Illustration for article titled CEO Of Japanese Indie Publisher Steps Down After Harassment Allegations
Screenshot: Official Site

The CEO of indie publisher Dangen Entertainment Ben Judd has stepped down in the wake of allegations against him that intensified last month. He has also been fired from his other job, at Digital Development Management (DDM), a video game agency that works with a number of major studios and publishers.

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It’s a messy, complicated story involving several allegations against Judd for sexual harassment, use of racial slurs, and poor communication. The allegations originated from a former partner of Judd who goes by Alex and had accused Judd of being “a predator and creep” in August. A couple of lengthy Medium posts last month accused Judd of abusing his status and power in the Japanese indie scene, and those posts were later echoed by others who had worked with Judd. (Medium has removed the posts, but they are now rehosted on Wordpress.)

A Monday piece on the website GamesIndustry.biz sums it all up well.

Judd has issued a statement, writing, “I’ve caused a great deal of pain to not only Alex, but my friends, co-workers, and business relations and I am deeply sorry for that.” He continued that he would be stepping away from the indie publisher as well as the Japanese indie event BitSummit to spend time with his family. Dangen Entertainment announced that it is reorganizing and replacing Judd as CEO.

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The Medium posts also accused Dangen co-founder Nayan Ramachandran of unprofessional content and failing to follow through on promises to developers with whom the company had worked. Dangen also said it would remove co-founder Nayan Ramachandran as a full-time employee, although he will continue to work as a freelancer.

Agency DDM has also dismissed Judd, telling US Gamer, “These actions were initiated by DDM as a direct result of the recent, serious allegations made against Ben. DDM takes workplace conduct and client confidentiality very seriously. DDM has now restructured its leadership team to address and accommodate the company’s ongoing workload and client representation needs.”

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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