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IGN Fires Editor-In-Chief After Investigation Into 'Alleged Misconduct'

Steve Butts is no longer at IGN.

News by Matt Kim, .

According to a new report, video game website IGN has fired its editor-in-chief, Steve Butts, after the company investigated claims of alleged workplace misconduct against him.

Kotaku was the first to report on the news and published a statement given by IGN general manager Mitch Galbraith to the website.

"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," Galbraith said in the statement.

Two months ago, former IGN employee Kallie Plagge accused her then co-worker Vince Ingenito of sexual harassment against her and another woman at IGN. Following the accusation IGN employees walked out in solidarity with Plagge, and refused to work until IGN issued an official statement regarding the matter.

After several meetings, IGN eventually put out a statement that laid out measures to create a "safe environment" to continue working in. Reportedly, it was at one of these meeting that Butts was accused of harassment. This triggered IGN to begin investigating the matter.

According to Kotaku, Butts had been working from home since the investigation. His absence, and whether or not he would return to the company, was described as an "elephant in the room," by one IGN staffer.

Butts was also the boss who Plagge said mishandled her sexual harassment case. According to the report Butts told Plagge to not "be so uptight about it," in regards to the situation with Ingenito.

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Comments 28

  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #1 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    I haven't properly read Ign in around 6 or so years so I have no idea who this guy or anyone there is, but it's good they parted ways with him. It's never OK and in my opinion anyone who has taken part in sexual harassment should be removed from their position. Don't keep them and don't let anyone else get hurt as a result of their presence.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #2 Kuni-Nino 3 months ago
    It's a whole new world. Good on IGN for doing the right thing and conducting a proper investigation. Employees should be able to trust HR and not feel like their claims are going to get dismissed. What happened was really messed up.

    Hopefully things get better over there. IGN kinda represents the whole gaming media. They need to be held to a higher standard.
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  • Avatar for CloakedSparrow #3 CloakedSparrow 3 months ago
    Following the accusation IGN employees walked out in solidarity with Plagge, and refused to work until IGN issued an official statement regarding the matter.

    That is wonderful. I realize a lot of workplaces wouldn't allow this, but if employees can get away with it, then forcing the issue like this is a great way to show you expect such allegation to be taken seriously and investigated. Those employees should be commended.
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  • Avatar for KCC #4 KCC 3 months ago
    Another allegation (not verdict) resulting in personal and career murder.

    "Innocent before proven guilty." Not sure if anyone in the western hemisphere remembers this, but once upon a time it was a foundational code of these societies.

    Oh well. Moving to Asia in a few days for good; best of luck to you all in the Orwellian, hyperventilating, authoritarian and "socially just" world you've all begged for. Peace!
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  • Avatar for novacav #5 novacav 3 months ago
    @KCC I agree with the concept you are talking about, however IGN said they fired him as a result of their investigation. So to me that implies they uncovered guilt. Butts has not denied or anything yet, either.

    That said, we'll see what happens.
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  • Avatar for SingingBrakeman #6 SingingBrakeman 3 months ago
    @KCC You are referring to a legal concept relevant to criminal trials, not conditions of employment. Additionally, an investigation was conducted at IGN that found the claims to have merit. I know folks mean well when they cite 'innocent until proven guilty,' but it can come across as siding more rapidly with a powerful patriarchy rather than folks finally giving voice to long-term injustice; we aren't in a world where baseless claims are given undue attention - indeed, the opposite has traditionally proven to be the case as women have had their allegations ignored.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #7 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    @KCC WELL HAVE FUN IN ASIA BRUH, LEAVE THE ORWELLIAN SHIT TO US, WE'LL TAKE CARE OF IT!
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #8 nadiaoxford 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon Cool, does this mean we're all going to get talking pigs?
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  • Avatar for Thad #9 Thad 3 months ago
    @KCC "Innocent until proven guilty" is a legal standard. Are you arguing that nobody should be fired for sexual misconduct until and unless he is found guilty in a court of law?
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #10 donkeyintheforest 3 months ago
    I remember dropping IGN sometime in the early to mid 2000s when they started featuring swimsuit models as a major feature. Not that I am a prude, but it was diluting the video game content and seemed skeevy and played into all the Maxim/FHM/etc mans need more AXE lotion and here is how you can take advantage of ppl, etc. Every once in a while I'll be linked to a review there from metacritic to see what it's about, and while the reviews usually seem fine, man oh man the comment sections haha. I truly feel for whoever is going to try and moderate whatever is going on there after this news. Anyways; TLDR; yall in the comments here at USG are the best and good riddance to gross ppl.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #11 WiIIyTheAntelope 3 months ago
    @KCC Sadly the world doesn't require any actual evidence. It's now guilty until proven innocent..actually scratch that, it's actually more like guilty at first tweet with no chance of innocence.

