According to internal company letters, Nintendo of America is investigating rumors that female game testers were subjected to discrimination and harassment at the company. At the beginning of this week, a damning study that exposed a poisonous working culture at the corporation in which male employees and contractors targeted female employees and contractors at the organization was released.
On the same day that the news was published, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser is said to have acknowledged the charges in an email that he wrote to workers. In the message, Bowser emphasizes that the company is taking the allegations seriously by saying, “We have and will consistently investigate any allegations we become knowledgeable of, and we are vigorously investigating these most recent claims.” Bowser also states that the company is investigating the most recent claims.
In addition, Bowser brought attention to the fact that Nintendo has “tight standards meant to safeguard our workers and colleagues from improper behavior and require complete compliance with these policies by those who work for or with us.”
Women Underrepresented At Nintendo
According to a report, women make up just 10 percent of Nintendo’s contractor teams, making them significantly underrepresented and paid less than their male counterparts in the industry. Furthermore, according to a former worker of Nintendo, the company’s female employees were not given possibilities for full-time employment or advancement in their careers. The investigation also described a “frat house” working climate, stating that female workers were exposed to sexually inappropriate conduct and homophobia from male employees of Nintendo. The report also said that female employees were subjected to homophobia.
One former worker is described in the document as claiming that working at Nintendo was “almost like a nightmare” and that when she reported improper conduct to management, they told her to be less vocal. Another claim refers to a business group discussion inside Microsoft Teams in which a male employee rationalized his attraction to a prepubescent game character and shared memes about which Pokémon would be the most desirable partner for sexual activity. This information is included in the document.
After a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, Nintendo was previously criticized for allegations of union busting. Among the accusations that stem from this complaint is that workers were fired for forming a union or discussing working conditions and compensation.
A History of A Toxic Industry?
This is not the first time a large gaming company has been exposed to cultivating a toxic workplace for female employees. The state of California sued Activision Blizzard in July 2021 over a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” Around the time that these claims emerged last year, Bowser from Nintendo criticized them in an email sent to the company’s employees. He said that he finds “these stories unpleasant and troubling. They contradict my ideals and Nintendo’s beliefs, values, and rules.”
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