A Guide To What’s Going On At Rooster Teeth

"I left Rooster Teeth because, despite thinking I could make positive change in the company, they proved that I couldn’t every step of the way."
By Liza Bautista
Photo: Rooster Teeth/YouTube

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.

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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.

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.

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.

“…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.

Geoff’s response from roosterteeth

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”.

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”.

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.