Several mentorship partners have cut ties with Weather Factory, namely indie studios Small Island Games and Space Backyard, as well as developer Nikhil Murthy, following several abuse accusations towards the studio’s co-founder Alexis Kennedy.
Space Backyard announced on Twitter yesterday: “In light of recent events we have decided to remove ourselves from the Weather Factory mentorship scheme due to Alexis Kennedy’s involvement. We’d like to express our sincerest gratitude to the brave people who have spoken out during these days. We are still in shock.” Small Island Games also said on Twitter: “We support the courage of people speaking out about abuses in the industry. We have removed ourselves from the Weather Factory mentorship scheme due to Alexis Kennedy’s involvement.” Finally, Murthy commented (still on Twitter): “I am no longer associated with Weather Factory and Alexis Kennedy. I have ended my mentorship and I’m incredibly grateful to the people who spoke out about him for their bravery in making his actions public.”
This follows accusations of abuse against Alexis Kennedy, that have emerged on Twitter for the past few days. Narrative designer Meg Jayanth, who worked with Kennedy as a freelancer at his former company Failbetter Games said in a Twitter thread that Kennedy is “a well-known predator in the games industry” and that she has been “warning people about him for years.” She continued: “If you have not heard this before it is because Alexis Kennedy has retaliated against people who have spoken out against him in the past, and many he has harmed the most are rightly afraid to come forward. He has frightened and threatened a lot of women into silence. […] Alexis Kennedy has used his reputation and association with prominent women + minorities – including me – as a cover for his predations and abuses. The only way I can protect people from further harm is to state this publicly and explicitly.”
Failbetter writer Olivia Wood also came forward on Twitter, saying: “I was in a relationship with Alexis Kennedy for nearly two years. He was my line manager the entire time. It was kept a secret from the whole company, including the board. During our relationship he cheated on me with people brought to company events, and who were wanting to work with the company. He broke up with me by messaging me that he’d cheated on me with a colleague (also his direct report) at the office Halloween party. I had to request he stop being my line-manager afterwards, though even then he was my manager’s manager, and CEO. His attitude towards me and my work changed the moment I was no longer his partner. I was shouted at and sworn at in front of colleagues; I was given opportunities – only to have my work belittled. I was kept anxious and uncertain. I was made to feel that my only recourse was to leave the company, but that I would not be able to get work anywhere else in the industry.”
Kennedy refuted the accusations on Twitter, responding to Jayanth by saying he’d be “making a police complaint about what seems to be a campaign of harassment.” His full statement read: “I deny this. I have had a small number of fully consensual relationships with other people in the industry. Everything else here is a malicious misrepresentation. I have taken legal advice and I am making a police complaint about what seems to be a campaign of harassment.”
Weather Factory’s co-founder Lottie Bevan also reacted on Twitter, saying: “He’s not [a predator]. We’ve filed a police report for defamation. These stories are insane and untrue.”
This follows several other accusations against prominent industry figures, including Alec Holowka and Jeremy Soule.
[An earlier version of this story made reference to private communication which we have now removed]