Over the past few weeks, all across the world stories of men and women who have been sexually harassed by celebrities and co-workers have begun to surface. The reason we covering this story today is because it is the story of Kallie Plagge, a long time video game journalist and reviewer for both IGN and Gamespot.
This past Friday Plagge came out on Twitter to tell her story. Plagge revealed on Twitter whilst working at IGN last year, she and another female reporter filed a complaint against former IGN editor Vince Ingenito. She complained after months of inappropriate comments and sexual harassment.
“The harassment in my case included uncomfortable compliments,“Guys don’t like skinny girls. You’re perfect.”
She claims that Ingenito made “manipulative and abusive comments” toward her and other employees until Plagge finally came forward and reported him to IGN’s HR team. Unfortunately, this is where her story gets more unbearable to hear.
“After I reported him in June 2016, HR and upper management told me I needed to have better judgement about who I was “friends” with, making me out to be an equal participant in an “inappropriate flirtation.”
HR came to the conclusion that her accusations were not strong enough and nothing was done about the situation apart from Ingenito switching desks. Plagge says this took a huge toll on her stating, “I spent the entirety of those months sick with anxiety, literally to the point of severe nausea every day.” Plagge then quit the company months later to work for Gamespot.
In March 2017, Ingenito was laid off by IGN.
Ingenito has recently written in a lengthy Twitter thread, a statement and an apology saying 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.”
HR and IGN
The biggest takeaway from this story is how IGN handled the situation. Plagge claims that her bosses and HR told her not to be too “uptight” and insinuated that Plagge provoked Ingenito and was even asked who she danced with at IGN’s E3 party.
Plagge’s poor treatment continued. Plagge said that she and the other woman were forced to and work in a glass conference room while IGN decided how to deal with the situation; a situation they clearly wanted to be over.
Plagge and the other woman were asked to sign to sign a legal document stating that she too had conducted herself inappropriately and was not told what she had done. Kotaku got their hands on this document, and it reads as follows:
“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.”
After Plagge revealed her story using #MeToo, there was small protest within IGN. The editorial staff were said to be fumed and angry at the situation. One IGN employee recounts the meeting with management stating, “We had a large staff meeting this morning and ultimately said we weren’t going to work until the company issues a statement.” He continued by saying, “They said they will, and didn’t think our protest was unreasonable.”
The other day, IGN released a statement and an apology stating: “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.”
When you join a company or team, whether you are big or small, you are now part of a family and families love and look out for one another. It’s a dream to have a career in video games and work with people whose passion for games matches yours.
The way Kallie Plagge and the other woman were treated was horrible and they were clearly made to feel ashamed. We in the games community don’t do that to each other. Families don’t do that to each other.
For more on this story, keep locked on Mammoth Gamers.