The editor-in-chief at IGN entertainment, the most trafficked gaming and entertainment website, has been fired this past week over “alleged misconduct.”
Steve Butts, who had been with IGN since 1999, was fired from his role as editor-in-chief which he had been working as since 2012. This was the result of an investigation into alleged misconduct by Butts against another IGN employee according to Mitch Galbraith (IGN’s executive vice president) in a statement made to Polygon.
As first reported in Kotaku, the investigation into Butts began last Fall after a meeting held with IGN’s editorial team in response to a former employee’s allegations. During that meeting, an employee accused Butts of harassment, according to another employee who was present. After that the investigation into Butts began, resulting in him working from home for the rest of November and December. He was finally terminated on January 3rd, 2018.
As Stephan’s Universe reported in November last year, former IGN freelance writer and later social media editor Kallie Plagge posted on Twitter about alleged sexual harassment she and a coworker endured at IGN for months. Plagge accused former IGN editor Vince Ingenito of verbal and physical harassment. She stated management at IGN grossly mishandled her complaints, accusing Plagge of “inappropriate flirtation” instead of addressing or investigating her claims. They forced her to sign a document stating she had behaved inappropriately and it wouldn’t happen again or she would be fired.
Plagge told Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio that Butts was part of the management who mishandled her complaints. She said, “[Butts] told me, ‘Don’t be so uptight about it’… he would also say things like ‘I just want this unpleasantness to be over,’ like we were causing him a lot of problems.”
A few days after Plagge’s tweets the IGN editorial team released a statement saying, “we will continue to challenge our management and human resources teams to fix what is broken, because if we can’t or if we don’t, then IGN will no longer be a place we’re proud to call home.”
IGN co-founder and chief content officer Peer Schnieder will be interim editor-in-chief until a suitable replacement is found. Schieder will serve as interim for “however long it takes.” Schnieder said, “I’m lucky to have a team of seasoned editorial and video leaders I can rely on while I search for the best person for the job.”
Butts hasn’t responded to any requests for comment and has remained inactive on Twitter since last November when the investigation began.