It has been brought to light that some of Nintendo’s testers may have gone through years of sexual harassment at the hands of some of Nintendo’s contractors. The female game testers even went as far as to say that the workplace felt more like a frathouse, rather than a wholesome family-friendly gaming company they showcase to the players.
In a recent article posted by Kotaku, one of the female game testers decided to come forward and give them the real and raw truth of what she experienced within the workplace at the well-known gaming company. The game tester that they refer to as “Hannah” apparently had such a horrific experience, that it caused her to quit her absolute dream job at Nintendo of America after almost ten years.
What are the Nintendo’s Sexual Harassment Allegations?
There was apparently a group chat set up for the workers that they named “The Laughing Zone”, and initially this was set up to send memes back and forth and just — well — laugh along with others. Though, the happy-go-lucky chat didn’t stay PG very long, as once a male translator (who was a full NoA employee, rather than another contractor) was added to the chat he decided to post a screenshot of a Reddit post that explains why Vaporeon is the best Pokémon to have sex with. From there, it only got more and more explicit, referring to characters from Genshin Impact, one of which is a child in the game.
Not only was “Hannah” subjected to explicit messages and very disturbing content via the group chat, but she also realized that she was being paid less than a male co-worker who hadn’t been there as long as she had, and had a lower title than she did. When she decided to bring this to light, it took weeks for Aerotek to give her a raise, and even so, it was still a dollar less than the said male employee.
One segment of the article disturbingly refers to a number of full-time employees viewing the tester pool as a dating pool. Former employee Valerie Allison shared this, with one segment of the article saying:
In fact, it was common for full-time Nintendo employees to date precariously employed contractors. “A lot of the NOA red badges had reputations for using the tester pool of associates as a dating pool,” Allison told Kotaku. If you were approached by a red badge, and they appeared to be making moves on you, [other women said that] you didn’t want to dissuade them too hard.” The upsides of being romantically involved with NOA employees were opportunities and access. The most iconic one was the company Christmas party, which is off-limits to contractors unless they’re accompanied by a “red badge.” To associates who tried to improve their standing, it was worth dealing with the power imbalance if it meant being a part of the prestigious Nintendo brand.
While this is not the only issue Nintendo has had in regards to their contractors, this is definitely the more absurd and atrocious issue we have seen thus far. The previous issues that Nintendo faced were labor complaints, where one of their workers claimed the company imposed “coercive rules” and that the company retaliated against concerted activities.
This is also not the only company to have sexual harassment allegations, as we know this is not some obscure issue presented within one gaming company. Companies such as Activision Blizzard have also had employees speak out in regard to sexual harassment issues within the workplace. On the other hand, companies like Microsoft have recognized these issues within workspaces and have decided to go through their policies with a fine tooth comb to ensure that their employees aren’t subjected to this form of mistreatment.
Hopefully, companies move in the right direction in fixing these issues before they become a severely traumatic event in someone’s life.