Rocksteady were the subject of a report in The Guardian on Monday which accused them of ignoring sexual harassment claims, followed by a emotional video from Kim MacAskil, Senior Writer at the studio until 2019.
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 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.
Rocksteady have now responded to the report with a full statement.
Here is our statement: pic.twitter.com/ssyzNWfyhB
— Rocksteady Studios (@RocksteadyGames) August 21, 2020
They say “we listened, and we dealt with issues raised.” They also say they are employing an independent third party which Rocksteady employees can talk to confidentially, and also speaking to all female employees who have left the company in the last two years.
The statement follows an “unsolicited letter” from seven out of the ten women who signed the original letter which complained about sexual harassment.
While working on our response to the recent news, we received the following unsolicited letter. pic.twitter.com/sozmsp6u3C
— Rocksteady Studios (@RocksteadyGames) August 19, 2020
Rocksteady’s statements seem to contradict those of Kim MacAskil, a senior script writer at Rocksteady until 2019.
Kim states that higher management and a director were harassing the females, with a male colleague complaining about a female employees work after she rejected her advances.
She goes on to say she “redrafted and redrafted” the letter, during which the HR department tried to stop her twice, and members of higher management told her that if she did finish the letter her position in the company would be in jeopardy and that her future prospects at other companies would be jeopardised as she might be seen as “a trouble maker” .