The Guardian has reported that more than half the women employed at London based Batman developer Rocksteady Studios signed a letter “accusing the studio of failing to prevent sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour in the office.” The letter was sent two years ago and resulted in a one hour training session for staff, it is reported that multiple signatories of the letter left the company due to inaction by the management.
The letter, dated November 2018 and signed by 10 of the company’s 16 female staff at the time, raised complaints about behaviour including “slurs regarding the transgendered community” and “discussing a woman in a derogatory or sexual manner with other colleagues”, and sexual harassment “in the form of unwanted advances, leering at parts of a woman’s body, and inappropriate comments in the office”.
Rocksteady have well over 200 staff, with only 16 female employees they were clearly in the minority. The person who contacted the Guardian, encouraged by the changes going on at Ubisoft, pointed out that the developers “dismissive attitude towards women” could clearly be seen in it’s games.
“Rocksteady doesn’t have the best reputation for representing women,” she said, citing the highly sexualised design and costuming of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. “Sometimes you could see the surprise on their face when you said that’s not how women dress.”
Last last year someone swapped the character models of Batman and Catwoman and you can see just how over stylised the female character is.
After the Guardian contacted Rocksteady “management called an all-staff meeting where they discussed the letter for the first time. New initiatives were promised to prevent further discrimination, the Guardian understands.”
Up to that point it is claimed the letter was kept secret “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.”
Rocksteady gave The Guardian the following statement.
From day one at Rocksteady Studios, we set out to create a place where people are looked after, a place fundamentally built on respect and inclusion.
In 2018 we received a letter from some of our female employees expressing concerns they had at that time, and we 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.
Suicide Squad is set to be revealed at DC Fandome on August 23rd at 01.00hrs BST. It will be interesting to see how the female characters in that game are portrayed.
Source: The Guardian