Gen Con 2021 starts tomorrow at reduced capacity with a self-imposed 50% cap on attendance. As most people know, Gen Con 2020 was canceled along with just about every other convention due to the ongoing pandemic, so this is the first convention for them in 2 years. However, this year’s event hasn’t even started yet and it’s already making news.
In a public post on his Facebook page today, the CEO of The Gaming Goat, Jeff Bergren, said that he was escorted out of the convention. He posted that he has had no word from Gen Con’s management as to why he was evicted. He later commented, “I’m $40,000 into this, and I flew 4 hours to get here.” He said he would have someone send me an email. I refreshed and no email”
The floor manager who escorted him out of the convention simply said “I’m just here to walk you out.” and that someone would email him.
Gen Con hasn’t made a public statement about Bergren’s eviction other than a post on their forums:
“Jeff Bergren will not be attending Gen Con. We appreciate those who have provided information regarding this situation.
The Company (The Gaming Goat) is.
If you would like to you can email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any feedback you have.
However we will not be discussing this situation on the Forums.
We take our Anti-harassment policies seriously, but we do not discuss the results of our decision making with the public for the safety of all involved.”
Bergren has been making news lately after an image on his Tournament Fishing Kickstarter page contained an image showing a frog making what looks to be the “okay” hand signal, which has a history as a racist dog whistle used by white nationalists. Many designers came out against the image and Bergren’s response, including Cephalofair’s Isaac Childres (Gloomhaven) and Eric Lang (Cthulhu Death May Die, Blood Rage).
There was a discussion thread on BGG (that was eventually locked) about this and another BGG also made a detailed post about the history of controversies involving Bergren and The Gaming Goat. The end result was Bergren being banned from Board Game Geek all together citing “a history of behavior across multiple social media platforms that directly conflicts with BGG’s community values”.