Flying condoms, drunkenness, physical and verbal intimidation marred the UK Games Media Awards 2011 on Wednesday night - courtesy of the event's primary sponsor.
Grainger Games, a small and previously little-known UK-based videogame retail chain, has been forced into a humiliating apology for the behaviour of its staff at the gaming awards event held at London's Vinopolis, which Grainger itself sponsored. Grainger presumably sponsored the event with the intention of raising its profile - though perhaps not in the way that transpired.
Things got off to a dodgy footing when Grainger employees - described by news blog Gizmodo (opens in new tab), which attended the event, as "pissed out of their heads" - heckled UK comedian Greg Davies, the ceremony's compere for the evening.
As if an awards ceremony at which gongs were handed out by dwarves weren't surreal enough, things got progressively nasty as Colin Campbell, on stage to receive a Games Media Legend award, was slow hand-clapped and booed.
According to a report on GamePolitics (opens in new tab), "Several attendees at the event witnessed the Grainger Games table flick their branded condoms into other attendee's food."
Xbox Live editor Daniel Maher later tweeted (opens in new tab) that "two [Grainger staff] attempted to physically and verbally intimidate me after I'd told them to shut up."
Unconfirmed reports also followed that two Grainger employees were caught snorting cocaine in the bathroom by the event's security staff.
In a statement posted (opens in new tab) on gaming news bible MCV, Stuart Dinsey of Intent Media, the event's organisers, said: "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."
A sheepish apology squirreled away in the news section (opens in new tab) of Grainger Games' website wibbles: "We wholeheartedly apologise if we offended anyone at last night's GMAs. It was never our intention to upset anybody. 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."