Games Media Awards organizer Intent Media is embarrassed and ashamed of retailer Grangier Games' conduct during the awards ceremony last night in London and is apologizing publicly today.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise wholeheartedly for this - and to make it very clear that Grainger will not be welcome back in any capacity to the GMAs, or any Intent Media events," Intent Media MD Stuart Dinsey said in a statement today. Grainger approached us a few months ago and explained that their intention, through association with the GMAs, was to get closer to the games media," continued Dinsey's frank apology. "What they have done, in spectacular fashion, is alienate the entire games media in one night. Good work, guys."
The Games Media Awards is an annual event that honors games journalists in the UK. Those honors were apparently sullied by the UK-based retailer, who served as a key event sponsor.
Grainger Games brought girls in bikinis, midgets, a brightly colored Hummer and Grainger-branded condoms to the event. They also heckled the presenter Greg Davies and the award winners. Several attendees at the event witnessed the Grainger Games table flick their branded condoms into other attendee's food, interrupt the host and climb onto the stage to dance in front of the lectern while winners were accepting awards. Some claim that the behavior was even encouraged by Grainger Games MD Stephen Bowyer.
Xbox LIVE editor Daniel Maher, who attended the event, tweeted about his experiences with Grainger Games.
"Grainger Games are an absolute disgrace. Complete disrespect for the industry they're supposedly a part of," he wrote. "Two of them attempted to physically and verbally intimidate me after I'd told them to shut up."
James Gee, a Grainger Games area manager, replied to the controversy by saying "what a joke this is! Massively blown out of proportion! Surely all you humans have better things to talk about?"
Grainger Games issued an apology on its website:
"We wholeheartedly apologise if we offended anyone at last night's GMAs. It was never our intention to upset anybody," read the statement. "We sponsored the awards to show our support for everyone involved in games media and we continue to value and appreciate all their hard work and commitment."
While the distractions and reported rudeness of the sponsor was unsettling for many attendees, several journalists and publications still reveled in the honors bestowed upon them. Eurogamer won the best website award; best blog went to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, The Guardian won for best coverage in a national newspaper, while Dave Cook took the regional games columnist award for his work for The Scotsman.
Best coverage in a mainstream magazine was won by Shortlist, and best print magazine went to Edge. SentUAMessage won best games broadcast/podcast. Finally, Martin Gaston of Videogamer was this year's Rising Star, Keza McDonald of IGN took the specialist writer online title, and the award for specialist print writer went to Christian Donlan. The industry legend award went to Colin Campbell.