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Four fired from Kixeye over racism claims

"Examples of embarrassing behavior" discovered at social developer

Four members of staff have been fired from social developer Kixeye after an investigation into claims of institutional racism and abuse.

The charges were levelled at the studio by a contractor who wrote a blog post under the name of Qu33riousity, who claimed that he had suffered racial discrimination and seen it directed at others.

Studio head Will Harbin promised to investigate, telling press that he'd only become aware of the allegations when the blog was posted. Today, Harbin has revealed that those investigations have lead to the firing of a team manager and three of his staff, although he denies that the full list of accusations was accurate.

"Immediately after I learned of these allegations, I personally interviewed members of the team to figure out what this was about," wrote Harbin in a blog posted via Twitter.

"While it's clear that not everything in the blog post was accurate, I did discover examples of embarrassing behavior that I find inappropriate for KIXEYE, or any other work environment. As a result, I immediately terminated the manager of the team in question and then three other employees who violated company standards as well. We have also taken steps to provide harassment training to the other members of the team, given the poor example set by their manager.

"I am doing my best to create a company where our employees love to work, with a culture of openness and tolerance to different points of view, styles, races, gender, orientation, religion and cultures. It turns out that a few bad apples weren't living up to the standards that the rest of us have set for our company."

Kixeye has earned renown as a producer of 'core' social titles such as the popular War Commander, stepping into the spotlight with a viral recruitment video which openly mocked major rivals like Zynga. However, it seems that not everyone at Kixeye got the memo about a new dawn of development and inclusivity - something which Harbin is understandably keen to rectify.

"What are we doing to make sure this never happens again in the future," Harbin continues. "Well, even before this incident, we hired a VP of HR who has implemented a sensitivity training program for all employees. He's also introduced processes that have strengthened communication channels between management and the employee base.

"We've also started conducting regular anonymous, company-wide surveys in which we gather and have taken action on feedback, complaints and rumors. Finally, we are in the process of conducting an outside, independent investigation of the allegations made by the contractor to ensure we have all the facts and take whatever continued, appropriate action is necessary to prevent this kind of behavior from occurring again."

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Dan Pearson

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