Report: Rocksteady Games leadership ignored reports of sexual harassment, Rocksteady responds

Batman Arkham Knight Fight Image
Batman Arkham Knight Fight Image (Image credit: WB Games)

What you need to know

  • Rocksteady Games is a U.K. studio known for working on the Batman: Arkham games.
  • Per a report from The Guardian, Rocksteady leadership has ignored multiple reports of sexual harassment.
  • Women at the studio signed a letter in November 2018 bringing up several issues.
  • After being contacted by The Guardian, Rocksteady leadership has now looked at the letter.

Update 2, August 21 (5:16 p.m. ET): Rocksteady Games has released a second statement, alleging that the studio did listen to the feedback received in the November 2018 letter and instituted new practices for better inclusion.

Update 1, August 19 (1:35 p.m. ET): Rocksteady Games responded to The Guardian's report with a statement on Twitter allegedly written by 7 women at Rocksteady.

Rocksteady Games is best-known for its work on the Batman: Arkham series. It's also working on an upcoming Suicide Squad title, which is being revealed at DC Fandome. Unfortunately, according to a report from The Guardian, leadership issues are allegedly failing to address sexual harassment at the studio.

The article reports that in November 2018, over half the women at the studio brought a letter to the leadership team raising complaints about the use of slurs towards transgender employees, unwanted advances, and instances of people "discussing a woman in a derogatory or sexual manner with other colleagues."

"I have heard everything from groping claims to incidents involving [senior staff], all of whom are men," one signer, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Guardian.

The only action reportedly taken was a one-hour training seminar. Several of the women who signed the letter later left the studio over a lack of action taken. Kim MacAskill, a writer who worked on the upcoming Suicide Squad game, publicly asked not to be credited for her work due to the reports of harassment.

When The Guardian contacted Rocksteady for comment, management held an all-hands meeting to address the letter. As a result of this meeting, new initiatives are reportedly being taken to prevent harassment in the future. In a statement, a Rocksteady spokesperson said:

"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."

This news comes at a time when a wave of abuse and misconduct reports have gone through the gaming industry. Ubisoft has fired or let go of multiple executives even as more staff are accused of sexual harassment. One of the signers who shared the Rocksteady letter with The Guardian cited some of these recent examples as part of the reason for exposing the company.

Update, August 19 (1:35 p.m. ET) — Rocksteady responds

Rocksteady Games published the following message on Twitter in response to the original report from The Guardian. The message is allegedly from seven women working at Rocksteady who originally signed the letter. The message states that the signatories do not believe The Guardian's report is a "fair representation" and that immediate action was taken after management received the letter.

Update, June 15 (5:16 p.m. ET) — This update will change your life

Rocksteady Games has released a second statement, alleging that it received the feedback of the letter in November 2018 and instituted new measures for better inclusivity, as well as bringing in a third-party company to speak anonymously with Rocksteady employees.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.