The massive gaming website IGN has fired its editor-in-chief, Steve Butts, after an investigation into alleged workplace misconduct, the company said today.
“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,” said IGN general manager Mitch Galbraith in a statement to Kotaku this afternoon.
This news comes two months after former IGN employee Kallie Plagge accused her former co-worker Vince Ingenito of sexually harassing her and another woman. (Ingenito was let go in March 2017.) The Monday after Plagge made those accusations, IGN’s editorial staff had several meetings about what had happened, and eventually decided to put out a statement committing to “fix what is broken” within the company’s culture.
During one of those meetings, someone accused Butts of harassment, according to a person who was in the room. The accuser did not share more details in the meeting, but IGN consequently began investigating what had happened.
Butts had been working from home since then, according to one person familiar with goings-on at the company. Throughout November and December, Butts did not come into the office, as staff were left whispering and waiting to see whether he would come back. One IGN staffer described it to me as awkward and uncomfortable—the “elephant in the room” as they worked.
In Plagge’s statements about Ingenito, she’d mentioned a boss who she felt had mishandled the situation. That boss, Plagge told me in November, was Butts. “He told me, ‘Don’t be so uptight about it,’” she said then. “As I said on Twitter, he would also say things like ‘I just want this unpleasantness to be over,’ like we were causing him a lot of problems.”
Butts did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cecilia D’Anastasio contributed to this report.