At least 17 staff (and counting) contributing to Everything Board Games have left the site after its current owner, Lake Leafty, not only refused to issue a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, but said such a statement would be “virtue signalling”.
In a statement released on June 17, staff say that in response to recent events in both the wider world and the board games community, they “asked directly when we could expect to see even a simple BLM statement from EBG”, and were reportedly told “This is everything board games, not everything politics”.
The full statement, signed by 17 staff at the mostly volunteer-run site, reads:
In response, Everything Board Games’ owner, Lake Leafty, issued a statement of his own, and it’s...something. Leafty calls their statement “false and defamatory”, despite the fact it’s merely calling for something that was never forthcoming, and calls their publishing of the above statement on Everything Board Games’ community page “a coordinated attack”.
He then says the lack of support for BLM on the site is because he wants to “refrain from getting involved or advocating certain positions in regard to politics”, before showing his true colours by calling any statement in support of BLM “virtue signaling”, which would require “the membership of our community to prove their moral and ideological purity, and all the other nonsense that comes with adopting that kind of mindset.”
As you are probably aware, there are a number of false and defamatory statements that have recently cropped up. As such, we at Everything Board Games are prepared to stand our ground against lies and cyber bullying.
Recently, a few of our volunteer reviewers demanded that Everything Board Games craft an official political statement. We declined. Unfortunately a number of them have launched what appears to be a coordinated attack and decided to involve our community. We will not stand for that either. Facebook already has rules in place that prohibit hate speech, etc. We will continue to follow the standards Facebook has set in how we moderate. We will also be removing comments meant to incite—as well as those that authored them from our group on Facebook.
At Everything Board Games, we are committed to our core mission which is to help bring gamers and the games they’ll love together. To create a space and a community where we can hang out together and just have fun. We believe this is especially important right now as we live in a time of political and social unrest.
In order to make this happen, Everything Board Games has chosen to refrain from getting involved or advocating certain positions in regard to politics, religion, or any other hot topics.
This is why we have chosen not to make an official political statement.
The other reason why we will not make such a statement is because we believe in you—our community. To make the statement those reviewers demanded would be for us to assume that there are those in our community who are hateful racist bigots. This directly contradicts the experiences we’ve had within our community.
We at Everything Board Games are interested in just that—board games. We have no interest in virtue signaling, requiring the membership of our community to prove their moral and ideological purity, and all the other nonsense that comes with adopting that kind of mindset.
Instead, we choose to show what we stand for—what all of us stand for in the Everything Board Games community—by how we comport ourselves.
To those who who feel they cannot stay in a community that refuses to wade into politics and other social justice initiatives, we understand and we wish you the best.
To everyone else, we look forward to bigger and better things in the future to come.
I’m very excited to see what a website’s readership and community looks like after excluding anyone interested in *checks notes* basic human rights.