New Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester took to Twitter to publicly address and apologize for his past inappropriate behavior towards a fellow Paradox employee. However, the CEO soon after promptly locked his Twitter account, leaving users unable to read the statement. Wester’s apology comes just a week after a leaked internal survey revealed there was a widespread culture of offensive and abusive treatment, particularly towards female employees.
Earlier this month, the former CEO Ebba Ljungerud stepped down from the position citing “differing views on the company’s strategy.” Following her resignation, Fredrik Wester—who previously served as Paradox Interactive’s CEO for 16 years—returned to the position after stepping down as Chairman of the Board. Soon after the survey leaked, Ljungerud clarified that her departure from the role had nothing to do with the Swedish company’s alleged treatment of employees.
Below is Wester’s statement, courtesy of Game Developer:
In the wake of the recently leaked survey to the press, there have been rumours and discussions about my role in this environment, citing a specific incident in 2018. In the name of transparency and clarity, I would like to shed light on this. Accountability starts from the top …
[At the] beginning of 2018 we held a company-wide conference, and during this gathering a Paradox employee was subject to inappropriate behavior from me personally. This was something I immediately and sincerely apologized for in person the following Monday in a process reviewed by HR.
Everyone should have the right to be comfortable and safe, especially around a person in a position of power such as myself, something I stated then and I am stating again now.
I understand that this makes my cause less credible when it comes to handling these issues internally and will therefore not be involved directly with it, it will be done by HR at Paradox with external help, but of course with my full support if needed …
Again, I sincerely regret making a person in my proximity uncomfortable and for the damage this caused. I will continue to work to not only improve myself but also improve the work environment around both Paradox and the industry as a whole.
Furthermore, the CEO clarified that his resignation as CEO back in 2018 was not influenced by the incident. Though details about the misconduct are vague, it’s worth noting that Wester has yet to make a public statement about what Paradox Interactive will do about the company’s alleged culture of abuse. The news also comes at a time where the video game industry as a whole is reckoning with reports of widespread sexual harassment and abusive leadership, particularly from large publishers like Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard, though the issues extend to smaller indie developers as well.
[Source: Game Developer]