Oct. 4, 2012 at 2:28 PM ET
Game development company Kixeye has fired four of its employees after a black contractor took to his blog to describe repeated incidents of racial discrimination.
The San Francisco-based Kixeye is the creator of hardcore-style Facebook games such as "Backyard Monsters," "Battle Pirates" and "War Commander."
Writing under the name Qu33riousity, the former Kixeye contractor described incidents in which he was mocked for dressing like a rapper or told his clothing was "too thuggish" while a fellow black employee was mockingly accused of speaking ebonics and a Hispanic employee was referred to as speaking "wetback English."
Perhaps most disturbing, the contractor writes about an experience in which a manager pulled him aside to discuss the contractor's concerns over racist language in the office. Among other comments the manager reportedly made to the contractor: "...you should be grateful that your ancestors went through slavery. Because that’s a lot worse than anything that’s happening now. So you should be grateful that your ancestor went through that to get you here where you are today at this company."
"I go home everyday emotionally exhausted, like totally wiped," the contractor wrote in his blog. "I thought I escaped the racism of San Fran, but now I’m being subjected to it for 8 hours everyday to pay my rent."
After the contractor's accusations began making the rounds on online game blogs this week, Kixeye CEO Will Harbin announced in a post Thursday that he had investigated the claims and had fired four employees.
"Immediately after I learned of these allegations, I personally interviewed members of the team to figure out what this was about," Harbin writes. "While it’s clear that not everything in the blog post was accurate, I did discover examples of embarrassing behavior that I find inappropriate for Kixeye, or any other work environment. As a result, I immediately terminated the manager of the team in question and then three other employees who violated company standards as well."
Kixeye has positioned itself as a social gaming company that makes games "for gamers by gamers." In the irreverent hiring video below, they mock other Facebook gaming companies for making "cow clicking and virtual pet cuddling."
Harbin says the company is taking steps to make sure this does not happen again — providing harassment training to other members of the team involved and implementing a sensitivity training program. He said it is in the process of conducting an outside, independent investigation of the allegations.
"I am doing my best to create a company where our employees love to work, with a culture of openness and tolerance to different points of view, styles, races, gender, orientation, religion and cultures," Harbin writes. "It turns out that a few bad apples weren't living up to the standards that the rest of us have set for our company."
As for the contractor, he indicated at the end of his blog that this isn't the last Kixeye will be hearing from him.
"I'm in the process of taking legal action. I had a whole month of potential creative and community building energy stripped from me for the sake of this company’s profits. ... I cannot afford to take white people’s s*** anymore ... If the revolution is to be funding, I want it to be funding from the pockets of racist venture capitalists like these folks!"
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti, and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.