Hollywood isn’t the only industry infested with sexual predators. Former IGN editor Vince Ingenito is accused of sexually harassing a female game journalist and video personality, Kallie Plagge.
Posting into the #metoo hashtag, which victims of sexual harassment and assault have been using to tell their stories since the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal upended the movie industry, Kallie Plagge detailed how she and another woman were persistently harassed by Vince Ingenito, who was an editor at the world’s most popular video game publication.
Despite his alleged behavior, Ingenito was unscathed due to IGN‘s HR department, which current employees claim dropped the ball on the situation.
In 2016, while I was working at IGN, former IGN editor Vince Ingenito sexually harassed me and one other female employee for months. The harassment in my case included uncomfortable compliments (“Guys don’t like skinny girls. You’re perfect”), manipulative and abusive comments (“[The guys he assumed I was dating] are all boys. You need a real man.”), and overtly sexual comments (“When I was your age, I could go all night.” He put his hand on my arm. “I just want one more night like that.”).
Plagge says that she reported Ingenito’s alleged misconduct to IGN’s human resources division at the time, but had her concerns brushed aside.
“After I reported him in June 2016, HR and upper management told me I needed to have better judgment about who I was ‘friends’ with, making me out to be an equal participant in an ‘inappropriate flirtation.’
My boss told me not to be ‘uptight’ about being around Vince and stated on several occasions that he ‘just wanted this unpleasantness to be over.’ HR insinuated to me that I used my body (specifically my chest) to provoke him. I was asked who I danced with at the IGN E3 party.”
Plagge alleges that the company made her sign a contract, threatening that she would be fired unless she took the blame for Ingenito’s interactions with her.
“This was a man who preyed on me, a young woman 15 years his junior, by identifying my insecurities at work (specifically regarding recognition for my work) and manipulating my trust. I was made to sign a contract stating that I’d behaved inappropriately, on the condition that I’d be fired if it happened again.”
“I was forced to work with Vince for another six months until I left IGN for my current job,” wrote Plagge, who now works at Gamespot as an associate editor. “I spent the entirety of those months sick with anxiety, literally to the point of severe nausea every day. I was terrified of further retaliation should I say anything.”
“The harassment (and horribly mishandled HR investigation) was a major factor in my leaving IGN. I have carried the disgust, fear, and disrespect with me since,” said Plagge, who says that Ingenito was “talked to” by HR and told not to interact with her.
She alleges that the IGN editor continued to walk near her desk, ask her work questions in person, and sit near her in meetings when management wasn’t around to keep him in check.
“Nothing was done until after I quit—and even then, IGN parted with him on good terms,” she said.
Plagge’s account of Ingenito has been given support by people still working at IGN, including Alanah Pearce, who defended Plagge against a barrage of Ingenito’s defenders who blamed her for her interactions with the former IGN editor.
Vince Ingenito has since responded to the claims. In a long series of tweets, the former IGN editor accused of sexual harassment claims that he “overestimated or perhaps misread the degree of our friendship.”
The former IGN editor previously railed against the unfairly maligned GamerGate movement for ethics in games journalism, claiming without evidence that it consisted of “rape/death threats,” and that concerns over fake news in the games media were a “completely imagined problem.”
Since the allegations against Vince Ingenito surfaced, a large cohort of IGN staff members—including IGN Daily Fix host Alanah Pearce—are staging a boycott in protest of the company’s poor handling of the matter.
There won’t be a Daily Fix today because a large group of IGN employees have refused to work until the company issues a statement/apology regarding what happened to Kallie Plagge.
— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) November 13, 2017
Ingenito now finds himself looking down the barrel of the same gun he pointed at his former audience.