A Former Naughty Dog Employee Comes Forward With Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Uncharted Developer

A Former Naughty Dog Employee Comes Forward With Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Uncharted Developer

The public allegations come in light of a larger sexual harassment scandal roiling the entertainment industry.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal that's currently rocking the TV and film industry; former Naughty Dog developer, David Ballard, has come forward with his own account of sexual harassment encountered while working at the studio behind Uncharted and The Last of Us.

Ballard went public about the incident on Twitter where he detailed the harassment which took place in late 2015. In a series of public tweets (first published privately on Facebook), Ballard opened up about the ordeal, its impact on his mental health, and perhaps most damning, an alleged attempt by PlayStation HR to cover it up by offering him $20,000.

Below is Ballard's full statement collected and compiled from his public tweets (thanks to the detailed report by Eurogamer):

In late 2015, I was sexually harassed at Naughty Dog by a lead. My work environment became extremely toxic afterward. In February 2016 I had a mental breakdown at work & Sony PlayStation HR became involved. When I told them about the harassment they ended the call and fired me the next day. They cited the company was moving in a different direction and my job was no longer needed. They tried to silence me by offering $20k if I signed a letter agreeing to the termination as well as to not discuss it with anyone. I declined to sign. I have been unemployed for 17 months since.

When interviewers ask why I left Naughty Dog, I say I was burned out by the crunch, ashamed to get to the root of the problem of being sexually harassed. I'm speaking out now because of the strength I've seen in others coming forward about their experiences in the TV/Film industry. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. I will not let anyone kill my drive or love for the video game industry, my passions or life.

Ballard, who worked as environment artist at Naughty Dog for games like Uncharted 2, Uncharted 3, and The Last of Us, explained that him going public with his harassment was part of the ongoing discussion surrounding sexual harassment in the larger entertainment industry.

Naughty Dog issued a public statement this morning in regards to Ballard's allegations, writing:

We have recently read on social media that an ex-employee of Naughty Dog, Dave Ballard, claims he was sexually harassed when he worked at Naughty Dog. We have not found any evidence of having received allegations from Mr. Ballard that he was harassed in any way at Naughty Dog or Sony Interactive Entertainment. Harassment and inappropriate conduct have no place at Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment. We have taken and always will take reports of sexual harassment and other workplace grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Naughty Dog and Sony interactive Entertainment. It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe, productive workplace environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making games.

PlayStation issued a similar statement to Eurogamer.

Ballard's allegation has been met with support from the video game community, with other industry members coming forward with their own stories of workplace sexual harrassment. One deleted tweet (captured by NeoGAF) in response to Ballard's Twitter feed claimed of a second sexual harassment incident from a former Naughty Dog employee, currently working for Pokemon Go developers Niantic.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Starting Screen | Starting Screen: Blizzard's Troubled 2019 Finds the Once Invincible Studio at a Crossroads

This past year has found Blizzard embroiled in one controversy after another. What does it say about its future?

Check Out Sega's Surprise Remix of a Classic Sonic Adventure Tune

Maybe don't get your hopes too high that this means anything, though.

Halo Infinite Lead Producer Leaves 343 Industries Two Months After Taking Charge on Campaign

A 343 representative says the departure isn't a sign of a "creative dilemma."

Wargroove Is Getting a Free Heist-Themed Co-Op DLC Called Double Trouble

Chucklefish will also introduce some new tools for custom maps and game-wide balance changes.

Little Town Hero Will Last 10 to 20 Hours, According to its Director

Director Masao Taya doesn't play as many turn-based RPGs as he used to, and that informs Little Town Hero's compact campaign.

Pokemon Go’s Upcoming Halloween Event Does Even More to Taunt Poor Mimikyu

Niantic heard you like Pikachu, so here's a Pikachu dressed as Mimikyu who's dressed as Pikachu.

More News

Check Out Sega's Surprise Remix of a Classic Sonic Adventure Tune

Maybe don't get your hopes too high that this means anything, though.

Halo Infinite Lead Producer Leaves 343 Industries Two Months After Taking Charge on Campaign

A 343 representative says the departure isn't a sign of a "creative dilemma."

Wargroove Is Getting a Free Heist-Themed Co-Op DLC Called Double Trouble

Chucklefish will also introduce some new tools for custom maps and game-wide balance changes.

Little Town Hero Will Last 10 to 20 Hours, According to its Director

Director Masao Taya doesn't play as many turn-based RPGs as he used to, and that informs Little Town Hero's compact campaign.

More on PlayStation

PlayStation Worldwide Studios Head Shawn Layden Departs Sony

The chairman is moving on from Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Why Porting the 16-Bit NBA Jam to PlayStation Was Such a Major Trial Back in 1995

An excerpt from the new book Arcade Perfect, following a programmer's daunting task with NBA Jam T.E.

Final Fantasy 8 Was Always Good

Reexamining one of the most divisive games in the series on its 20th anniversary.

Downhill Jam: The Game Industry Reflects on 20 Years of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater turns 20 in September, so we spoke to people across the industry who remember the series fondly.

The Uncharted Movie Loses Director Number Five

We're getting close to more directors than Uncharted games.