Another game journalist has been called out for sexual misconduct, this time it was former IGN writer and anti-#GamerGate critic, Vincent Ingenito, being put under the spotlight operated by Kallie Plagge, also a former contributor to IGN.
Plagge is currently an associate editor at Gamespot, but decided to use the #MeToo social media hashtag to express what she felt was sexual harassment doled out by former cohort Vincent Ingenito. Plagge posted the comments on Twitter via a series of images detailing the event on November 10th, 2017.
— Kallie Plagge (@inkydojikko) November 11, 2017
If you’re unable to read the text in the images, Plagge explains…
“In 2016, while I was working at IGN, former IGN editor Vince Ingenito sexually harassed me and one other female employee for months. The harassment in my case included uncomfortable compliments (“Guys don’t like skinny girls. You’re perfect”), manipulative and abusive comments (“[The guys he assumed I was dating] are all boys. You need a real man.”), and overtly sexual comments (“When I was your age, I could go all night.” He put his hand on my arm. “I just want one more night like that.”).
“After I reported him in June 2016, HR and upper management told me I needed to have better judgment about who I was “friends” with, making me out to be an equal participant in an “inappropriate flirtation.” [sic]
Plagge explains that her boss told her she was just being “uptight” and that everybody wanted the “unpleasantness to be over” with.
In the next set of images Plagge posted, she explains…
“HR Insinuated to me that I used my body (specifically my chest) to provoke him. I was asked who I danced with at the IGN E3 party.
“This was a man who preyed on me, a young woman 15 years his junior, by identifying my insecurities at work (specifically regarding recognition for my work) and manipulating my trust. I was made to sign a document stating that I’d behaved inappropriately, on the condition that I’d be fired if it happened again.
“I was forced to work with Vince for another six months until I left IGN for my current job. I spent the entirety of those months sick with anxiety, literally to the point of severe nausea every day. I was terrified of further retaliation should I say anything.”
According to Plagge, she states that the way the human resource department handled the harassment investigation was a “major factor” in her leaving IGN. She says she lived with the “disgust” ever since and decided to post about it on Twitter to help give victims a voice and to combat the “victim blaming”.
She also claims that Ingenito left IGN on good terms and only received a talking to from the higher-ups.
Ingenito responded to the accusations of sexual harassment, making a lengthy series of tweets on November 11th, 2017 where he explained his side of his story…
“The things being said about me by Kallie Plagge. This will likely be long. The first thing I want to say is that I don’t believe Kallie is a liar. We were friends once, at least I thought. I considered her one of my only friends at IGN.
“What I believe is that I overestimated or perhaps misread the degree of our friendship. She would share very personal things with me looking for advice and support, and so I thought I could do the same. As it turns out, she thought of me more as a mentor than a friend.
“So when I say I do not believe she is a liar, I mean to say, I believe she felt uncomfortable with our level of friendship, but being younger, perhaps was scared to say so. I have no desire to embarrass her, or myself by sharing screens of every conversation we had as proof.”
Ingenito went on to explain that there were legal limits to what he was allowed to discuss regarding the sexual harassment allegations or the result of those allegations, but he did want to explain that he did apologize to Plagge, writing…
“What I can say is that just prior to her making a complaint, I was told by a mutual friend, and then had it confirmed by Kallie that .she had felt uncomfortable about the nature of our friendship. As soon as I learned this, texted her an apology, told her I had no idea how I had made her uncomfortable, but that it didn’t matter how…I was simply sorry to have made her uneasy.
“I have screen grabs of our final exchange uploading, in which I made this apology, and in which she thanked me for acknowledging her feelings and need for space. She wouldn’t tell me what I had done (which is fine) but we left it at that. A week later the accusation came. I complied fully, though I was never told exactly what I had specifically done to make her uncomfortable. I handed over my phone, and screen grabs of nearly every conversation we had had in the prior months. I said I was willing to do whatever I had to to make her comfortable.”
He says that he tried keeping his distance from her, changing seats to avoid sitting close to her, and avoiding any contact with her that wasn’t strictly work-related.
He claims that he had no idea what exactly it was that he had done to make her so upset.
He finished up his novel-sized recap by stating…
“All of this being said, I want to make something abundantly clear: I never touched Kallie in any sexual way, unless you think a very occasional hug is sexual. I never said anything lewd about her or her body. I never made any advances towards her. […]
“The only talk of any sexual nature that occurred would be when she voluntarily shared things of a personal nature to me, as friends sometimes do. I didn’t graphically describe anything or force sexual conversations on her or anyone. That is not who I am, or will ever be.”
Ingenito also posted up images of the final text conversation he had with Plagge to apologize for his behavior, which you can view below.
Ingenito also notes that he’ll be further protecting himself moving forward to avoid having his career and life upended by these kind of allegations, firmly stating…
“[…] Since all of this rocked my life and hers, I’ve thought long and hard on what I perhaps might take away from this to make sure I both protect myself, and never inadvertently make someone I respect and care about feel so awful. I hold myself to a high standard, and will continue to. I hope Kallie and I can both find peace and healing. “
Vincent Ingenito was yet another anti-#GamerGate journalist attempting to protect the status quo. He was found criticizing the consumer revolt against unethical journalists and corrupt practices within the gaming industry by attempting to reduce the movement to the narrative about it being nothing more than death and rape threats.
The worst thing about GamerGate is the death/rape threats. The second worst is that it’s all over a completely imagined problem.
— Vincent Ingenito (@Vincogneato) October 11, 2014
Not at all. I understand the sentiments that spawned it, but I condemn it completely. Where did you hear that? Just curious.
— Vincent Ingenito (@Vincogneato) November 16, 2016
Ingenito now finds himself on the other end of the table where accusations are leveled against his character and career. However, in the case of #GamerGate there was never any evidence that it was a harassment campaign. For Ingenito, the only measure of trust he can provide for his story is his own word, and given his aversion to a movement about better ethics in journalism, it easily makes his testimony look suspect in the eyes of outsiders.
Ingenito joins other anti-#GamerGate journalists such as Sam Kriss, Rupert Myers, Michael Hafford, Devin Faraci, Francisco van Jole, and Matt Hickey (among many others) in a category reserved for those who have been accused of (or in some cases charged with) sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, or rape.