Well-known and frequented gaming website IGN lost its editor-in-chief Steve Butts today over misconduct allegations. The firing comes after an internal investigation that took place from November through December.
IGN general manager Mitch Galbraith told Kotaku, “IGN initiated an investigation into alleged misconduct involving Steve Butts. As a result of the investigation, the Company [sic] has appropriately determined to part ways with Mr. Butts.”
Butt’s firing is the second shakeup within the company over misconduct in as many months. It was just two months ago that Kallie Plagge accused Vince Ingenito, a former IGN editor, of sexual harassment of her and another co-worker. Ingenito, who was “laid off” for unrelated reasons back in March 2017, said he misunderstood the level of friendship between himself and Plagge, which led to the allegations.
The incident prompted a series of meetings to “fix” the company's interoffice culture. It was at one of these gatherings that someone accused Butts of harassment. The accuser did not share any details during the meeting, but IGN launched an investigation into the matter.
Butts was not put on leave, but he was relegated to working from home pending the investigation. It was known in the office that he was telecommuting due to the accusations, and according to staff, it made it uncomfortable and awkward. They were unsure if he would be back or not — it was like an “elephant in the room.”
“Staff were left whispering and waiting to see whether he would come back.”
In Plagge’s statements regarding Ingenito, she had said there was a boss who had not dealt with the situation appropriately. She claimed that due to this she felt uncomfortable working there and quit in December. She told Kotaku that the boss she was referring to was Butts.
‘“He told me, ‘Don’t be so uptight about it,’” Plagge recounted. “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.”
Butts has not responded to requests for comment.