Batman developer Rocksteady accused of failing to take action over harassment of staff

Batman Arkham Shot

The London-based studio known for the Arkham series received a letter signed by 10 of the 16 female employees back in 2018, detailing the claims according to The Guardian who reported the story. In the letter, bosses are accused of failing to prevent sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour.

The letter cited a number of issues that the employees felt were persistent and not being dealt with. Dated November 2018, the letter refers to transphobic and misogynistic slurs, as well as sexual harassment of female staffers “in the form of unwanted advances, leering at parts of a woman’s body, and inappropriate comments in the office” The Guardian reports.

According to one of The Guardian’s sources who shared the letter with them, the response from Rocksteady has been minimal, amounting to one single training seminar, while more than one signatory has since left the company. The anonymous source told The Guardian that “she had decided to share the letter with the Guardian because she felt people were still suffering from sexism, harassment and inappropriate behaviour at Rocksteady.”

The source told The Guardian that the letter was kept private in part due to the company’s devotion to secrecy, which is not unusual in the video game sector, and in part because staff members feared that if they left on bad terms they would be denied credit on the company’s upcoming game, an adaptation of DC Comics’ Suicide Squad.

In response, Rocksteady told The Guardian that they “immediately took firm measures to address the matters that were raised. Over the subsequent two years we have carefully listened to and learned from our employees, working to ensure every person on the team feels supported. In 2020 we are more passionate than ever to continue to develop our inclusive culture, and we are determined to stand up for all of our staff.”

According to The Guardian, Rocksteady called an all-staff meeting after being asked to comment on the article and new practices were promised to prevent further discrimination.

The sad truth is that the gaming community has a long way to go when it comes to how it treats women and minorities. In June this year, former employees of Ubisoft came out against the sexual harassment, abuse, and other misconduct they’d faced at the studio. Earlier this week, a former staffer from Kotaku shared her experience working there, and the “deeply entrenched problems of racism and sexism at Kotaku.” Just yesterday, the official Twitter account for E3 2020 shared an article that started with “girl gamers” and then proceeded to list games for “girls to play” which included: Solitare, Candy Crush Saga and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I can’t quote anymore of the article because it has been removed from the internet by Parade at this point, a decision they should have taken when the article was first suggested.

Ben Ingham

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

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Batman developer Rocksteady accused of failing to take action over harassment of staff | The Digital Fix