An exodus occurred over the weekend at Lab Zero Games, the studio who worked on properties Skullgirls and Indivisible, following disturbing behaviour from studio owner Mike Zaimont.
Several former members of staff all cite their departures being due to the toxic workspace the studio head has created and the independent studio has been lambasted by Autumn Games, the license holder of Skullgirls.
Each Lab Zero employee corroborated the things Zaimont would do to other employees and seemingly paint a horrendous picture of what they went through when working with the co-creator of Skullgirls.
Jonathan Kim, a former animator at Lab Zero, painted a damning picture of what he saw while working at the studio:
Hey guys, I've resigned from Lab Zero Games. pic.twitter.com/9xlr3X0IHD
— Persona 😎 (@personasama) August 24, 2020
“Instead of leaving Lab Zero peacefully, Mike refused to listen and has decided that everyone in the company, including people he’s victimized, is wrong. His actions are insulting and unacceptable,” said Jonathan Kim. “Lab Zero has always been about the great team working together to create amazing work. But Mike has taken advantage of and hurt that team, and I can no longer stay in a company that includes him.”
Mariel Kinuko Cartwright, who was the Creative Director on Indivisible, also resigned from the studio:
I've resigned from Lab Zero Games. pic.twitter.com/I0dazMz4XB
— Kinuko (@kinucakes) August 24, 2020
Brian Jun, a former Art Producer, departed with the other employees citing, “He is the sole owner of Lab Zero Games, and removing him is difficult. He originally agreed to leave but is unwilling to make a reasonable compromise, so I’m taking my exit now.”
I'm leaving Lab Zero Games.
Mike Z creates an unsafe work environment for everyone.
He is the sole owner of Lab Zero Games, and removing him is difficult. He originally agreed to leave, but is unwilling to make a reasonable compromise, so I’m taking my exit now. pic.twitter.com/Uk4GjMt62k
— EU03 (@ClickAgain) August 23, 2020
To paint of picture of how troublesome Mike Zaimont truly is, look no further than just a few months ago when he came under fire for a wildly inappropriate “I can’t breathe” joke, following the death of George Floyd in May.
Not cool MikeZ https://t.co/7OcpRJAURn
— Leafhopper (@LeafCam) June 5, 2020
Zaimont has also been accused of sexual harassment as two Twitch streamers, Bunny, was a victim of the Skullgirls creator. “A big reason I am taking a break from the fighting game community is sexual harassment I received from a big creator,” Bunny said. “It was out of nowhere and really mortified me. I don’t feel comfortable sharing their identity yet. It really shocked me how intrusive they were.”
Autumn Games put out a statement condemning the actions of Mike Zaimont and mentioned that they will be reaching out to those members of Zero Lab that left so that they can continue to work on Skullgirls.