Female staffmembers at Rocksteady Studios, best known for the Batman: Arkham series, sent a letter to management back in 2018 complaining about sexual harassment, according to a new report by the Guardian.
The letter, reportedly signed by 10 of the 16 women on staff at the time, cited a number of persistant issues including transphobic slurs, derogatory and sexually explicit remarks about women, and sexual harassment that included “unwanted advances, leering at parts of a woman’s body, and inappropriate comments in the office,” the Guardian reports. This misconduct reportedly also filtered into Rocksteady’s games, which include hypersexualised versions of Batman characters like Poison Ivy and Catworman.
According to one of the Guardian’s sources, to address the issues raised in the letter Rocksteady held a single company-wide, hour-long training seminar. Employees had to sign a statement confirming they had participated in the training, but according to the source nothing else appeared to be done to address the problems. “It felt that it was a just way for them to cover their arses,” said the source.
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A spokesperson from Rocksteady told The Guardian in a 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.” The statement went on:
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 reportedly called an all-hands last Thursday to specifically respond to the 2018 letter for the first time after it was contacted about these issues by The Guardian. There, the studio reportedly pledged to take further steps. Rocksteady did not immediately respond to a request by Kotaku for comment.
The Guardian’s report comes after a wave of allegations about misconduct swept the gaming industry in late June, led in part by reports of widespread harassment and workplace toxicity at Ubisoft. Rocksteady is set to reveal its next game, Suicide Squad, this weekend at Warner Bros.’s online DC FanDome event.