Rocksteady letter alleges years of inaction over studio-wide sexual harassment & toxicity

A letter from 2018 signed by a number of Rocksteady's female employees regarding troubling conditions at the studio was recently released, along with a claim that little has changed since.

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As the gaming industry chugs along through a rough year, so too does the fight continue for better and safer workplaces in the business. Recently, it was Rocksteady that came up against allegations. A letter from 2018 signed by a large portion of the studio’s female employees was released, accusing the studio of workplace sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, and toxicity, with the reason for the recent release being that leadership has done little to change anything in the years since.

The letter in question was released on August 18, 2020, as first reported by The Guardian. Said letter was apparently an accusation of various inappropriate behavior within the studio signed by 10 of the studio’s then 16 female employees in November 2018. The person who released the letter claimed to have done so because little meaningful action had been taken since the studio became aware of the issue.

“The only thing we had as a result was a company-wide seminar that lasted an hour,” the source alleged. “Everyone who attended was asked to sign a statement confirming that they’d received the training. It felt that it was a just way for them to cover their arses.”

The release of the 2018 letter of allegations of toxicity and sexual harassment at Rocksteady Studios comes ahead of reveal of its latest game focused on Suicide Squad.
The release of the 2018 letter of allegations of toxicity and sexual harassment at Rocksteady Studios comes ahead of reveal of its latest game focused on Suicide Squad.

Even so, person behind the letter’s release claims the attitudes in the workplace have not changed.

“I have heard everything from groping claims to incidents involving directors, all of whom are men,” the source further alleges.

For its part, Rocksteady claimed that it had once again brought concerns addressed in said letter to the table and spoke to the Guardian regarding the matter.

“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,” a spokesperson said. “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.”

The Guardian further reported that as recent as August 13, management spoke with staff to discuss initiatives that would apparently help to cease further discrimination.

Rocksteady's issues of toxicity and harassment are reminiscent of a similar situation at Ubisoft, though time will tell if Rocksteady responds as strongly past its initial mention of addressing the issue.
Rocksteady's issues of toxicity and harassment are reminiscent of a similar situation at Ubisoft, though time will tell if Rocksteady responds as strongly past its initial mention of addressing the issue.

These allegations come at an interesting time as Rocksteady appears set to reveal a new game based on Suicide Squad during the upcoming DC Fandome. Even so, and as much as many would like to see a new Rocksteady DC game, the time is right to address any and all toxicity and harassment within the studio.

With the massive changes at Ubisoft cited as a prime reason to release the letter and pursue change now, one wonders if similar changes are coming at Rocksteady as the studio gears up for its latest game reveal.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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