After filing a complaint against Nintendo of America and recruitment firm Aston Carter earlier this year which alleged "concerted activities" and "coercive actions", the former contractor who filed that complaint with the NLRB has come forward, revealing their identity and offering further details and an account of their dismissal.
As reported by Axios in an exclusive interview, former playtester Mackenzie Clifton was fired from their contract role at the company in February this year. Nintendo said that they were "terminated for the disclosure of confidential information", according to a statement given to Axios' Stephen Totilo.
According to Clifton, supervisors showed them a tweet they had posted with the following text as evidence:
"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 believes this vague reference is not the real reason for their dismissal, instead citing the Q&A portion of an online meeting for hundreds of Nintendo testers which took place back in January.
At this meeting, Clifton says they asked NOA president Doug Bowser the following question:
"What does NoA think about the unionization trend in QA in the games industry as of late?"
The question was apparently not answered directly, and Clifton says they were contacted by an Aston Carter supervisor later in the day who advised them to direct such "downer questions" to Aston Carter, not Nintendo. Clifton alleges they are the victim of union-busting tactics designed to quash discussion of the topic.
Axios' report details Clifton's history with Nintendo, their initial good impressions of the company, their consequent work on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and their personal struggles following initially being denied credit — along with other testers who worked on the project — in the game itself.
A second complaint was filed in August this year, with similar accusations levelled against Nintendo and its long-standing recruitment firm. Stories critical of the company have come to light in recent months detailing a 'two-tiered' system between the 'red badges' (full-time Nintendo employees) and contract workers hoping to earn a permanent position.
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