Rocksteady Studios, the London-based video game developer behind the Batman Arkham series and the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, has come under fire after the revelation the company allegedly did not take action when presented with stories of sexual harassment within the company.
The Guardian published a report regarding a letter signed by over half of Rocksteady’s women employees back in November 2018 that claimed, among other things, of sexual harassment experienced in the workplace.
The letter, signed by 10 of the company’s 16 women employees at the time, raised issues about the workplace that included “slurs regarding the transgendered community” and “discussing a woman in a derogatory or sexual manner with other colleagues,” as well as “unwanted advances, leering at parts of a woman’s body, and inappropriate comments in the office.”
The Guardian’s anonymous source, who signed the letter in 2018, claims that the letter was kept private from the rest of the company and resulted only in a single training seminar on sexual harassment in the workplace. The source alleges Rocksteady still has issues of sexism and harassment from the workplace.
Since the publication of The Guardian’s report, Kim MacAskill, former senior scriptwriter for the upcoming Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League, came forward with her account of working at Rocksteady.
In her 13-minute video, MacAskill says that 97 percent of the employees at Rocksteady were supportive of her as a woman and developer. “It’s just so unfortunate that because one or two people weren’t so good that this happens and it happened because the company is so inept to limit this stuff,” she said.
MacAskill delves into the time when she gathered Rocksteady’s female employees, save for those who worked in Human Resources (HR), to discuss their experiences with sexual harassment at the workplace. MacAskill says all but one of the women she spoke to claimed to have experienced some form of harassment at Rocksteady. MacAskill also alleges HR failed to appropriately handle the allegations.
Following these allegations, Rocksteady has remained mostly silent on the matter. The company says it’s working on a response to the news but, in the meantime, shared a letter on the company’s official Twitter account, which it claims is a voluntary response from 7 of the ten signatories of the original 2018 letter.
This new letter claims that “immediate action was taken” to address matters of sexual harassment at Rocksteady and that the original 2018 letter sent to The Guardian was done so without their consent.
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
The allegations surfaced just as Rocksteady is about to reveal its latest game, Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League, at the upcoming DC Fandome. This is the studio’s first game since releasing Batman: Arkham Knight in 2015 and Batman: Arkham VR in 2016.
IGN has reached out to Rocksteady regarding the report and allegations.
Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.