IGN silently let go of former editor-in-chief Steve Butts following an investigation into alleged misconduct. According to Polygon, Mitch Galbraith, the executive VP at IGN, told them in a statement…
“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,”
Later on in a separate statement, IGN’s Peer Schneider confirmed that he would be serving as an interim editor-in-chief at the company until things were settled internally…
“It’ll be however long it takes to get it right,”[…] “I’m lucky to have a team of seasoned editorial and video leaders I can rely on while I search for the best person for the job.”
The actual reason for Butts’ firing was not disclosed, but this comes after former employee complained about IGN’s environment of cultivating sexual harassment, which led to IGN issuing a statement and apologizing for the incident on December 13th, 2017 while also promising to overhaul their human resource department. Following that, an investigation was launched into Steve Butts that later prompted for his firing.
While the cause of Butts’ firing remains under wraps for now, he did make a joke back on November 9th, 2017 that caught the ire of Kallie Plagge, for which he quickly deleted the tweet and apologized.
I can see the potential for misunderstanding here. Happy to delete it and apologize for any unintended weirdness or discomfort.
— Steve Butts (@SteveButts) November 9, 2017
Steve Butts was fairly normal, and engaged with the community with general banter and jokes on social media. Since making the joke about human resources back in November, Butts has been fairly silent on social media.
Surprisingly, Steve Butts was actually neutral on #GamerGate, penning a straight-down-the-middle piece on IGN back on October 24th, 2014 that condemned harassment but also noted that people who had grievances with the ethical concerns surrounding a media publication site should not be dismissed out of hand, writing…
“Gamers are not a homogenous hive mind and, through respectful discussion and consideration of multiple points of view, the value of games is strengthened, not weakened. Ending harassment doesn’t mean silencing dissent, or rejecting calls for greater transparency and trust between publishers, the press, and the vast, varied population of gamers. Those discussions are essential to the evolution and expansion of video games, and we should be willing to listen to those who have questions about our assumptions, our values, and our practices.”
IGN did later overhaul and update their ethics policies at the request of #GamerGate back on January 8th, 2015. The media outlet then updated their ethics policy again after acquiring the Humble Bundle Store on October 25th, 2017, informing readers that they would make appropriate disclosures when covering Humble Bundle products.
At the moment it’s unclear if Steve Butts was fired for actual misconduct or if he was one of the unfortunate victims caught up in the #MeToo craze that has seen a wide-sweeping effect taking place throughout various industries where even the slightest allegations of miscoduct can cost someone their job.