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IGN editor-in-chief fired for ‘alleged misconduct’ (update)

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Interim EIC named in aftermath

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IGN has fired Steve Butts, its longtime editor-in-chief, over “alleged misconduct.”

“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,” Mitch Galbraith, IGN’s executive vice president, told Polygon in a statement.

IGN co-founder and chief content officer Peer Schneider will take over for Butts as editor-in-chief on an interim basis.

Kotaku first reported that IGN — the highest-trafficked outlet in the gaming entertainment space — began looking into Butts’ behavior late last fall. In meetings held with the site’s editorial team, a staff member alleged that Butts had harassed her. That launched an investigation, which ended with Butts’ termination this week.

Kallie Plagge, an editor at GameSpot, went public about her experience working at IGN in November, identifying a senior staffer who targeted her and another female editor with “manipulative and abusive comments” on a regular basis.

“The harassment (and horribly mishandled HR investigation) was a major factor in leaving IGN,” she wrote. “I have carried the disgust, fear, and disrespect with me since.”

Vince Ingenito, the editor named by Plagge, said he’d been let go from IGN in March 2017, months prior to Plagge’s accusation. (Plagge left IGN in December 2016.) Galbraith issued a public statement in November, writing that “it is clear IGN can and must do better delivering on our commitment to a safe and harassment-free work environment for employees.”

Update: Peer Schneider told Polygon that he’ll serve as interim EIC for “however long it takes.”

“It’ll be however long it takes to get it right,” Schneider said. “I’m lucky to have a team of seasoned editorial and video leaders I can rely on while I search for the best person for the job.”