posted on May 15, 2020
To the Squad & Offworld Community:
A video recently surfaced that shows an Offworld Industries staff member making a number of racially charged and deeply troubling comments online. Our community is the lifeblood of both the game and our studio, and without the support of our community members, that studio simply wouldn’t exist. We as a studio believe in transparency and with this in mind, we wanted to update you on the situation and the measures we have taken to ensure suitable steps are being taken.
Before anything else, I’d like to express gratitude to our community for giving us the benefit of the doubt while we started our investigation into this matter. We wanted to be certain of the facts relating to this incident and take careful but necessary steps to ensure we were treating it with care and diligence to avoid any mistakes or acting in haste.
First, let’s start with what happened: On Tuesday, May 12th, a video surfaced which showed a backlog of deeply troubling, racially-charged statements made by an Offworld Industries staff member online. These statements contained a variety of offensive slurs, derogatory comments, and unacceptable commentary. All of us at Offworld are deeply shocked and disappointed that a staff member engaged in such behavior.
To be clear, we at Offworld found the actions of the individual in question abhorrent, and the language used online by this individual to be completely unacceptable. In light of the evidence at hand, we have made the decision to sever all ties with the staff member in question. As a studio, we are determined to run a friendly, non-hostile working environment, built on tolerance and inclusivity. The type of behavior exhibited by this individual has no place at Offworld Industries.
I’d like to offer my apologies to every member of the Squad Community for any distress or breach of trust in our studio this behavior has caused. We have worked hard to build our studio in a way that adheres to the same values we believe make Squad great – working as a team, communication, acceptance, respect, and goodwill. The behavior and communications in question here are completely contrary to those values, and we’re deeply disappointed in how this incident has let our players down. Internally this has been distressing for our employees as well.
We are currently working to transfer all duties of the staff member in question to other members of our technical team. We have taken further steps to ensure there will be no further harm to the community or Squad as a whole, and we will be undertaking a review of all work performed by the former employee.
As part of that, server licenses will be reviewed to ensure all actions taken meet internal standards and have been properly performed. The process for license reviews has always involved collecting relevant data, including customer feedback, an employee review of the evidence, (which is shared with the team), and at that point, a recommendation is made. Misconduct on the part of an employee issuing bans does not mean valid bans will be overturned. While we are fully committed to reviewing all actions taken to ensure everything was handled fairly and accurately, we will continue to protect our community from any bad actors where it is needed.
Effectively immediately, this employee has been removed from all public facing channels, all decisions involving players, and internal group communications channels. However, it will take some time for technical information to be fully transferred to the appropriate new parties before ties are fully and permanently severed.
Additionally, the concerns raised by our community during this conversation have highlighted a greater need for us to do a full review of what role our culture and decisions as a company may have contributed to what happened. We want to ensure this is an isolated incident and not an indication of a greater problem and will work tirelessly to try and ensure this kind of incident can never happen again. We need to take a hard, long look at ourselves and make sure we are really holding up to the values that are dear to us.
Our goal is to promote a Squad environment that is built on a welcoming, friendly, and tolerant foundation, and we absolutely intend to ensure that our actions and what we accept as a studio is in alignment with that. Hand –in –hand with that, we have zero interest in supporting communities that push people away and operate within an atmosphere of antagonism. This incident and many of the comments in response to it made it clear that we need a renewed focus on promoting a healthy and constructive community environment. In particular, that means ensuring that our developers, any individuals we put in positions of leadership or power, the partners that we promote, and the groups that we work with align with that goal.
I know we have work to do to rebuild the trust you’ve given us, but I believe we’re up to the task and intend to prove it.
Thank you so much for being part of our community.
CEO, Offworld Industries