A former Nintendo employee who was fired from the company less than a month after asking the company about its views on unionisation has spoken out, and disputed Nintendo’s own narrative that they were fired for an entirely separate reason – a breach of confidentiality.
Quality assurance tester Mackenzie Clifton has spoken publicly to Axios about their departure from Nintendo of America, and revealed both the question on unionisation they asked, as well as the “confidential information” they were accused of leaking.
During a January company Q&A with Nintendo of America boss Doug Bowser, Clifton says they submitted the following question: “What does NoA think about the unionisation trend in QA in the games industry as of late?”
An answer was not provided, and Clifton later received a follow-up from Nintendo’s Q&A contracting company Aston Carter, in which they were told the question had been a “downer”, and to send it queries on the subject rather than Nintendo itself.
In February, less than a month later, Clifton was fired. Nintendo previously told Eurogamer that the dismissal was due to the disclosure of “confidential information and for no other reason”.
Now, Clifton has revealed the tweet Nintendo fired them for, which was posted on 16th February:
“in today’s build someone somewhere must have deleted every other texture in the game bc everything is now red. Just like, pure red. it’s very silly.”
Clifton asserts that this message does not reveal information on the project they were working on, and suggests it is a cover for Nintendo’s own reasoning.
Regardless, the affair comes amidst a backdrop of discontent at Nintendo of America – and specifically from its QA testers – who have spoken out this year on employee rights and worker conditions.
After several media reports on the matter – and the pressure of unionisation efforts at studios elsewhere – Nintendo of America’s Doug Bowser issued a statement in May saying he found said reports “troubling”, and that the matter was being reviewed.
Bowser’s predecessor Reggie Fils-Aimé also commented on the situation, saying: “This isn’t the Nintendo that I left.”
We’ve contacted Nintendo for more detail today. In the meantime, here’s Nintendo’s earlier statement on Clifton’s firing in full:
“We are aware of the claim, which was filed with the National Labor Relations Board by a contractor who was previously terminated for the disclosure of confidential information and for no other reason,” a Nintendo UK spokesperson told Eurogamer today. “Nintendo is not aware of any attempts to unionise or related activity and intends to cooperate with the investigation conducted by the NLRB.
“Nintendo is fully committed to providing a welcoming and supportive work environment for all our employees and contractors. We take matters of employment very seriously.”