Nintendo Accused Of 'Frat House' Culture And Sexual Harassment
There are more uncomfortable accusations coming from the world of gaming, and this time, it's Nintendo being put in the spotlight amidst reports of a "frat house" culture and sexual harassment. Just when we thought things were getting better in the wake of the Activision Blizzard scandal, another gaming giant is being called to task.
In July 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing started proceedings against Activision Blizzard and reported goings on in the now-infamous Cosby Suite. More than just calling out the publisher for claims of a frat boy culture, it started a butterfly effect across the industry where developers and publishers alike were slammed for apparently toxic workplaces.
What Are The Allegations Against Nintendo?
In a scathing report headed up by Kotaku, former female employees from Nintendo of America's testing department have spoken out with some truly shocking allegations. As well as being underrepresented in both contractor and permanent roles, sources say that this led to the male-dominated culture of crude jokes and inappropriate behaviour in work and out-of-work group chats.
Speaking to the site, an anonymous tester explained, "[Product testing] really felt like a frat house sometimes," and says she tried to avoid interacting with a certain man in the department that held significant power. The source goes on to claim male co-workers would joke about "gender stereotypes" and "female characters who got their skirts flipped." She apparently complained but was told that you need to be "tough" to work in product testing. Apparently, her supervisor commended her for being "tougher" than another woman who'd cried at the office.
A major source for the article is "Hannah," who is an open lesbian. Hannah says that she was approached by an older colleague, and when she turned down his advances, he reportedly said, "Oh, you're a lesbian. That's kind of sad." In February, a tester working for the Lotcheck department that does the final checks on games wrote a letter that says it's an "unsafe and uncomfortable environment for female testers."
Has Nintendo Responded To These Allegations?
Earlier this year, a Nintendo employee filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board for surveillance, coercion, and retaliation. Axios reported that one worker said they said would lose their job if they went to their grandpa's funeral, and although Nintendo denied "union-busting" tactics in an original statement, things went quiet on the matter. Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé even said, "This wasn't the Nintendo I left."
Across the board, there are complaints of unfair pay between male and female testers, which is a story we've heard before. As for the latest wave of investigations, Kotaku has asked for comment from Nintendo and contracting company Aerotek on these allegations, but had not heard back at the time of publication. Dough Bowser is the current President of Nintendo America and has previously condemned those who are accused of similar behaviours at Activision Blizzard. As we wait for a response, Kotaku has encouraged those with similar tales to tell to come forward.