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Tyrone Rodriguez #racist #homophobia #ableism kotaku.com

[...]Kotaku spoke to four external developers who worked with Nicalis and seven former Nicalis employees, most of whom requested anonymity because they were afraid the company would retaliate against them. (Some of those employees left the company out of frustration; others were let go.) Some shared anecdotes about the company ignoring them for months on end. All described Nicalis’s founder and president Tyrone Rodriguez as a friendly but often difficult boss, prone to behavior that some called controlling and exploitative. Multiple former Nicalis employees said Rodriguez pressured them to drink heavily, made racist jokes in the workplace, and would oscillate between berating them and ignoring them. A few shared Skype logs of Rodriguez using racial and ableist slurs, racist jokes, and antisemitic comments during work conversations. [...]

In interviews with Kotaku, seven former Nicalis employees painted a picture of Rodriguez as a boss who wielded his power over staff in exploitative ways. “The level of control he has over his employees is definitely a problem,” said one former staffer. “It was, ‘Anything I tell you to do, you have to do this, because I’m the boss.’” Sometimes that meant employees wasting days or weeks of work because Rodriguez wouldn’t respond to their questions; other times it meant more personal grievances. For example, two former Nicalis employees said they’d be rebuked for taking dinner breaks during crunch hours or taking time off to go to the doctor or take care of sick relatives.

[...]

On business trips to Japan and at other events like E3 and PAX, former Nicalis employees say that Rodriguez would push them into uncomfortable situations, giving them specific orders about how to act and behave. Two former employees told stories of Rodriguez ordering staff not to cross their legs or put their elbows on the table at dinner. One said that Rodriguez would monitor employees’ Twitter accounts and tell them not to interact with certain people. Six former employees who spoke to Kotaku said that he’d pressure them into drinking heavily, ordering shots of gin or vodka and belittling anyone who refused to participate. “He’d order the highest alcohol content shots, push us to drink them, and we’d be hesitant,” said one. “He’d be like, ‘Come on, don’t be a little bitch.’” (This is a phrase we’ve also seen Rodriguez use in Skype logs and on Twitter.) Several said they’d notice that Rodriguez would hand out shots and drinks but not have much himself, and two former Nicalis employees said they’d seen him get developers drunk before talking about business deals with them.
During one dinner in Japan, according to two people who were there, Rodriguez said he would pay for an employee’s airplane tickets to another country if they drank a disgusting concoction that he’d created at the table, made up of raw eggs, beer, soy sauce, and other assorted food items that Rodriguez had found. Given that Rodriguez owned the company and was responsible for all of their paychecks, Nicalis employees said they felt pressured and uncomfortable during occasions like this. “It’s not very professional… In any other company that’d be a big HR thing,” said one former employee. “But there is no HR at Nicalis, so that went unaccounted for. We were expected to self-report, but you can’t really do that when he’s the one violating HR stuff. Who are we supposed to report to?”

One Skype log shared with Kotaku by a former Nicalis employee shows Rodriguez calling external partners “retards” and his employees “you gays.” In another Skype exchange shown to Kotaku, an employee talks about watching Star Trek and Rodriguez says, of Jean Luc-Picard, “I like that nigger.” Two other former Nicalis employees said that Rodriguez would, as a goof, encourage one employee to use the n-word in Skype group chats. Said a third, when I asked: “I haven’t experienced anything like Tyrone demanding people use racial slurs, but he likes to say ‘white is right’ often in a ‘jokey’ way.”
Kotaku obtained a number of Skype logs from the Nicalis group chat in which Rodriguez communicates with employees. The logs are filled with racist, antisemitic, and homophobic language from the Nicalis founder. Here are some excerpts:

{Transcripts}

03:35 Tyrone Rodriguez
we‘le xchange at the airport
03:35 Tyrone Rodriguez
matt was getting jewed by his bank today
03:35 Tyrone Rodriguez
the exchange is 103 to the CAD dollar

22:33 Tyrone Rodriguez
it‘s their marketing group
22:33 Tyrone Rodriguez
they had a recent shift in people
22:33 Tyrone Rodriguez
so the new people are kind of retards

06:29 Tyrone Rodriguez
did you know we made an official date on the behest of a retailer?
06:30 Tyrone Rodriguez
this jew is responsible: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Lazarus,_Jr.
06:50 Tyrone Rodriguez
because he probably got paid off by the jew
06:50 Tyrone Rodriguez
corrupt asshole

