie Bevan ended up having some allegations pressed against her too. The blog post is a long one and so we won't be going over all parts of it but it's worth a read. There's some pretty big key points though which we will go over.

Previously, Kennedy didn't directly mention who and what company the allegations were coming to "cancel" them from but no punches are being pulled now. Kennedy is now claiming that it seems all of this was "an intentional attack on us by a larger competitor" and goes on to directly say it's Failbetter Games (the company he co-founded).

From what Kennedy wrote, they've repeatedly tried to reach an agreement with Failbetter Games through GDPR requests to get info that would apparently "disprove it" which Failbetter apparently refused. They offered to go through formal mediation, which was again refused by Failbetter, a third-party was suggestion to do an investigation which again Failbetter apparently refused. After trying to get it sorted over the last year and being refused, this is why they said it's now going public.

According to the blog post, Failbetter did not correctly follow UK Law when Kennedy sold off his part of Failbetter and the "contract they gave me to sign was illegal and void" and Kennedy doesn't even have a signed contract and so, effectively, it was never really sold and Kennedy mentioned "I’m still probably, technically the legal owner of Failbetter; and their rights to their core technical and creative IP are shaky. Also, everyone still on the board of Failbetter might be guilty of a corporate crime that carries a two-year prison sentence"

Instead of fighting it in court, Kennedy mentions how after making Failbetter aware of the situation, Failbetter stopped communicating again.

A very messy situation that we hope can be properly resolved.

We've reached out to Failbetter Games to see if they have a comment to share.

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TheSHEEEP 26 Jul
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I do like that more and more developers start to fight back against cancel culture - it has clearly gone way too far.

For some time, anyone could pretty much claim anything and the victim would immediately get publicly shamed, fired, funds withdrawn, silent treatment from "friends", etc. - all without any real proof whatsoever.
The accusation itself serves as all the proof that is needed on social media - and too many people are afraid of social media sh*tstorms, so especially PR-run companies comply.

Weatherfactory was lucky that Creative Europe is apparently not run by people like that and could keep their funds.

The more people fight back against it, the more people will actually dare to do so.
A good development for once.

Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 26 July 2021 at 12:48 pm UTC
mirv 26 Jul
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I almost always try to think of "well, this is one side, there's another, keep an open mind" but some of the info in there is pretty hard not be concerned with. Ignoring a GDPR request is pretty damned serious alone, regardless of all other info. I hope it can be resolved.

This sort of thing is sadly quite visible in a lot of gaming circles simply by action of needing to use social media to promote a game. It opens people up to a lot of very personal attacks, and that's really quite appalling.

Very serious stuff, and worth keeping it open to scrutiny if for not other reason than to serve as a warning to everyone: keep everything tracked, keep the paper trails, keep records, be able to back up anything you do and say. It will ruin the fun and joy that should be indie game development, but it's something that really is needed.

And if this matters to anyone: if you're suffering from this kind of thing, there is help available and do use it. Disconnect when you can and speak to actual friends, try to have time away from such online things.

On the other hand, seeing as I try to be neutral sometimes, if you are truly threatened or harassed in a workplace environment (and this happens a lot to women, but it applies to men too) then use what channels are available, also keep records, and do seek help. If a company isn't helping, or the top who are supposed to help aren't, there are alternatives.

tldr; what's happening here is awful. From any angle. No matter who is "right or wrong", this is just...terrible. I hope it gets resolved.
It sounds like Failbetter is doing the only reasonable thing: not talking. In the face of accusations of legal impropriety, the only correct response is to say nothing and get lawyers involved. That Kennedy is making these claims in public conversation, as opposed to via a solicitor and a court, does not make me think well of his accusations.

Also, "cancel culture" seems to mostly be about people who haven't been able to speak out, or have been afraid to speak out, starting to talk about what's happening to them. I think it's doing far more good than harm.
CatKiller 26 Jul
The allegations are that he was the kind of person to threaten people if he didn't get what he wanted, with what he wanted being, historically, allegedly, sex with co-workers and potential co-workers.

Some time after the fact, he's decided that he wants the personal details of the people that already think that he's harassed them so that he can harass them some more. And if he doesn't get what he wants, he's (publicly) threatening to get everyone put in prison for two years.

It doesn't seem that he's painting himself in the most positive light here.
Liam Dawe 26 Jul
Please keep comments respectful and nice. Some comments have been removed that were clearly going to cause arguments.
slapin 26 Jul
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Well, reading all the allegation it occurs to me that he was quite unfaithfull lover, but still he does not deserve all the cancel culture shitstorm around him. Probably it is not nice to fuck around at work, totally bad for atmosphere, but still nothing criminal and nothing to be concerned much about. Probably some man to man talk would solve the problem.
Quoting: Liam DawePlease keep comments respectful and nice. Some comments have been removed that were clearly going to cause arguments.
Good move. I know I was slowly losing my internal battle and would very likely have soon engaged in exactly those arguments.
Avoiding talking about the whole shebang when it's murky is important, but the non compliance with GRPD doesn't look good either. Those are fine-able if I recall correctly.

All in all, going public isn't the issue (or would people calling out sexual predators publicly be issues too?), the whole thing have been going for way too long.

Note that I don't comment on if the allegation against Alexis Kennedy are true or not, I don't know that, but I fear those calling out a bit too.

If you call people about something like abuse and shit, it's headline worthy and the refutation will weight fuck all, be it true or not...

So, some people will use it to destroy a competitor (directly or indirectly, within the same company or not), while legitimate use is perverted. And it makes the whole situation a lot worst.

Now that Alexis Kennedy realize, a smile on his face, that papers never went through may actually be the X factor to the whole story, because going to the court would likely make the whole thing spill its guts. Tho I don't know in UK law if such matter would merge into the whole legal battle of ownership.

A nasty piece of business, that's it.

A side note:

Quoting: slapinWell, reading all the allegation it occurs to me that he was quite unfaithfull lover

This isn't ours to have a take on, they may have specific views about it between themselves.

Quoting: slapinProbably it is not nice to fuck around at work, but still nothing criminal

Depends: abuse of position of power is 100% unlawful here, so that's a key thing: is it consensual or not?

Note that "unlawful" is also because I'm not sure how the French denomination translate in English, but it's a pretty big crime, it's not a fine level, if I recall correctly.

Last edited by MisterPaytwick on 26 July 2021 at 6:08 pm UTC
Samsai 26 Jul
If there is as clear a case as Kennedy's big claims would indicate, then perhaps Kennedy should be spending more time suing and less time writing open letters?
mirv 26 Jul
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Quoting: SamsaiIf there is as clear a case as Kennedy's big claims would indicate, then perhaps Kennedy should be spending more time suing and less time writing open letters?

While this is one avenue, I can also understand that going through such an exercise would be painful on a personal level for many people. Including, possibly, anyone needing to be interviewed and drawn into the occasion.

An open letter is from an outside perspective a not always smart thing to do, but when you're stuck in the middle of it the stress makes you see things a little less clear. And Fractional might have a little more funding for lawyers, and will be advised to simply stay quiet on the matter lest it implicate them in anything.

Which might seem like I'm taking sides, but actually all I really wanted to say is that we shouldn't. Harassment, if it were from either party, is not acceptable. It's all just a big loss regardless.

Last edited by mirv on 26 July 2021 at 6:48 pm UTC
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