In recent weeks, the gaming world has been abuzz with news of the darker side of the industry. Several major Twitch streamers are at the center of drama and controversy, the launch of Overwatch 2 has been met with divisive reactions, and the original voice actor for the Bayonetta series has called for a boycott of the third game.
As if to add fuel to the fire, a former director of Rooster Teeth has recently opened up about the company's long-standing toxicity in the workplace.
Rooster Teeth is a digital entertainment media company. After first rising to fame with their comedic Halo parody series Red Vs. Blue in 2003, it soon expanded to other animated series like RWBY and gen:LOCK starring Michael B. Jordan. It also runs several gaming channels and series like Achievement Hunter and Death Battle.
Yet despite how large Rooster Teeth has become, the company seems to have become just as problematic over the years. What happened at Rooster Teeth?
What happened at Rooster Teeth? A former director speaks out.
In mid-October 2022, former director, producer, and content creator Kdin Jenzen (she/they) posted a TwitLonger post upon their departure from Rooster Teeth. Kdin joined Rooster Teeth in 2013 and has since worked on scripts for Death Battle and directed episodes of RWBY: Ice Queendom. Outside of Rooster Teeth, she also provided voice work for games like Genshin Impact.
According to Kdin, they were subject to constant use of the "f-slur" and harassment within their first few months of employment.
Kdin also described the company's unrelenting crunch time in video production.
She described that at one point during her career at Rooster Teeth, she was "put into a position where [she] ignored [her own] physical health to focus more on work." This unforgiving work schedule reportedly did not change even after Kdin was hospitalized for pneumonia. A transfer to a new department in 2016 only made things worse.
Not only was Kdin working even harder and longer, but she was also not being credited in any videos that she worked on. After coming out as trans that same year, the treatment within the company "got worse."
"People had no idea how to deal with a trans woman," Kdin wrote. "So I was interacted with even less and only trotted out every so often to show off 'We Hire LGBTQIA+ People!'"
As recently as the 2020s, Kdin also revealed that their crunch hours were increased amidst the initial COVID-19 lockdown. In 2021, Kdin underwent life-saving surgery but was reportedly shamed by her coworkers for not working while she was on medical leave recovering from her procedure.
They concluded her post by saying that there were a "handful of good people" within a "bad company." She must have been all too eager to leave after almost a decade of mistreatment.
Following Kdin's post, former creative director and Rooster Teeth personality Gavin Free took to Twitter to support her statements.
"I want to stop and take full responsibility for my past behavior at Rooster Teeth," Gavin wrote. "I'm beyond ashamed when I think back [on my actions] and I am forever grateful to the amazing individuals like Kdin who have shown me more grace than I was ever deserving."
The company itself has also posted a lengthy response to Kdin's post, stressing that they are a company that is "committed to hearing every side of each dispute and operating within our authority to uphold the company's values and behaviors."
However, their response was met with calls to action from folks on the internet. Many of them have even referred to Rooster Teeth's past transgressions to stir some change.