Portland, Oregon-based developer The Fullbright Company announced via its blog that it will not be attending PAX Prime this year because of comments made by Penney Arcade artist Mike Krahulik. According to co-founder Steve Gaynor, the company is withdrawing from participation in the PAX Prime Indie Megabooth showcase. Gaynor said that the studio's employees no longer felt comfortable appearing at the show in light of recent comments made online by Krahulik.
Gaynor's issue is with comments Krahulik made in a series of tweets recently – most notably this one:
"If thinking that all women have a vagina makes me a monster, then yes, I am a monster," which was supposedly a remark made towards the transgendered community. He also said that people who use the word "cis" shouldn't tweet at him, telling one person, "If you use the word 'cis' I probably will hate you too."
Gaynor said that these remarks were just the most recent in a series of questionable comments made by Krahulik and Penny Arcade writer Jerry Holkins.
Others included the use of a rape joke in one of their comics (and their unapologetic response to outcry over it), and a PAX Australia panel with the following questionable text in the description: "Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic, and involve any antagonist race aside from Anglo-Saxon and you're called a racist. It's gone too far and when will it all end?" (The panel description text has since been changed.)
"We believe that people's opinions and actions on social issues and business ethics are important," Gaynor said. "We believe that agreeing to pay the organizers of PAX over $1,000 for booth space, and to present our game on their show floor for four days, provides explicit support for and tacit approval of their publicly demonstrated positions on these subjects. And we have finally come to the conclusion that we cannot support Jerry, Mike, and their organization by participating in this event."
Gaynor said that his studio took a vote on whether they should attend and they agreed that none of them felt comfortable attending.
"We are a four-person team," Gaynor said. "Two of us are women and one of us is gay. Gone Home deals in part with LGBT issues. This stuff is important to us, on a lot of different levels. And Penny Arcade is not an entity that we feel welcomed by or comfortable operating alongside."
Krahulik did try to address his tweets today, offering an apology of sorts:
"I'm very sorry about yesterday," Krahulik said. "There are very few things that someone can say to me that will actually make me lose my temper. All my buttons got pushed yesterday though and I snapped. I doubt that will change anyone's opinion but there you go. I'm not qualified to talk about the ambiguity of sexuality and frankly I don't give a shit about it. I like drawing comics and playing video games. I'll keep my mouth shut when it comes to all the other stuff."