Skullgirls Developers Resign Over Toxic Studio Head BehaviorBrittni FinleyGame Rant – Feed


Following an investigation into sexual harassment accusations against Mike Zaimont, multiple developers from Lab Zero Games have left the studio, feeling unsafe in their current work environment.

The accusations against Mike Zaimont, head of Lab Zero Games, came during the wave of another #MeToo movement seen earlier this summer, this time focusing on executives throughout the industry, from journalists and Twitch streamers to designers and developers. This resulted in a number of alleged victims coming forward and speaking out on social media. One of the names in the hot seat was Zaimont, accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and unsolicited inappropriate attention.

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An investigation into Zaimont was then prompted, which revealed a pattern of hostility resulting in an unsafe work environment. How the investigation has affected Zaimont’s stake in the company, aside from being banned from public events like Combo Breaker 2021, is a bit hazy because, as the now-former Skullgirls employees have put it, it’s difficult to separate the boss from the rest of the company. Because of Zaimont’s refusal to remove himself, at least three employees have now stepped away from Lab Zero.

One of these developers is Brian Jun, known as EU03 on social media, who was an art producer for SkullgirlsHe explains via Twitter that Zaimont had originally agreed to step down, but now refuses to budge and compromise for the rest of the team. According to the three ex-team members, this is not an impulsive decision but rather had been weighed since the accusations were made back in June. Despite the controversy, Zaimont was unwilling to change and the board and the rest of the employees voted him out. However, as the sole owner of Lab Zero, forcing Zaimont out became too difficult.

But Zaimont wasn’t supposed to be the sole owner of Lab Zero, according to Johnathan “Persona” Kim on Twitter. In his statement, he explains that Lab Zero was meant to become an employee-owned company, which would result in everyone sharing the direct benefits of their hard work.

However, Mike Zaimont continued to own 100% of Lab Zero when and after the incidents took place in June. This seemingly resulted in several employees coming forward with concerning stories about Zaimont’s abuse of power, ranging from sexual comments and unwanted physical contact to lashing out and humiliating employees who tried to stand up for themselves.

Zaimont allegedly continued to flex his power as head of the Skullgirls development studio by giving his employees an ultimatum: stay or leave by August 31st if they were unsatisfied. This is also how Creative Director Mariel Kinuko Cartwright, known simply as Kinuko on Twitter, came to leave Lab Zero after having worked with Zaimont for 10 years.

According to her public statement, she had been subjected to his uncomfortable jokes and inappropriate comments throughout the years and had even tried to confront him about it. Like both Jun and Kim, she’s saddened that his continued behavior has resulted in her leaving a company she’s helped build and loved.

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