What’s going on over at Rooster Teeth?
Over the last month, dozens of former employees of the gaming production company, Rooster Teeth, have made statements alleging unpaid work, exploitative hours, and instances of transphobia and racism. Rooster Teeth, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery, has released its own statement on the claims and paused uploads for a week to reconvene as a company.
My final words on Rooster Teeth & just SOME of my experiences there.
— Kdin Jenzen (@KdinJenzen) October 15, 2022
The statements are plentiful but were preempted by producer and director Kdin Jenzen, who quit earlier this year. Jenzen published a blog post detailing her time at Rooster Teeth being unpaid for projects, subjected to grueling hours and transphobic harassment. Jenzen recalls having the f slur as a nickname around the office.
“From that point on harassment started, and not just toward me. Any time I brought up mistreatment or that “making fun of people in content only encourages the community to hate us” – I was waved away saying “IT’S JUST A JOKE! Ignore the comments!” she writes.
If y’all think what you saw today was awful, and it was and is, understand that this only got your attention cause it was someone high profile.
It’s been happening the whole time, for a long time.
Y’all ever wonder why I left?
— Kdin Jenzen (@KdinJenzen) October 15, 2022
Jenzen drew support from former Rooster Teeth employees and contractors. Several who’ve worked in animation mention the outrageous time crunches on projects and unpaid overtime work.
was there for everything. can confirm this entire thing, and then some.
genlock s1 gave me ptsd. i am still recovering from it. it took me years not doing 3D animation to feel well enough to open up maya without feeling sick. i still am not working in 3D again— im a teacher. https://t.co/5vGUrczKWx
— andi c ❣️ CØMMS ØPEN (@andicdayo) October 16, 2022
The overworking of RT animation teams was a recurring joke at company meetings. They knew, and would laugh about it in front of the whole company.
— Zac Fox (@zachariahfox) October 16, 2022
what about that time during the winter storm when Rooster Teeth amin said “if you have power keep working – production never stops”
— Ysa (@__sailormoody) October 17, 2022
Jenzen notes that during 2020, the company’s diversity task forces were handled poorly, putting much of the labor on employees from minority groups. On-air personality, Mica Burton notably quit in 2018 due to the toxic environment. She tweeted support to Jenzen and the other employees.
All I’m saying is I left out a lot of detail and was overly kind to blatant abusers who I didn’t name drop back in 2020. The people speaking up about their horrific treatment at RT isn’t news. Seeing n***** written on a whiteboard wasn’t even close to my worst experience there. pic.twitter.com/hNRaFQHM7c
— Mica Burton (@MicaBurton) October 15, 2022
“…The people speaking up about their horrific treatment at RT isn’t news. Seeing [n-word] written on a whiteboard wasn’t even close to my worst experience there,” Burton tweeted.
— Michael Jones (@AH_Michael) October 16, 2022
Notable Rooster Teeth talent and the company co-founder Geoff Ramsey, took to Twitter to acknowledge the allegations and express their apologies to Jenzen over previous “edgelord comedy”.
Our statement: pic.twitter.com/q3gvA8l5vr
— Rooster Teeth (@RoosterTeeth) October 16, 2022
On October 16th, the company released its official statement on the situation.
“We are disheartened to hear of anyone who has experienced pain resulting from prior experiences working at Rooster Teeth and support the resolution of interpersonal conflicts through direct and honest dialog,” the statement reads. “New leadership has worked to address and investigate past conduct, acknowledging that mediation is complex and doesn’t guarantee a perfect solution”.
As a company, we sincerely apologize for the hateful and harmful behavior that occurred in the past. We must do better. We are sorry.
Here’s what we’ve done to improve:
— Rooster Teeth (@RoosterTeeth) October 19, 2022
Days after the statement, the company reiterated in a tweet thread that Jenzen had been compensated according to agreements. The company is also implementing training in management to reduce crunch times and investing more in their Business Research Groups to change the work culture.
These actions are Rooster Teeth’s plan “to avoid repetition and to remain accountable” in the future.