Home Board Game News The Gaming Goat CEO Jeff Bergren Escorted Out of Gen Con

The Gaming Goat CEO Jeff Bergren Escorted Out of Gen Con

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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.

BergrenIn 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 policyteam@gencon.com regarding any feedback you have.

However we will not be discussing this situation on the Forums.

Frog

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”.

While he will play just about anything, Tony loves games that let him completely immerse himself in the theme. He also is a bit of a component addict.

40 COMMENTS

  1. While it would have been nice for Gen Con to make a clear public statement about the organization’s values, this is still a nice affirmation of their code of conduct. Hopefully the industry will be vaccinated against the virus TGG-21 soon.

  2. ??? So this picture of a frog is why people are freaking out?? FFS, we need a new term because not even snowflakes melt this easily.

    • First, acting shocked that people would recognize this kind of reference and say it’s not ok is… a bad faith argument. Is there a term for “does inappropriate thing and turns into surprised Pikachu meme when people say ‘that’s not ok’?” because it seems like we could use that. Second, no it is not why he got ejected. There’s a lot more that I have heard from friends on site, but GenCon doesn’t publicly litigate these things

    • This has nothing to do with the frog image anymore. The frog was an easy thing to remedy if they would have handled it right to begin with but instead the owner acted like an arse, the issues have been regarding the way the owner has been reacting to the situation poorly and he’s dug his own grave at this point

    • You are either as clueless as humanly possible, deliberately obtuse or actually supportive of that clown’s behavior. Getting offended at something you apparently know nothing about is textbook snowflake behavior.

      • “If you dont outright condemn something I hate, then you clearly are part of the conspiracy to promote it.”

        touch grass.

        • When the topic is condemning white supremacy… yes. Not condemning such absolutely means you support it.

          • Yup. 100%. You’re either out speaking against white supremacy or you’re supporting it’s growth.

          • I condemn white supremacy (and all other forms of racism} but I’m not going to exaggerate, inflame or create racial issues based on rumor, flimsy or incomplete evidence, and/or pure emotion. Much {but not all, mind you, in certain cases} of what the so-called social justice activists preach is madness- and is counterproductive.

            In regards to the frog, I continue to use the A-Okay sign myself. Why should we abandon an innocent symbol if a hate group hijacks it? Do we let them have it? If so, that in it of itself is lending support {in a manner} to the hate group. Yet by using it yourself, you are defying them.

  3. Just flagging that Bergren’s name is misspelled four times in this piece (and autocorrect almost changed it in this comment).

  4. So people don’t like someone (who I never heard about till today) for a variety of reasons, most of which from following different attached links appears to be rumours or screenshots interpreted a certain way. Now I’m not saying he’s a saint or a demon. Nor am I in any form defending him as I really don’t care one way or the other. I just can’t sleep so needed something to occupy the mind.

    As for the frog thing, I’ve never heard of it being seen as a White supremacist thing till this article. I’ve seen it performed by many different people of all types so that one is my new interesting fact.

    If you don’t like this guy then don’t buy from him and the problem will go away.

    • I haven’t availed myself of the totality of the history on this subject (nor will I… it’s just not important enough to me), but from what I have read, I have the distinct feeling that this is just the new ‘establishment’ steamrolling a guy because he won’t bend the knee.

      – s.west

    • “Ive been living under a rock and haven’t noticed Pepe being co-opted by the alt right” isn’t a defense to play devils advocate. It’s been going on for years.

  5. Nothing but extremism running to edge of extremism. This is why the industry will implode. If anyone is an extremist, it’s Eric Lange. Watching people losing any sense of reality in this country is extremely disheartening. And anyone who says “centrist normies” is a massive child that doesn’t understand that extremism means you have taken it way to far. I won’t buy another boardgame from any of these complete and utter hate mongers.

    • Oh look, an extremist having the predictable extreme reaction and using hate rhetoric. Like a broken record.

  6. I suppose those that are always “offended” can all at least level up their Beta Male status. You might even get another collectible pin to wear on your sash.

  7. The concept photo that the frog was drawn from is out there as well on Jeff’s FB page as well as other places. The drawing is an exact copy of the actual photo with the only difference being the human hands. The photo shows one hand and the drawing shows 2. So apparently real life frogs are also white supremacists. The mental gymnastics of some people are olympic level.

    • As many, many others have noted…this isn’t about a frog image. It’s about unprofessional behavior, rape jokes, threats, and celebrating white power memes. Focusing on the frog is disingenuous.

      • I don’t have a dog in this fight, as I truly couldn’t care less who this guy is or what he’s been accused of. But all I’ve seen people talking about is this stupid “co-opting” of the OK sign in the frog picture. Hard to call it disingenuous when even this article seems to really only focus on that.
        If he truly is a shit human being, then by all means let everyone boycott his products but if it’s not really about the frog then stop talking about the frog, right?

        • I’m not sure how you can say this article only focuses on the frog when it was a paragraph at the end. We even linked to someone who summarized all his controversies. The frog was brought up because it was the most recent issue.

          • I admit, I took it on faith cause I’ve worked with GC management team. The frog thing did jump out, far more than the link to the actually issues did. Maybe that could be moved higher in the article to make it clearer that there are many issues and the frog is just the most recent example.

  8. The frog card is a big nothing burger. It’s a fishing game… and it’s a pic of a real frog (and I haven’t seen any proof the “okay” gesture was Photoshopped). As for the other allegations? Seems more like people cannot stand it when someone doesn’t bend the knee to their particular social justice causes so they must be destroyed in return. Who cares if he’s not down with the pronoun designation thing and he poked fun at it? It’s hardly “problematic” or “offensive”. Nothing wrong with not agreeing with the guy’s opinions, but the level of hatred directed towards the guy is baffling and unjustified (and just plain sad).

  9. Right or wrong to eject him, who knows we don’t have the information from either side. Allowing him to spend tens of thousands with the expectation of attending, then at the last minute kicking him, seems like BS. If you dont like his politics and want to not have him there dont wait till the last minute, shy of doing something specifically at the con this seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    • Haha. A lawsuit waiting to get dismissed with prejudice you mean. The $40K was spent by his company to have a booth to advertise their products. The company booth and his employees were allowed to stay. So, he suffered no real consequences other than not getting to have his smug mug seen in the convention hall. He was kicked out for his own embarrassing online behavior. GenCon is a private company that holds a ticketed event, and they reserve the right to expel anyone for nearly any reason. He was free to stay downtown and meet up with conventioneers offsite to socialize or network, as most attendees go out and enjoy the bars/restaurants downtown or meet up in the hotel lobbies. He chose to go pout and hang with his parents. He can cry a river and then get over it.

  10. You better go punish all those black K-State fans who give that sign regularly at sporting events. Christ, grow up and stop seeing things that aren’t there.

  11. The entire basis of this is a well-known hoax. GenCon and BGG staff are complicit in harassment of this man because they are explicitly forbidding and banning users for showing evidence that it’s a hoax. Given that a hoax is the basis for the complaint, and no evidence is provided of any of the other claims (or the claims are of a dubious nature in the first place) It’s obvious that this is harassment supported directly by the staff of these businesses, making them potentially legally liable. I hope he sues, wins, and bankrupts both companies.

    These serial harassers, like the commenters on this article, spreading lies maliciously, need to be purged from our gaming communities in order to finally stop harassment like this, which has become an epidemic.

  12. I see the comments that the frog may not be the catalyst however I must say that the okay sign does not “have a history as a racist dog whistle used by white nationalists” it started as a hoax. I consider each and every person who repeats this a collaborator and complicit in seceding “territory” to notsees.

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