Report: Wildlife Studios investigation reveals "culture of moral harassment"
Internal document details repeated examples of pay discrimination, and perpetuating sexist stereotypes
An internal report conducted at Brazilian mobile outfit Wildlife Studios has revealed a "culture of moral harassment" at the company, as per Rest of World.
The 22-page report, filed in May 2020 by the studio's diversity team, details several instances of salary disparity, gender discrimination and perpetuating sexist stereotypes.
Rest of World conducted interviews with eight current and former employees, which corroborated some of the allegations detailed in the report, with one former employee saying that "There is a culture of moral harassment [at Wildlife]."
One example given was an instance of a female manager at the studio being offered a salary that was 30% lower than a male counterpart following a promotion.
The report also details repeated examples of sexist stereotyping, noting that a female character in Tennis Clash was "presented in an extremely sexualised manner." It goes on to allege that a manager at the studio encouraged this behaviour, and aimed to "silence the team's female opinions on the subject."
The manager in question is still employed at Wildlife, and, according to the report, told the team, "We are not in the business of breaking stereotypes, but reinforcing them."
It continues to highlight three additional examples of sexism; one where a female employee was allegedly told to "be more humble", another in which a female staff member was consistently ignored during a meeting, while a third woman was reportedly privately discouraged from contributing to group discussions.
Further examples of male-led sexism nod to a WhatsApp group that did not contain any female staff members. The group was reportedly created by the marketing art department as a space for members to "be able to speak more freely," but the report determined that was "merely a euphemism for macho behaviour."
The report ends by stating that there has been little effort to fix the aforementioned behaviours at the company, but hoped that a thorough account of issues would lead to "making this environment safer, more fruitful and motivating."
In June 2020, the company created a 'Talk To Us' channel run by a third party, where current and ex staff "can make anonymous reports on behaviours that are counter to our code of conduct and policies."
However, the effectiveness of the 'Talk to Us' channel is up for debate; one former employee said that while they have a "close knowledge of the compliance program", they had previously submitted a complaint through it and saw no further action. They also said that several other employees had a similar experience.
In an email response to Rest of World regarding the report, a Wildlife spokesperson said the company "takes any and all allegations seriously", and highlighted its Integrity Program, a "company-wide initiative to enhance our commitment to a safe workplace by reinforcing our values, and strengthening the ethical culture that can be found in our Code of Conduct."
Update, Dec. 17: After publication, a Wildlife Studios representative responded to GamesIndustry.biz to take issue with Rest of World's characterization of the document as a report published by the company's HR department.
"Stating the document is 'a report' is a factual inaccuracy," they said. "This was not an internal report conducted by Wildlife that provides internal findings. The document in question is a complaint that was sent to the company by an employee that contains certain allegations."