Never meet your heroes.
Update (29/8/19): Apparently, there’s another accusation from another victim: vocalist Aeralie Brighton. The story is updated with these changes. Also, Jeremy Soule made a comment.
Just like any burgeoning business, the games industry has its own deep dark secrets and horror stories. We’ve heard a lot about mismanagement, crunch periods, overtime, and sexual assault cases that are (mostly) called out; how about one more to add to that s*** pile involving the man responsible for Skyrim’s awesome music?
Game designer Nathalie Lawhead called out her rapist in a recent blogpost, detailing the sordid tale which started back in 2008.
On November 4 2008 I was contacted by a studio in Vancouver to design and build an ARG for their new IP.
I talked about my experiences of working with this company before. For example, in this post.
What I didn’t share, when talking about my experiences, is that I was raped by Jeremy Soule while I was working there.
According to the post, she wanted to break into the industry, but Jeremy knew about this and took advantage of her position. She has gone through a lot of trouble with immigration, to the point where Jeremy allegedly took advantage of their friendship by smoothing things over with her bosses in exchange for sexual favours.
He acted like he was going to help me. He was something of a mentor in terms of learning the ropes of this industry (at the time it came off as that). He offered a lot of advice, and offered a lot of help.
We talked often, and I shared my frustrations and desperation about my situation with him. He knew what I was going through, and how desperately I needed this job to work out. He also knew what my VISA situation was like.
He pretty much knew everything about me. I shared a lot with him because I thought he was a friend.
The friendship quoted above was allegedly him resorting to predatory behaviour. When things didn’t go his way, he forced himself onto her.
Eventually he started to indirectly threaten my position at work, saying things like “It’s me or bust.” Jeremy was close friends with the CEO, and the CEO (my boss) would speak highly of him.
[…] He made advances on me and I explained that I didn’t want this and wanted a friendship. He was very threatening, and didn’t listen. He made it clear that it’s “him or bust”.
He raped me.
Throughout this time Jeremy acted like a victim, and blamed women he was in relationships with (or forced relationships on) for what he was doing.
The rest of the post features allegations of Jeremy not paying her for an alternate reality game project (ARG), with his client (and his brother Julian Soule) ending up footing the bill no questions asked, and her getting fired over the poor workmanship of the final ARG project despite the fact it was receiving a lot of critical acclaim on The Guardian and SXSW. She said that she has provided proof for those who dispute all of this.
A second woman, vocalist Aeralie Brighton (Ori and the Blind Forest, LawBreakers) posted on Facebook recently that she had “personally fallen prey to Jeremy Soule as well back in 2014”. She said Soule sent her a video of him masturbating; after stating that she only wanted a professional relationship with him, she was blocked and removed from a project she was supposed to work on.
Long story short: both Brighton and Soule flirted with each other via sexy texting and SMSs, then Soule invited her over for a private recording session where he bragged about his sexual conquests and bashed other vocalists. Afterwards, he sent her said masturbating video.
“[H]e was pushing both our boundaries beyond what’s acceptable. He made it clear that he had the power to make or break people’s careers. So I was like, ‘Well shit, I’m never gonna work again.'”
Jeremy Soule has commented to Kotaku on these allegations.
“These 11 year old allegations are false. I am shocked and saddened that these outrageous claims have been made.”
(Update: 28/8/2019) his Twitter account has gone dark as of late. But before you bring out your pitchforks, keep in mind: this is one side of the story. We do need to hear the other side of it to confirm that these allegations are concrete. We’ll be sure to update this news when the opportunity arises, but for now, just heed these words: innocent until proven guilty.