IGN, the enormous gaming and media website, announced today that it has fired its editor-in-chief, Steve Butts due to alleged misconduct. Kotaku received a statement from IGN General Manager Mitch Galbraith regarding the news. “IGN initiated an investigation into alleged misconduct involving Steve Butts. As a result of the investigation, the Company has appropriately determined to part ways with Mr. Butts,” Galbraithe said.
The firing of Butts represents a culmination of more scrutiny into IGN’s culture after former IGN employee Kallie Plagge accused her former co-worker Vincent Ingenito of sexual harassment back in November. Ingenito was let go from IGN back in March 2017. Shortly after the allegations were made, IGN put out a statement that indicated they were committed to finding and fixing what was broken in the company’s culture.
During subsequent meetings, an IGN employee accused Butts of harassment, according to an anonymous source that spoke to Kotaku. IGN’s investigations into those allegations led to Butts working from home during the course of the last two months, something Kotaku’s source is described as saying was an “elephant in the room” that made the work environment awkward and uncomfortable.
Plagge had talked to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier in November regarding a boss that she felt mishandled the situation with Ingenito. That boss was Butts, with Plagge telling Schreier “He told me, ‘Don’t be so uptight about it.’ As I said on Twitter, he would also say things like ‘I just want this unpleasantness to be over,’ like we were causing him a lot of problems.”
As IGN is one of the biggest media forces in the gaming industry, this investigation and culture shift to making harassment unacceptable will undoubtedly have ripples. At this time, IGN has yet to announce a replacement editor-in-chief. The statements made to Kotaku by Galbraithe are currently the only public quotes that have been made by IGN regarding the matter.