22:30 [Name redacted]
have we heard anything from Sony and / or Nintendo regarding PAX?
22:31 Tyrone Rodriguez
as far as?
22:32 [Name redacted]
if our build is a „yes“ or a „no“
22:32 Tyrone Rodriguez
sony yes
22:32 Tyrone Rodriguez
Nintendo seems no
22:32 [Name redacted]
and if we should send a new one
22:32 Tyrone Rodriguez
which is what I expected
22:32 [Name redacted]
why doesn‘t Nintendo want it?
22:32 Tyrone Rodriguez
because they‘re gay

21:41 Tyrone Rodriguez
that‘s a lot!
21:41 Tyrone Rodriguez
it‘s usually under 4
21:42 Tyrone Rodriguez
but Obama‘s fucking everything up
21:42 Tyrone Rodriguez
lazy porch monkey

06:31 Tyrone Rodriguez
aah, so you have to go 2x add black bars
06:32 Tyrone Rodriguez
that‘s ironic
06:32 Tyrone Rodriguez
usually the blacks are behind the bars
06:33 Tyrone Rodriguez
that may have been one of my best

Kotaku has reviewed dozens of Skype transcripts full of jokes and messages like this.

One former Nicalis employee, who was overweight and suffered from health issues, said that Rodriguez would make comments on his weight and often told him to go for walks. (This employee requested anonymity but was willing to publicize these specific details, even knowing they might make him identifiable to Nicalis, because he felt it was important.) During a business trip to Japan, the former Nicalis employee said that he’d been walking around so much that his inner thighs began bleeding, and he wanted to rest in his hotel. When Tyrone Rodriguez and his brother, Nicalis CEO Victor Rodriguez, asked him to go on a trip to a nearby landmark, the former employee said he refused. “Tyrone started saying things like, ‘Who do you think paid for your trip?’” he said. “He was essentially trying to coerce me into going… I said, ‘No, I’m not going.’” Soon afterwards, he said, Rodriguez fired him. “When we got back from Japan I feel like that might have been why they got rid of me. Because I stood up for myself.”

Other former Nicalis employees have told similar stories about being rebuked or punished for refusing to go on trips with Tyrone Rodriguez. Three former employees said that Nicalis removed them or people they worked with from the credits of their games once they left the company. “Tyrone can be very generous and a really good guy,” said one. “If he needs something from you. But I’ve seen him turn pretty quickly when you’re not needed anymore.”

{Submitter‘s note: Here is Tyrone Rodriguez‘ reaction on Twitter:}

https://mobile.twitter.com/tyronerodriguez/status/1172280592102129666

{Transcript:}

I wrote some terribly insensitive, stupid remarks in DMs that don‘t represent who I am. Just because they were done in a private situation while trying to be „funny“ and edgy doesn‘t make them any less terrible. They‘re indefensible and unacceptable.

As someone who has experienced racism and discrimination in my life, I should know better and must be a better person. I can‘t throw around words for shock value or because I think they‘ll get a laugh.

I want to also clarify that my insensitivity and vulgarity shouldn‘t reflect on the people I work with. They‘re very good people and shouldn‘t be held responsible for my own actions.

If I‘ve hurt you- and I wasn‘t aware until today that I might have- I hope you can forgive me someday.

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Nicholas Coyour #fundie kotaku.com

I'm so sick of people trying to come don on Christians for being against everything but violence. Sure violence should be something to be considered, but blasphemy is 1,000 times worse. Spitting in the face of your God is something far worse than pretending to kill people. Violence is so basic and ingrained in people that it is almost harmless. To the mind at least. Explaining this to you people who aren't religious is a moot point though. You won't get it and never will. Same goes with nudity, you always cry foul when we hate nudity but are ok with killing people. Nudity is far more damaging to a person than violence. Again, violence is such a common thing in every culture that is basically normal, part of us. Not saying it's good, but we are used to it. Nudity and others things are far more damaging. Blasphemy is about the top dog for no no's when it comes to religion and your beliefs. I can't even properly explain this to you agnostic/atheist's out there. It is a concept too far beyond your understanding since everything is always just about you.

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Michael James #fundie kotaku.com

(Some people have been using the Spore Creature Creator to make monsters shaped like boobies and willies. Thank goodness for squeamish pleas for censorship'.)

"I consider this very similar to child pornography, at least to the extent of distributing the material to children," 18-year-old Michael James from Calgary, Alberta, told CNN.