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Funagain Games CEO steps down after retailer’s employees decry sexist comments

Jeff DeBoer has relinquished control of the company, but many call for divestment.

More than two dozen employees of Oregon-based board game retailer Funagain Games released an official statement on January 21st announcing the immediate stepping down of CEO Jeff DeBoer, due to sexist comments he allegedly made on social media towards another industry peer.

“The Funagain team believes in dignity and respect for all people, regardless of gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, culture, gender identity or expression, disability, nationality or family status,” said the statement posted to Twitter. “There is zero justification for his words, and it pains us to see the hurt he has caused.”

According to screenshots of a now hidden or deleted conversation, DeBoer appeared to insert himself into an ongoing altercation between Pax and Bios series designer Phil Eklund and a marketing director at a board game publisher. Eklund has recently faced broad criticism for codifying climate denial beliefs in essays included with his games and began posting constantly to social media about “cancel culture” after publisher Ion Game Design/Sierra Madre Games stopped allowing their inclusion.

DeBoer came to Eklund’s defence on Facebook by insulting the marketing director over spending time with her children and her marriage status. When she pushed back, DeBoer attempted to play off his comments as a joke by acting friendly and suggesting she was simply suffering undue stress.

Ragusa and Farsight publisher Braincrack Games swiftly ended its partnership with Funagain in a statement posted on January 19th, explicitly citing DeBoer’s “inappropriate” social media comments.

“Having experienced sexism in this industry and community personally, Braincrack’s directors will not tolerate or endorse this behaviour,” the statement read. “We must confront discrimination of all forms both within this industry and beyond. It will not stand.”

The same day, Funagain posted a single tweet: “At Funagain Games, we condemn discrimination of any kind, be that based upon age, culture, gender identity, gender expression, social status, sexual orientation, religion, race, educational level, disability, mental health, ethnicity or physical appearance.”

Given their official statement, it seems the employees immediately began discussing a larger response - making their feelings known to DeBoer and requesting he step down. The current management team have assumed his duties, including client relations and running its social media accounts.

Comments from the public raise the unaddressed issue of whether DeBoer will continue to profit from Funagain’s retail sales, even in his reduced role at the company. Many are calling for his full divestment.

“With each sale on your site and with every Kickstarter fulfillment he will still be profiting correct? if that's the case I WILL NOT be buying anything from you until he is removed completely,” read one Twitter response.

“It sounds like a forced retirement where he still gets to keep the profits of the business while he does no work? Or am I misunderstanding?” said another.

Dicebreaker has reached out to Funagain Games for clarification on this issue but did not hear back before publication.

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