Following an unprecedented outing of sexual predators within Hollywood earlier this month, it seemed unlikely that the next set of allegations would come from within the video game press. That said, Monday 13th November saw a large group of IGN employees refuse to work until a statement was issued regarding alleged sexual assault occurring within the company during the summer of 2016.
On the Friday before, ex-employee Kallie Plagge took to Twitter claiming she and Chloi Rad, who still works at IGN, had been sexually harassed by a significantly older member of the editorial team for months.
Through this, Plagge said that she saw Vince Ingenito, the editor accused, as a mentor but grew gradually uncomfortable when he made sexual remarks and “manipulative and abusive comments” toward them. What follows is one example Plagge brought up on Twitter: “‘When I was your age I could go all night.’ He put his hand on my arm. ‘I just want one more night like that.’”
Plagge described contacting IGN’s Human Resources department as “an absolutely traumatic experience”.
Ingenito, who was laid off by the company in March of this year, wrote an extensive response to the allegations on Twitter. He stated that he “overestimated or perhaps misread the degree of our friendship” and “didn’t graphically describe anything or force sexual conversations on her or anyone.”
But what bothered Plagge and Rad the most was IGN’s human resources department after they contacted them about the issue in July 2016. Plagge said that they were forced to sign a document stating that she had conducted herself inappropriately, without being told what she had done.
The document stated that “With regards to the investigation of harassment, evidence was presented to show a lack of professionalism in your part as well as others. Communication between you and Vince were both inappropriate, unprofessional, and violated our harassment policy.” Plagge described contacting HR as “an absolutely traumatic experience” that she deeply regrets.
The solidarity shown by the IGN editorial staff will hopefully inspire others to seek justice
Following the release of a statement regarding the issue, IGN general manager Mitch Galbraith then sent out the following email to staff at the company in an effort to clarify the moves that the company will make in addressing the problem. He began by stating “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.” “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.”
The unexpected nature of this case only acts as a further indication that sexual assault is prevalent in many industries besides Hollywood. Although the experiences suffered by Plagge and Rad are unpleasant, the solidarity shown by the IGN editorial staff will hopefully inspire others to seek justice for the sexual assault that they may have endured in the video game press, or indeed any other industry.