CRIT Awards No Longer Attending GenCon 2024, Investigating Virtual Event Possibility

GenCon 2024 is at the heart of a recent controversy after the CRIT Awards announced last night they they would no longer be attending. The reasons why are a complex mix of social media backlash and current events.

CRIT Awards Not Attending GenCon 2024

On June 14, the CRIT Awards – an awards group dedicated to recognizing talented creators in the Tabletop Gaming space – announced an update to their Code of Conduct via social media post on X (formerly Twitter). The update stated that “Individuals who identify as Zionists, promote Zionist material, or engage in activities that without a doubt support Zionism are not eligible for nomination”.

This decision lead to backlash on the social media platform with many users stating that this decision goes against their mission statement of being an inclusive award platform, or that their decision was antisemitic. Much of this discussion heightened in part due to recent events in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Events that encompass many complex issues involving thousands of years of history and culture.

Last night exactly ten days after their Code of Conduct change the CRIT Awards announced that they will not be attending GenCon 2024 citing safety concerns. For those planning on attending the CRIT Awards have confirmed that tickets purchased will be refunded and that any nominees are free to remove their participation in the event as they “understand the situation can be extremely mentally taxing, and difficult in many ways that may be unexpected”. Lastly, the awards board will be hosting a virtual event.

A screenshot of the official statement from CRIT Awards regarding their departure from GenCon 2024.

The CRIT Awards’ departure has lead to other creators and panelists either pulling out of GenCon 2024 or denouncing CRIT Awards’ departure. Voice-actor, cultural consultant, and actual play producer KP Upadhyayula has announced he will not be attending out of solidarity.

Actual play Transplanar RPG made a statement denouncing the change in the convention’s programming as well as denouncing the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-semitism. The TTRPG zine Apochromatic Unlimited announced their support for the CRIT Awards further expanding on their views stating “do not equate Zionism with being Jewish just as we do not equate white nationalism with being white”. Rascal News co-founder Rowan Zeoli voiced her support among many others 

At the time of writing, it is unclear if the CRIT Awards chose to leave the event on their own or if GenCon’s managers were involved in the decision. We have reached out to both parties requesting official statements.