The video game industry has been rocked by a wave of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against its former stars and developers, and the industry is now scrambling to find ways to protect itself and its employees.
A report from the Los Angeles Times found that at least one former game studio, Papas Games, had reached a settlement with former studio director Leigh Alexander, who was fired after an alleged sexual assault.
The agreement stipulated that Alexander’s former co-workers at the studio would not pursue any legal action against her, and that her former co‑workers would not publicly criticize her.
It is not known what the settlement stipulated was in this case, but the Times says the agreement was for $25,000, which would have been the equivalent of about $25 million at the time of Alexander’s departure.
Papas Games co-founder Michael Stoppelman said in a statement that “the company has made clear that the allegations were false, and we will vigorously defend against any future allegations of misconduct.”
Stoppelman, who has not been identified by name, added that the company “does not tolerate harassment of anyone” and has “zero tolerance” for sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
“We take all allegations of discrimination seriously and we have zero tolerance for harassment, including sexual harassment, in any form,” he wrote.PAPAS, a studio of former Disney and Nintendo employees, has since announced it would not sue Alexander, and will instead work to resolve the matter with its former employees, who were previously dismissed.
The company also announced it was partnering with the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault to support its efforts to protect its employees from retaliation, as well as other women who may have faced harassment or other forms of discrimination during their time working at the company.
The settlement agreement, dated May 1, 2018, states that Alexander will not seek any legal or monetary damages, and she has agreed to “ensure the continued health and safety of all those who worked for us,” according to the statement.
Stoppelelman, Stoppelman, and others have spoken out about the alleged misconduct and harassment at the Papas studios, with Stoppels statement saying, “In a world of widespread and relentless sexual harassment of women, Papaspics, we believe, has an obligation to step forward and do what it takes to address the issues that have led to this.”
Papaspics’ current director, James D. Stolper, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he was shocked and saddened by the allegations.
“Papassum Games is not responsible for any of the alleged sexual harassment,” Stolpper said.
“Our response has been to put an end to any sexual harassment we may have experienced at any time.
If we had not done so, it would have occurred, and I would have likely never been hired by Papas.”PAPAPAS has said it is working with the organization to “build an inclusive workplace that supports survivors of sexual assault and harassment,” as well the organization’s women’s advocacy efforts.
The company said it has “a zero tolerance policy for harassment and sexual misconduct” and that it “continues to work diligently with law enforcement, and any other party who might have knowledge of the matter.”