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Rocksteady responds to sexism accusations again

Batman: Arkham studio says it addressed issues appropriately, has now hired external firm to interview current and former employees

Rocksteady Studios has released a third statement in response to this week's report in the Guardian about a 2018 letter from some of its women employees detailing sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior at the company.

Just as in the studio's initial response and a follow-up statement released on behalf of seven of the eight signatories to the 2018 letter who still work at Rocksteady, the studio defended itself against suggestions of wrong-doing.

"In response to the initial communication, we met with all our female staff, we listened, and we dealt with the issues raised," Rocksteady said on its Twitter account today. "All formal complaints were thoroughly investigated, addressed appropriately, and a number of serious measures were taken in response to the issues that were surfaced, including discipline or termination of staff."

The studio says that since then it has started asking all women at the studio for feedback on the portrayal of characters in its games, and has "employed specialists to help further enhance equity and representation at Rocksteady."

"We want to know if there are issues that have not been raised through our normal channels, so we can address them. As such, we have engaged the services of an independent third-party to confidentially speak with all employees at Rocksteady who wish to do so. We will also be reaching out to every former female employee who left in the past two years to ask them to speak to the interviewers.

"Right now, we are as passionate as ever about creating an inclusive culture and we are listening carefully. We are determined to stand up for our staff, and stand firm against any unacceptable behavior."

After the Guardian article ran, former Rocksteady senior scriptwriter Kim MacAskill published a YouTube video in which she said Rocksteady management and HR had discouraged her from writing the original 2018 letter in the first place.

"In that time, HR tried to stop me at least twice," MacAskill said. "And I had members of higher management take me aside to not only tell me to stop what I was doing, but to tell me that continuing to do so would potentially jeopardize my position within the company. And not just that, but it would maybe even jeopardize my position of being hired by other companies going forward because I might be seen as a troublemaker."

MacAskill said she believes the company pushed her out the next year because of the letter, saying, "[They] quite clearly told me they could no longer afford me and replaced me with a writer within the month. Everyone knew what had happened, and I think it did deter women from coming forward."

A representative with Rocksteady parent Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has yet to respond to our request for comment on MacAskill's allegations.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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