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Naughty Dog Release Statement Regarding Claims Made By Former Employee About Sexual Harrasment

Just the beginning.

Sexual harassment has been in the spotlight recently after many claims were made about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, with many actresses going on record to say that he was inappropriate towards them. This has given others a platform on which they can come forward about their own experiences of sexual harassment in their workplaces. One such voice belong to former Naughty Dog employee David Ballard who claims he was the victim of sexual harassment while working at Naughty Dog in 2015.

David revealed his experience through a number of tweets last night, and the content of those can be seen below.

  • “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 $20k 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.”

Obviously this is a big claim to make and in response Naughty Dog released a statement that basically boiled down to stating having no evidence of any incidents at the time. The company’s statement is below.

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.

Where this allegation goes from here is unknown, though this situation will be far from over.

Source: Eurogamer/Naughty Dog

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20 Comments
  1. Lieutenant Fatman
    Member
    Since: Jul 2013

    Quite a shock considering ND being champions of diversity in the video game industry and standing up to the bullies and trolls, etc.

    Comment posted on 15/10/2017 at 20:41.
  2. Starman
    Member
    Since: Jul 2011

    Ideally he needs some written proof otherwise it’s just going to be a case of his word against theirs. Very bad if true.

    Comment posted on 15/10/2017 at 21:03.
  3. JR.
    Member
    Since: Apr 2013

    Their statement reads like they are more disgusted about the allegation than they are at the possibility that there may be some truth to it.

    Translation:

    ‘How dare this worthless creature make damaging remarks about our brand.

    We have worked so hard to convince everyone that we are the Mother Theresa of the gaming industry.

    He has no proof. He is clearly lying for attention.

    We ARE the Mother Theresa of the gaming industry.

    Love us. And continue to buy our games.’

    Comment posted on 15/10/2017 at 21:59.
  4. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    Strong allegations on both sides, so someone is lying. Surely he would have emails as either proof of the harassment or messages to HR to report it?

    Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 08:39.
    • Lieutenant Fatman
      Member
      Since: Jul 2013

      I believe most jobs see you immediately lose access to work email on leaving a company. And if the alleged incidents did take place, Sony may have spoken to him in person or on the telephone. Quite likely if they wanted to keep things quiet as he suggests. Day one of cover up is not leaving a paper trail.

      Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 09:05.
      • gazzagb
        Master of speling mitakse
        Since: Feb 2009

        But if he gets the Police involved, ND will have to turn over any emails. And they should be able to recover deleted data, just look at Waymo vs Uber. It’s very hard not to leave a paper trail, and in some cases going out of your way to not leave a paper trail is just as suspicious.

        Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 10:26.
  5. TheShepanator
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    If he was genuinely sexually assaulted then he should probably contact the police and start an actual criminal investigation rather than just tweeting about it.

    Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 09:38.
    • Lieutenant Fatman
      Member
      Since: Jul 2013

      Harassment, not assault.

      Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 09:46.
  6. stigdu
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I must admit, I didn’t know Harvey Weinstein was working at Naughty Dog in late 2015! Shame on him for sexually assaulting not just Hollywood mainstream actresses and young starlets, but geeky programmers too.

    Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 10:53.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Agreed. Last thing you’d want is him crashing into your bandicoot.

      Seriously, though… hope Naughty Dog sort this out and look for the truth as oppose to protecting themselves and simply ignoring anything the chappie mentions.

      Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 11:12.
    • JR.
      Member
      Since: Apr 2013

      It does make you laugh. Weinstein is a pig but he was allowed to carry on abusing young women for years because the people around him, who knew what was happening, turned a blind eye. They shamed victims who spoke up because their suffering was inconvenient to them. In my view, they are just as guilty and vile as he is.

      Yes, the celebrity luvvies who routinely lecture us little folk on how to think/feel/act from their private, walled, sanctuaries, knew exactly what was going on. These same people who were extremely vocal in expressing their disgust at the recordings of Donald Trump, in which he made crude remarks about woman (twenty years ago) have been almost silent on this matter. I wonder why? Hypocrites.

      Speaking of which, has anyone checked on JK Rowling recently? I fear she may have passed in her sleep and no one’s noticed.

      I wasn’t the least bit surprised to hear the Clinton’s and Obama’s had accepted funding and support from Weinstein during their Presidential campaigns. He was invited to the Whitehouse thirteen times under the Obama’s and in return they managed to secure their daughter an internship. How nice. Michelle went as far as to label him ‘a wonderful human being’. You’re telling me they didn’t vet this guy before allowing him into their lives? Okaaaay.

      So it’s no secret I dislike the Obama’s (I generally dislike all people who pretend to be something they aren’t) but you can be damn sure the media would have been outraged if Donald Trump had received favours from this monster.

      Hilary’s involvement comes as no surprise to anyone. We all know how sympathetic she is towards victims of sexual abuse. After all, she helped shame and silence Bill’s victims for years. Weinstein probably asked her for tips.

      At least this scandal has helped explain one thing… We now know why Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar.

      Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 12:20.
      • blast71
        Member
        Since: May 2012

        It’s a wonder the BBC haven’t blamed it on brexit, like they do with most things ;p

        Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 13:55.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        Both spot on! :-)

        Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 15:16.
  7. Tuffcub
    On the naughty step.
    Since: Dec 2008

    Can I just point out that just because Weinstein is clearly a dirty old man, with multiple allegations, one bloke on Twitter does not mean Naughty Dog are lying fucktards.

    We’ve always held Naughty Dog in high regard and there is no reason to stop doing that.

    What his tweets have already done is whip up a huge amount of homophobic hate. If he was sacked for legitimate reasons then this may be his way of getting revenge, trying to bismirch the good name of ND.

    If more people come forward then there might be a problem at ND, as it stands we shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

    Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 11:09.
    • Jag
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009

      Totally agree, as we’re not directly involved we’re all bystanders in this and so we did be careful about making judgements either way.
      However, once an allegation is out there it can do tremendous damage no matter how true it may be.
      Let’s hope the truth comes out about this as both sexual harassment and lying about it are equally toxic.

      Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 12:10.
      • Jag
        Member
        Since: Feb 2009

        I meant to say “we need to be careful…”
        New phone so still learning my keyboards nuances.

        Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 12:13.
    • JR.
      Member
      Since: Apr 2013

      These are the times in which we live. Too many young folk believing what they read on social media to be ‘fact’ and mob mentality rule. That’s one of the reasons I believe we should raise the voting age to twenty-five. It’s completely irresponsible to allow these aging adolescents any say in how the county is run when they have no real-world experience. A vote should be a privilege, not a right.

      Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 12:59.
  8. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    Serious stuff indeeed if the allegations are true.

    Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 11:33.
  9. Paranoimia
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    Reading both ‘statements’, there are two possibilities.

    1. It’s true, and ND have buried or otherwise disposed of any evidence.

    2. The guy feels he was fired unfairly and is seeking some kind of revenge.

    Given their reputation to this point and comments on social media about equality and doing “the right thing”, my initial reaction would be to believe the second option. That is at least in part because if the first were the case, I find it difficult to believe that someone would keep quiet for that long, and then when they do choose to do something about it, do it on social media rather than going to the relevant authorities.

    Comment posted on 16/10/2017 at 14:55.
  10. h6exx
    Member
    Since: Mar 2011

    I always had my doubts about that bandicoot! Spends far too much time air humping, and turning his back and rumaging in his pants….

    Comment posted on 22/10/2017 at 17:55.

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