Former Naughty Dog employee speaks out about sexual harassment

The entertainment industry continues to be exposed for its dark underbelly

[Source: Naughty Dog]

The secrecy of video game companies may get their covers blown by a recent tweet posted by a former Naughty Dog employee, David Ballard. He discussed how back in late 2015, a lead at Naughty Dog sexually harassed him, leading to an extremely malicious work environment. Early 2016, Ballard had a mental breakdown at his workplace, dragging PlayStation’s Human Resources into the mix. Upon telling them of this attack, he was immediately fired by Public Relations. To cover up the story, PlayStation’s HR offered Ballard $20,000 if he agreed to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which Ballard refused.

In his tweets, Ballard mentioned he obtained the strength to come out with this incident from seeing people involved in the film/TV industry sharing their stories. As for leaving Naughty Dog in the first place, he explained about being burned out by the crunch from working there as well as his shame for being sexually harassed.

Ballard’s tweets gained enough exposure for both Sony and Naughty Dog to release a joint statement about the incident:

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.

The concept of companies hiding information from the public eye’s is nothing short of new. With recent topics like the voice actor strike, game development studios are hanging on a thin wire in keeping a good image. They want us seeing them as  companies that make well-renowned titles such as Uncharted. They aim to create experiences allowing us to escape from reality. Yet, if they partake in the corruption, we are simply being played by them. However, their works should not be put in a bad light. As Ballard tweeted, the workers’ passions make up these games. They want people to enjoy the products, not cast it aside. It would only be a disservice to these hardworking employees.

[Sources: GameSpot, Kotaku, Polygon]

Written by Matthew Shiroma

Matthew Shiroma is currently an undergraduate student studying for a B.S. in Computer Science while minoring in Game Programming and Development. While his main prowess is coding, he is open to experiment with other fields such as writing and drawing. When Matthew is not buried under schoolwork and outside projects, he loves catching up on his exponential list of video games, binge watching YouTube and Netflix, or managing his gaming YouTube channel.

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