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Ex-Nintendo worker details labor complaint

Former QA tester says they asked about unionization trend in January and were fired in February in retaliation

The person at the heart of an April labor complaint against Nintendo and contracting firm Aston Carter has come forward in an interview with Axios.

The tester, Mackenzie Clifton, provided more details on the specifics of their complaint, telling Axios they tried to ask Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser about unionization in a January company meeting, and Nintendo and Aston Carter fired them for it in February.

Clifton said they tried to ask Bowser for Nintendo's position on the recent trend of unionization among QA teams in the games industry, but the subject was not addressed in the meeting.

They added that after the meeting, an Anson Carter supervisor told them it was a "downer question" and said in the future they should put any such questions to Anson Carter rather than Nintendo.

Clifton said they were fired in February, with Nintendo claiming the termination was for disclosing confidential information.

The supporting evidence Clifton was given for the termination was a tweet they made in mid-February saying, "In today's build someone somewhere must have deleted every other texture in the game [because] everything is now red. Just like, pure red. It's very silly."

Clifton also discussed settlement talks around their case, saying they wanted a letter of apology signed by Bowser, while Nintendo counter-offered to let them speak with the human resources team and be given a neutral letter of reference.

Nintendo and Aston Carter did not answer Axios' requests for comment, while the National Labor Relations Board declined comment.

Clifton's complaint was followed by investigative articles by Kotaku and IGN detailing Nintendo QA worker treatment and a second formal NLRB complaint in August.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.