Kim MacAskill, a writer whose career includes the upcoming Rocksteady game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, was recently nominated for a lifetime achievement price by the non-profit organization Women in Games. However, she recently took to Twitter to announce that she cannot accept the award in good faith as both Rocksteady Studios and its parent company, Warner Bros. Interactive, are among the sponsors of the event. MacAskill said that Rocksteady and Warner Bros. failed to adequately address the rampant harassment and sexism she and other female employees reportedly experienced at the studio. “Stop allowing bad behavior,” MacAskill wrote. “You can throw your name at any ongoing diversity event. But unless you take responsibility, it means nothing and I see you.”
In August 2020, the guard published a damning report on allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in the studio behind the Batman: Arkham series. The story revealed that in 2018, more than half of Rocksteady’s female staff signed a letter who attempted to bring cases to the attention of leadership, claiming to endure the unwelcome advances of colleagues, “peeping at parts of a woman’s body and [making] inappropriate comments at the office,” among others.
In a video from August 2020MacAskill claimed that both HR and senior management had discouraged her from sending the letter. She claimed she was pulled aside and said, “To move on” [taking action] would potentially jeopardize my position within the company…and my position of being hired by other companies in the future because I might be seen as a troublemaker,” she said. “It was like having to choose between my dream job and my dignity.” She believes Rocksteady let her contract expire in retaliation.
rocksteady acknowledged the allegations after they were in the news. The official Twitter account posted: “All formal complaints have been thoroughly investigated, addressed appropriately and a number of serious measures have been taken in response to the issues that have come to light, including disciplinary action or dismissal of staff.” The studio also said it had engaged an independent third-party entity that employees could use to confidentially report any concerns they might want to raise. my box contacted Warner Bros, but received no response at the time of publication.
my box contacted MacAskill to inquire about the company’s response to her tweet. She said she contacted Warner Bros. about rejecting the prize and that she wanted to resolve the situation. The publisher told her it couldn’t be discussed. my box also contacted Women in Games, but not received a comment on the situation.
“All I want is an apology, and last week I even asked for it. I half begged. I just want this resolved, but not that way” wrote MacAskill, who said the studio had offered her money, and to restore her credit on suicide squad. “Not with money. How does something change like that? Somehow, an apology in 2022 is still too high a price for Warner [Bros.] and Rocksteady.”
She insists on turning down the Women in Games award. “To take a price associated with [Rocksteady] would be an unspoken acceptance of what they did.”