Rocksteady faces backlash for inaction regarding alleged sexual harassment

The Guardian published details of a 2018 memo from employees at game development studio Rocksteady, accusing management of failing to address sexual harassment. The memo was signed by 10 of the 16 women employed by the developer at the time and was given to The Guardian from an anonymous employee at Rocksteady.

The allegations detail “slurs regarding the transgendered community, discussing a woman in a derogatory or sexual manner with other colleagues, [and harassment] in the form of unwanted advances, leering at parts of a woman’s body, and inappropriate comments in the office.”

Since the publication of this letter, the developer has reportedly had only one training seminar on the matter, resulting in the departure of several employees due to the studio’s failure to address these problems appropriately.

The employee that provided the publication with the letter claims that the reason that these accusations had been kept secret for so long primarily stemmed from fears of employees losing credit on their work on Rocksteady’s upcoming Suicide Squad game if they were to speak up and leave on bad terms.

Former senior writer at Rocksteady Kim MacAskill came forward in a YouTube video after the publication of the letter as its author. She left the studio in 2019 over these issues, and while she agrees with the anonymous employee that was quoted in The Guardian article that “97%-98% of the developers there are incredible people,” she claims a few high-level staff members that are still employed at the studio are the perpetrators of this harassment. The personal and raw video details some of the harassment MacAskill experienced firsthand, as well as witnessed perpetrated against other women in the company.

The anonymous employee spoke to the recent accusations at Ubisoft and consequential firings that have taken place at that company as the leading inspiration for finally revealing the harassment issues at Rocksteady. A spokesperson for the developer told The Guardian that the company “set out to create a place where people are looked after, a place fundamentally built on respect and inclusion,” and that since the issues raised in 2018, “we have carefully listened to and learned from our employees, working to ensure every person on the team feels supported.”

After reaching out for comment on the letter from the studio, The Guardian has learned there was a company-wide meeting to discuss the letter and new initiatives will be put in place to address the problems. With the recent shake-up at Ubisoft, the precedent is set for change at Rocksteady. No word yet on whether this news changes Warner Bros. plans to reveal the first details of Suicide Squad during its DC Fandome event on August 22.

Rocksteady did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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