Recently-reinstated Paradox boss Fredrik Wester has said he regrets an incident of "inappropriate behaviour" towards another employee during a company meeting in 2018.
Wester admitted to the incident in a series of messages posted to Twitter this morning, following last week's leak of a damaging union-led employee survey that revealed widespread "mistreatment" at the studio, such as "bullying and gender discrimination".
Wester does not detail the exact nature of the incident he is admitting to, though says he wants to acknowledge it now "in the name of transparency and clarity". When approached for more information by Eurogamer, a Paradox spokesperson declined to share more "out of respect for the privacy of the person involved".
Last week's leaked survey reported experiences of "mistreatment" at the Crusader Kings and Stellaris studio among almost half of the 133 staff who responded. Those who replied said the studio culture was "worse for women".
The survey concluded that the issue was "systemic and far too common" at Paradox, and highlighted a culture of silence where "high-level perpetrators" were "shielded by the company".
The leak came just as Wester, CEO back in 2018, returned to the company's top job. Ebba Ljungerud, who served as CEO in the intervening couple of years, was replaced by Wester "due to differing views on the company's strategy going forward", Paradox said. Wester denied the change had anything to do with the survey results.
In response to the survey, Paradox said it was "working to reconcile the informal survey with our own internal research, and are eager to take action". It will now arrange an external audit.
Wester's full comments lie below:
"In the wake of the recently leaked survey to the press, there have been rumors and discussions about my role in this environment, citing a specific incident in 2018," Wester wrote today. "In the name of transparency and clarity, I would like to shed light on this. Accountability starts from the top.
"Bbeginning [sic] of 2018, we held a company-wide conference, and during this gathering, a Paradox employee was subject to inappropriate behavior from me personally. This was something I immediately and sincerely apologised for in-person the following Monday in a process reviewed by HR.
"Everyone should have the right to be comfortable and safe, especially around a person in a position of power such as myself, something I stated then and I am stating again now.
"It has never been my intention to make anyone uncomfortable around me, but that is still what happened, much to my regret. Following this episode, I have been working with my coach and mentor to understand the impact of my behavior better, and to better myself.
"Contrary to what people may suggest, this had nothing to do with me resigning as CEO in 2018, something that had been planned for over six months at the time it occurred.
"I understand that this makes my cause less credible when it comes to handling these issues internally and will therefore not be involved directly with it, it will be done by HR at Paradox with external help, but of course with my full support if needed.
"Again, I sincerely regret making a person in my proximity uncomfortable and for the damage this caused. I will continue to work to not only improve myself but also improve the work environment around both Paradox and the industry as a whole."