Fullbright co-founder Steve Gaynor is stepping back on his role in the development of Open Roads, the company’s next narrative title. The news comes right as Polygon reports that Gaynor has allegedly faced complaints from employees for years for fostering a toxic work environment.
The news first dropped by way of a cryptic statement on the Open Roads Twitter account, which did not spell out the reason for Gaynor’s role shift but did say it was in the name of “fostering a work environment that is healthy and collaborative, where we can work with transparency, autonomy, and trust.”
Shortly after this was Tweeted, a Polygon report emerged stating that Gaynor’s step back actually occurred in March, and followed years of allegedly creating a toxic, “controlling” work environment.
Polygon’s report stressed that Gaynor is not accused of outright sexual harassment or sexism. Instead, former employees allege that the studio used a “veneer of inclusivity” to hide a toxic culture driven by microagressions.
“This is going to sound like a joke, but I’m completely serious: Working for him often felt like working for a high school mean girl,” one source told Polygon. “His go-to weapon was to laugh at people’s opinions and embarrass them in front of other people.”
Gaynor is apparently still employed at Fullbright, transitioning from his role as creative lead and manager to working as a writer, though Polygon states that Gaynor “has no day-to-day collaboration with the rest of the team.” Publisher Annapurna Interactive is apparently acting as a “mediator” between Fullbright and Gaynor.
You can see Fullbright’s full statement in the tweet below, and read Polygon’s full report here
— Open Roads (@OpenRoadsGame) August 5, 2021
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