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Paradox staff accuse management of enabling toxic environment

Several current and former Paradox employees are speaking up about a culture of harassment and toxicity at the company.

Bryant Francis

October 12, 2021

1 Min Read
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In two separate reports, current and former Paradox Interactive employees are claiming that Paradox's senior management have tolerated a culture of sexual harassment. In a particularly egregious case, the company allegedly employed an executive accused of sexual harassment at a prior job in 2016, and only released him from the company in 2021.

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and Eurogamer have unearthed several of these stories. Their reports come months after a staff survey surfaced allegations of misconduct at the company, and after CEO Fredrik Wester publicly apologized for "subjecting an employee" to inappropriate behavior. 

One Paradox staffer told Eurogamer that in meetings, her ideas would often be dismissed and she'd be told she was a "token hire," so she should "be quiet about this."

Another former employee described being removed from a meeting and being told to delete criticism of the company on the company's Slack channel while a male supervisor watched. 

Paradox middle management apparently acted as a bottleneck for harassment complaints. With a culture seemingly based on pleasing senior staff, there was little incentive to take action based on allegations of harassment filed by junior employees. Eurogamer's Tom Philips says the team has heard anecdotes where vulgar comments were not reported because they believed the perpetrators would not be reprimanded. 

Former employees who experienced this alleged behavior do believe Paradox has the potential to change, but only if it changes what its perception of harassment is. "There is actual harassment at Paradox that people are denying, because they don't believe it's harassment," one former staffer told Eurogamer. "We believe it is normal, because where they come from, this culture has been ongoing for years and years and years. And some people have never seen anything different."

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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