IGN promises change following allegations of sexual harassment against former editor

Content staff release statement declaring solidarity with victims, some employees stop work in protest against harassment

By James Batchelor.Published Tuesday 14th November 2017, 9:28am GMT

IGN is the latest company to become embroiled in the ongoing global discussion of sexual harassment after allegations emerged against an ex-employee.

Former IGN editor and current GameSpot associate editor Kallie Plagge has alleged that her IGN colleague and fellow editor Vince Ingenito - who is 15 years older than her - harassed both her and "one other female employee" for months, Waypoint reports.

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Plagge detailed her claims on Twitter, citing "uncomfortable compliments" and "manipulative and abusive comments" from Ingenito, as well as "overtly sexual comments" such as: "When I was your age, I could go all night". Plagge alleges that this was followed by a touch on the arm.

When she reported this to IGN's HR department, she was allegedly told she "needed to have better judgement about who [she] was 'friends' with", accusing her of being an "equal participant" in "inappropriate flirtation."

Plagge goes on to claim that she was told to sign a document saying that she had behaved inappropriately, and was threatened with dismissal if she did not comply.

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Ingenito has since responded to these allegations via Twitter, acknowledging that Plagge isn't "a liar" but instead believes he "overestimated or perhaps misread the degree of our friendship."

He insists he "never touched Kallie in any sexual way" and requested that people following this incident "do not go piling on her."

IGN has released a statement from the content team - "not by management or legal or anyone else" - condemning both Ingenito's treatment of Plagge and the other victim, as well as the HR system that is supposed to support them.

"It is with great sadness, pain, and regret that we tell you that IGN has failed two of its female employees, one former and one current - both of whom the team cares deeply about," the team wrote. "We are devastated that two of our own have had to live with and carry this pain for more than a year.

"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."

Some employees have reportedly refused to work as a sign of protest against how these allegations were handled, as revealed via Twitter by IGN producer Alanah Pearce.

The content team claims it has held a "difficult but ultimately productive" two-hour meeting voicing its concerns with both management and human resources, and pledges that dramatic improvements will be made.

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"Any future allegations will be taken extremely seriously, and we are actively working to ensure that everyone on our team feels like they work in a safe environment; we will not tolerate the exclusion or mistreatment of any people. The human resources representative who oversaw this situation originally is no longer with the company, and 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."

General manager and executive vice president Mitch Galbraith has since emailed all staff. The email was shared with Kotaku and says: "It is clear IGN can and must do better delivering on our commitment to a safe and harassment-free work environment for employees."

Galbraith outlines plans to bring in an independent expert to investigate the support system for employees, promising to define future actions that will be shared with all employees.

"I will be accountable to you for delivering results," he writes. "I will [also] work to give HR a stronger presence throughout IGN, including outside the San Francisco office.

"I'm not going to reiterate IGN's committment to a safe and harassment free work environment. Instead I am going to work with all of you to prove it with our actions and results from here on out."

The allegations follow the wave of sexual harassment claims emerging after women have come forward to out the behaviour of Hollywood exec Harvey Weinstein.

Last month, we collected some of the industry responses to the #MeToo movement that encourages individuals to come forward and talk about their experiences.

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