Gaming site IGN fires editor-in-chief over misconduct allegations

Steve Butts. (image via Twitter)
Steve Butts. (image via Twitter)

LOS ANGELES — IGN Entertainment, a digital-media company covering video game entertainment, has fired editor-in-chief Steve Butts over allegations of misconduct.

“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,” Mitch Galbraith, IGN Entertainment’s executive VP and GM, said in a statement. The news was first reported by Kotaku.

An email to Butts seeking comment produced an out-of-office autoreply directing editorial inquiries to other staff members. Butts had first joined IGN in 2012 as managing editor before being named EIC six months later, according to his LinkedIn profile.

With Butts’ departure, IGN co-founder and chief content officer Peer Schneider will assume the EIC role on an interim basis.

The company’s investigation into Butts’ behavior came after an unidentified staffer accused him of harassment during an internal IGN meeting about workplace misconduct, according to the Kotaku report. Those meetings were organized after Kallie Plagge, an ex-IGN employee now at GameSpot, in November posted a #MeToo account on Twitter that described former IGN editor Vince Ingenito sexually harassing her and another woman over a period of several months. Plagge alleged IGN’s HR department and senior managers told her she engaged in “inappropriate flirtation” in the situation and forced her to sign a document stating that she had “behaved inappropriately.”

San Francisco-based IGN was established in 1996 and acquired in 2013 by Ziff Davis, which is a subsidiary of j2 Global. As of June 2017, IGN claimed to reach more than 148 million unique monthly users.

Last month, Ziff Davis completed its acquisition of Mashable at a deep discount off its previous valuation; Mashable laid off around 30 percent of its staff with the deal.

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