Nintendo of America is examining reports that female game testers were victims of discrimination and harassment, according to internal reports from Kotaku. Earlier this week, the publication published a damning report exposing a toxic workplace culture at the company in which female employees and contractors were targeted by male colleagues.
According to Kotaku, Doug Bowser, president of Nintendo of America, sent an email to employees on August 16, the same day the report was released, confirming the claims. In the message, Bowser emphasized that the company takes the allegations seriously, saying, “We have and will always investigate any allegations of which we become aware, and we are actively investigating these most recent claims.”
Bowser also emphasized that Nintendo “has strict policies designed to protect our employees and partners from inappropriate behavior and that everyone who works for or with us expects full compliance with these policies.”
This isn’t the first time a major gaming company has been exposed to cultivating a toxic workplace for female staff, with Activision Blizzard being sued by California in July 2021 for a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” Around the time these reports surfaced last year, Nintendo’s Bowser condemned them, mention in a business email“I find these accounts disturbing and disturbing. They go against both my values and Nintendo’s beliefs, values and policies.”
KotakuAccording to the report, women are underrepresented and underpaid among Nintendo’s contractors compared to male colleagues, who make up just 10 percent of the teams. In addition, a former employee claims that female Nintendo staff were overlooked for full-time work and career advancement opportunities. The report also describes a “frathouse” work environment, with reports of female staff being exposed to sexually inappropriate behavior and homophobia from male Nintendo employees.
Another allegation reports a corporate group chat within Microsoft Teams in which a male staff member justified his attraction to a prepubescent game character and shared memes about which Pokémon might be the best to have sex with. A former employee in the report is quoted as saying that “Nintendo was almost a nightmare” and that management warned her to be less outspoken after she reported inappropriate behavior to them.
KotakuThe report highlights the inequality in the workplace between contractual and full-time workers, and Nintendo has previously come under fire for allegations of union breakdown following a filing with the National Labor Relations Board. Costs of this filing include firing employees for union membership and discussing benefits and salaries.