Last Friday, former IGN editor (and current GameSpot editor) Kallie Plagge joined the chorus of individuals sharing sexual harassment stories, part of a larger “me too” movement that’s occurred in the wake of sexual assault allegations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In the days since, IGN has not publicly responded to Plagge’s allegations, prompting some IGN employees to refuse to work until a formal statement is made.
“There won’t be a Daily Fix 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,” said IGN producer Alanah Pearce on Twitter this afternoon.
IGN did not respond to my request for comment.
Update: The editorial staff has released a group statement, saying "IGN has failed two of its female employees" and that when harassment was reported the women "did not get the respect and care that they deserved as IGN employees and as people."
“I can’t swallow my anger any longer,” wrote Plagge last week. “The silence physically hurts.”
Plagge described an experience at IGN from 2016, where former editor Vince Ingenito allegedly harassed her and “one other female employee” for months. (The other employee has not come forward.) The harassment included “uncomfortable compliments” (”Guys don’t like skinny girls. You’re perfect”), “manipulative and abusive comments” (“[The guys he assumed I was dating] are all boys. You need a real man), and “overtly sexual comments” (“When I was your age, I could go all night”). Plagge recalled the latter was followed by a touch on the arm.
These comments were reported to IGN human resources, who allegedly told Plagge she “needed to have better judgment about who [she] was ‘friends’ with.” IGN reportedly told Plagge she was an “equal participant” in “inappropriate flirtation” and that she “used [her] body” to provoke him, then went on to ask about who she’d danced with at a recent party.
“This was a man who preyed on me, a young woman 15 years his junior,” said Plagge, “by identifying my insecurities at work (specifically regarding recognition for my work) and manipulating my trust. 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.”
Following the incident, Ingenito continued to work at IGN. He no longer works there.
“I spent the entirety of those months sick with anxiety, literally to the point of sever nausea every day,” she said. “I was terrified of further retaliation should I say anything. The harassment (and horribly mishandled HR investigation) was a major factor in my leaving IGN.”
Ingenito responded to Plagge’s claims in a series of tweets. He said she is not “a liar.”
“What I believe is that I overestimated or perhaps misread the degree of our friendship,” he said.
Ingenito did not respond to any of Plagge’s specific allegations, claiming “there are legal limits to what I am allowed to say about the allegations she made against me, or the investigation that resulted.”
He said he “never touched Kallie in any sexual way” and requested people “do not go piling on her.”
Plagge said Ingenito would still speak with her occasionally regarding work-related questions, and would “sit near me in meetings when management was not around.”
It’s unclear when or if IGN will release a statement, but given the prominence individuals like Alanah Pearce have at the company—she, in part, hosts IGN’s popular “Daily Fix” news roundup videos, after the departure of Naomi Kyle—one hopes it applies the appropriate pressure. Solidarity is a huge part of why stories of harassment have been given weight in the weeks after Weinstein’s outing, and it’s encouraging to see Plagge’s colleagues stand by her.
“As more and more victims and survivors come forward with their stories, the sick feeling in my stomach has returned,” Plagge concluded. “I have a great job with a team that respects and values me. I am safe. I am loved. But I still feel sick.”