Staffers stage walkout at IGN over mismanagement of sexual harassment claims
A number of IGN employees reportedly refused to work today until the company made a public statement about the allegations of former IGN staffer Kallie Plagge.
It's a very significant display of solidarity on the part of IGN workers, one that may impact the outlet's ability to continue covering and talking about the game industry in the manner to which devs have become accustomed.
On Friday, Plagge took to Twitter to claim that she and another woman who works at IGN had been sexually harassed by a significantly older staffer (former IGN editor Vince Ingenito, who has since responded to the claims) for months.
Plagge stated that when she eventually reported the harassment to HR in June of last year, "HR and upper management told me I needed to have better judgment about who I was 'friends' with, making me out to be an equal participant."
"I was made to sign a document stating that I'd behaved inappropriately, on the condition that I'd be fired if it happened again," Plagge wrote. "I was forced to work with Vince for another six months until I left IGN for my current job."
This morning a number of IGN staffers voiced support for Plagge, and IGN staffer Alanah Pearce stated on Twitter that "There won’t be a Daily Fix [video] today because a large group of IGN employees have refused to work until the company issues a statement/apology regarding what happened to Kallie Plagge."
Hours later, a public statement was published on the IGN website that was attributed to "the IGN content team, not by management or legal or anyone else"; that statement puts the blame squarely on IGN's shoulders and expresses regret for what reportedly happened to Plagge and her colleague.
"When the women made management and human resources aware of the situation involving a now-former employee, those women, in the estimation of the IGN team, did not get the respect and care that they deserved as IGN employees and as people. That system, plainly put, failed them. It especially failed them but it also failed all of us," reads an excerpt of the statement.
"All of us have been wounded deeply by this – though again, our suffering is nothing compared to those of our two beloved friends – and this morning we addressed the open wound directly with our management team and human resources representative in an emotional, difficult, but ultimately productive two-hour meeting, where any and all voices were heard."
The statement went on to claim that the HR representative who Plagge went to is no longer with the company, but that "our current HR rep has been transparent and willing to listen to ideas and suggestions for how to create a better work environment going forward."
However, as of this publication there has been no public statement on this issue from anyone who identifies as IGN upper management. Gamasutra has reached out to the company for more details and an explanation.
Update: Kotaku has obtained an email to IGN staff from IGN general manager Mitch Galbraith stating plans to address the problem.
"I am taking the following steps to ensure we achieve our goals. First, I will enlist an independent expert to thoroughly examine how we handled the matter in question and, more broadly, all other important aspects of creating a healthy workplace," reads an excerpt of the email. "Second, I will turn the findings and recommendations of that review into specific actions that I will share with all of you. I will be accountable to you for delivering results. Third, I will work to give HR a stronger presence throughout IGN, including outside the San Francisco office."