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.