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Nintendo of America contractors describe sexual harassment, 'frat house' environment

New report also alleges that women being romantically involved with full-time employees offered more opportunities and access

Former contractors allege that Nintendo of America (NoA) was a discriminatory workplace for female contractors, according to an exposé by Kotaku.

In one of the report's accounts, a former temporary staffer explained that she reported incidents of sexual harassment and in response, the external staffing company she technically worked for, Aerotek, "warned her to be less outspoken."

Kotaku spoke with 10 people who worked for Nintendo at various points of the past decade who detailed various stories of sexual harassment and gender discrimination at a company they said limited career advancement opportunities for women.

Additionally, the report highlighted the power imbalance between full-time staffers and contractors, saying promotions to full-time work were given based on favoritism, with the head of the product testing department routinely making inappropriate advances toward women working under him.

"A lot of the NOA red badges [full-time employees] had reputations for using the tester pool of associates as a dating pool,” one tester told Kotaku. "If you were approached by a red badge, and they appeared to be making moves on you, [other women said that] you didn’t want to dissuade them too hard."

Contract workers weren't given clear goals that would help them be converted or have their contracts renewed. Another disparity that the report mentioned was the lack of women who could advocate for others when full-time positions opened.

Men who were friends with employees were more likely to become full-time NoA employees.

Kotaku added that following its labor report in April, head of NoA, Doug Bowser, internally acknowledged the media’s allegations about the company’s working conditions. He responded to the coverage saying that the firm has zero-tolerance for misconduct.

This report joins alleged labor issues that have arisen for Nintendo of America recently.

Kotaku previously reported on harsh working conditions for Nintendo contractors in April, and IGN followed in May with an additional report where contractors criticized the company culture and their treatment.

Last week, Nintendo of America received its second labor complaint of the year.

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Jeffrey Rousseau avatar

Jeffrey Rousseau

Staff Writer

Jeffrey Rousseau joined GamesIndustry.biz in March 2021. Based in Florida, his work focused on the intersectionality of games and media. He enjoys reading, podcasts, staying informed, and learning how people are tackling issues.

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