Judd Accused of Sexual and Business Misconduct
Ben Judd—the former CEO of Dangen Entertainment an influential figure within Japan's indie games industry—has been dismissed from his position as Executive Vice President of Digital Development Management due to recent allegations of sexual misconduct, unprofessional behavior, and breaking NDAs. BitSummit—one of Japan's largest indie game festivals—also announced that Ben Judd has resigned from the festival's board of directors. These announcements both come just days after Dangen Entertainment—also the subject of numerous allegations—announced that Ben Judd would be exiting from his role as CEO there.
Digital Development Management (DDM) is a video game publishing, distribution, and funding firm whose clients have included From Software, Paradox Interactive, and SNK. Ben Judd served as Executive Vice President for DDM since 2011 but was placed on leave from the company earlier in December after an anonymous user posted a pair of now-deleted Medium articles alleging, among other things, that Judd used his influence within the gaming industry to prey on young women and developers, and frequently shared confidential information from his job at DDM. In a statement to TechRaptor earlier today, a spokesperson for Digital Development Management confirmed that Ben Judd has now been fired from the firm, writing,
Digital Development Management (DDM) has dismissed Ben Judd as Partner, Executive VP of DDM Japan. 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.
Earlier this week the Japan Independent Games Aggregate (JIGA), who oversees the indie game festival BitSummit, also announced via its website that Ben Judd has "resigned from its Board of Directors and will not be involved in the organization and hosting of BitSummit." BitSummit further clarified on Twitter that Digital Development Media would also no longer be involved in BitSummit, as they were represented in JIGA by Ben Judd.
DDM is no longer involved in BitSummit.— BitSummit Gaiden お疲れ様でした！ (@BitSummit) December 12, 2019
DDM has never been a sponsor. They were a member of JIGA, represented by Ben Judd.— BitSummit Gaiden お疲れ様でした！ (@BitSummit) December 12, 2019
BitSummit also confirmed that Dangen Entertainment, an indie game publisher that was also accused of predatory business practices and withholding royalty payments to developers in the same Medium articles, would not be a sponsor for future events. Ben Judd was a founder of Dangen Entertainment and served as its CEO until the publisher announced his exit on December 11th.
Dangen is listed as a sponsor for our previous event and as part of the contract agreement for that event, will be removed as soon as we update the website in preparation of our next event.— BitSummit Gaiden お疲れ様でした！ (@BitSummit) December 12, 2019
You can read TechRaptor's report on the allegations against Ben Judd and Dangent Entertainment here. TechRaptor will continue to follow this story as it further develops.