The former CEO of tabletop accessories manufacturer The Broken Token has relinquished his position in light of sexual assault allegations by a former employee, but not before firing 13 employees.
According to a statement released on September 2nd, Greg Spence will no longer directly run the California-based company and has transferred his duties to Kelsey Royer. Spence claims he will continue “supporting” Royer as she handles “the day-to-day” operations, implying he retains ownership and will likely still benefit financially from any ongoing contracts.
This decision was precipitated by an August 18th article published on Medium by former The Broken Token employee Ashley Taylor, who accused Spence of sexual assault and mental and emotional abuse over several years. Taylor claims in the piece, titled Speaking up to Protect Others, that Spence browbeat her into a brief relationship both bookended by and shot through with assault and manipulation.
I want you to be the first to hear from me directly about the latest developments stemming from Ashley Taylor's https://t.co/SUvpQnstus article that she posted on August 18. pic.twitter.com/Z9uel5NAVO— The Broken Token (@tbt_gaming) September 2, 2021
Taylor said she decided to publicly relate her story after hearing that another employee was experiencing something similar, though that person remains unnamed. Spence initially denied everything, saying “none of these accusations are true”, but has shifted his stance in this recent announcement.
“As I alluded to in my earlier remarks two weeks ago, I did engage in an improper but consensual relationship with Ms. Taylor,” Spence wrote. “While I did not make physical or job-related threats to her, my actions were not in keeping with suitable employer-employee conduct.”
Spence goes on to say that Taylor remained working at The Broken Token “of her own accord” after their relationship ended, which he characterised as “not one that I should continue in my role as the founder of a small business.”
Several companies and tabletop industry leaders, including Gloomhaven creator Isaac Childres and Blades in the Dark publisher Evil Hat Productions, denounced The Broken Token in the wake of Taylor’s article, many pulling their contracts for board game organisation inserts and other 3rd-party accessories. Spence says the financial fallout forced him to lay off 13 of the small business’ 23 employees.
“As we say goodbye to some in The Broken Token family, we will continue providing health benefits to them through September 30, as well as access to services through our Employee Assistance Program and San Diego-based workforce support nonprofit organizations,” Spence wrote. California is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can terminate staff and workers without cause at any time - though race, gender and other individual protections do exist.
Spence ends by stating that he will rededicate himself “to ensuring that I treat everyone in my personal and professional life with the dignity and respect they deserve” and remains optimistic about the future of his company. Dicebreaker reached out to The Broken Token for comment, as well as clarification on Spence’s new role. This piece will be updated as new information comes in.