Over the weekend on October 14th, 2017, former Naughty Dog developer, David Ballard, posted up a series of tweets on his official Twitter account. He decided to come forward after other Hollywood actors shared their stories about sexual harassment, and after some video game personalities such as David Hayter stepped forward about his own experience with sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.
Crave Online compiled the tweets into an easily readable format, where Ballard wrote…
“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 $20,000 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.”
The claims blew up across social media, and were reported across a number of websites.
After hitting the front page of various social media networks, Naughty Dog issued a concise, albeit dismissive, statement about Ballard’s claims on their website on October 15th, 2017, stating the following…
“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.”
Some have called this stance hypocritical and a double standard, given that one of the mantras that have been paraded around in the gaming industry since 2014 is that people should “listen and believe” when a victim of sexual harassment comes forward.
As stated by Anita Sarkeesian at the XOXO Festival back in 2014…
“One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences,”
Although, as the wording suggests, Sarkeesian – and SJW media at large – only appear to apply the belief of sexual harassment having occurred if the claimant is a woman.
Given that Ballard is obviously a male, the industry seems to be fine taking on a dismissive tone with his claims.
Some have asked Ballard to provide proof of the $20,000 that Sony offered him if he signed a non-disclosure agreement. If Ballard did provide such evidence, it put the onus on Sony and require them to make a statement about why they didn’t take his claims seriously or launch an investigation into the matter.
What’s interesting is that when those in #GamerGate asked alleged harassment victims for proof of harassment or evidence of mass harassment campaigns having taken place, they were said to be “sea-lioning” and “gaslighting” victims. However, it doesn’t appear as if the industry will take Naughty Dog to task for also relying on evidence to prove the substantiation of Ballard’s case.