    Not saying that this guy is innocent. He might be, he might not. I don't know, and in fact I don't even know who he is, but this witch hunting has gone far past the point of ridiculous.

    There's a damn good reason Linus Torvalds never goes out in public alone.
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #12 Jonnyboy407 3 months ago
    I always wondered what happened to kallie at ign. She just kinda disappeared. She hosted a Pokemon podcast called Secret Base that only had a couple of episodes but it was fun and a fun idea.

    I wonder if she's still podcasting
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #13 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    @nadiaoxford ...is that a rhetorical question? Because i think you know the answer: OF COURSE!
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #14 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    @WiIIyTheAntelope when you unironically have to use the term witch hunt to describe male sexual misconduct/harassment because there's no comparable male term, you're kind of proving the other side's point.

    Is it ridiculous that all of these guys are losing their careers over sexual misconduct? Or is it ridiculous that there are so many guys just raping, harassing, and mistreating others?
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #15 Flipsider99 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon Doesn't it depend on what is considered "harassment"? Depending on what it is, it could be ridiculous. Of course we have no idea what the alleged harassment was, they didn't release those details. Which is why I find it odd that so many people are so quick to condemn, or say "good job IGN!"

    I have no idea whether it was justified for this particular guy to be fired. But I am worried about the definition of sexual harassment being expanded so wide to the point where it creates an atmosphere of fear and dread for all employees everywhere.
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  • Avatar for thereal-Neolit #16 thereal-Neolit 3 months ago
    Oh my. All the Harvey Weinstein kids are meeting a similar fate.
    I say HW kids for two reasons:
    1. They acted in a degrading manner toward a fellow human thinking that they are beyond the hand of justice (whatever it turned out to be, public humiliation, HR firing etc.) only to find themselves, finally, smashed and unable to professionally exist in that area for a long, long time. Good.
    2. These types are some ugly, sleazy trolls (like real trolls, not comment section ones).

    Damn, couldn't they just take their money and pay an honest working sex worker for their services in order to take care of whatever need they had and leave their coworkers be?
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #17 WiIIyTheAntelope 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon Please stop acting like you know anything about this incident. You don't know any more than the rest of us. You have not a clue what this alleged harassment was.

    It is amusing though that you so dislike the term witch hunt...and then in the very next breath declare the entire lot guilty without as much as having heard the charges.

    Self awareness level=0
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #18 Nuclear-Vomit 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon I only go to IGN for Brian Altano and Max Scoville. They host one hell of a show.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #19 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    @WiIIyTheAntelope I acted in no such way and made no such condemnation. But sure!
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #20 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    @Flipsider99 I don't know what broadening it means. Harassment is harassment, simple as that. I'm not here to say some verbal harassment is ok but physical is not, or whatever the situation may be. You need a safe work environment. If there's fear and dread in a workplace I promise you it doesn't come from a place where harassment is not allowed, especially since the jobs I have had include all forms of harassment. There'd be no change to those policies, because what's happening now is that people are following them.

    They took 2 months to investigate, kept the guy on their pay while he worked from home and made their decision after they investigated. I don't need to know more than that. If that doesn't satisfy some of you, so be it.
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #21 Monkey-Tamer 3 months ago
    If he feels he was railroaded he can always seek compensation through a civil suit. Haven't heard anything about that, so it appears he deserved the boot based upon the investigation. Nobody should have to worry about putting up with harassment like that at work. Work sucks enough as it is.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #22 WiIIyTheAntelope 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon Sure you did. You first started by saying that calling it a witch hunt is bad because it's a gendered term that for some reason would need a male version. When in fact it's just a generic statement in reference to declaring people guilty of crimes despite actually having 0 evidence to support those claims. Which is exactly what's been happening. Though this case actually had some sort of investigation, though what the actual extent of this investigation went to remains a mystery. So hurray for (slight) progress!

    And then immediately went on to say "Is it ridiculous that all of these guys are losing their careers over sexual misconduct? Or is it ridiculous that there are so many guys just raping, harassing, and mistreating others? "

    Therefore lumping this guy, who again, you don't know what he's guilty of, or even what he's been accused of with rapists.

    We both know that the definition of harassment has been stretched so paper thin that it could be something as little as looking at their computer screen when an image popped up on the internet that hurt a bypassers feelings. This is a country where Google fires employees for making 100% scientifically accurate statements, and backing those statements up with facts and figures. But some people are offended by reality and it hurts their poor little feelings so this evil harasser must go!
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #23 Flipsider99 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon "I don't know what broadening it means. Harassment is harassment, simple as that."

