Numerous employees at Batman: Arkham Asylum developer Rocksteady Studios have accused the studio’s management of ignoring sexual harassment claims made over the years.
A report from The Guardian reveals that 10 of the 16 female staff members employed by Rocksteady Studios in 2018 signed a letter that was sent to the company’s bosses. The letter contained information related to various forms of harassment the studio’s female employees had witnessed and suffered throughout their time at the company. It outlined events involving “slurs regarding the transgendered community,” instances of “discussing a woman in a derogatory or sexual manner with other colleagues,” and various other examples of workplace misconduct and sexual harassment.
In an interview with The Guardian, one of the employees who signed the letter revealed Rocksteady Studio’s follow-up to these troubling accusations.
“The only thing we had as a result was a company-wide seminar that lasted an hour,” says the unnamed employee. “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.”
In a statement to The Guardian, a Rocksteady Studios spokesperson acknowledged that they had received the letter in 2018 and commented further regarding the company’s actions in response to it.
“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,” reads a section of the statement. “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 also learned that after reaching out to Rocksteady Studios for comment, management called an all-staff meeting in which the letter was reportedly discussed openly among the staff for the first time…two years after it was sent. The report indicates that “new initiatives were promised” during that meeting.
The Rocksteady employee (who may or may not still work at the company) also told The Guardian that they felt the company “doesn’t have the best reputation for representing women” and said that “you could see the surprise on their face when you said that’s not how women dress” when designers were approached about the looks of characters like Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. They also noted that the recent harassment claims which have rocked Ubisoft were part of their inspiration for going public with the letter and Rocksteady’s relative lack of response regarding it.
Rocksteady Studios is currently working on a Suicide Squad game which is set to be revealed at an upcoming DC event. Warner Bros Interactive (Rocksteady’s parent company) is also expected to soon reveal a new Batman game. Neither has released additional information regarding this matter or any follow-up measures they plan to take as of the time of this writing.