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Former Nintendo Russia Employees on Toxic Atmosphere and Harassment

The scandal with Yasha Haddaji continues as former employees comment on his ‘hypercontrol’, readling ‘all the social networks of his subordinates’, ‘terrified staff’ and sexual harassment

Recently we reported on the scandal around the CEO of Nintendo of Russia — Yasha Haddaji. A livestream recording surfaced, illustrating Yasha’s incompetence and lack of respect to his employees — he was caught cursing and calling names — not realizing that the stream was indeed live.

Turns out there is even more to the story — Russian media portal GameGuru.ru interviewed a number of anonymous Nintendo of Russia employees, uncovering many upsetting stories. Most of the interviewees say similar things about Haddaji and leave little doubt about his unprofessional practices. As one of the former employees shared, people who worked under Haddaji form some kind of ‘’Yasha’s PTSD club’’, and he would not be surprised if it was one of them, who published the petition.

We highlighted the main points of the interviews.

Relations with women and sexual harassment

A former male employee:

’’Yasha constantly shouts at the staff, mixing Russian and English curse words. He does it extremely aggressively — girls often cry in the toilet after meetings. At the same time, Yasha prefers to hire women — and strictly beautiful ones (three former employees had model work experience). In his opinion, they are less inclined to argue with superiors. In addition, he personally gives instructions on how girls should dress in the office, how they should appear on the meetings with clients. Like ‘’put on that leather skirt, he will come and sign everything’’.

‘’I am not sure if there was any harassment. I mean, he asked one of the girls to call him ‘’Papa (Daddy) Yasha’’, the other girl was clearly in love with him, and he also had a very strange attitude to a third one — like she is his ex. In the office, he shouted at them and invaded their privacy (read personal messages, for example). But he did not touch them’’.

A former female employee:

‘’There was sexual harassment towards me. He could hug me a little, make me sit on his knees, run his hand on my bottom… well, these are the most common approaches. In this context, he yelled at me even more during working hours, so that I did not think I was on special treatment now. But maybe he was just angry that I kept my distance. He was very ambiguous in his attempts. But this was after work and in some informal setting. No one has seen this. I can assume that he tried that on all pretty girls.’’

However, some may disagree on the situation:

  • ‘’I do not really understand where the rumors about harassment came from: there was nothing like that as far as I can remember. But Yasha could discuss your appearance and say that your clothes are ‘’inappropriate for you’’.
  • ‘’At the same time, for some reason everyone around you is confident that he does it. Mom was often worrying, for example. One of the main questions after my departure (from the company) was ‘’Tell me honestly, did he hit on you?’’

Writes Kristina Pushkina, former Nintendo employee.

Employee control

‘’It is forbidden to send email to the outside partners without CC’ing Yasha, and most of the employees have to coordinate letters with him beforehand. If Yasha is not present, the work stops,’’ — says one of the employees.

  • ‘’Yasha has been putting up many roadblocks and prevented normal work due to his hypercontrol.’’

Says Kristina.

A female employee confirmed his tendency to monitor people’s private life:

‘’He reads all the social networks of his subordinates. Even promoters’ Instagram accounts, who they occasionally work with at some events. He goes as far as demanding to remove all the photos from the personal profiles that, in his opinion, do not look professional enough. And you do not even know that he reads your socials until he makes a joke about it (maybe one on one, or maybe in public). I get that you should remain professional, but when you do not represent a company, and your manager jokes about some of your personal thoughts you decided to share on your page — it is like you have a stalker.’’

Toxic work environment

‘’To put it into perspective — how terrified is everyone — when I walked in high heels, my colleagues asked me to change my shoes, because the hills clicking on the floor were very similar to the sound of approaching Yasha,’’ — told one of the girls.

Poor management

Even though Nintendo’s positions in Russia improved after Haddaji came to power, people still describe him as a stubborn and ineffective manager, who can spend 90% of the event planning meeting to discuss a gift wrap design and 10% on the budget and organization. And if the event does not even happen, it is fine — as long as it is the fault of the gift wrap designer.

So far, there hasn’t been any comment on the situation neither from Yasha himself, nor from Nintendo.


Ostrog November 15, 2018