    No, it's not that simple. Harassment is not that easy to define, since essentially it means whatever happens to cause a person emotional distress. There are some things that are obviously unacceptable, like a boss using a person's job as leverage to try to coerce them into sex. Then there's other things like compliments being taken the wrong way, or botched attempts to hit on a person / ask a person out. I think we have to be careful saying that harassment is simply "whenever a person feels harassed," as that standard will have huge differences among some people. This is what I'm talking about when I say I'm worried about the definition of harassment "broadening."

    "They took 2 months to investigate, kept the guy on their pay while he worked from home and made their decision after they investigated. I don't need to know more than that."

    Why are you so quick to trust their decision? Do you find IGN to be a company of impeccable moral standards? Because I don't. I'm not saying that their decision is right or wrong, I'm simply pointing out that without the details, I don't think any of us have any business condemning or congratulating anyone.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #24 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    @WiIIyTheAntelope OK dude

    1. I don't know or care what Google thing you're referring to but I don't want to hear it since I have it an idea what you're referring to and it's total BS, but let's not bring in something unrelated to this.

    2. Witch hunt isn't just a gendered "term" even if you use it as a term for your argument.

    3. I didn't lump anyone into anything, just a broad statement, like yours. Is it ridiculous that so many are in trouble or is it ridiculous that so many are in fact found to be the cause of it? You can apply that as being specific if it helps you feel better.

    4. You don't need evidence of anything. You're neither the employer, nor a judge, jury, or counsel. Feel free to disagree with everything you're not let in on. If wrongly accused he can take it up in court himself, but that's a hypothetical that's neither here nor there.

    As far as I'm concerned this conversation is over between us, but reply as many times as you need.

    As for@Flipsider99 you think I'm quick to trust the decision? That would be like me asking you why you're so quick to question the decision. But I don't care or want to know why you'd distrust it.

    We can also debate the terms of harassment day and night and not convince each other. Harassment is harassment, context matters for compliments, etc. Is it someone open to the idea of being complimented in a social setting, or is it someone you work with in a professional setting?

    But you do you and keep questioning it. I on the other hand will keep saying, good riddance to this dude. If one has to go, they all have to go. That's my stand on it, agree, disagree, agree to disagree, I don't care.
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  • Avatar for catymcc #25 catymcc 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon The Google thing referenced is likely this extremely sexist screed that made the rounds online awhile ago. (It's disappointing to still see other men defend that guy.) You can read about it here:
    https://www.wired.com/story/the-pernicious-science-of-james-damores-google-memo/

    I'm also staying out of this fight, for obvious reasons. But just a note for everyone: please remain civil in the comments and don't spread hateful/mysoginistic rhetoric, thanks!Edited January 2018 by catymcc
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #26 Flipsider99 3 months ago
    "As for@Flipsider99 you think I'm quick to trust the decision? That would be like me asking you why you're so quick to question the decision."

    No, it's not the same. You are strangely quick to trust IGN's reasoning for the firing, despite the fact that you know nothing of the details. That's odd.

    My point all along, and I'll keep saying it, is that we don't know the details of the harassment so it makes no sense to condemn anyone or takes sides. I'm not "questioning the decision," I'm pointing out the facts.

    "We can also debate the terms of harassment day and night and not convince each other."

    Exactly. Because what constitutes "harassment" is complicated, like I said. It's not easily defined.

    "I on the other hand will keep saying, good riddance to this dude."

    Why? That makes no sense. You know nothing of the details yet you have no problem condemning him, despite having no knowedge of what he did. That's a dangerous attitude to have. Please carefully reconsider your position.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #27 WiIIyTheAntelope 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon If I'm to believe anything anyone claims, damn right I want to see some evidence to back it up.

    But since you're so quick to believe accusations like this. Let's say I call my wife on the phone right now and tell her to hop on twitter and tell her to get her #metoo on and start tweeting about how a guy that goes around online by the name of NiceGuyNeon has been sexually harassing her.

    Should you get fired from your job, have your life ruined, and get an angry internet hate mob chasing after you? Obviously not, because it would be a 100% false accusation. But by your own standards, all this should happen to you.

    Not that I'd do that as I'm not a vindictive asshole who falsely accuses people of things just for the thrill of watching their life fall apart, but the world is filled with them. And (gasp) about 50% of them are women.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #28 donkeyintheforest 3 months ago
    @NiceGuyNeon illegitimi non carborundum
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