In the last few days, several women have come forward with allegations of abusive and predatory behaviour from Weather Factory co-founder and Failbetter vet Alexis Kennedy.
The first to come forward publicly was Meg Jayanth, co-founder of Red Queens, who worked on Failbetter's Sunless Seas as a freelance writer, who took to Twitter with accusations that Kennedy preyed on younger women in the industry, as well as being retaliatory to those have spoken out about him in the past.
Kennedy has denied these accusations, saying they are a "malicious misrepresentation" and that he is taking legal action. Weather Factory co-founder and Kennedy's fiancée Lottie Bevan also took to Twitter to defend him and said that they have filed a police report for defamation. Given that defamation in the UK is a civil, not criminal, offence, the police do not have jurisdiction over the matter.
Following Jayanth's posts on the subject, Failbetter writer and editor Olivia Wood detailed her relationship with Kennedy while the two worked together at the studio and he was her line manager. Wood claims that Kennedy hid their relationship from the company and ultimately cheated on her with a colleague, who also reported into him. After the relationship ended, Wood alleges that Kennedy's behaviour towards her changed and he was abusive to her in front of their colleagues.
That was before SpiritAI chief product officer Emily Short also took to Twitter to allege that Kennedy acted inappropriately towards her while she was a freelancer at Failbetter.
These allegations towards Kennedy follow the Weather Factory co-founder being named by the AbuseIndustry Twitter account before that disappeared.
We have reached out to Jayanth, Wood and Short, as well as Weather Factory, for this story. Wood and Short have declined to comment; Jayanth and Weather Factory have not replied at the time of publication.
Failbetter Games, the studio that Kennedy co-founded, has responded to the allegations on Twitter, pointing out that he hasn't worked at the Sunless Skies developer since 2016 and that the behaviour he is accused of has "no place in our industry, or in any other."
Already, people and companies have started to distance themselves from Weather Factory. Developers Why Not Games, Space Backyard and Small Island Games have all publicly said on Twitter that they will no longer be part of the studio's mentorship program.
We'll update this story as it develops