A new report details a pervasive culture of sexual harassment and discrimination at Swedish game developer Paradox Interactive. One report stated that an employee was referred to as a “token hire” and is said to “be quiet” during a works meeting. Other reports say that female employees were often discouraged from reporting incidents of sexual harassment in order to please senior management.
[Content Warning: Sexual Harassment]
One particularly egregious case mentions how Paradox Interactive hired a senior manager known for “unwelcome advances and harassment” to a separate company prior to joining Paradox. A woman who worked under the man at the former company said he had “too much physical contact” with female employees and described how he “put a hand on his lower back or very tight hugs where he put his face in the own bored “. Throat.”
The company in question later went to court and in 2016 paid a severance payment of 270,000 Swedish kronor (approx.
Another source describes how management belittles and belittles women employees, who make up about 1/5 of the employees at Paradox Interactive. Speaking to Eurogamer, sources describe vulgar and misogynistic jokes and “meetings where people are yelled at” that are commonplace. One woman described speaking about the direction of the company during a meeting, only to learn that she was “only” [there] as a symbolic employment ”and that she“ should be silent ”.
Worse, the company is reportedly ill-equipped to deal with harassment cases as middle management focuses on appeasing senior employees rather than addressing issues. Employees are also afraid of retaliation as Paradox Interactive is a significant part of Sweden’s comparatively small game industry.
These reports follow some rather damning news from the Swedish publisher in recent months, starting with the departure of former CEO Ebba Ljungerud in early September. While Ljungerud himself stated that the reason was “different views on the company’s strategy”, the above harassment allegations describe a studio culture that is worst for women. It doesn’t help that Ljungerud’s successor, CEO Fredrik Wester, himself was guilty of “inappropriate behavior” during a company conference in 2018.
Eurogamer’s full report describes numerous other problems, such as the Swedish gaming industry paradox. Paradox has reportedly “hired an outside independent auditor to examine its corporate culture,” which many hope it will change. A source told Eurogamer that change must come from the willingness of upper management, as well as a change in the perception of what is acceptable. “Paradox has actual harassment that people deny because they don’t believe it is harassment. We believe it is normal because where they come from this culture has been around for years and years and years. And some people have never seen anything else. “[Source: Eurogamer]