Former Rocksteady Employee Turns Down Sponsored Award Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

A former Rocksteady employee has turned down a Women in Games award following allegations of sexual harassment at the developer.

Kim MacAskill, who has worked as a screenwriter at the studio including on the upcoming game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, was recently nominated for a lifetime achievement award by the non-profit organization.

However, MacAskill “withdrew” from the nomination because Rocksteady and Warner Bros. Interactive are among the sponsors of the event. Receiving the award would be “a tacit acceptance of what they’ve done,” she said.

MacAskill took to Twitter to explain her stance.

“When I got the nomination I couldn’t sit a whole day with beaming pride. I saw a problem with the juniors struggling to get a break, I got up, asked for a change , I pushed for change, I spent endless hours founding a program called Play it Forward and the industry listened,” she said.

“But then I saw the Warner Bros – Rocksteady logo on the poster and all that joy flowed.”

In 2018, MacAskill led a letter signed by 10 of the company’s 16 employees at the time who raised complaints about the behavior.

As The Guardian reported in 2020, the letter contained “insults regarding the transgender community” and “discussing a woman in a derogatory or sexual manner with other colleagues”, and sexual harassment “in the form of unwanted advances, leering at parts of a woman’s body”. body, and inappropriate comments in the office”.

Rocksteady later released a statement saying it had met with female staff, listened, and addressed the issues raised.

“All formal complaints have been thoroughly investigated, dealt with appropriately and a number of serious actions have been taken in response to the issues that have been raised, including discipline for the dismissal of staff “, we read in the press release.

“Since then, we’ve introduced new ways to ensure we’re living up to our commitment to inclusion, like asking all female staff to provide feedback on character portrayal and behavior in the games we make. We are committed to listening and improving, and have employed specialists to help further improve fairness and representation at Rocksteady.”

In his statement after the nomination, MacAskill said Rocksteady tried to resolve the situation with cash.

“After an investigation, there were offers to resolve. They offered me money. A lot. They offered to put my name back on the game…something the studio head refused to promise. after I left (chic). They offered some cool stuff. But I said no. To all that,” she said.

“All I want is an apology and last week I even asked for them. Hell, I half begged. I just want this resolved, but not like this. Not with money .an apology is still too much for Warner and Rocksteady to bear.”

She claimed that “Warner Bros investigations are twisted” and that “Rocksteady is image rather than intention”.

“To receive an award related to them would be a tacit acceptance of what they have done,” she said.

“Once again, thank you to everyone who has supported me, celebrated with me, been sad with me and at Women in Games, I am just supporting you. I offer my shield and support to all the other nominees – take this and be proud.

“It’s just not my year…even though the concept of being a woman, for this award, stepping down because of a connected company that almost broke me because I had a vagina seems weird.”

She ended with a final statement to Warner and Rocksteady.

“Take responsibility. Apologize. Stop allowing bad behavior. You can throw your name at every diversity event, but unless you take responsibility, it means nothing and I see you.”

Kotaku contacted MacAskill who explained that she had approached Warner Bros. to refuse the award and that she wanted to resolve the situation. The editor told him it was not open for discussion.

Eurogamer contacted Warner Bros. for a comment.