A former employee is suing Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games, producer of the latest Xbox Game Pass hit High in Lifein 2018 for allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination. According to court documents, the studio denied the allegations but was later settled, and although the case is old, it raises questions about the work culture at Squanch Games, especially after co-founder Roiland’s recent appearance. facing serious domestic abuse charges from 2020.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in August 2018 on behalf of former Squanch Games designer Sarah Doukakos, alleging that she was sexually assaulted and humiliated by then-coach Jeff Dixon. Also, despite numerous complaints to its managers, including the co-founder and then the managing director, Officer Tanya Watson never dealt with the behavior. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that Doukakos was fired for poor performance and subsequently pressured by Watson to sign a liability waiver as part of his severance package.
Doukakos aand Watson did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Reference was made to Dixon kotaku to Squanch Games for comment.
“Squanch Games is committed to creating an inclusive and supportive work environment for our team,” said a spokesperson for Squanch Games. kotaku in an emailed statement. “We do not disclose personnel matters publicly and we stand behind our 2017 decision not to disclose confidential information regarding this case.”
If you’re a current or former employee at Squanch Games and want to chat on or off the record, my inbox is always open at: [email protected] (Signal and Proton on request).
According to the lawsuit, Dixon would force Doukakos into unwanted hugs, questioning his intelligence and competence, and saying that a T-shirt he once wore to her that read “The Future is a Woman” upset him. The lawsuit also states that Doukakos told his managers about the problems, even going so far as to claim one of them, Erich Meyr, who is now Squanch Games design director.Submit game development ideas to Dixon to be taken seriously.
The lawsuit also alleges that another executive, Anthony Bosco, told Watson about the problems but only “sighed” in response. Allegedly, things didn’t go any better when Doukakos spoke directly to Watson. The case is as follows:
On August 11, 2017, Plaintiff spoke to Watson and raised her issues with Mr. Dixon, including unwanted touching and how Dixon would have treated Plaintiff differently because she was a woman. In response, Watson told the Claimant that “this generation of men is like that” and instructed the Plaintiff to sit quietly, take notes, and smile as the men, including Dixon, spoke. Plaintiff made it clear to Watson that she did not have to act differently as a woman to be heard.
Meyr and Bosco did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit continues, alleging that despite receiving positive performance feedback from its managers (including Watson) in August, it was subject to a performance improvement plan the following month. In a “crack” period that followed, the lawsuit says it works 12 hours a day, while also pushing back certain content designed for the game, which allegedly includes rape-like scenes and derogatory remarks against women. While the lawsuit didn’t specify what the project was, a former employee said kotaku the project in question is Squanch Games’ 2019 action platform game, Trover Saves the Universe.
Doukakos was finally fired on November 1 for performance issues, but the lawsuit claims this was actually in retaliation for his complaints. He even claims that Watson pressured Doukakos to sign his release of all allegations against the studio in order to receive his final paycheck and severance package. While Squanch Games’ court filings in the case dismissed all claims against it, the two parties finally settled in September 2019. It is unclear what the terms of this agreement are. Dixon left the studio shortly after Doukakos was fired and Watson left in February 2021.
While Roiland is never mentioned in the lawsuit, he has been CEO of Squanch Games since co-founding the studio with Watson in 2016. As first reported by NBC NewsIt has been revealed that Roiland is facing two serious domestic abuse charges as of January 2020, one for domestic battery and the other for wrongful imprisonment. He pleaded not guilty on both, but there is currently no trial date.
Meanwhile, Life HighThe latest version of Squanch Games is reportedly owned by Xbox. The biggest Game Pass launch of 2022. Like the hit animation show Roiland co-created, Rick and Mortythe game was divisive about its vulgar humor and long-lasting antics that some loved but others found amazing grill.