Naughty Dog Responds To Claims Of Sexual Harassment Towards Former Employee
Earlier this week, former Naughty Dog employee David Ballard came forward on social media, saying that he had been sexually harassed by a lead at the company in 2015. Since then, Naughty Dog has released an official statement that says it has no record of these allegations, and that both harassment and inappropriate conduct have "no place" at the studio.
Naughty Dog explains that it has "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." The full statement can be read 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.
Ballard, who worked as an environmental and level design artist at Naughty Dog since 2009, claims this sexual harassment occurred a couple years ago. Ballard claims that in the aftermath, he experienced a mental breakdown at work. Upon explaining the situation to PlayStation HR, he says he was terminated and offered $20,000 to keep quiet. You can view a number of his tweets below (or click here to view the full string of tweets):
In February 2016 I had a mental breakdown at work & Sony Playstation HR became involved. When I told them about the harassment they... 2/— David Ballard (@DBal) October 14, 2017
They tried to silence me by offering $20,000 if I signed a letter agreeing to the termination as well as to not discuss it with anyone. 4/— David Ballard (@DBal) October 14, 2017
These situations aren't always black-and-white; it's difficult to say what the true story is when both sides are giving conflicting statements. This is a messy and unfortunate situation for all involved, and sexual harassment shouldn't be tolerated at any workplace.