Luxury gaming table manufacturer Wyrmwood Gaming has been accused of creating a “dangerous” environment for its workers in a new report from technology website Gizmodo. Reporter Linda Codega spoke with around 50 current and former employees to uncover a what they describe as a culture of sexual harassment, workplace misconduct, and sexism — led by co-founder and CEO Doug Costella, who is at the forefront of several allegations.
Wyrmwood, based in Taunton, Massachusetts, is known for its high-end gaming accessories and furniture, like its modular gaming tables. Co-founders Doug and Ian Costella spun up the business in 2012 and successfully crowdfunded its wooden gaming dice cases. Wyrmwood has had a prolific history with crowdfunding since then; over the years, it funded 23 projects on Kickstarter, the last of which raised nearly $2 million for its “premier” modular table. Gizmodo said the company’s size more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wyrmwood came under fire from employees earlier this year when sexual assault accusations were surfaced on social media. When Gizmodo began investigating those claims, the publication found an extensive history of misconduct allegations. Gizmodo described an incident in 2019 during which Wyrmwood media lead Bobby Downey allegedly masturbated in front of a female employee. Workers also alleged that Downey had purposefully kept women off the company’s reality-style YouTube show, Wyrm Lyfe.
“According to sources, Downey’s excuses for not including more women include statements like ‘women aren’t as funny as men,’ and ‘the women at Wyrmwood are too awkward and aggressive to be on camera,’” Gizmodo wrote.
The report also alleged that women were rarely promoted and described a dangerous work environment where “an employee nearly burned their finger off on an allegedly defective machine.” The company has been fined multiple times by the United States’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration; four violations are reported on OSHA’s website.
Wyrmwood has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment. You can read the extensive report over at Gizmodo.