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Crusader Kings Developer Paradox Interactive Accused of 'Mistreatment' in Swedish Studio

According to a union survey of the developer's studio team in Sweden, the environment has fostered bullying and gender-based discrimination.
According to a union survey of the developer's studio team in Sweden, the environment has fostered bullying and gender-based discrimination. / Paradox Interactive

According to a union survey of the developer's studio team in Sweden, the environment has fostered bullying and gender-based discrimination.

The survey was designed and distributed by unions Unionen and Sveriges Ingenjörer. Breakit, a Swedish digital publication, broke the news on the data earlier today, Monday, Sept. 6, stating that the culture is the "worst for women." The survey was completed by 133 employees out of a possible 400 at the location. Of those, 44% reported facing some sort of "mistreatment."

"It was thought that the survey would show something considering that the gaming industry is not the nicest place. But not to this extent," one anonymous employee said.

According to the data, they aren't wrong. The answers of this survey are similar to the claims within recent lawsuits brought by the United States state of Calif. against massive gaming industry publisher Blizzard Entertainment.

Female employees, who made up 26% of those surveyed, reported "abusive behavior" at a rate of 69%. In contrast, male employees reported experiencing the phenomenon at 33%.

Breakit did not specify what the potential discrimination and/or behavior was, specifically. Perhaps, given the widely acknowledged "graphic" nature of those detailed in Blizzard's case, this is something of a kindness.

Additionally, the survey alluded to a "culture of silence" within the studio, where those who committed the acts were shielded by management. According to the unions, employees have "a perception that perpetrators at managerial level are protected by the company."

"Offensive treatment is a systematic and far too common problem at Paradox," the unions stated.

They demanded that Paradox take strong action to combat the reports. The final conclusions were given to Marina Hedman, Human Resources manager, and Ebba Ljungerud, the CEO at the time, early last week. However, Ljungerud would step down from her role hours later—though Paradox denied her abdication of the role had anything to do with the survey.

Currently, according to Loïc Fontaine, Paradox's communications manager, the company is planning to "conduct a thorough review of our processes and a comprehensive employee survey." Further action has not been specified at the time of writing.